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  • Topic: One of my idle curiosity questions.

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    • August 10, 2011 11:55 AM CDT
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      How many of you are old enough to remember disco, and what did you think of it?  Please allow me a moment to get behind some shelter before people start throwing things at me.  I'm also curious to know if anyone here has any amusing anecdotes to share.
       
      I'm asking you this because of this article I just came across.  I'm a Sirius subscriber, and I might give this channel a listen...
       
       
      Speaking for myself, I actually do like some of the songs from that era, and I do like watching "Saturday Night Fever" whenever I can catch it on cable.  However, I also understand why there was such a backlash against disco.  
       
      Anyway, just another case of me having too much time on my hands.
    • February 24, 2013 8:01 PM CST
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      IT'S THE SAME THING ALL OVER , THOUGH , NOW. DJs ARE KILLING LIVE MUSIC. YES , I DJ EVERY CHANCE I GET , BUT SINCE I DON'T PLAY 80'S Crap , Industrial Dance crap ,  NEO - DISCO ,"DANCE" MUSIC , House , Techno, Trance  , Hip Hop and (C) Rap OR NORTHERN SOUL , GIGS ARE FEW AND FAR BEHIND.....COMPLAINING ABOUT IT WON'T CHANGE THINGS , I KNOW ....

      But , these DJs that people come out to just worship , if they even play a record , it's to scratch it . Samplers , drum machines , all that lot , whatever it is , I would'nt pay to hear it, and if you can get a gig , now , spinning Rock'n'Roll , it's in venues that don't charge a cover, so they may or may not pay you at all...AND, FORGET ABOUT TIPS..   But , I think smaller "cities" like Dallas are really getting hammered by the DJ Disease. My friends all say it's wiping out live music in Dallas.  It's just that the dynamic is similar to the "Disco Sucks" days , but , no one's saying Dance music or Hip Hop sucks....However , I believe , now , there's room for everything. It does'nt mean everything you try to do is going to be worth your while , and , even if you sell out to "The Man" , and play only music untouched by real instruments , you'll still have to wait in line behind one barrage of irritating hammer - to - the forehead non - beats after another.....

    • January 15, 2013 5:09 PM CST
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      Hahahahaha, good one! Yeah, it still seems like a major flaw, paying DJ's to play instead of a live bad, even if he's famous like Daniel Ash, or playing stuff we like here! I woulda held a grudge, too!

      4-on-the-floor rythym is for us whitest of white dudes, haha, but it is dull.

      DJ Johnson said:


      I like some of the same things you listed just now, Dave, but back then I was a major hater of disco.  I was a working musician who suddenly wasn't working, as weren't most of my contemporaries, because the clubs could just put records on and the patrons were happy.  Why pay a band to play?  It made us very mad.  I refused to see Saturday Night Fever at the time.  Seen it since.  Not bad.  I can listen to enough disco these days to make a good 90 minute playlist, but the four-on-the-floor thing gets very old when there's nothing else making it stand out, and it still feels like a majority of the disco stuff was pretty slick and nondescript.  Then there are songs like "I Feel Love".  Niiice.  It just took me 30 years to get over the grudge.

    • January 15, 2013 12:39 AM CST
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      I was going to add "Flush The Fashion" to the thread on albums wih one good song.
      But ,I like Alice's version of "Talk Talk", as well as "Clones (We're All)", but were there really as many Rock /Disco cro$$OVER HITS AS WE'VE BEEN TOLD. "Miss You " is'nt Disco , from where I stand ....They did do the "Disco" verson for the clubs. The album version was Disco ORIENTED , yes. The Stones' real Disco songs were "Dance" , "Emotional Rescue' , that lot. "Hot Stuff" was earlier and closer to Funk.  Of course , I could be dead wrong . I , unfortunately , saw Smashing Pumpkins for $3 , when they were starting out , and never would have been convinced they'd amount to anything , so , no , I've been wrong , before . Blondie had "Heart of Glass" , but did atone with "Dreamin'" and "One Way or Another". I guess I don't totally hate "Heart... " today , I think it's funny. Psuedo Giorgian Bubble Gum .....or did Moroder produce that , too ?

