Disco All The Way

Four On The Floor Element of



What is Disco?

Disco as a genre emerged out of an urban culture in the early 1970s. Discos had been quietly serving its core audience for years. They originated as settings where one could dance to recorded music. The DJ deploying two turntables, a mike, and a PA system was a fixture in black communities. Disco served as a dancing outlet for black people during the 70’s. It presented a different type of musical vibe black people were not used too. Disco provided more than just music for the culture. Because it was mostly played in clubs, Disco music advanced the diversity f dancing within black culture.  During the time of the 70’s, black people contributed to disco by wearing afro’s and bell bottom jeans. Disco brought forth dances like The Hustle, and the Point and Turn. 

Prevalent 70's Disco Nightclubs

New York City also played an important role in the evolution of Disco. Black people during this time specifically were developing the New Negro Movment. Therefore, the creation of areas and clubs in which black people could showcase their culture and talents were important. Because Disco music was essentially club music, the following listed clubs were the most popular in the 70’s: 

Studio 54

Located on West 54th Street, Studio 54 opened its doors in 1977, quickly becoming one of the most notable disco nightclubs in Manhattan. The club was notorious for its elitism, by allowing mainly celebrities and public figures inside. Celebs who were regulars at the club were Liza Minnelli, Cher and Michael Jackson.


“Music and passion were always the fashion” is what Barry Manilow sang to describe the Copacabana Club of the 1970s. The nightclub originally opened in the 1940s and was famous for the comedy and music acts that performed there, including Martin & Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. During the ’70s, the Copacabana became a disco club. It remained this way until 2000, when the club moved from its original location on 60th Street to 34th Street, where the club now primarily plays salsa and Latino music. As of fall 2010, the status of the Copacabana is in limbo due to new infrastructure demands by the city’s subway transit system.


Night owls from all of New York’s borough’s recognized the clown logo of the Funhouse discotheque, which operated on Manhattan’s 26th Street from 1979 to 1985. The 28,000-square-foot club was known for its DJ booth, which was situated in the mouth of a large clownface structure, and its resident DJ, John “Jellybean” Benitez, who was the club’s resident DJ from 1981 to 1984. The club also featured an arcade room and second-level balcony that overlooked the dance floor. The arcade machines, which were a new invention at the time, encouraged minors to sneak into the club, even though the official age limit was 18.

Paradise Garage

The Paradise Garage operated from 1976 to 1987, and was one of the first openly gay nightclubs in New York City. The location of the club was on King Street in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Although the club was officially a gay club, the Paradise Garage drew people from all walks of life into its dance hall. The name of the club derived from the building it occupied, which was a converted garage. Also, the genre of disco music played at Paradise Garage was referred to as “garage” music, which resembled modern-day house music. Famous artists who performed at the Paradise Club during the 1970s and ’80s include Madonna, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross.

So What role does Four on The Flour Play in Disco Music?

Every genre of music has different elements that help to compile it. For example, Hip Hop has rhyming, and turn-tabling, while Gospel has call and response. Alike these other genre’s of music, Disco has many elements and four on the floor is one of the most important ones. Four on the floor is the element that helps provide a beat for Disco music. It can be defined as a rhythm in 4/4 time in which the bass drum is played on every beat. Because Disco music utilizes all of the instruments to create a live sound, the Drum is the most essential in relation to the four on the floor element. 

Although, the origin of the term “four on the floor” is still being debated and speculated, it is known that the term was coined in the 1970s when disco music was most popular. 

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