Post-disco, boogie, HI-NRG and Italo disco (1980s)

Post-disco, boogie, HI-NRG and Italo Disco

Despite its decline in popularity, disco music remained relatively successful in the early 1980s, with songs like Irene Cara’s “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (theme to the film Flashdance) and the theme song to the film Fame (later re-sung by Erica Gimpel for the TV show of the same name), Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, and Madonna’s first album–all which had strong disco influences. Record producer Giorgio Moroder’s soundtracks to American Gigolo, Flashdance and Scarface (which also had a heavy disco influence) proved that the style was still very much embraced. Queen’s 1982 album, Hot Space was inspired by the genre as well.

To a significant extent, the transition from disco to 1980s dance music was one of relabeling. The word “disco” simply became unfashionable to use when describing new music. As late as 1983, K.C. and the Sunshine Band had a major hit single, “Give It Up”, which was not considered disco, even though it would have been considered to be in the heart of the genre if it had been released four years earlier.

In addition, dance music during the 1981–83 period borrowed elements from blues and jazz, creating a style different from the disco of the 1970s. This emerging music was still known as disco for a short time, as the word had become associated with any kind of dance music played in discothèques. Examples of early-1980s’ dance sound performers include D. Train, Kashif, and Patrice Rushen. These changes were influenced by some of the notable R&B and jazz musicians of the 1970s, such as Stevie Wonder, Kashif and Herbie Hancock, who had pioneered “one-man-band”-type keyboard techniques. Some of these influences had already begun to emerge during the mid-1970s, at the height of disco’s popularity.

During the first years of the 1980s, the disco sound began to be phased out, and faster tempos and synthesized effects, accompanied by guitar and simplified backgrounds, moved dance music toward the funk and pop genres. This trend can be seen in singer Billy Ocean’s recordings between 1979 and 1981. Whereas Ocean’s 1979 song American Hearts was backed with an orchestral arrangement played by the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, his 1981 song “One of Those Nights (Feel Like Gettin’ Down)” had a more bare, stripped-down sound, with no orchestration or symphonic arrangements.

This drift from the original disco sound is called post-disco which also included boogie, Hi-NRG and Italo disco. It had an important influence on early alternative dance and dance-pop, and played a key role in the transition between disco and house music during the early 1980s and later forms of [electronic dance music]]. Musically, this transition was marked by the change from complex arrangements performed by large ensembles of studio session musicians (including a horn section and an orchestral string section), to a leaner sound, in which one or two singers would perform to the accompaniment of synthesizer keyboards and drum machines.

In 1980s house music, and Chicago house in particular, a strong disco influence was constantly present, which is why house music, regarding its enormous success in shaping electronic dance music and contemporary club culture, is often described being “disco’s revenge”.

1990s–2010s: Disco revivals and nu-disco

In the 1990s, disco and its legacy became more accepted by pop music artists and listeners alike, as more songs and films were released that referenced disco. This was part of a wave of 1970s nostalgia that was taking place in popular culture at the time. Examples of songs during this time that were influenced by disco included Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart” (1990), U2’s “Lemon” (1993), Blur’s “Girls & Boys” (1994) & “Entertain Me” (1995), Pulp’s “Disco 2000” (1995), and Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” (1999), while films such as Boogie Nights (1997) and The Last Days of Disco (1998) featured primarily disco soundtracks.

In the early 2000s, an updated genre of disco called “nu-disco” began breaking into the mainstream. A few examples like Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and Kylie Minogue’s “Love At First Sight” and “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” became club favorites and commercial successes. Several nu-disco songs were crossovers with funky house, such as Spiller’s “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” and Modjo’s “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)”, both songs sampling older disco songs and both reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart in 2000. Robbie Williams’ disco single “Rock DJ” was the UK’s fourth best-selling single the same year. Rock band Manic Street Preachers released a disco song, “Miss Europa Disco Dancer”, in 2001. The song’s disco influence, which appears on Know Your Enemy, was described as being “much-discussed”.[96] In 2005, Madonna immersed herself in the disco music of the 1970s, and released her album Confessions on a Dance Floor to rave reviews. In addition to that, her song “Hung Up” became a major top-10 song and club staple, and sampled ABBA’s 1979 song “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. In addition to her disco-influenced attire to award shows and interviews, her Confessions Tour also incorporated various elements of the 1970s, such as disco balls, a mirrored stage design, and the roller derby.

The success of the “nu-disco” revival of the early 2000s was described by music critic Tom Ewing as more interpersonal than the pop music of the 1990s: “The revival of disco within pop put a spotlight on something that had gone missing over the 90s: a sense of music not just for dancing, but for dancing with someone. Disco was a music of mutual attraction: cruising, flirtation, negotiation. Its dancefloor is a space for immediate pleasure, but also for promises kept and otherwise. It’s a place where things start, but their resolution, let alone their meaning, is never clear. All of 2000s great disco number ones explore how to play this hand. Madison Avenue look to impose their will upon it, to set terms and roles. Spiller is less rigid. ‘Groovejet’ accepts the night’s changeability, happily sells out certainty for an amused smile and a few great one-liners.

