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Thursday, July 09, 2009

NBC Sports/Calcaterra: Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night

Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the infamous “Disco Demolition Night.” For those unfamiliar, it went down like this: Doubleheader between the White Sox and Tigers. Disco backlash reaching its apex. Local DJ convinces the Sox to stage a promotion for which people bring unwanted disco records to the game in exchange for a 98 cent ticket, the records get collected, placed in center field, and blown up by the DJ during the intermission between the two games. Totally foreseeable, but seemingly unforeseen side effect: the cheap tickets and disco demagoguery draws lots of people who usually don’t go to baseball games, and those people proceed to use their tickets savings to buy lots of beer. Well, at least the people who weren’t baked out of their gourds did (I’m guessing nacho sales were pretty brisk). There’s no dispute, however, that it was a crazy scene that evening.

Then came the explosion, which tore a big chunk out of the outfield grass. Then thousands of fans rushed the field, lighting fires, throwing firecrackers, and making general asses of themselves. The batting cage was pulled down and wrecked, bases were ripped off the infield, and the place was generally torn to shreds.

Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: July 09, 2009 at 07:12 PM | 185 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, white sox

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   101. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 09, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3247880)
I'm not a disco fan, but it's worth noting that a lot of the people rioting over it were big fans of corporate rock. I mean, Chicago was the town that gave us Styx, after all. Plus the band Chicago itself. They were perfectly safe and boring, so no one rioted over that.

I'm fine with a little bit of disco bashing, but when people really sound like they're getting serious about it, it's more than a bit much. It reminds me of Homer Simpson: "Why do bands keep making music nowadays? Everyone knows rock peaked in 1975. It's a scientific fact."

But a lot of people didn't like Deep Purple or Black Sabbath but they didn't have riots about it.

They did in the music press. The NME hated our music. But I can't remember if they liked disco.

Well, that's one hell of a difference. One the one hand we have an actual riot, on the other hand some nasty editorials.

A better analogy would be Johnny Rotten being stabbed on the streets of London for "God Save the Queen" and Paul Cook assaulted around the same time.

I'm thinking punk preceded disco, and I'm not sure that's true. They may be exact contemporaries.

I think disco preceded it by a bit. "The Hustle" and "Jive Talkin'" were both 1975, I think. "Anarchy in the UK" and the first Ramones album were 1976.
   102. Backlasher Posted: July 09, 2009 at 09:47 PM (#3247881)
Disco had backlash for a number of reasons. One of the major reasons was b/c it increased the barriers of competition. Disco was expensive to produce. You couldn't just put together a garage band and make it. The Sex Pistols had about the same impact as the Crickets in the industry.

It also has a pretty narrow range of expression, and was heavily overplayed on most radio outlets.

Nevertheless, everyone did Disco:

The Rock Groups - Stones, Queen
The Glam Groups - KISS
The Vocalists - Manilow

A few did it well enough that they will probably be remembered, e.g. Bee Gees, Donna Summer produced by Giorgio Moroder.
   103. Answer Guy. Posted: July 09, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3247882)
Isn't the the whole premise of Saturday Night Fever.


Interestingly enough, Saturday Night Fever is an adaptation of a magazine article (think it was New York magazine, but I don't recall) presented as truth at the time that turned out to be a complete fabrication.
   104. Backlasher Posted: July 09, 2009 at 09:49 PM (#3247885)
A better analogy would be Johnny Rotten being stabbed on the streets of London for "God Save the Queen" and Paul Cook assaulted around the same time.

I know its the reverse, but Lee Ving and the audience tearing down the SNL set is worth at least a memory.
   105. Spahn Insane Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:09 PM (#3247894)
No mention of "Disco Duck" in the "must-burn" discussion?
   106. Perry Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:10 PM (#3247895)
Re the Sweet Home Alabama lyric about Watergate: I always interpreted as pro-Wallace. Remember, he ran for president in 1972. So I thought the "In Birmingham they love the governor, now we all did what we could do" line, in conjunction with the Watergate mention, meant if we'd elected Wallace Watergate wouldn't have been an issue. I could be wrong, though, since in the end electing Wallace wasn't an option -- he was shot in May and dropped out of the race.
   107. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:14 PM (#3247897)
I think the Lynyrd Skynyrd were meant to appeal nebulously to proud Southerners and rednecks without actually clearly saying anything, which is exactly what happened.
   108. Flynn Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:16 PM (#3247898)
Lynyrd Skynyrd played a benefit show for Carter in 76, and the anti-Wallace pro-Montgomery Bus boycott message is the correct one, according to the band.

