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The 70s – the good, the bad and downright ugly

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The year 2020 certainly made me a believer in Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Inertia – “If a body is at rest or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force.” In other words, if a body is at rest in a recliner, it will remain in that recliner unless catapulted out of it by someone or for some reason!

My choice of “force,” or motivation for relinquishing the recliner and shedding my pandemic padding, is music. I usually stick to one particular genre and playlist but to jump-start my sluggish self, I decided to shake things up a bit with a different playlist and received a pleasant surprise – disco!

Disco reigned supreme during most of the 1970s, thanks to the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, KC & the Sunshine Band, and of course John Travolta and “Saturday Night Fever.” However, I’m no music expert, but in my lifetime, next to Elvis Presley with his swiveling hips and Rap music, I don’t know of any other music genre which created more division among music lovers or in the music industry itself than disco. You either loved disco or you hated it, and the haters won out on what has become known as Disco Demolition Night.

Rock music fans’ growing anti-disco sentiment is perhaps credited with the death of disco July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. It was there that radio shock-jock Steve Dahl literally blew up a crate of disco records between games of a twi-night double header between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Radio station WLUP’s publicity stunt started a riot resulting in the forfeiture of the second game for the home team. Let me just say here that I think Dahl’s anger should have been redirected to disco’s real shame.

It’s undeniable that disco was great for burning calories, but it spawned a nightmare in men’s fashion. To this day, I still wince at the memory of polyester leisure suits, polyester shirts open down to the navel, and chains – lots and lots of chains. In my opinion, Steve Dahl should have blown up leisure suits instead of the records.

Given my profound distaste for the leisure suit, I propose that it may have been an inadvertent anti-aphrodisiac. To prove my point, while there were indeed thousands of babies born during the 70s, that decade reports the lowest number of births since 1936 and the aftermath of 1929 Stock Market Crash! I’d rest my case here, but I have to confess I actually gave birth to three children in the 70s; however, I assure you the (ugh) allure of my husband’s brown polyester leisure suit had nothing to do with it and I forgave him that fashion faux pas, thanks to the 80s, John Travolta (again) and Urban Cowboy.

But back to the music. Yes, I remember getting tired of disco, welcoming the 80s and great musicians like Alabama, Chicago, Whitney Houston, Reba McEntire, Olivia Newton-John, George Strait, and Stevie Wonder. But some mornings, it takes a little something extra to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Sometimes it takes “four-on-the-floor beats, syncopated basslines, string sections, horns, electric piano, synthesizers, and electric rhythm guitars” to get me upright and mobile. There’s nothing like a little disco to make me feel like I’m stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive!

Connie Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.