      I thought "Turn Me Loose" by Loverboy was Donna Summer. I'm not kidding !
      DJ Johnson said:

      Ah hell yes!  That was a fun album.  A bit overcompressed, but cool songs.  "Clones" is the one that people sometimes remember, but it's a little bit polarizing with Alice fans.  They either dearly love it or really hate it.  I love it.  "Headlines" was nearly as cool.  And "Nuclear Infected" was pretty fun, too.  There are a few things on that album better left unplayed, though.  

      Thanks to this discussion I've dusted off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  It's all your fault.  Hope you're proud of yourselves.  



      Mike said:

      Alice Cooper "Flush The Fashion" anyone?

    • January 14, 2013 7:21 PM CST
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      Ah hell yes!  That was a fun album.  A bit overcompressed, but cool songs.  "Clones" is the one that people sometimes remember, but it's a little bit polarizing with Alice fans.  They either dearly love it or really hate it.  I love it.  "Headlines" was nearly as cool.  And "Nuclear Infected" was pretty fun, too.  There are a few things on that album better left unplayed, though.  

      Thanks to this discussion I've dusted off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  It's all your fault.  Hope you're proud of yourselves.  



      Mike said:

      Alice Cooper "Flush The Fashion" anyone?

    • January 14, 2013 12:42 AM CST
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      It was around when I was in junior high though I guess on it's last legs (77-79), soon to be replaced by "new wave". I heard plenty of it on the radio, school dances etc, but was never moved enough to seek it out and own it, though my brother did give me Rod Stewart "Blondes Have More Fun" picture disc for my new turntable which was his "disco" album, as many other established acts did "disco' albums later to be followed by "new wave" albums (Alice Cooper "Flush The Fashion" anyone?) I was oblivious to it's origins from the gay club scene in NYC because by this time is was so homogenized and mainstream. But what I remember most from that period was being introduced to early Rap & 70's funk, the later which I guess was also part of the genisis of Disco. The school I went to was not diverse at all. Maybe 15 black kids total. My friend Robert Love was from Texas and from a world completely unlike mine. Never heard him play any disco, but he loved to dance and had the moves back then. Instead of Disco, he turned me onto Parliment, Bootsy Collins and also Curtis Blow (mostly by sneaking into his older brother's record collection when he wasn't home) and by turning me onto local radio station KDAY. But as far as Disco, it still really hasn't grown on me, not even as something campy, although I do laugh at that scene from the sitcom Malcom in the Middle when the dad is doing rollerdisco to that song "Rollercoaster" or was it "Funkytown". But I had no qualms cranking up D.O.A.'s song "Disco Sucks" (later to be reborn as New Wave Sucks) when I was turned on to it in 1980. Even that late in the game, TV disco dance shows like "Solid Gold" were still on the air.

      Sorry, this was a pretty long winded answer just to say, naw, not my thing, there's too much good music I haven't heard yet and too little time to spend it listening to Disco.

    • January 13, 2013 6:47 PM CST
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      I like some of the same things you listed just now, Dave, but back then I was a major hater of disco.  I was a working musician who suddenly wasn't working, as weren't most of my contemporaries, because the clubs could just put records on and the patrons were happy.  Why pay a band to play?  It made us very mad.  I refused to see Saturday Night Fever at the time.  Seen it since.  Not bad.  I can listen to enough disco these days to make a good 90 minute playlist, but the four-on-the-floor thing gets very old when there's nothing else making it stand out, and it still feels like a majority of the disco stuff was pretty slick and nondescript.  Then there are songs like "I Feel Love".  Niiice.  It just took me 30 years to get over the grudge.