"The Hustle" and "Jive Talkin'" were both 1975, I think. "Anarchy in the UK" and the first Ramones album were 1976.

What about the Dictators?
   109. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3247913)
There have been only three MLB games forfeited due to fans storming the field in modern history. All three were in the 1970s: 1971 in Washington (the Senators' final game), 1974 in Cleveland (10-cent beer night), and 1979 in Comiskey (Disco Demolition night).

Of course for the first few decades of the 20th century if fans took over the field they just took their money, roped them in, and changed the ground rules. Official seating capacity often meant little or nothing, not to mention local fire regulations.

Look at some of the many old photos of games being played with fans literally sitting a foot off the foul lines, or being roped in at various distances between the outfield wall(s) and the infield. In one doubleheader in St. Louis in 1931 the crowd was something like 50% over capacity, and there were over 20 ground rule doubles that were hit among the fans on the field during the games. Frankie Frisch gave a long description of this in his memoir The Fordham Flash, and it was one truly amazing day.
   110. Steve Treder Posted: July 09, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3247919)
Of course for the first few decades of the 20th century if fans took over the field they just took their money, roped them in, and changed the ground rules. Official seating capacity often meant little or nothing, not to mention local fire regulations.

Sure, but fans being roped in and placidly sitting or standing on the field to watch the game isn't the same thing at all as fans pouring out of their seats in the stands, riotously tearing apart the field, and not allowing the game to be continued. Apples and zucchini.
   111. Posada Posse Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:11 PM (#3247942)
I'm thinking punk preceded disco, and I'm not sure that's true. They may be exact contemporaries.

I think disco preceded it by a bit. "The Hustle" and "Jive Talkin'" were both 1975, I think. "Anarchy in the UK" and the first Ramones album were 1976.

I've heard that "Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation (1974) is recognized by some as the first disco hit. You might argue that punk came first if you include "proto-punk" acts like the New York Dolls and Iggy Pop and the Stooges, who were around in the early 1970's.
   112. Backlasher Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:18 PM (#3247954)
I've heard that "Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation (1974) is recognized by some as the first disco hit.

There was a TV documentary on some channel recently that alleged it was "Soul Makossa"
   113. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:33 PM (#3247990)
I've heard that "Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation (1974) is recognized by some as the first disco hit. You might argue that punk came first if you include "proto-punk" acts like the New York Dolls and Iggy Pop and the Stooges, who were around in the early 1970's.

When you start getting into origins, you can get really murky on both sides. That's why I stuck with the most important and recognizable ones on both sides in post #103.
   114. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:41 PM (#3248017)
And house music began with Section 25's "Looking From a Hilltop".
   115. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:41 PM (#3248018)
Well, that's one hell of a difference. One the one hand we have an actual riot, on the other hand some nasty editorials.

There were brawls in an earlier time, involving battling subcultures. Though I wasn't there then, the memory of it was still strong when I arrived.

The assault on Lydon isn't comparable, IMO. On the one hand we have some records blown up, and on the other what really amounts to attempted murder. However, my sympathy for Lydon (or Cook or Jones), is limited. Virgin emerge with no credit either. They were all looking for trouble in order to sell records. And I'll leave it at that.
   116. bumpis hound Posted: July 09, 2009 at 11:51 PM (#3248044)
Since a hole had been blown into the OF grass, would the game have been cancelled anyway?

Emotional Rescue is one of the great R&R;songs of all time, it is probably *the* bass & drum tour de force in the genre.
   117. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:44 AM (#3248189)
One of the major reasons was b/c it increased the barriers of competition. Disco was expensive to produce. You couldn't just put together a garage band and make it. The Sex Pistols had about the same impact as the Crickets in the industry.

It also has a pretty narrow range of expression, and was heavily overplayed on most radio outlets.


Normally, I would defer to Backlasher on an analysis of backlash -- but I seriously doubt that "barriers to entry" was a "major reason" that people disliked disco, especially since most of the people who hated it had no interest in starting a band. The second reason is closer.

