Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Disco Fever

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Disco Fever

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Hall

Disco is back and it's slicker, edgier and funkier than ever.

The rebirth of disco was made official at the Brit Awards earlier this month as flamboyant five-piece the Scissor Sisters scooped Best Group, Best Album and Best Newcomer in the international categories for their unique brand of retro sounds.

"There are big signs of a revival," says Alex Needham, features editor at NME magazine. "A lot of people think that disco's cheesy, and the cheesier elements of it have been done to death, but at the same time there's a lot of soulful music that hasn't been heard before ( and a lot of that's getting revived as well."

And it seems that the Scissor Sisters aren't alone in their fresh take on the disco genre.

"Bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party also have strong disco elements," says Alex.

"There was a moment in the late 70s and early 80s where punk bands started getting disco rhythms and you got bands such as Gang Of Four and Talking Heads.

"There's a similar moment now, with disco music being made by bands, just as it originally was."

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: Disco first took off back in 1974, says Paul Gambaccini, co-author of The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and presenter of Radio 2's America's Greatest Hits show.

"The big clubs at the time in New York were gay and Puerto Rican clubs. In the summer of 1974, there were two records that came out of these clubs and sold very well ( Rock The Boat, by The Hues Corporation and Rock Your Baby, by George McCrae. They became No 1s in the US and the new sound crossed the ocean.

"Disco reached its apotheosis with Saturday Night Fever but after that extraordinary Bee Gees success in 1978, things quietened down a bit in this country until 1987 with the arrival of House music."

FROM CAMP TO COOL : "By definition, disco music is made for pleasure," says Paul. However, the genre's fun, camp and frivolous reputation meant that it was generally considered a bit naff.

"It was never taken seriously artistically," Paul adds, "which is why even though the Bee Gees had a lot of commercial success in their career, it wasn't until almost 20 years later that the dust died down and people could recognise the Bee Gees as supreme song writers. …

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