Disco Sounds & The Disco Era
This category consists of disco, or disco sounds of the 70s-80s. Lots of great stuff in our music history. You’ll find some of the biggest dance hits of that era. Hope you enjoy the flashbacks.
Song: Fly Robin, Fly
Artist: The Silver Convention
Album: Silver Convention (1975) (2010)
This is definitely a forgotten, and now obscured dance group! Now, I should start off by saying, with the exception of two songs, their music were quite average. I don’t feel that their sound was unique at all. It was the kind of music you’d see in a certain vinyl pile, designated somewhere in a corner of your local record store (back in the day). To be quite honest, I perceive them as being copies of groups like “ABBA,” who got lucky with a couple of massive hits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they couldn’t sing, however, with average voices like theirs, it requires a really good songwriter and producer to set them apart.
Two Magaton Hits True Disco Fans Will Never Forget!!
The most memorable hit from Silver Connection is a song called “Fly Robin, Fly! (1975).” Spotify along registers @ over 5.7M plays. Not bad for a song over 40 1/2 years old. The song did very well around the world. US Dance Chart #1; Top 100 Chart #1; Norwegian #1; Canada, Germany, and Belgian #3. So, there’s no question that this was a cult classic. It just startles my mind that our culture has change to such an extreme degree, that this song is now literally obscure. I still have a hard time accepting this; but unfortunately this is the raw fact. This is the kind of beautiful music we had in my generation. Imagine, a song with very few words in it, and a great dance beat, can turn out to be one of the biggest memorable hits in dance history globally. I don’t think we can ever achieve that again. Not the way we consume music now.
We Will Not Hear Amazing Music Like This Again!!
A year later, They released a second major hit that some may remember, the song is called “Get Up And Boogie (1976).” I loved this song too! Like “Fly Robin, Fly,” this song had an easy tune, and an easy beat that allowed anyone of any age to dance to. Both songs were great “cool down music,” after spending an hour on your feet dancing on the floor. US Top 100 Chart, and the American Billboard Dance Chart registered this song as #2; Canada #1; and the Dutch and Spanish version of this recording reached within the top #10. Unfortunately, beyond these two massive hits, I haven’t heard anything from them worth buying, or adding to my playlist. ? However, to be fair, I should point out that the group was originally from Germany. So, they could have had many other hits unbeknown to me.
Song: Sitting In The Park
Album: TWO (1980)
Another amazingly talented band that has been forgotten. Even when I’d visit 70s/80s parties, maybe once or twice I’ve heard their music played. This awesome band formed in the Bronx, New York, sometime in the late 60s. Their history is hard for me to trace, as they’ve performed under different names & different music labels. Their music genre was mostly disco. They almost had a Chic, sound to their music in my opinion.
They’ve Produced 2 Unforgettable Hits!
Most older folk would probably remember their monumental #1 R&B hit “Disco Nights (Rock Freak) (1979).” I used to dance the hell out of this song. One of the very few songs I’ve heard where R&B and Disco merged beautifully (in my opinion). You may also remember their cover of Billy Stewart’s 1965 classic “I Do Love You (1979).” Their rendition did very well, reaching #5 on the R&B chart. However, from that same year (I believe) there was another cover they did by Billy Stewart, and I don’t recall the song receiving a whole lot of buzz. It’s called “Sitting In The Park (1980).” They did a beautiful job with this song as well, and I appreciated how they kept the essence of the song in tact, without changing the song completely. It reached #9 on the R&B Chart. Unfortunately, the groups ended before 2000. Keith Crier (above, first left) passed away, and the remaining group members eventually went their separate ways doing other things. So sad.
Song: Free Me From My Freedom
Artist: Bonnie Pointer
Album: Best Of Pointer Sisters (2004)
Soulful singer Bonnie Pointer is the sister of singing group, the Pointer Sisters. I started off my title with “What A Shame,” because quite frankly, it is. It’s a same because she has become one of many really, really talented forgotten American performers. Also, I say it’s a shame because of her battle with drugs and alcohol. It breaks my heart to see people who have the gift of singing, and their careers have literally been obliterated by drugs. But, it is also so common among extremely famous music artists of the 70s & 80s (mostly in my opinion (it seems)). From her public divorce, to her embarrassing mugshot after being caught for drug possession. Bonnie became a steamy hot plate of mess. The worst thing in the world is for a music artist to be on TMZ’s list, because a significant amount of music fan base reads and watches TMZ. You can read more about it from The Daily Mail.
In Essence, She Lost Her Career Through Drugs & Alcohol!