I also think that 70's disco gets lumped in with 70's bubblegum music as a one-two punch to the gut of anyone who liked music. Dear lord, there was an incredible amount of incredibly bad music making an incredible amount of money.
   118. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:58 AM (#3248215)
Normally, I would defer to Backlasher on an analysis of backlash -- but I seriously doubt that "barriers to entry" was a "major reason" that people disliked disco, especially since most of the people who hated it had no interest in starting a band. The second reason is closer.

But the second reason just made it annoying in the way a lot of pop fads are annoying. It doesn't explain the pitch of the hatred. And hell, it came back pretty quickly packaged as New Wave.
   119. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 01:19 AM (#3248257)
I've always interpreted the Watergate lyric pretty much as Craig C. described it. Essentially, yeah, so what, our governor is a racist jerk, I didn't vote for him. Am I supposed to feel guilty about him? Does your conscience bother you about the Yankee ####### in the White House?
   120. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 01:23 AM (#3248262)
Punk is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion as it was a fringe genre that very few people were listening to in the late 1970s. Your typical anti-disco Hessian would have been just as anti-punk if he saw it anywhere but on television.
   121. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 10, 2009 at 01:55 AM (#3248293)
That's true in the US, Andere, but punk bands had a lot of big hit singles in the UK, for example.

Search for Sex Pistols, Clash, Sham 69, or Adverts here. Even the Dead Kennedys had a top 40 single in the UK.
   122. Craig Calcaterra Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:07 AM (#3248308)
To tie up a couple of loose ends in this thread:

WKRP did punk very well with the "Scum of the Earth" episode. Although that wasn't technically punk rock. It was hoodlum rock ("Blood: May I say hello to my mother? Venus: Your momma live in Cincinnati? Blood: Well, there's always a chance, isn't there?").

Also, Any discussion of Skynyrd and George Wallace and the whole southern thing would benefit by everyone taking a five and listening to Drive-By Truckers' "Southern Rock Opera." Maybe DBT is putting words in Skynyrd's mouth with that album, but it's thought provoking enough. Also, it helps someone who loved growing up in the south (or, in my case, the mountains) feel better about life. Also also: Earl Hicks, bassist for Drive-By on that album is a big Braves fan who used to comment over at Mac Thomason's Braves Journal site. Still may, actually.

That is all.
   123. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3248353)
Jethro Tull was another big favourite. Actually, I should get a hold of some of Jethro Tull and see if I still like it.


Jethro Tull was part of the music I listened to in college -- 73-77 -- along with Steeleye Span, Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Miles, Coltrane and Mingus. I was also into blue grass back then, and still am.

If there's a pattern in there, somebody will have to point it out to me.
   124. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:33 AM (#3248375)
along with Steeleye Span


you're the first person I've ever come across who knew this band, 'sides me... maybe I should get out more often.
   125. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:39 AM (#3248384)
That is not unusual Coot. At college (MIT), one guy turned me on to them, and then I got a lot of other people to listen. All Around My Hat came out about then; other records you could only get as imports from England.

But since college, though, I have run across very few who knew them. The usual response to saying Steeley Span was "Steely Dan?".
   126. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:06 AM (#3248401)
I know 'em and have some of their stuff, but had no idea they'd been around since the mid-70s. Then again, I'm not a hard core fan--just downloaded an album or two off eMusic on a lark.
   127. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:12 AM (#3248405)
I actually saw them in concert a couple of times -- once in Boston as the opening act to Starship.

just downloaded an album or two off eMusic on a lark

The Lark in the Morning?
   128. Obama Bomaye Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:35 AM (#3248414)
it came back pretty quickly packaged as New Wave.

I don't think of New Wave as spawn of disco. I think it's more spawn of punk -- post-punk/new wave seem to be at least overlapping styles.
   129. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:48 AM (#3248427)
I know Steeleye Span, my next-door neighbour in my first year had one of their albums on cassette. I either went to see the Maddy Prior Band, or turned down a chance to go see the Maddy Prior Band. Memories of my first year (1978-9) are now uncertain things as I've completely lost touch with all my acquaintances of that time, save one. It's difficult to keep memories in order if you stop seeing the people you knew from time to time to reminisce over a couple of pints.
   130. Good cripple hitter Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:54 AM (#3248433)
I don't think of New Wave as spawn of disco. I think it's more spawn of punk -- post-punk/new wave seem to be at least overlapping styles.