In 2013, several 1970s-style disco and funk songs charted, and the pop charts had more dance songs than at any other point since the late 1970s.The biggest disco song of the year as of June was “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, featuring Nile Rodgers on guitar. Random Access Memories also ended up winning Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys.[98][99] Other disco-styled songs that made it into the top 40 were Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (number one), Justin Timberlake’s “Take Back the Night”, Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” (number five) and Michael Jackson’s posthumous release “Love Never Felt So Good” (number nine). In addition, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor featured strong disco elements. In 2014, disco music could be found in Lady Gaga’s Artpop and Katy Perry’s “Birthday”. Other disco songs from 2014 include “I Want It All” By Karmin, ‘Wrong Club” by the Ting Tings and “Blow” by Beyoncé.

In 2014 Brazilian Globo TV, the second biggest television network in the world, aired Boogie Oogie, a telenovela about the Disco Era that takes place between 1978 and 1979, from the hit fever to the decadence. The show’s success was responsible for a Disco revival across the country, bringing back to stage, and to record charts, Discothèque Divas like Lady Zu and As Frenéticas.

Other top-10 entries from 2015 like Mark Ronson’s disco groove-infused “Uptown Funk”, Maroon 5’s “Sugar”, the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me” also ascended the charts and have a strong disco influence. Disco mogul and producer Giorgio Moroder also re-appeared with his new album Déjà Vu in 2015 which has proved to be a modest success. Other songs from 2015 like “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” by Flo Rida, “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay, “Back Together” by Robin Thicke and “Levels” by Nick Jonas feature disco elements as well. In 2016, disco songs or disco-styled pop songs are showing a strong presence on the music charts as a possible backlash to the 1980s-styled synthpop, electro house, and dubstep that have been dominating the current charts. Justin Timberlake’s 2016 song “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, which shows strong elements of disco, became the 26th song to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the history of the chart. The Martian, a 2015 film, extensively uses disco music as a soundtrack, although for the main character, astronaut Mark Watney, there’s only one thing worse than being stranded on Mars: it’s being stranded on Mars with nothing but disco music.”Kill the Lights”, featured on an episode of the HBO television series “Vinyl” (2016) and with Nile Rodgers’ guitar licks, hit number one on the US Dance chart in July 2016.

Post-disco, boogie, HI-NRG and Italo disco (1980s)

Despite its decline in popularity, disco music remained relatively successful in the early 1980s, with songs like Irene Cara’s “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (theme to the film Flashdance) and the theme song to the film Fame (later re-sung by Erica Gimpel for the TV show of the same name), Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, and Madonna’s first album–all which had strong disco influences. Record producer Giorgio Moroder’s soundtracks to American Gigolo, Flashdance and Scarface (which also had a heavy disco influence) proved that the style was still very much embraced. Queen’s 1982 album, Hot Space was inspired by the genre as well.

To a significant extent, the transition from disco to 1980s dance music was one of relabeling. The word “disco” simply became unfashionable to use when describing new music. As late as 1983, K.C. and the Sunshine Band had a major hit single, “Give It Up”, which was not considered disco, even though it would have been considered to be in the heart of the genre if it had been released four years earlier.

In addition, dance music during the 1981–83 period borrowed elements from blues and jazz, creating a style different from the disco of the 1970s. This emerging music was still known as disco for a short time, as the word had become associated with any kind of dance music played in discothèques. Examples of early-1980s’ dance sound performers include D. Train, Kashif, and Patrice Rushen. These changes were influenced by some of the notable R&B and jazz musicians of the 1970s, such as Stevie Wonder, Kashif and Herbie Hancock, who had pioneered “one-man-band”-type keyboard techniques. Some of these influences had already begun to emerge during the mid-1970s, at the height of disco’s popularity.

During the first years of the 1980s, the disco sound began to be phased out, and faster tempos and synthesized effects, accompanied by guitar and simplified backgrounds, moved dance music toward the funk and pop genres. This trend can be seen in singer Billy Ocean’s recordings between 1979 and 1981. Whereas Ocean’s 1979 song American Hearts was backed with an orchestral arrangement played by the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, his 1981 song “One of Those Nights (Feel Like Gettin’ Down)” had a more bare, stripped-down sound, with no orchestration or symphonic arrangements.

This drift from the original disco sound is called post-disco which also included boogie, Hi-NRG and Italo disco. It had an important influence on early alternative dance and dance-pop, and played a key role in the transition between disco and house music during the early 1980s and later forms of [electronic dance music]]. Musically, this transition was marked by the change from complex arrangements performed by large ensembles of studio session musicians (including a horn section and an orchestral string section), to a leaner sound, in which one or two singers would perform to the accompaniment of synthesizer keyboards and drum machines.