    • January 13, 2013 3:51 PM CST
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      I listened to Disco in junior high and a bit as an underclassman, well before I was exposed to Punk. The 'Disco Sucks' meme was out there, but even as an 8th grader it seemed pretty bone-headed. Why couldn't you listen to both?

      So I like the slick stuff like Chic (still do) and the mainstream stuff like Sister Sledge and Donna Summers. I also liked the kitschy aspect of it, 'Midnight at the Oasis' or Sun-Radiation Level, or the Village People.

      One of the appealing things about it was that it was so positive. It's kinda hard to explain, not that there was a lot of negativity about, esp. for a kid, but it made you feel good. And it was listened to by Black, White, and Latino, so it didn't divide as the 'Rawk' movement did (all white, pretty much).

      Interestingly enough (but maybe not), even then I was looking for different types of music, so obviously it didn't totally satiate me. But nothing did.

      As more bad Disco came along, I slowly found out about New Wave, and then Punk. Soul and Funk I found out about separately during Punk.

    • January 11, 2013 1:18 AM CST
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      OK , to be fair , I never liked  Disco , but , it was more because that's what the popular kids liked than a backlash in my mind against Blacks or Gays. I also did'nt like , or sometimes merely tolerated, what passed for Country , Pop and Rock , also . Some of the early Disco stuff was not that far removed from Soul , so I did'nt mind it so much. But , overall , it smacked of elitism. Go to a dance , ask a girl to dance , ANY girl , get turned down . I know , boo hoo hoo.  They still played Rock music at our school dances , even had live bands , but Disco was for the well - adjusted , good looking , self - satisfied crowd. I did'nt relate to it. I visited Chicago in the summer of '79 , right after The Disco Demolition (Please see Kopper's photo of annoying Talk Radio Jock , Steve Dahl.). It was an exciting time . People were pissed , wanting to reclaim Rock'n'Roll , even though The Loop , the station that sponsored the Disco Demolition , was fair to middlin'at best.....I met a kid who told me he bought $10 worth of Disco records , just to run them over with his bicycle. Sure , I said some things I should'nt have , regarding the likes of The Bee Gees and The Village People. On the other hand , their fans said the same about The Stones.......Movies usually get that tension all  wrong . Especially the Studio 54 schlong - bulgin' white slacks and chains crowd coming up against the CBGB Punk Rockers in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam". I guess the macho , macho men looked authentic enuff , but the Punk Rockers had 7" high green GBH mohawks. IN 1977 !!!! IN NEW YORK !!!!!

      I asked my Sister - in - law , who went to CB's , Max's , Mudd Clubb , Hurrah (And also Studio 54.), if anyone even had a mohawk in New York , in 1977. She said Richie Stotts from The Plasmatics MIGHT have been working his first Travis Bickle job , a flat , military mo' , but , otherwise , HELL, no. My friends and I would go to the skating rink , and they'd play enough Rock to keep us at bay , but , you were guaranteed a LOT of Disco , and WE'D SIT THOSE NUMBERS OUT. I REALIZED THEY WERE TRYING TOO PLEASE EVERYBODY. The music got on my nerves , tho' I KNEW A LOT OF MUSIC I LIKED , AND STILL DO , GOT ON A LOT OF PEOPLE'S NERVES. Disco was getting more minimal , so was Funk , both morphing into Rap , and , by then , there were barely any instruments involved. I tried , I just could'nt dig it.....Early Grandmaster Flash and Whodini , some of that , I thought was OK , BRIEFLY.