I'd agree with that, that's what makes the Dead Kennedys song Pull My Strings work as a joke:

"Hold it! We gotta prove we're adults now. We're not a punk rock band, we're a new wave band."
   131. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:14 AM (#3248447)
That's true in the US, Andere, but punk bands had a lot of big hit singles in the UK, for example.

Really, the only example. In any case, my point is that it was irrelevant to the anti-disco sentiment and Disco Demolition night.
   132. Repoz Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:26 AM (#3248456)
I think disco preceded it by a bit. "The Hustle" and "Jive Talkin'" were both 1975, I think. "Anarchy in the UK" and the first Ramones album were 1976.

Iggy got the idea for The Iguanas in 1963 and formed them in '64.

The NY Dolls started in '71.

Richie Hell and Tom Verlaine started the Neon Boys in '73.
   133. PreservedFish Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:33 AM (#3248460)

Jethro Tull was part of the music I listened to in college -- 73-77 -- along with Steeleye Span, Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Miles, Coltrane and Mingus. I was also into blue grass back then, and still am.

If there's a pattern in there, somebody will have to point it out to me.


The pattern is that you are a hippy. You primarily like "jamming" and virtuosity, and you like bands that weave mythology and folk traditions into their lyrics, you like music that is grounded in tradition but is still fun to dance to, you like ripping bong hits and getting to another level of appreciation. You could be any number of neo-hippies that I went to college with.
   134. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:34 AM (#3248462)
Also, Any discussion of Skynyrd and George Wallace and the whole southern thing would benefit by everyone taking a five and listening to Drive-By Truckers' "Southern Rock Opera."

Amen. Fantastic album. Fantastic band. I don't have the expertise on Skynyrd to speak to their interpretation of the band, but it rings true to me. And, I didn't know that fact about Hicks, but it only increases my enjoyment of the band.
   135. Srul Itza At Home Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:36 AM (#3248464)
The pattern is that you are a hippy. .. . . you like ripping bong hits . . . You could be any number of neo-hippies that I went to college with.

Pretty close. I even did the long hair and barefoot in the city thing one year. The only difference is that in '73, there was nothing "neo" about it.
   136. Obama Bomaye Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:44 AM (#3248469)
Repoz, are you a fan of the MONKS? (i gotta feelin...)
   137. PreservedFish Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3248472)
Well, Srul Itza, you will be proud to know that there are many among the younger generation that listen to the same exact music that you did. And I mean, exactly the same. Right now they are plotting new ways to bridge the gaps between the Dead, bluegrass and jazz ... maybe they could share a bowl with that kid that plays mandolin down the hall, he would fit right in with that collective they're trying to form.
   138. Repoz Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:02 AM (#3248478)
a fan of the MONKS?

Of course...who hasn't supported our military overseas through the years?!
   139. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:04 AM (#3248479)
my point is that [punk] was irrelevant to the anti-disco sentiment and Disco Demolition night.

Well, except some instructor of aleksel's suggested punk supplanted Disco, that it took advantage of this anti-disco sentiment which was most memorably displayed in Disco Demolition Night.

Don't belie your handle.
   140. Srul Itza At Home Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:10 AM (#3248484)
I know Steeleye Span, my next-door neighbour in my first year had one of their albums on cassette.

Well, they were bigger in England than the US. Gaudete even made the charts there.

If you heard first them when you were in Detroit though -- then I have no explanation.
   141. BFFB Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:34 AM (#3248511)
punk was huge over here in the late 70's early 80's along with the Mods. By the late 80's early 90's it was shoegaze, madchester and acid-house which transitioned into Electronica and then trip-hop and brit-rock by the time new labour came to power. Now it's much more splintered but is pretty much split between various forms of rock, electronica and commercial hip-hop.

The pattern is that you are a hippy. You primarily like "jamming" and virtuosity, and you like bands that weave mythology and folk traditions into their lyrics, you like music that is grounded in tradition but is still fun to dance to, you like ripping bong hits and getting to another level of appreciation. You could be any number of neo-hippies that I went to college with.


what's the analysis for listening to minimal, techno, glitch, drill'n'bass and drone ambient?
   142. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:43 AM (#3248525)
you're the first person I've ever come across who knew this band, 'sides me... maybe I should get out more often.