In 1980s house music, and Chicago house in particular, a strong disco influence was constantly present, which is why house music, regarding its enormous success in shaping electronic dance music and contemporary club culture, is often described being “disco’s revenge”.

1990s–2010s: Disco revivals and nu-disco

In the 1990s, disco and its legacy became more accepted by pop music artists and listeners alike, as more songs and films were released that referenced disco. This was part of a wave of 1970s nostalgia that was taking place in popular culture at the time. Examples of songs during this time that were influenced by disco included Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart” (1990), U2’s “Lemon” (1993), Blur’s “Girls & Boys” (1994) & “Entertain Me” (1995), Pulp’s “Disco 2000” (1995), and Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” (1999), while films such as Boogie Nights (1997) and The Last Days of Disco (1998) featured primarily disco soundtracks.

In the early 2000s, an updated genre of disco called “nu-disco” began breaking into the mainstream. A few examples like Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and Kylie Minogue’s “Love At First Sight” and “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” became club favorites and commercial successes. Several nu-disco songs were crossovers with funky house, such as Spiller’s “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” and Modjo’s “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)”, both songs sampling older disco songs and both reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart in 2000. Robbie Williams’ disco single “Rock DJ” was the UK’s fourth best-selling single the same year. Rock band Manic Street Preachers released a disco song, “Miss Europa Disco Dancer”, in 2001. The song’s disco influence, which appears on Know Your Enemy, was described as being “much-discussed”.[96] In 2005, Madonna immersed herself in the disco music of the 1970s, and released her album Confessions on a Dance Floor to rave reviews. In addition to that, her song “Hung Up” became a major top-10 song and club staple, and sampled ABBA’s 1979 song “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. In addition to her disco-influenced attire to award shows and interviews, her Confessions Tour also incorporated various elements of the 1970s, such as disco balls, a mirrored stage design, and the roller derby.

The success of the “nu-disco” revival of the early 2000s was described by music critic Tom Ewing as more interpersonal than the pop music of the 1990s: “The revival of disco within pop put a spotlight on something that had gone missing over the 90s: a sense of music not just for dancing, but for dancing with someone. Disco was a music of mutual attraction: cruising, flirtation, negotiation. Its dancefloor is a space for immediate pleasure, but also for promises kept and otherwise. It’s a place where things start, but their resolution, let alone their meaning, is never clear. All of 2000s great disco number ones explore how to play this hand. Madison Avenue look to impose their will upon it, to set terms and roles. Spiller is less rigid. ‘Groovejet’ accepts the night’s changeability, happily sells out certainty for an amused smile and a few great one-liners.

In 2013, several 1970s-style disco and funk songs charted, and the pop charts had more dance songs than at any other point since the late 1970s.The biggest disco song of the year as of June was “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, featuring Nile Rodgers on guitar. Random Access Memories also ended up winning Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys.[98][99] Other disco-styled songs that made it into the top 40 were Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (number one), Justin Timberlake’s “Take Back the Night” (number 29), Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” (number five)[98][99] and Michael Jackson’s posthumous release “Love Never Felt So Good” (number nine). In addition, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor featured strong disco elements. In 2014, disco music could be found in Lady Gaga’s Artpop and Katy Perry’s “Birthday”. Other disco songs from 2014 include “I Want It All” By Karmin, ‘Wrong Club” by the Ting Tings and “Blow” by Beyoncé.

In 2014 Brazilian Globo TV, the second biggest television network in the world, aired Boogie Oogie, a telenovela about the Disco Era that takes place between 1978 and 1979, from the hit fever to the decadence. The show’s success was responsible for a Disco revival across the country, bringing back to stage, and to record charts, Discothèque Divas like Lady Zu and As Frenéticas.

Other top-10 entries from 2015 like Mark Ronson’s disco groove-infused “Uptown Funk”, Maroon 5’s “Sugar”, the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me” also ascended the charts and have a strong disco influence. Disco mogul and producer Giorgio Moroder also re-appeared with his new album Déjà Vu in 2015 which has proved to be a modest success. Other songs from 2015 like “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” by Flo Rida, “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay, “Back Together” by Robin Thicke and “Levels” by Nick Jonas feature disco elements as well. In 2016, disco songs or disco-styled pop songs are showing a strong presence on the music charts as a possible backlash to the 1980s-styled synthpop, electro house, and dubstep that have been dominating the current charts. Justin Timberlake’s 2016 song “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, which shows strong elements of disco, became the 26th song to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the history of the chart. The Martian, a 2015 film, extensively uses disco music as a soundtrack, although for the main character, astronaut Mark Watney, there’s only one thing worse than being stranded on Mars: it’s being stranded on Mars with nothing but disco music.”Kill the Lights”, featured on an episode of the HBO television series “Vinyl” (2016) and with Nile Rodgers’ guitar licks, hit number one on the US Dance chart in July 2016.

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