      i COULD'NT DANCE TO NON - BEATS. that's just me , though. When I found out about Punk (Not that I had'nt read and heard about it.),I FOUND SOMETHING i COULD DANCE TO , MY OWN WAY , WITHOUT TAKING LESSONS. and , generally , people used to be more friendly. If I asked a girl to dance , I was almost never turned down. It was'nt about violence or exclusion , it was about having fun , something I could'nt find in Disco , not even on a "Camp" level. But , for me , it was'nt about persecuting other groups. Anyone could participate (See "Black Punk Time" at www.roctober.com  ) . Did Disco ever go away ? To me , it became Rap , Hip Hop , House Music , Industrial Dance music ......Not all the same thing , but bound by superficiality. But , If I dared to say anything contrary about that stuff, people would call me "Closed minded". I don't make people listen to music I like , but , as I've said , I've gotta hear Rap and Hip Hop every day.  Tim Warren said , the squares have heard about 10% of my world , and I've heard 90% of theirs. It's so true. Disco , I went thru it , I have no desire to go back. I guess it does'nt bug me , now , as much as it did , then. For me , it's over. If other people like it , I'm not out to convert them or put them down. We all have our choices to go to or not go to certain vnues. We have no control over people blasting their SHIT music in public.

    • January 11, 2013 12:39 AM CST
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      Unfortunately , when he blew up all those Disco Records , all he could think of to say was "PARRRRRRRRR - TEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!!!!!!!!!!".
       
      kopper said:

    • August 29, 2011 7:47 PM CDT
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      Probably not, most people like that don't seem to understand irony.

       

      I enjoy disco culture for the inherent hilarity of the movies, the fashion, the music; some of it is good music, but even the horrible stuff has some Narmy charm, you know?  And Skatetown U.S.A. might be one of the best bad movies ever made.  But then it was after my time, so maybe not living through it helped with that.

      MikeL said:

      That's part of it.  Of course, a lot of people also hated it because they just thought the music was horrible.  One friend of mine complained that he thought it had no soul to it.

       

      That reminds me...one of the things I find amusing about "Saturday Night Fever" is that John Travolta and his little gang come across as so tough and macho, and they're all rather racist and homophobic, and yet they dance to music comes from both black and gay subculture.  Go figure.  Another funny moment was in the movie "Detroit Rock City," in which those kids on their way to a KISS concert in 1978 have a run-in with a couple of macho disco guys, and the KISS kids beat them up and put KISS make-up on them, and once disco guy says to the other, "You got the fag make-up on."  I wonder if any disco fans who were like that back then ever noticed the irony.

    • August 11, 2011 10:35 AM CDT
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      That's part of it.  Of course, a lot of people also hated it because they just thought the music was horrible.  One friend of mine complained that he thought it had no soul to it.

       

      That reminds me...one of the things I find amusing about "Saturday Night Fever" is that John Travolta and his little gang come across as so tough and macho, and they're all rather racist and homophobic, and yet they dance to music comes from both black and gay subculture.  Go figure.  Another funny moment was in the movie "Detroit Rock City," in which those kids on their way to a KISS concert in 1978 have a run-in with a couple of macho disco guys, and the KISS kids beat them up and put KISS make-up on them, and once disco guy says to the other, "You got the fag make-up on."  I wonder if any disco fans who were like that back then ever noticed the irony.

      Lil' Pete said:

      I'm too young to appreciate disco's hey day but from what I've read, a lot of anti-disco mentality at the time had to do with society being rather racists and homophobic since disco was born of the two subcultures in America.
    • August 11, 2011 10:12 AM CDT
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      I'm too young to appreciate disco's hey day but from what I've read, a lot of anti-disco mentality at the time had to do with society being rather racists and homophobic since disco was born of the two subcultures in America.
    • August 10, 2011 1:09 PM CDT
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      That is a very cool story you just shared with us:)  Thanks.

      anarchistwood said:

      i loves disco - good music is good music - doesn't matter what genre - there's shite disco, there's shite garage - but when it's GOOD it's GOOD. and I love dancing too....

      I was introduced to disco at 'school discos' in the late 1970s when i lived in West 'by God' Virginia in the good ol' USA. I was a weird skinny Londoner, and my American school mates used to ask me if I knew the Beatles and could I talk Engerland Talk, which did used to freak me out a lot.