Steeleye Span are a great band, and as noted, they had some legitimate hits at home - "All Around My Hat" was a top-5 single in the UK. Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, and The Albion were probably the three most important bands in the late 60s-early 70s British electric folk-rock movement, and Ashley Hutchings was a founding member of all of them...
   143. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: July 10, 2009 at 11:51 AM (#3248550)
"All Around My Hat" was a top-5 single in the UK.

:) primates have amazed me for years...

All Around My Hat
   144. Up2Drew Posted: July 10, 2009 at 01:42 PM (#3248642)
Bill Veeck generally gets an enormous pass from the media hereabouts Chicago because he was a colorful character and an easy interview. Which overlooks the fact that he was an incompetent clown when it came to, you know, actually running a baseball franchise.

Veeck let his drunken retard son oversee the promotion which resulted in a stoned, dangerous mob storming an antiqued, unmaintained facility beyond its capacity. (And I mean storming – people were scaling the walls from the outside to gain entrance.)

The upper deck was literally swaying from the excess weight. A fire broke out in the stands. Everyone was stoned; the first game was played in a haze of marijuana smoke. The cops were completely overwhelmed at the game’s outset. It was a dangerous, irresponsible situation, and Veeck was flat-out lucky no one was killed. And now it is romanticized as some amusing acting out by the youth of the era.

It was more than that; it was criminally irresponsible. I was twenty years old at the time and had several friends at the game, many of whom were seriously in fear for their safety.

Between Michael Jackson, Steve McNair, and this, I’ve had about all of the selective memory B.S. I can handle for one week ….
   145. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:10 PM (#3248674)
Well, except some instructor of aleksel's suggested punk supplanted Disco, that it took advantage of this anti-disco sentiment which was most memorably displayed in Disco Demolition Night.

In the US, punk remained a fringe genre, really until the 1990s. You can count on one hand the number of punk acts that got the time of day on the charts from the late 70s through the 80s, and those that did (e.g., The Clash) really stopped making punk records.

The paragons of punk/reformed punk that weird people like us listened to in the 1980s didn't sell records. They got the critical acclaim, but no mainstream radio or MTV play. There was no Hot Topics in the mall.

I don't entirely disagree with aleksel's instructor if she was conflating new wave and punk, but that would be a mistake. I think it's reasonable to say that new wave and hop hop filled in for disco, which is too bad because I also agree that there was something of a segregating force there.

To whatever extent punk took advantage of the anti-disco sentiment, it took a very long time for it to reach fruition on any sort of significant scale.
   146. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:19 PM (#3248689)
The pattern is that you are a hippy. You primarily like "jamming" and virtuosity, and you like bands that weave mythology and folk traditions into their lyrics, you like music that is grounded in tradition but is still fun to dance to, you like ripping bong hits and getting to another level of appreciation. You could be any number of neo-hippies that I went to college with.

That drum solo sounds so far freakin' out he wants to take it with him.
   147. bads85 Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:35 PM (#3248713)
I'm coming late to this, but I will add a few things that I didn't see mentioned:

1. The Disco backlash was more than just a rejection of the style of music; it was a rejection of the fashion and dance styles that accompanied that music.

2. Much of the anger against disco had to do with who was getting the trim and who wasn't. Those who took the time to learn disco dancing were taking the trim away from those who didn't. Those who preferred doing the Funky White Boy Overbite to rock songs found their trim acquisitions greatly reduced. Seventies fashion was mercifully starting to change as disco started its wane, but "disco ducks" were still pulling the trim in their ridiculous threads.

3. Disco, like much of the music of the 70's, had become bloated and oversaturated. Innovation had quickly given way to imitation as every record company tried to sign the next Abba or Donna Summer. Disco went corporate before rock did.

4. Disco was something that parents began embracing, which fueled more rejection.
   148. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:41 PM (#3248717)
And I'll add that what new wave evolved into by the mid-1980s, which is enjoying a nostalgia boom right now, sucked. Worst concert I ever attended: The Psychedelic Furs. First time I ever walked out of a rock show for which I paid good money.
   149. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:06 PM (#3248742)
just downloaded an album or two off eMusic on a lark

The Lark in the Morning?


Spotted Cow. It's OK, but not one I listen to much, and I don't know how it compares to their other work.