I’m not sure if a lot of people remember, but… Back in the day, we had a lot of what I think was called “Double Featured Albums,” such as the one I have below. Usually the music labels would release 12 inch version of 1 hit song from 2 different artists on the same album. Side A for one artist and side B for the other. Man, I played the hell out of “Free Me From My Freedom (1978).” This was my sh*t. This was a powerful, soulful and a fun disco love song, that in essence talks about telling her man to take her off the singles market. I love these kinds of love songs. I hate love songs where the lyrics sound like the singer is begging.
Now, I have to be honest, I hated “What You Gave Me (1978),” by Diana Ross. This should have been on Side TWO instead, but I knew the game. It was “Diana Ross,” ooooooo. Bonnie has such a soulful voice, I really think Motown should have picked another performer that complimented her (Sorry Diana Ross fans). Now, according to Wikipedia, “What You Gave Me,” was actually a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, ’cause Wiki recorded the release date as being 1969. By the way, I liked Marvin & Tammi‘s version better. Way better.
After Bonnie Gone Solo, She Only Had 3 Major hits (Tho Not Number Ones)!
It was absolutely disappointing that Bonnie’s amazing song “Free Me From My Freedom,” only peaked at #58 on the Top 100, and only #26 on the Club Chart. Perhaps despite being a dance song, the rhythm wasn’t fast enough to appeal to more dance fans? Two other popular hits you should listen to. “Heaven Must Have Sent You (1979)” should be the first you listen to! This song was not only the most popular, but the biggest one of her career. It shot up to #11 on the Top 100. Wasn’t a Top 10, but it was close enough ?. Lastly, she made a cover of The Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself (1980).” I have to say tho, this song had to grow on me. I wasn’t immediately turned on by the song, but I’ve come to like it over time.
Song: Dancin’ The Night Away
Album: Dancin’ The Night Away (1981)
I wasn’t planning on blogging today, but I just had to share with you guys this obscure disco gem! This song right here!!!! ? Is one of my top ultimate favorite disco songs ever!! I think this is one of those rare disco songs that is both beautiful and elegant at the some time. I don’t recall feeling that way about any other disco song I’ve heard around that era. Each time I hear this song, it literally thrusts me back in to the 80s. Actually, this song could also be thought of as a bridge to the next decade, because this song is just as much mid 70s as it is it was 80s! Not only did “Dancin’ The Night Away” hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts, it stayed number one for 3 consecutive weeks! I know a good song when I hear one. ?
I Was Elated When I Heard This Song Recently!
Almost nothing is written about this singing duo. Voggue consisted of two Canadian women named Chantal Condor, and Angela Songui. Unfortunately they only made about two albums in their career together before they broke up. Not sure what was the reason for that (unless they weren’t actually a group, but more of a temporary project). I’ve written before, how a lot of labels did this in the seventies. I’m going to assume that for many labels, disco may have been very experimental, and simply wanted to see how well the label would do in said genre.
Another amazing song from this album was “Roller Boogie.” This song is a little more fast paced, if it were not for the bridge, it would have been practically all instrumental. Every time I hear this songs, it reminds me of being inside one of those HUGE roller skating rings we used to have in NYC. Both guys and girls wearing white shorts w/ red stripes that were so high up in their crotch. How do I know this? ? I remember being taken by family members, between the ages of 10-12. I’m not sure if many of these skating rings exist anymore. These two songs unfortunately were the only things on this album worth listening too.
Song: Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone
Artist: The Manhattan Transfer
Album: Extensions (1979)
Genre: Pop Dance
Boy!! Talk about a forgotten group!!! I actually haven’t heard anything from these guys since a long time. These guys produced one of my favorite pop dance tunes (well technically, it’s more disco now that I think about it) of the 80s. I don’t know how many of my readers know, but are you aware that the cult classic TV show “The Twilight Zone” had it’s own disco theme? Yup!! And The Manhattan Transfer, performed this classic. According to a source I’ve read, the song hit #30 on the US Hot 100 chart. But, this song had to have been bigger than that; because by the time I was old enough to go to clubs (about 5 years after it’s original release date), this song was still being played. I’ve heard so many different versions of this song growing up, it wasn’t even funny. Recently a remix of the song was made. Check out the new remix of Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone.
