Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

A sad week for music

The news that Donna Summer died gave me mixed feelings. It’s sad when someone dies of cancer, of course, but then again her rise coincided with the rise of a type of music I despised: disco.

And then Sunday, the sad news that Robin Gibb had died. I had put on the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s website something like a month and a half ago that he was on the verge of death, and wished him well. I was glad he seemed to be recovering, but it was not to be.

You have to have grown up loving rock music and the great bands of the 1970s to understand why I hated disco music so much. It seemed like everyone was going “disco” in the aftermath of the “Saturday Night Fever” phenomenon. The Bee Gees were becoming a monster group. For example, I was listening to a replay of “American Top 40” from early 1978 on satellite radio in the car one day, and nearly every song was a Bee Gees song from the movie or had production help from the Bee Gees.

Radio stations were dumping their rock format for disco, and for a time it looked like rock was going to die. Even The Who had a song called “Long Live Rock” in which one line was, “Look again, rock is dead.”

Would we ever hear Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Stones or Kansas again? Even the Rolling Stones diverted themselves into disco with their album “Some Girls” and took on a disco beat in “Miss You.” The only consolation was that the Beatles had broken up years before. Imagine them doing a disco song.

One of the great events of the disco era was the “Disco Sucks” night at Comiskey Park. It turned into a riot and the record burning between games of a twi-night doubleheader ended with such unrest, the second game was canceled due to damage to the field. Emotions were strong back then about the horrors of the disco lifestyle, with clothes and music that was sung falsetto.

Well, time heals a lot of wounds, and the rockers of those days are still on tour. Heck, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame is going on tour again, the perform “The Wall.”

As The Who would say, “Long live rock!”

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May 21, 2012 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , ,

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