Disco made its peak in the 70s as dance music that came out of nightclubs. Led by Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Gang, Kool and the Gang, Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor, and so many more, disco was more than just a genre of music, it was a movement. With Motown and funk influence, Disco eventually made its way from its club roots to mainstream and white groups such as the BeeGees came to the scene. This influence spread to hairstyles, musicians, party scenes and overall social culture.
By the 1970’s most major cities, especially New York and Philadelphia, had significant disco club scenes. DJs would mix disco music in the clubs and became the basis for many dance moves such as the “bump” and the “hustle”. Disco became the center of dancing, drinking, and live music. This was a time where African American, Hispanic and LGBTQ cultures could thrive together.
The party scene associated with disco played a large role in the movie scene as well as movies like, “Saturday Night Fever” centers on the disco scene. Along with the disco party scene came the drug culture. Drugs like cocaine were often used to enhance the experience of the music as well as the flashing lights.
Disco partygoers were often known for their unique style. It wasn’t uncommon for people to wear expensive clothes but also sometimes sexy and promiscuous, the bolder the better. The clothing included bell-bottom high wasted jeans, sparkles, and clothing of vibrant colors, different prints, and textures. This era of fashion is known for having little distinction between men and women’s clothing. Disco fashion was dressing with the intention of making a statement.
This most remarkable part about the disco era was not the musical aspect, but the cultural influence. Before it’s decline, disco as a whole made significant contributions to party culture, night life, dancing, as well as fashion in the 70s. People based their entire wardrobes, dance moves, and more around this genre of music. Disco fashion is known inter-generationally, used for halloween costumes, and even party themes. The cultural impact of disco on the 70s is undeniable.