Song: Boogie Oogie Oogie
Artist: Taste Of Honey
Album: A Taste Of Honey (1978)
I’m pretty sure most people under the age of 40 barely remember (if any at all) the group Taste Of Honey. Let me tell you, these women were some badass bitches (in a good way)! To watch them perform, be it live or on TV, was a sight to see. There are very, very few female musicians who could pick a guitar like these women. The only other Black female (long before this group) I can remember off hand that could beat the hell out of a guitar like that was Rosetta Tharpe. Unfortunately, as talented as this group was, they only produced two major hits (although iconic). The first was “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” which hit number #1 on the Top 100, and “Sukiyaki (1981),” which hit #3. Also check out “Rescue Me (1980).” Does the beat sound familiar to you? I’ll give you a hint “I Got A Man (1992)!”
Song: Love’s Comin’ At Ya (Remastered)
Artist: Melba Moore
Album: Other Side Of The Rainbow (2010)
This awesome song actually came out in 1982, and was digitally remastered in 2010. I love “Love’s Comin’ At Ya,” because it reminds me of the same kinds of rhythms that Evelyn “Champagne” King used to perform. In fact, in many ways it sounds almost identical to the T. Then again, Melba also had that same kind of voice; and as I’ve mentioned earlier, record companies were about finding that “formula” for making millions. I highly recommend that you research Melba Moore’s store. It’s pretty inspirational. She gone from being a huge success, to suddenly having no money to the point of applying for welfare/food stamps. She picked herself back up, and successfully rebooted her career. I consider her a very underrated talent. Although she didn’t have big hit’s on the Top 100, she did had a few top hits on the dance charts, including “Love’s Comin’ At Ya,” which reached #2, and another song I loved a lot called “You Stepped In To My Life,” which reached #5 in 1978.
I’m saddened to say that this incredibly handsome guy had only 2 big hit to his name ?. This is Peter Brown. At the age of only about 24 years old, this guy was smoking ♨️hot♨️ in the late 70s disco scene. His first 12 inch hit sold for over a million copies in 1977. That song was called “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me,” off his album “A Fantasy Love Affair.” Not to be confused with Sylvester’s 1982 mega hit “Do Ya Wanna Funk.” Now, unfortunately, although “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me” peaked at #18, I wasn’t particularly feeling this song at all. I was shocked to find out that he sold that many copies to be honest.
However, I did not go completely bananas until I heard his smash hit “Dance With Me (1977).” This was actually on the same album, but the song wasn’t a hit until mid 1978. This song was the shit back in the day. Even though I was too young to go out clubbing, when my mom or grandparents had their house parties I remember sweating to this song. This 12 inch was all dance!! I mean Studio 54 dance music! The song only peaked to #4 on the Hot Dance Charts.
Other than the two songs I’ve just shared with you, I really wasn’t feeling any other of his songs. Although there was another song called “They Only Come Out At Night (1984),” that hit #1 on the Dance Club Charts, I just didn’t like it. I think the problem was that his music started to sound like novelty. You know, like all his music were from specific 80s soundtracks; similar to “The Last Dragon (1985),” or that similar to Rockwell’s music. Such a shame his voice was phenomenal!
The one thing Donna Summer fans can’t complain about, is the fact that Donna left us with more 12 inch singles, remixes, mega-mixes, and more redos we could ever handle. There was a reason why we called her the disco dance queen! She certainly earned that title! The above 12 inch single is probably one of my most favorite Donna Summer dance albums. This is actually a double hit album. Side B has my favorite “Winter Melody (1976).” This was from her “Four Seasons Of Love” Album. However, this extended mix with additional lyrics was not published as a single 12 inch until about a year later (if I’m correct). Unfortunately, because I didn’t own the original album I’m really not sure, it’s an assumption.
You know, Winter Melody was such a mellow “easy listening,” song that sometimes it’s hard for me to still perceive it as disco music. This song always reminds me of just how diverse music is. there are sub genes upon sub genres. On side A of this 12 inch album was a song called “Spring Affair (1976).” This is actually a great disco to do moderate exorcise with. Both these songs was recorded as a combo on American Billboard. I’m guessing this is the actual album I’m writing about, apposed to what was on the original commercial album. They both only peaked at #43. Great songs tho.Vintage-inspired. Modern Fit- MaddaFella.com! Click Here!
I’d like to introduce young folk to the late Joe Tex. He was another favorite of mine I used to listen to all the time. I think that in this era of music streaming, young folk who are starting out in the music business today can learn a lot from knowing about artists like Joe Tex. The reason is because he only had a total of 27 songs that registered somewhere on the Top 100 Billboard Charts; however, only 3 of them reached Top 10 status.