      I got SO into dancing in 1978 - Freak Out! So Chic, Jackson 5, ... please don't talk about love to night.... and danced to the very late hour of NINE PEE-EMM! I dressed in terry toweling yellow shorts with go faster stripes and a rainbow boob tube. not that i had any boobs at that point. they made a (startling) appearance a bit later.

      being from a girls convent school in Bromley, which is practically a suburb(ish) of South London, and being the only non Catholic at the place meant i was used to being a bit different and a batting for the 'other side'. At the school in the Eastern Pan Handle of West Virginia there were fairly strict divisions in seating it seemed between the white kids and black kids. I was fairly oblivious to this when i first joined the class and sat with anyone. it seemed rather strange now i look back that this arrangement was so strict and i am happy that in London at least these boundaries are not as obvious in most of the schools I have taught in over the last 20 odd years... is it still the same in the USA?

      about the disco - having been hanging out with african-american kids in lessons (myself being mixed celtic/judaic and of pale skin) i easily joined my friends at the disco, whereupon i learned that they had the best dance moves and learned to shake my bootie in many new and fabulous ways... i think this tutelage held me in good stead as in later years i did stage dancing in London at big raves - and i owe it all to the 8th grade moves of my pals like Leroy Brown & Loretta Washington, Saturday Night Fever and multiculturalism.

       

    • August 10, 2011 1:08 PM CDT
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      Cool picture:)  It really sums up a moment in pop culture history.

      kopper said:
    • August 10, 2011 1:07 PM CDT
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      I liked a lot of the songs from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, especially "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees.  I also liked "Last Chance" by Donna Summer and "Disco Round" by Alicia Bridges.

      Joanie Lindstrom said:
      I certainly remember it and was fairly anti disco.  Living in Kenmore Sq. Boston, there was the legendary Rat on one side of the street and Narcissus on the other and it wasn't a happy mix.  But I always liked a few songs (i.e. Love Hangover - Diana Ross) and loved Sat. Nite Fever, both way back and now.   Disco has become kind of a cool thing to play these days (some friends spin it out around town and on local radio) but for me, a little goes a long way.
    • August 10, 2011 1:04 PM CDT
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      A lot of stuff ends up becoming amusing later on:)  I know how you feel.

      rocknpunkdad said:
      I hated it back then, but find it amusing nowadays.
    • August 10, 2011 12:54 PM CDT
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      i loves disco - good music is good music - doesn't matter what genre - there's shite disco, there's shite garage - but when it's GOOD it's GOOD. and I love dancing too....

      I was introduced to disco at 'school discos' in the late 1970s when i lived in West 'by God' Virginia in the good ol' USA. I was a weird skinny Londoner, and my American school mates used to ask me if I knew the Beatles and could I talk Engerland Talk, which did used to freak me out a lot.

      I got SO into dancing in 1978 - Freak Out! So Chic, Jackson 5, ... please don't talk about love to night.... and danced to the very late hour of NINE PEE-EMM! I dressed in terry toweling yellow shorts with go faster stripes and a rainbow boob tube. not that i had any boobs at that point. they made a (startling) appearance a bit later.

      being from a girls convent school in Bromley, which is practically a suburb(ish) of South London, and being the only non Catholic at the place meant i was used to being a bit different and a batting for the 'other side'. At the school in the Eastern Pan Handle of West Virginia there were fairly strict divisions in seating it seemed between the white kids and black kids. I was fairly oblivious to this when i first joined the class and sat with anyone. it seemed rather strange now i look back that this arrangement was so strict and i am happy that in London at least these boundaries are not as obvious in most of the schools I have taught in over the last 20 odd years... is it still the same in the USA?

      about the disco - having been hanging out with african-american kids in lessons (myself being mixed celtic/judaic and of pale skin) i easily joined my friends at the disco, whereupon i learned that they had the best dance moves and learned to shake my bootie in many new and fabulous ways... i think this tutelage held me in good stead as in later years i did stage dancing in London at big raves - and i owe it all to the 8th grade moves of my pals like Leroy Brown & Loretta Washington, Saturday Night Fever and multiculturalism.

