Monday, June 26, 2006
Here's an album I won on eBay many, many, many moons ago but only recently transferred it from vinyl to digital. I have a guilty pleasure about Christmas disco in general (I own about 5 different Christmas disco CDs) so when I saw that the title of the album was "Christmas Disco", I knew I had to bid and win.
Disco got its start in new clubs called discotheques in the larger cities of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in the early 1970s. By 1973, many disco hits could be heard on AM radio stations across the country. I distinctly remember taking a family vacation as a five year old to St. Louis in 1974 and the number one hit in America, according to Casey Kasem and the "countdown", was "Rock The Boat" by the Hues Corporation. I believe this may have been the very first #1 disco hit in America (if I'm wrong, correct me please).
By 1975, disco was taking over everything. Van McCoy's "The Hustle" was a number one smash, a girl named Donna Summer had the first of several disco hits and was dubbed "Queen of Disco", and everyone was trying to record disco hits. Even Ethel Merman (yes, Ethel Merman) recorded a full disco album. What's more scary is that Amazon.com has it for sale as a CD! Click on the links - if you dare!
Around Christmas 1976, a bright young guy by the name of Vince Montana, who was the head of the Salsoul Orchestra, decided the time was right for a Christmas disco album:
To my knowledge, this was the very first Christmas disco anything. Again if I'm wrong, please correct me. The Salsoul Orchestra would later team up with Charo (yes, the "guchi-guchi" girl herself) and release a full disco album and a special Christmas disco single "Donde Esta Santa Claus" in 1978 - the year of disco's peak in popularity.
By 1979, people were pretty much disgusted with disco - Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" might have been the final straw. It was for Steve Dahl, a Chicago DJ who was fired from his radio station after they switched to an all-disco format.
He quickly recorded a parody of Stewart called "Do Ya Think I'm Disco?" and held Disco Demolition Night at a White Sox doubleheader in July of that year - causing a riot on the field and untold damage to the stadium. Many people point to this event as the beginning of the end of disco..
By the time Christmas rolled around at the end of 1979, disco indeed was starting to die off. But it did produce two albums from a group called Mirror Image both released by Pickwick Records in New Jersey:
If disco was dying, this was a Christmas disco shotgun, both barrels blazin'! Not surprisingly, these two albums were combined into a 2 record set in the UK and released at Christmas 1980 entitled "Non Stop Christmas Party". This was eventually turned into a long playing CD (which I do own and I won't bore you with another Christmas disco picture).
By all accounts, disco died in 1980. For six years, it ruled not only the radio airwaves, it took hold on television ("Dance Fever" with Deney Terrio) movies ("Saturday Night Fever", "Thank God It's Friday"), and fashion (disco shirts & pants, white polyester).
This album by the Mistletoe Disco Band was released to little or no fanfare at the end of 1980. It's your standard fare of strings, synthesizers, cop whistles, and that driving disco beat. I wish I could pick out a favorite track on this album - each song brings a unique quality that must be heard to be appreciated.
Looks like Amazon and iTunes have this album available for download - therefore I've taken down my download link. If you really want this album, click on the links to purchase far better versions of the music that I ripped and shared!
Some free advice: You don't have to wear an open front, form-fitting silk shirt with bell bottom polyester slacks, replete with platform shoes and gold chains around your neck to listen to this album... But it doesn't hurt either.
I'll be sharing other goodies in the upcoming weeks. A "Christmas In July" indeed! Until then...
On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...