Why is that important? Because the longer I blog, I’ve begun to clearly understand that numbers don’t always equate with someone’s true talent. Even more complicated than that, sometimes an album could be on the low #200 position, but a song on that same record could reach Top 10 status. Despite Joe only having 3 Top 10 Hits, his other music was so popular that even the singles that didn’t make good sales, were played very much on radio and clubs. So, there was no question about his vocal talent.
One of my very favorites growing up was a song called “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (with No Big Fat Woman) (1977).” It only peaked at #12, but this was the sh*t back in the day. I don’t remember not hearing this song on family parties and barbecues. You know, when you listen to the lyrics of this song, it was innocent yet hilarious! But, a song like this would never be made again in this day and age; every single “fat” activist would have overwhelmed both the artist and label with accusations of fat shaming. Great song tho.
Another popular favorite was “I Gotcha (1972),” which reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. I absolutely loved this song, because it had a very Blaxploitation feel to it. Sounded like it could have came straight out of a Cleopatra Jones soundtrack. Now, Joe didn’t only sing dance music; he sang a many of wonderful ballads. At #5 “Hold What You’ve Got (1965),” was a very popular song that contained a lot of true wisdom about love and relationships. Another beautiful ballad (but never made the charts); was called “Green Green Grass Of Home,” originally sung by Johnny Darrell. However, I only remembered hearing Tom Jone’s version. In fact, Joe kind of sounded like Tom a lot. My late grandpa used to play this a lot too. So many interpretations by many artists, but for the life of me I can’t find when Joe originally released this version. My best guess is around 1978. This wonderful and talented man was taken away from us at the age of only 49.Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner – Chap Guard, Great Barrier Coco Herbal Lavender For Skin And Lip
Boy, talk about a forgotten music group!! Man o man!! The Sylvers were a bunch of family members who decided to start a musical group in the early seventies, and kicked the dance scene’s ass with their incredible talent! The Sylvers grew up and raised in Chicago (Chicago must be like Nashville or something, a lot of big music acts seem to come from Chicago). There musical sound was very Jackson(esk), but mostly heavy on the funk. Watching them perform was almost like watching an African American version of The Jets.
It’s funny, it was amazing hearing some of the craziest things Black folk used to say back in the day. When I was a kid, I remembered a couple of family members who tried to tell us that The Sylvers were our cousins. I’ve NEVER saw any photos of them with at least one member of my immediate family. One person actually told me that they were our cousins because “we all had good hair.” ? ? Any young kids reading my blog, if there’s one thing you’ve got to learn from my blog, is that Black folk were OBSESSED WITH HAIR in the seventies. Oh my goodness!!
The Sylvers were active between the early 1970s thru 1985, and produced several albums. The first major hit of their career was a song called “Boogie Fever (1976),” which hit number 1, and stayed number 1 for one week. This song became a Black dance anthem back in the day! Their second biggest hit was a song called “Hot Line (1977),” which became another dance anthem as well. I remember them performing these songs on Soul Train. Another cute song is “High School Dance (1977),” and the beat was reminiscent of Sly Stone’s musical style. They’ve recorded some great songs that haven’t hit the charts. I recommend checking out “We Can Make It If We Try (1973).” It’s actually my most favorite of all their recordings.
Today, I’d like to write about an awesome classic, Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. The Hues Corporation probably became the most famous Black musical group on the planet, because of their hit “Rock The Boat,” which was released in 1974. This massively popular song became their one an only major hit single. The song reached #1 for a total of one week!
Song Reached #1 For One Week!
Although the song only stayed number one for a week; It felt like it was still number one for years I remember waking up, the stations were paying it; came home from school and the stations were playing it; barbecues parties were playing it; oh my goodness!! You young kids just don’t understand. Despite only having one big hit, that big hit was a major contribution to Black disco music.
They officially got together as a group in 1969, and dominated the disco scene with their first album featuring “Rock The Boat.” Now, according to sources, the single sold over 2 million copies. However, I don’t know what the cut off date was? Because even when the song finally dropped off the charts, we still heard it in commercials and other venues, which means it was till making money. I am almost positive that even when they removed their 7″ from circulation, the 12″ versions are usually sold for a lot longer. Not sure if those are under a different category? Interesting now that I think about it.
The group disbanded by the eighties, and once again reformed sometime in the 90s. I believe the current members are Flemming Williams, St. Claire Lee, & H. Ann Kelley. The group still looks good by the way, especially Flemming; I’ve read reports that he was heavy in to drugs unfortunately. Can’t say that I’m surprised at that. This was something that was unfortunately common. Other musicians loved to work with The Hues Corporation. To my understanding, they had great relationships with other groups such as The Spinners.
