As my 40-something-ish birthday looms, I get reflective not on my friends, family, pets or lovers (in that order if need be) but on music, which holds all my memories the best. Since I work with dance music, I thought it'd be a great time to share with you the essential dance tracks that shaped a tiny little Moose into the dance diva you see before you here in Nightspots. Since I lived in the '70s to start, let's launch there. Now I know I was too young (and sans cock supply) to get into Studio 54, but grade school fag as I was, I was feeling these key tracks.
"Give Me Tonight" by George Benson was one of the few big disco hits to work in jazz as well (also see Herb Alpert and Chuck Mangione). For many of us it was our first tasteif only a small oneof jazz guitar. Still one of the biggest panty droppers for me. Sexy still.
"Stomp" by Brothers Johnson was the first song I ever did a choreographed disco routine in my room to. After perfecting what I called the "Scrambled Egg" dance, I debuted it to a girlfriend of mine who promptly laughed at me. It was hot. She's a bitch. This song was my first intro to real funk. The slappy bass, vocal chant layering, and horn section still sounds hot today and introduced me to black music in general.
"Knock On Wood" by Anita Ward showed me (and apparently Cyon Flare) that black ladies can be crazy and artsy, not just versions of Diana Ross and Tami Terrell. That girl, along with Grace Jones, freaked us all out for a hot minute and inspired artists like Kelis and Lady Gaga later. Plus, it's one of the first new-wave/electro sounding disco songs I remember. Not your mother's Gloria Gaynor.
"You Make Me Feel" by Sylvester really blew my mind. I'm pretty sure 99% of folks hearing him for the first time thought he was a girl from the vocals and were more confused seeing this genderfucker on his album covers. He was "living it" way before it was cool in the mainstream. He lived a fearless, short life, but inspired millions of gay boys and girls to screw convention and be fearlessly gay.
Closing out the disco era was "Rapture" by Blondiethe first time I ever heard rap music. I'd been familiar with Blondie as a punk/disco band with some big hits, but this odd talky way of telling a musical story hurt my brain. So crazy-sounding at the time, it would lead me out of disco and into the '80s and hip hop. And there's where we'll start the journey next time.
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