EDIT: As such, my saying "I know 'em" above was an overstatement. I've listened to them, but am not familiar enough with their discography to talk best/worst.
   150. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:09 PM (#3248746)
Wow, Spotted Cow isn't even listed in Wiki's Steeleye Span discography. I'll take that as a hint that it's not exactly their crowning achievement.
   151. Answer Guy. Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:17 PM (#3248754)
Much of the anger against disco had to do with who was getting the trim and who wasn't. Those who took the time to learn disco dancing were taking the trim away from those who didn't. Those who preferred doing the Funky White Boy Overbite to rock songs found their trim acquisitions greatly reduced.


That's about the most succinct summary of what was fueling much of the anti-disco movement that I've ever seen right there.

All the DJs at the rock radio stations in Boston, including the "progressive*" WBCN, would well into the 80s frequently inveigh against disco and the word as an epithet - at WBCN they would mention vague references to the "disco" station at the end of the dial (i.e. KISS-FM at 107.9) I remember one spot where they proudly proclaimed that they didn't play "disco music" over the sound of forcibly removing a record of "Material Girl" by Madonna. Which of course was well after the disco scene had been dead and buried.

I think it's also the case that the disco craze and the anti-disco backlash also helped speed along the fall of the mass market and the rise of music market segmentation.

* Back before some corporate giant owned them, 'BCN was the rock station for people in the periphery of metro Boston (the edgier college stations didn't reach out as far) who thought of themselves as culturally "with it." In an era of pretty strictly segregated radio, they were notably less so than any other AOR-ish station in New England. (They were about the only station in town that wanted any part of the "Sun City" song.) This changed markedly when rap got big enough, as the most of the station's audience *hated* rap.
   152. Answer Guy. Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3248763)
Wow, Spotted Cow isn't even listed in Wiki's Steeleye Span discography. I'll take that as a hint that it's not exactly their crowning achievement.


Hmmm...I'd have thought Steeleye Span would have a decently complete Wiki entry. Their following isn't huge but it seems to be the sort of act that might attract computer-literate obsessives.

I write pop culture trivia questions, so I have noticed what sorts of things Wikipedia generally has pretty extensive coverage of and what things are generally lacking. Hip-hop fans aren't well represented there, but if you want to know about anything pertaining to Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or most first- or even second-tier art/prog-rock acts....they've got you covered pretty well.

[And yeah, I never rely on it as a sole source of anything.]
   153. winnipegwhip Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3248768)
If Disco Demolition hadn't backfired, Mike Veeck's follow up rock event was going to involve the music of The Who.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mods_and_Rockers

"Thursday Night at White Sox Park! See the White Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays. It's Mods and Rockers Night at Comiskey Park. Special Parking for Triumph motorcycles and Lambretta scooters. Official MLBPA Purple Hearts will be provided to the first 15000 attendees."
   154. John M. Perkins Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:31 PM (#3248777)
Wow! 30 years since I attended my second forfeited MLB game. Sox won!, Baummgarten, Nordhagen, I'd forgotten them. I was in LF, so the lazy Ralph Garr was the closest player.
I contributed Go West by the Village People to the bonfire.

Refreshing with Retrosheet, I probably went to see Ferguson Jenkins, a favorite of mine.
   155. Answer Guy. Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3248781)
I imagine to the extent that Americans know much of anything about the mid-60's clashes between mods and rockers in England, they probably got most of it from The Who's Quadrophenia.
   156. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:41 PM (#3248791)
I imagine to the extent that Americans know much of anything about the mid-60's clashes between mods and rockers in England, they probably got most of it from The Who's Quadrophenia.

I recommend The Knack and How to Get It. Excellent movie on the subject of mods. Just a fun movie all around, really.
   157. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3248795)
Bill Veeck generally gets an enormous pass from the media hereabouts Chicago because he was a colorful character and an easy interview. Which overlooks the fact that he was an incompetent clown when it came to, you know, actually running a baseball franchise....

It was a dangerous, irresponsible situation, and Veeck was flat-out lucky no one was killed. And now it is romanticized as some amusing acting out by the youth of the era.


That's always been pretty much my take.
   158. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 10, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3248796)
Disco, like much of the music of the 70's, had become bloated and oversaturated.