The Group Appeared In The 1972 Cult Movie Classic, Blacula!
There’s one other song that did not do too bad on the charts. The song is called “Rockin’ Soul,” which is on the same album. It reached #18 on the Top 100. I think it’s an ok song. It’s kind of reminiscent of “Rock The Boat,” it has that same obvious flavor. Let me say that this album was not a bad album; they’re a very talented group; it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a lot of huge hits.
I’d like to recommend one last song from this album. The song is called, “I’ll Take A Melody.” I am very surprised that this didn’t make the charts. The medley kind of reminds me of Ann Murry’s “A Love Song,” which is also another one of my very favorite classic country songs.
Oh boy. Do I remember the song called Ten Percent by Double Exposure. I was only nine years old when I was grooving to this song. Having said that, I guess this is one of those rare moments, when it comes to disco music, and disco remixes, the beat is important if you want people to dance. I don’t even think I was paying attention to the lyrics at that age; but boy did I love to groove to this song.
Group Was Extremely Underrated
As talented as this group was, the group was extremely underrated in my strong opinion. Although Ten Percent did reach the 2nd position on the Billboard Dance Charts, they should have had way more than that. That is, considering the fact that their sound was very close to that of Tavares, and The 4 Tops; and both those groups had huge success.
They Were Signed To Salsoul Records
I had absolutely no idea, or memory that they were signed to Salsoul Records at the time this gem was released. Now, if anyone knows about disco & Latin disco, the Salsoul label was IT back in the day. If you were signed to one of those labels, you were practically guaranteed a hit career. Maaaaaan please. I’m not going to even go in to their long music roster.
They’re still performing, and still looking good! Before I forget, I’d like to share another huge favorite, which hit the 15th position on the Dance Billboard Charts. The song in called My Love Is Free. A last huge favorite of mine that didn’t make the charts, and was released in 1978. The song is called, Perfect Lover. I just loved there ability to switch from disco to soul, and back again without missing a step.
Gosh…. 1979! I can’t believe how long ago it’s been. My favorite Stephanie Mills song of all times is on this album! As far as I’m concerned, the disco world closed the 70s era, with one of the best disco song ever! (in my opinion). “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’” had a smooth consistent beat, and it had the kind of beat that both young and old could dance too. This was the first gift my late aunt give to me @ the age of 12. I was the happiest boy ever that day. I played that song so much, I’m surprised the album didn’t turn in to dust. ? This was such a popular song, I’m suprised it didn’t rank higher on the billboards. What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ ranked #8 on the R&B charts, and #22 on the Top 100.
20th Century Collection
Mills possesses such a beautiful and unique voice in my opinion. It’s so distinctive that on the first note, fans all know exactly who it is! I’m surprised that Spotify doesn’t have more of her old albums. However, the have most, if not all of her major hits, as well as my favorite lesser known songs. I thought about creating a playlist, but instead just go to her 20th Century Collection.
At the almost end of the seventies, “I Love The Night Life (Disco ‘Round)” by Alicia Bridges released in 1978, has been one of my many ultimate 70’s disco favorites. Unfortunately, this was Alicia’s only major hit record in her entire career. It’s a shame because she really had a good voice. But, as I listened closely to her songs, her voice appeared to be all over the place. As if she and her producers were still trying to find where to place her voice. I really think she should have continued with the disco genre. There’s no doubt that if she had better song writers, her career would have continued to sore. Then again, the other probable factor was, she was already much older by the time she came out with her first record. It’s very possible they really didn’t know how to market her; and that “I Love The Night Life,” may have been one damn lucky hit!
Do you guys remember Maxine Nightingale? She had a disco hit called “Right Back Where We Started From,” released in 1976. The song peaked #2 position on the Top 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for 20 weeks. This song has became such an anthem, I’m surprised that the song dropped off the Top 100 so soon. Even today, the song has been Shazam’d almost a third of a million times! This was not only a fun and danceable record, it was one of the few positive “let’s get back together” songs we had in the 70s. Maxine was musically immortalized because of this song. Maxine also had one more major hit, however this one was a slow jam. The song is called “Lead Me On.” “Lead Me On,” peaked at the fifth position on the Top 100 charts. You know it was interesting, as I was researching the music stats, I discovered that this song was written by David Lasley and Alle Willis. This surprised me quite a bit, because for some reason, I could have sworn one of the BeeGees written this song. It sounds exactly like the kinds of music they had written and performed.