For many people, disco is something better forgotten, left undisturbed in music history. The very word conjures up technicolor light shows and memories of wide lapels, flared pants, polyester and of course John Travolta aka Tony Manero in his white suit.
With a legacy like that, disco has been relegated to life at the bottom of the cultural and musical barrel. But there are students of that era who say that disco doesn’t deserve this fate, and that popular understandings of disco are not only too narrow, they are wrong. Real disco they say was born in the underbelly of New York City in the early 70s — in places like the Loft, the Gallery, places where both the disenfranchised — gays, blacks, and women — could get up and get down together. Disco — remixed with a little respect.
Tim Lawrence, author of “Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79″ and Director of the Music Culture Program at the University of East London
Nicky Siano, former owner of The Gallery in New York and an original DJ at Studio 54.