Disco is a genre of dance music dating back to the 1970s. This unique form fuses elements from rock, soul, funk and R&B into an engaging mix that audiences around the globe love dancing to.
Disco was once a beloved genre in America and has now spread globally. Additionally, disco opened up opportunities for minorities to break through in music industries around the world.
ABBA stands out as one of the most successful and influential dance music groups ever. Since their formation in 1974, this Swedish group has produced hits like “Waterloo”, “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen”, selling more than 400 million albums and revolutionizing dance music genre.
ABBA was not simply a dance band; their influence can also be felt across pop music and other styles that are popular today, such as Robyn, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys (NSYNC), Pink Kelly Clarkson Ke$ha Usher Katy Perry and Ariana Grande have all recorded songs with melodies from ABBA in them.
Their most iconic track was released in 1976 and became one of the most beloved disco hits ever, reaching number one on Billboard Hot 100 charts. Even today it remains immensely popular and holds up well to modern scrutiny.
Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson wrote and produced “Rock Your Baby”, originally intended as a bopadelo track influenced by George McRae’s classic, but ultimately becoming an irreplaceable classic of Eurodisco music.
After the success of Mamma Mia, ABBA were uncertain whether or not to release another single. Stig Anderson suggested recording a ballad; however, Bjorn and Benny wanted an upbeat melody, leading them to settle on “Dancing Queen”, released in August 1976.
Before its official release, ABBA previewed their song at numerous television programs and events; even appearing at a gala to celebrate King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath’s marriage was part of this promotion.
This show was an enormous hit in Sweden and helped promote their album ‘Mamma Mia’ which went on to become their biggest international hit and one of the best-selling disco records of all time.
“Dancing Queen” was also an enormously popular song in the US; in fact, it spent more weeks at #1 than any other single by ABBA.
ABBA may have disbanded in 1982, yet their music still enjoys global recognition – appearing in numerous musicals and movies worldwide.
Earth Wind and Fire
Earth Wind and Fire, formed in 1969, are one of the most influential soul/R&B bands ever. Famous for their incredible live performances that bridge genres together and won them multiple awards along the way, Earth Wind and Fire remain one of music’s iconic acts today.
EWF has had a lasting effect on many artists from different genres and generations over time, such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Prince – being recognized as a super group by Alicia Keys, who considers them her favorite band ever! Beyond their musical accomplishments they are also recognized for their charitable works within communities where they reside.
The group initially began as a gospel choir, but quickly recognized their need for a band to reflect their musical style. Maurice White, formerly an instrumental sideman in several bands and eventually joining this one as lead singer/leader.
At first, this band specialized in R&B and soul, but eventually became known for experimenting with funk, disco, and pop music as well. Their music remains highly sought-after today and continues to influence musicians from various genres.
Though dance music was an integral component of their sound, EWF still included more serious and spiritual songs that incorporated religious beliefs into their sound and made for an upbeat listening experience.
They have released over 23 albums and sold more than 90 million records worldwide, boasting an extensive library of songs that include many classic hits.
One of their greatest hits includes September, Shining Star and Boogie Wonderland which have been covered by other artists and remain iconic dance songs of all time.
EWF emerged as an influential dance music force during the early 70s, filling their concerts with fireworks displays, laser shows and all sorts of unexpected spectacle. Their concerts would often feature pyrotechnics and special effects.
Music composed by Earth Wind and Fire was inspired by their three elements, with band members all having strong astrological connections that added a deep spiritual element to their sound and propelled them forward as powerful musicians in music’s world scene.
Donna Summer was an American pop icon known for her powerful, mellifluous vocals in the 1970s. A five-time Grammy award recipient and disco icon, Summer also charted 42 singles that reached number one of the US Billboard chart.
“Love to Love You Baby” set a precedent for what would soon become disco music. Created at an innovative German studio session where Summer laid on her floor simulating sexual pleasure through cooing, this 16-minute record became an international smash hit and later went platinum.
Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte had created an instant classic when they collaborated to produce this track with Summer singing over an engaging electronic backing.
Donna Summer understood the rising wave of disco in the mid 1970s, so she collaborated with an Italian producer to craft music she could stand behind – leading to an era that forever altered dance music and pop culture alike.
As the disco era began to wind down, Summer sought a legacy that allowed her to explore various genres of music and become an accomplished singer free of disco’s confines. She released All Systems Go in 1987 as her career-defining album which marked a change of course and her desire for something fresh in life.
Not everything came easily for her, as she had to adapt to the pressures and challenges associated with being a famous singer. Once past her initial album release however, her success skyrocketed with numerous hit records being issued over thirty years’ worth of success and lasting fame.
Her songs had an immense effect on society and opened doors for future artists – especially black ones who often faced barriers in the music industry due to its racial restrictions at that time.
The Bee Gees
The Bee Gees have become one of the most enduring and celebrated acts in music history. Comprised of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, they have enjoyed tremendous success for over fifty years, touring widely around the globe as well as recording hit songs for various artists around the globe.
This band is best-known for their disco hits, such as those featured on the soundtrack of 1977 film Saturday Night Fever and its worldwide success – making them one of the most recognized pop bands ever.
After an inauspicious start, the Bee Gees quickly found their footing and established themselves globally. Their popularity in Britain, where producer Robert Stigwood supported them was especially great.
While they experimented with dance music sounds, they also achieved success across a range of other genres from country to pop and funk. They often served as pioneers when it came to exploring new genres – adapting their sound accordingly.
They were one of the driving forces in early disco music and its evolution into what is today known as disco music. Their songs were an enormous influence on other artists such as Donna Summer, and have been played worldwide for over fifty years on dance floors around the globe.
Their most notable performance came as part of the soundtrack album for the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever, selling 40 million copies worldwide and boasting four number one hits.
Bee Gees were pivotal figures in revitalizing disco, an otherwise quickly declining musical genre, leading to its revival and leading them on an emotional rollercoaster before eventually adapting a more adult contemporary sound.
Disco remains an influence today: their song, “You Should Be Dancing”, remains popular and one of six Bee Gees songs included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
This song is a vibrant, upbeat dance tune with an engaging chorus. Its melodic hook and spiralling melody demonstrate how intuitively they understand their genre.