This is much the same analysis of why punk succeeded in England to such a wild extent. Progressive rock and the 'art-school groups' (e.g., Roxy Music) and the fringes of electronic folk were ultimately seen as 'pretentious twaddle'. As far as I remember, disco wasn't put in the dock with these sub-cultures.

Disco followed a very different trajectory in England, I'm concluding from all this. For all the contempt towards it in my social circle c. 1978-83, it remained much more part of the mainstream experience than it seems to have in the US.

'Popular music' in England has always been a culture that brings themes over from America and reinvents them. The 'pretentious twaddle', however, represented something more uniquely English, more detached from its American roots, and less connected to developments in the urban mainstreams in London and Manchester. As such I guess it was really doomed from the start.
   159. Answer Guy. Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3248809)
The 'pretentious twaddle', however, represented something more uniquely English, more detached from its American roots, and less connected to developments in the urban mainstreams in London and Manchester. As such I guess it was really doomed from the start.


This reminds me of something I've always noticed about the 1970s in America, which I lived through part of, but mostly too young to have any real first-hand memory.

There was definitely a line of thinking among many people in those days that big cities in general and New York in particular were awful, dangerous, dirty, wretched places full of scary people. It was the era of white flight, and in some cases even non-white flight, and anyone who could got out of the city as fast as they could. You could see in the films of the era, the TV shows, and even some of the changes in musical tastes over the decade.

But I don't know enough about the cultural history of the UK to know if there was a similar trend.
   160. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:17 PM (#3248823)
There was definitely a line of thinking among many people in those days that big cities in general and New York in particular were awful, dangerous, dirty, wretched places full of scary people.... You could see in the films of the era

The Out of Towners with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis fits that to a 'T'.

And it was really like that, for us flyovers. Nobody in their right mind wanted anything to do with New York. L.A., on the other hand, was thought to be a paradisical setting full of weirdos.

The situation in England was very different. Something like 'white flight' happened much later, and as far as I know only in London, and really only occurred, with a very different dynamic, after the completion of the M25 motorway in 1986.
   161. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3248826)
There was definitely a line of thinking among many people in those days that big cities in general and New York in particular were awful, dangerous, dirty, wretched places full of scary people.

Esscape From New York, C.H.U.D., The Warriors...these movies didn't make you want to move to NYC?

Movies from the 1970's and early 80's definitely made me think NYC was a scary, ugly place. I don't think I saw a positive depiction of the city until...Crocodile Dundee. I'm serious! (I didn't watch Woody Allen as a kid.)
   162. Swedish Chef Posted: July 10, 2009 at 04:25 PM (#3248832)
The situation in England was very different. Something like 'white flight' happened much later, and as far as I know only in London,

Liverpool was a really shitty place in the 80's. But I guess it could be that no one left, they just got poorer.
   163. Craig Calcaterra Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:22 PM (#3248900)
I've taught my son to respond to "are you ___ or are you ___" questions with the response: "I'm a mocker."

No one ever gets it.
   164. Obama Bomaye Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3248913)
Hey Dito, are you rock or disco?
   165. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3248934)
Nevertheless, everyone did Disco:

The Rock Groups - Stones, Queen


What did Queen do that was remotely Disco? Unless you meant to write ELO.
   166. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3248940)
This is much the same analysis of why punk succeeded in England to such a wild extent. Progressive rock and the 'art-school groups' (e.g., Roxy Music) and the fringes of electronic folk were ultimately seen as 'pretentious twaddle'. As far as I remember, disco wasn't put in the dock with these sub-cultures.

...'Popular music' in England has always been a culture that brings themes over from America and reinvents them. The 'pretentious twaddle', however, represented something more uniquely English, more detached from its American roots, and less connected to developments in the urban mainstreams in London and Manchester. As such I guess it was really doomed from the start.


Actually, the "pretentious twaddle" was, and remains, the music I love best from that era. Genesis, Roxy Music, Fairport Convention - I love these bands (at least partially) specifically because they are detached from any American roots. They are defiantly English, and I think that actually worked to their advantage, not against it...

(That's not an anti-American comment, btw, just a thought that bands should have something of their own culture in their music, not just mimic others. Of course then there's something like Puffy AmiYumi's wonderful "Island", which is a J-Pop version of Irish folk, which has to be heard to be believed...)
   167. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 10, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3248941)
What did Queen do that was remotely Disco?


