Disco was the Hula Hoop of popular music, an absurd moment of life imitating art disguised as journalism, based on a story in the New York Magazine about a Caucasian working-class dancing scene that in reality did not exist.
I was reminded of this dubious set of facts while listening to this week’s episode of Let It Roll’s maxi-series Technoroll about the history of the DJ.
And, as I listened, I began to wonder whether maybe that’s all pop culture really is, a dream of something — I mean, in real life the Beatles did not hang out together all day wearing matching suits and acting adorably nutty. How long do you think four guys dressed and acting like that would have lasted in the Liverpool of the early ‘60s?
Which brings me to the Monkees, the “band” responsible for the second-most successful album of the Summer of ‘67, the Summer of Love. The No. 2 album all that summer, right behind Sgt. Pepper’s camping out at No. 1, was the Monkees’ “Headquarters,” on which the pre-Fab Four played most of the instruments and wrote some of the songs.
(For the record, Roger McGuinn was the only member of the Byrds to play an instrument on their first album “Mr. Tamborine Man.” And he was known as Jim then.)
Back to the “reality” of Disco, know this, fellow travelers: At my majority-Black high school’s Junior-Senior prom in the spring of 1978, with “Saturday Night Fever” a runaway hit in theaters and on the radio, the songs I remember dancing to more than once that night were ELO’s “Turn To Stone” and the Commodores’ “Brick House.”
And no one pulled out a Hula Hoop.
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.