       

    • August 10, 2011 12:29 PM CDT
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      This post was edited by køpper at August 20, 2013 8:57 PM CDT
      ____________________________________

      "Go read a book and flunk a test." -Iggy

      Listen to SHOCK THERAPY on RADIO MUTATION if ya know what's good bad for ya!

    • August 10, 2011 12:12 PM CDT
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      I certainly remember it and was fairly anti disco.  Living in Kenmore Sq. Boston, there was the legendary Rat on one side of the street and Narcissus on the other and it wasn't a happy mix.  But I always liked a few songs (i.e. Love Hangover - Diana Ross) and loved Sat. Nite Fever, both way back and now.   Disco has become kind of a cool thing to play these days (some friends spin it out around town and on local radio) but for me, a little goes a long way.
    • October 21, 2013 4:52 PM CDT
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      Lil' Pete said:
      I'm too young to appreciate disco's hey day but from what I've read, a lot of anti-disco mentality at the time had to do with society being rather racists and homophobic since disco was born of the two subcultures in America.


      Not neccessarily, there were also legitimate artistic reasons to be critical of disco that were overlooked. Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys likened Disco to the cabaret of Weimar Germany, he regarded it as apathetic and politically disconnected. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo likened it to "a beautiful woman with a great body and no brains" (Ris Low, anyone?), which is quite unfortunate. I even think of one of disco's descendents, Lady Gaga, as quite vaccuous and superficial. She portrays herself as avant-garde, but I find her so formulaic that she seemingly has no original creative thoughts of her own. She just copies what went before and everyone thinks she is original, look at the meat dress as a case in point (it was created in the 1980's).

       

      Personally, I think Madonna should retire because someone old enough to be my mother acting like a 19 year old stripper on stage makes me cringe. Her act doesn't shock, I find it contrived and formulaic. Tim Westwood is the same, an aging ang moh acting like he is from South Central Los Angeles, with this patronising "down with the youth" spiel. I think he's just another Smashie and Nicey, though someone told me he was just another version of Jim Davidson with tunes for the kids.    

      ____________________________________
      Chris Henniker, Freelance writer at your service. Just send me a private message and we'll work on something.
    • October 23, 2013 3:58 AM CDT
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      At the time as a kid I hated it but then again punks scared me. Now i like some of it. It sounds like it came from a happy carefree, almost innocent time, a bit like glam rock does. I know the times were not like this but then again for gay New yorkers it was a time when they had been legitimised somewhat but before AIDS.

       

      Disco Sucks seemed unkind. Of course there was shit like Disco Duck but there were some great funky grooves and proto-techno (especially from the euro scene). Don't forget there was shit bandwagon jumping punk too (1988 Activator by Steve Hillage or the Monks (not the 60s tonsured Monks).

       

      I can't get into the superstar dj thing myself but think about it; suddenly you could make huge crowds dance without musical virtuosity or much equipment. It was music of the people before Studio 54 and similar elitist attitudes ruined it.

       

      So love your disco and love your punk; they were both revolutionary.

    • October 23, 2013 6:27 AM CDT
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      There was really bad disco and really bad punk, such as The Pork Dukes and The English Monks, who were an offshoot of The Strawbs ( a prog rock band).

      Just a thought: With all the drugs in the disco scene and AIDS, is it any wonder why many kids became straight edge?
      ____________________________________
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    • October 27, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
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      Untitled

      Just remembered sonething: the biggest critics of disco were the biggest supporters of reggae, especially in England.

      ____________________________________
      Chris Henniker, Freelance writer at your service. Just send me a private message and we'll work on something.

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