"Another One Bites the Dust"
   168. tribefan Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3248943)
According to wiki:

The bass line was inspired by the song "Good Times" by the Disco group Chic. [1] [2] In an interview with New Musical Express, Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards stated, "...that Queen record came about because that Queen bass player... spent some time hanging out with us at our studio".[3]
   169. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3248947)
"Another One Bites the Dust"


That's not Disco. That's Power Funk. Just because you can dance to a song doesn't make it Disco,
   170. McCoy Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:14 PM (#3248961)
Chicago was a little different. Daley didn't let the movie cameras in so it wasn't until the Blues Brothers that Hollywood got to show what Chicago looked like. It looks a little grungy and seedy but for the most part the movie captured the look of Chicago for much of the 80's.

As for NYC most of my images of that city come from the empty calorie movies of the 80's that really didn't look at life on the streets. Things like Working Girl, Ghostbusters, Crocodile Dundee, Mannequin, and various other movies. It wasn't until much later in my life when I saw some non-mainstream movies from that period as well as some black exploitation films that I saw just how devestated huge parts of that city was during that time period.

Going to school in New York state during the 90's I constantly got the "Chicago is so clean" remark from New Yorkers when they found out I was from the Chicagoland area. I could never understand why they said that until my first trip into NYC.
   171. BFFB Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3248988)
One good thing about Disco. House music and the electronica it inspired.
   172. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:39 PM (#3248991)
"All Around My Hat" was a top-5 single in the UK.

Again, the album as a whole was one of my favorites, and very popular among my "set" in college.

Wow, Spotted Cow isn't even listed in Wiki's Steeleye Span discography. I'll take that as a hint that it's not exactly their crowning achievement.

If you can get it, try Commoner's Crown or All Around My Hat. If this isn't your kind of music, though, don't bother.
   173. Srul Itza Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3249000)
Esscape From New York, C.H.U.D., The Warriors...these movies didn't make you want to move to NYC?

Don't forget the original Death Wish, which came out in '74. Serpico was '73. Dog Day Afternoon was '75.

All in all, a great decade for depictions of NYC as an easy place to die.
   174. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3249008)
Don't forget the original Death Wish, which came out in '74. Serpico was '73. Dog Day Afternoon was '75.

All in all, a great decade for depictions of NYC as an easy place to die.


Those movies are collectively pretty dreary, for sure.

edit: And Taxi Driver, too. Even Scorsese was filming NYC as a sewer then.
   175. Repoz Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:05 PM (#3249029)
I got a Vespa

My Red Sox lovin' confused r/billy/rocker/fireman dad had a Vespa in the mid-60's.

One day he was riding me to baseball practice and made me wear the matching powder blue helmet...and a girl that I was going to ask out saw me at a red light.

I died a thousand CC's of death...and grew to hate Quadrophenia so much that I slagged a mighty turd unto its gatefold sleeve.
   176. BFFB Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3249041)
   177. winnipegwhip Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3249064)
Don't forget the original Death Wish, which came out in '74. Serpico was '73. Dog Day Afternoon was '75.

All in all, a great decade for depictions of NYC as an easy place to die.

Those movies are collectively pretty dreary, for sure.

edit: And Taxi Driver, too. Even Scorsese was filming NYC as a sewer then.


You can add "Mean Streets" to that list.
   178. winnipegwhip Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:26 PM (#3249068)
One day he was riding me to baseball practice and made me wear the matching powder blue helmet...and a girl that I was going to ask out saw me at a red light.


Did she laugh and call you a 'wanker'?
   179. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3249080)
You can add "Mean Streets" to that list.

I'm sure there are many more. They ought to have a film festival with all these movies. That would actually be interesting.
   180. Repoz Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3249085)
Did she laugh and call you a 'wanker'?

Ya know, for 45-years I thought she said 'wanker'...but now that Calcaterra brings up mocker.

I'm quite troubled.
   181. tribefan Posted: July 10, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3249088)
The French Connection
   182. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2009 at 08:15 PM (#3249160)
If you can get it, try Commoner's Crown or All Around My Hat. If this isn't your kind of music, though, don't bother.

I will check those out. Thanks.

I see now that I can't read my own iPod. Spotted Cow is a track; the album is Below the Salt.
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