I blame Giorgio Moroder for all of this….
He got this wild notion in his head for Disco to sound like some space-age symphony. While everyone else was rushing to put whole orchestras on a record, the half-German, half-Italian producer went light years in the opposite direction and created an orchestra of one.
Thus Euro-Disco is born. Euro-Disco would then merge with punk and voilà, you have New Wave!
Ideas are a lot like the common cold. Once it infects others, it spreads fast. Pretty soon, everybody’s got it. That also explains some of the appalling fashion trends of the Eighties.
Disco never died. It certainly didn’t die in Chicago in 1979. Like any popular fad, it lost public interest and stayed with the people who truly cared about it. Disco was just another name for something to dance to. To that end, it then became Hi-NRG. Not much of a name. Think of it as a cultural place holder.
The pieces were slowly falling into place, though. R&B and Disco permanently bonded. D-Train came out of Brooklyn with the same drive as the subway line. You’re The One For Me wasn’t House in the purest sense, but the blueprint had been established.
As a coastal city, New York was absorbing sounds brought over from visitors and its resident club DJs making record buying forays to Europe. Heavily synthesized Italian disco fit in perfectly with the American R&B dance music. Add the Latin Influence of Salsa and Merengue music, along with powerhouse female vocalists like Jocelyn Brown, Gloria Gaynor, and Martha Wash…
You see where this is heading, don’t you?
Each music form fed of the other, influencing, imitating, and replicating, like some mutated musical fetus. A beautiful, mutated, musical fetus.
Arthur Baker was a DJ and producer from Boston who soaked up the hip and electro coming out of New York. He’d been there with Afrika Bambatta, and he made the acquaintance of three young men from Manchester who were still reeling from the loss of their lead singer. He took their lyrics and set it to a four on the floor beat.
Tell me now, how should I feel…
Actually, Baker lifted the hook from another NY producer, Bobby O, better known as Bobby Orlando. Bobby O and Arthur Baker are to house what Little Richard and Elvis were to Rock. Both men were originators and innovators. Bobby O didn’t gain as much notice because most of music was unapologetically for the gay crowd. Nevertheless, he put out music at a rate that would have scared Prince.
But all wasn’t joy in the Eighties.
AIDS was claiming a vast cross section of the people within the creative scene. Paranoia over the disease, coupled with the one-two combo of Reagan and Thatcher ushered in a new Puritanical Age. “Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied” was replaced with “Just Say No.”
Now, here’s where things get a bit tricky…Fun, but tricky…