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Disco Era - American History 1940-Present Stephanie Ploehn HR.4

Brief Introduction
The Disco Era happened in the early and late 70's and was known for many reasons including the Disco music, artists of the Disco, trends of the Disco and many events happening during this era. Disco dancing usually occurred at a place known as a discotheque (nightclub for dancing to live or recorded music) When people hear disco they simply think of just music or the trends but there are many others events and things that happened during the Disco Era. It soon faded quickly in the early 1980's.

1 Disco music & artists
2 Trends of the Disco
3 Events of the Disco

a style of popular music for dancing, usually recorded and with complex electronic instrumentation, in which simple, repetitive lyrics are subordinated to a heavy, pulsating, rhythmic beat.

1.Disco Music & Artists
The disco style of music was a type of dance music with its roots being R&B, Jazz and Latin Music and the feel of funk and soul. The 1st well known soundtrack of the Disco era was Saturday Night Fever and was released in December of 1977, this then turned Disco into a mainstream phenomenon. Saturday Night Fever was a soundtrack album from the blockbuster movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and was later considered one of the best compilations of disco music in history. New forms of dance started to develop along with the rise of the music, alot of them coming from ballroom styles of dance. The instruments mainly uSNFsed in the music were the traditional bass, drums and guitar and other highly synthesized sound. There's only a few artists you could say who really dominated this time, The Bee Gees, KC and the sunshine band, Barry and Andy Gibb, Donna Summers and Barry White. Disco air play was beginning to become too much for people and in the late 70's they began to hold anti-disco rallies. Disco Music eventually began to fade and was later turned into different forms of music including numerous lighter rock bands like Journey, XYZ and The Tubes.

2.Trends of the Disco
There were many trends in the disco era from the hairstyles all the way down to the footwear people wore. Men and Women had their own style. The men were big into the polyester suit while going to disco clubs and leisure suits in a variety colors and white. These suits were usually accompanied by a white belt and white shoes. The women on the other hand were big into bell bottoms and a style of shirt known as "peasant tops." (lose fitting blouses with a variety for colors and prints) For footwear both men and women wore the platform wedges, which varied in height. Flashy medallions, bracelets and leather purses were known for some accessories.

3.Events of Disco
Many different things happened in the Disco era besides the music and trends that we usually think of. A few major events in this time period would be the death of Elvis Presley in Aug. 16th 1977, the resignation of Nixon due to Watergate scandal (1974), Saturday Night Fever (Movie 1977), Disco Demolition in Chicago (1979, Baseball game between Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, where the fans got rowdy and ran onto the field into a crazy ragehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night.) Another well known event was the opening of Studio 54 in New York in 1977. It was well known for wild parties that were attended by many famous including Michael Jackson, Donna Summers, Brooke Sheilds and Mick Jagger. During the Disco era Studio 54 was the place to be seen if you were rich or a celebrity. The club lasted for about 3 years for the Disco era and closed in '88 with one last final party "The End of Modern-day Gomarrah."


1 Disco Today/Importance
2 Change in Music
3 Trends today
4 Where are they now?

1.Disco Today/Importance
The Disco Era still has a big influence on America today. It has influenced types of music, styles and other things. There are many Disco songs still out there today but the style of Disco has turned into different styles such as the hip-hop and electro. Of course the Disco dance is still around today, people go out and have a good time and do the cha-cha, the hustle and touch dancing The style of clothing during this era was well known then, there are a few pieces left behind of the clothing trend but clothing has calmed down a bit, not so dramatic like it was. The Disco Era was important in American History because it gave us the start of the style of music that we listen to today.

2.Change in Music
During the early 1980's the "disco sound" began to fade and a more faster up beat sound began to grow, along with more instruments and different dances more toward the funk and pop genres. This change from the original disco sound is known as post-disco (end of the disco era sound of music). As disco music began to fade, a new style known as house music began to rise. Some people would say that disco and house were almost the same and some would say very similar. House music(A style of disco music with a heavy bass beat, initially popularized in underground all-night parties held in abandoned warehouses) had a twist of disco with more bass beat to it.Eventually House music faded and made to loop back around to the feel of Disco.

3.Trends today
Some people would look back on the Disco era clothing and call it tacky and unfashionable. What most don't realize is that what they worn then shaped what we wear today. The type of material (polyester and rayon) used then is still used today. The same bold outgoing clothing is seen today like it was in the 60's and 70's especially for the men, once the movie Saturday Night Fever came out, men all over were more out there to wearing bolder and brighter colors, to stand out on the dance floor and everywhere else, which they still do today.

4.Where are they now?
There were many stars of the Disco Era, some stars have continued to shine while many of them have burned out. John Travolta, who was first well known in Saturday Night Fever, his career started in 1969 and is still going strong to this day. He's best known for Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and Danny Zuko in Grease. His most recent film is the leading voice in the animated movie Bolt. Later in 2009 he will be appearing in Old Dogs. KC and the sunshine band first began in the 1970's and are still well known minus one member whose death was merely and accident. They are still touring today and were most recently shown singing on American Idol April 22nd 2009. One well known artist of this time period no longer living today was Andy Gibbs (youngest brother of the brothers Gibb- The Bee Gees). A few well known hits by Andy are "I just want to be your everything," and "(Love is) Thicker than water." Andy lived a rough life and died at the age of 30 of an inflammation of the heart muscle which was most likely due to alot of drug and alcohol use. Sadly, right before the passing of Andy, his brothers (The Bee Gees) had decided that Andy would join the band which didn't happen so they dedicated a song to him, "Wish You Were Here."



What is Disco Music? 2003. Tricia Ellis-Christensen. 15 May 2009 http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-disco-music.htm.

Saturday Night Fever. 24 May 2209. 16 May 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Fever.

70's Disco Fashion. 1999-2009. EHow, Inc. 16 May 2009 http://www.ehow.com/about_4761748_s-disco-fashions.html.

Studio 54. 20 May 2009. 31 May 2009 <http://alp10.wikifoundry.com/page/Disco+Era>.



The American Heritage. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

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