First Choice, “Love Thang” (Gold Mind, 1979), Hear It In: Daft Punk, Boogie Down Productions, Genius of Time. BARRY WALTERS, Hear It In: Escort, Midnight Magic, Hercules and Love Affair, Classic, unapologetically disco disco — as opposed to “not really actually disco, y’know” disco — has swept back into the public eye over the last decade. From its opening guitar riff, Highway to Hell is relentlessly, unapologetically crass—what, you thought “Beating Around the Bush” was about shrubbery?—but if Scott’s cackle at the conclusion of “Shot Down in Flames” is any indication, damned if they aren’t having fun doing it. Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label helped kick off disco’s revival in 2004 when it reissued Disco Club, a 1978 album by French producer Bernard Fevre that was so obscure that many listeners wondered if the whole thing was an elaborate prank. Whether he’s playing harmonica on one of the acoustic numbers or shredding on the hard-rocking “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black),” Young is a dynamite performer, especially with Crazy Horse. Hear It In: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Factory Floor, the Rapture, !!! (And constantly surprising — this may be Wonder’s greatest drumming performance, no small accolade.) It's forgotten now, but the Bee Gees had begun their march towards disco three full years before Saturday Night Fever with "Jive Talkin'" and this super hot number. B.W. —Tom Lanham, “Hey, mama! The dirty talk is all implied, but nevertheless tangible: There’s a weirdness here that feels forbidden, like photos you know you shouldn’t be looking at but nevertheless hold you in their spell. PHILLIP SHERBURNE, D-Train, “You’re the One for Me” (Prelude, 1981), Hear It In: Chromeo, the Prodigy’s “Girls,” Boys Noize’s “What You Want,” Metro Area. And Rhino, for its part, has excavated the soundtrack via this 1979 edition of its Billboard Top Hits series. Meanwhile Colin Newman sings the more straightforward songs like “Two People in a Room,” “The 15th” and “Map Ref 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W,” which sound like the Wire of Chairs Missing with more synths and guitar effects. Taking rock’n’roll’s “driving = sex” equation to unprecedented levels of explicitness via an extended metaphor that culminates with the gloriously direct come-on “let me lubricate it,” “Pull Up to the Bumper” thrusts and wiggles like intercourse itself. A voiceless dub of “The Magnificent Seven,” Joe Strummer’s hip-hop goof that led off 1980’s triple-LP Sandinista!, “The Magnificent Dance” was intended to be rapped over, à la Sugar Hill Records’ 12-inch flipsides. one of Barack and Michelle Obama’s favorite songs. The album’s six tracks of chugging, robotic Eurodisco are so similar in sound and mood that the album comes across less as a collection of songs than a six-track suite threaded together by bubbling synth arpeggios and Fevre’s peculiar, almost lumpy drum and percussion patterns. Coming off the largely forgettable Wavelength, Morrison made a lively leap back into critics’ good graces with the album, which acquired praise from outlets across the board. Set at the tempo of dejected yet desirous feet walking home alone, “I Need Somebody to Love Tonight” feels like a stroll down a dimly lit alleyway of adventure. Salsoul released the record to the public in a die-cut sleeve and pressed at 45 RPM, avoiding the gaping empty space that would have resulted from just one cut pressed at 33 on a single side of vinyl. More than that, producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards gave disco the slick, sumptuous feel that reflected the aspirational elegance found in their band’s chosen moniker. It’s remembered as the supposed, symbolic termination of the disco craze, but Earth, Wind & Fire weren’t even close to done. For their first two albums together, the 1969 left-turn Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and the scorching Zuma, the Canadian songwriter and the American rock band focused on rock ’n’ roll—hippy-dippy, looping electric guitar, clanging drums and the occasional jam. Vocalist Ian Curtis had an unmistakable, dry vocal delivery that blended perfectly with Bernard Sumner’s atmospheric, yet always distorted and punchy guitar parts. Classic-era disco's most popular gay artist made his biggest impression on his core audience with this song, which nevertheless failed to struggle up from the depths of the pop charts. This article was originally published in SPIN in 2013. Where the latter had sold 10 million copies, Tusk, the aforementioned follow-up, sold a mere 4 million discs, but to their credit, the band resisted the idea of simply making a carbon copy of the two efforts that came before. M.M. —Tyler Kane, In a 1980 Rolling Stone interview, conducted mere months before his tragic assassination, John Lennon credited The B-52’s cooky surf-rock classic “Rock Lobster” with sparking his final musical comeback. Recorded before Italian disco morphed into Italo disco, “Katmandu” placed willing dancers high, high, high atop the mountains of Nepal. Disco Demolition Night, the evening a posse of Chicago baseball fans gathered to combust a crate of disco records as a giant middle-finger to the popular-yet-divisive genre. “Cast your fate up to the sky / ‘Cause now it’s time to say goodbye,” helium-voiced jazz singer Rosanna Casale warbles with nearly violent intent until much later collapsing in a fit of goofy baby giggles. The Disco era was a short-lived time in the 70’s where dance music was automatically coined as “Disco”. A great compilation of the Top Disco songs of 1979… One of the key cuts is the jovial lead single “Making Plans for Nigel,” quirkily told from parents’ perspective as they unilaterally decide that a career as a steelworker is what’s best for their son. We’ve also included live audio and video tracks from Paste’s Music Vault archive on many of these. Ironically, actual (or former, anyway) krautrockers Kraftwerk released a nearly identical song, “The Model,” the very same year. Top 100 songs for the year 1979 from the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 charts. Tantra’s 1979 16-minute opus “Hills of Katmandu” did exactly that — especially if you were tripping your balls off. But it was the title track and lead single that made Soccio’s name, thanks to its fusion of gritty funk riffs, dance floor-stoking vocals, and shimmering electronic touches. No matter—the glitzy, glittery, synth-arpeggiated beat helped set the stage for electrofunk and the dance music to come, while Sly's unabashedly diva-esque vocals set the stage for decades of gay male disco falsettos. Cloud One, “Atmosphere Strut” (P&P, 1976). The songs are uniformly strong, with standouts including opener “Let’s Go,” the underrated single “It’s All I Can Do” and the overlooked album track “Double Life.” Though Queen collaborator Roy Thomas Baker returned to produce, Candy-O is subtler and a little less slick than The Cars, without losing any of the melodic punch that helped make New Wave into the new pop in the late ’70s and early ’80s. B.W. Michael Jackson was turning his Motown roots into music for the masses with Off the Wall, and artists like Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Funkadelic, Emmylou Harris and Neil Young were all exploring new sounds. P.S. However, the darker subject matter is also a large source of its appeal: the post-Watergate anger it taps into perfectly dovetails into the black self-determination groove at the heart of the genre's origins. Buckingham in particular was determined to make an album in sync with the times and the New Wave bands that populated the era, Talking Heads in particular. Eugene “Lambchops” Curry’s funky keyboard vamping is the secret star of the whole thing (no wonder Carl Craig borrowed it for the hook of his 1990 cut “The Climax”). —Robert Ham, If you think the music on this album is unwieldy, try dealing with the original packaging: a round tin that just barely allowed you to remove the three 45 RPM 12”s inside. The pure exotic pleasures of “Paper” and “Cities” brushed right up against the sardonic “Life During Wartime,” but it all feels remarkably kindled, free of that overshadowing density of their most “important” work.
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