6 things Disco gave us, for better or worse

In this article, we look back at 6 things disco gave us, for better or worse… disco has given the world a plethora of goods. From some of the world’s most legendary artists to the nightclub itself, we take a look at some things we wouldn’t have without disco.

1. The 12” Vinyl 

Single variation first appeared during the disco era in the 1970s. Generally cut at 45 RPM, they feature wider groove spacing and shorter playing time compared to LPs, which permits a broader dynamic range or louder recording level (among other benefits.)

Before the 12” DJs would use 7” records which could hold 3-4 minutes of music at full volume. The 12” changed this dynamic and allowed DJs to create full club mixes because they had so much more space and as such, creative freedom. In a world before digital, twelve-inch records were popular in dance music, where DJs used them to play in clubs. By the 1980s, record labels would often release 12-inch singles containing extended versions or club remixes of pop music.

Labels would release special 12” versions of artists’ albums and this legacy extends to the modern day.

2. The Nightclub

You read that right – disco gave us the nightclubs that we know and love today.
Discotheque (or disco) in the 70s was the beginning of the modern paradigm for the nightclub where drugs, drink, sex and the latest music became staples of a night out after the counterculture movements of the 1960s.

Disco set the foundations bringing in flashing lights, illuminated dance floors and the classic club structure we see today – it is through disco that house and electronic music originated.

Nightclubs weren’t always the mainstream like today – it was in the late 80s and early 90s where clubs became an important part of youth culture, and it was disco that spearheaded this. Without its inclusive values, focus on the DJ and general aesthetic, who knows what clubs would look like.

3. The Mirrorball 

When you see one, you know it’s party time. A true icon of a night out, the mirrorball was propelled into pop culture fame thanks to disco. Disco saw the beginnings of clubs as we know them today, and lighting was the perfect way for them to create an atmosphere. Hoisted high above the crowds and with spotlights directed at them, disco balls became a common feature in clubs.

They have since become a symbol of nights out and their legacy has lasted from the 70s to today. Read our full article on the history of this legendary piece HERE.

4. Four to the floor 

You know that typical drum pattern you hear in a lot of house music? That boom of the kick drum on every beat? Well, it really came from disco.

It’s a simple beat really, just kick on every beat in  a 4/4 time signature

Many classic disco songs from the 1970s feature the four on the floor drum beat, including classics such as ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by The Bee Gees and ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor. It can also be heard in many other genres, with some popular examples including ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd and ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie.

This beat has become a staple in dance music and it was brought to fruition thanks to disco.

5. Roller Discos

The concept originated as a fad in the 1970s when the disco craze was at its height, peaking around 1980 and inspiring several roller-disco magazines. In 1984 the fad arrived in the UK and many roller discos popped up all over the country – many 1970s era roller-discos are still open and successful.

In 2020, roller skating and roller discos experienced a resurgence in mainstream popularity. The resurgence in popularity for roller skating and roller discos has coincided with a disco revival and a resurgence in other retro phenomena in 2020, with the resurgence being powered by social media apps like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat which have seen an increase of roller skating-related content.

Regardless of your thoughts on roller discos, you can’t deny that they have done well to keep going since the 70s.

6. The Dub

In an era where music was becoming more and more experimental and different styles were all blending together, the idea of a dub version of a song was brought to the mainstream. Originating in Jamaica with reggae (or reggae dub) in the 60s, dubs took a big tune and usually made it into more of a longer drawn out groove-based mix with less vocals, and more generous reverb and delay effects drawing out elements of a track you might not have noticed with the original vocal on top.

 

 

Whilst Disco cannot be credited for the creation of dub mixes, they are part of the signature Disco sound which we all know and love. In the early 70s when disco started to grow, a lot of the music had psychedelic rock influences but by 1977, the influence was all Reggae Dub, Funk and Soul. These tracks all had the classic disco characteristics and as such, reggae dubs inspired disco dubs which then inspired many other forms. With disco becoming as big as it was, dubs became a favourite from DJs and audiences alike.

Disco has given popular culture around the world a lot and left its mark on so many aspects of how nightlife in the broader scope is experienced today. Without disco, who knows what our clubs would look like, how we’d dance, or what we’d even be dancing to.

You can catch our newest release, Mirrorball Motel on all platforms as well as a limited edition 2x pink vinyl available HERE.

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