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Disco is an up-tempo style of dance music that originated in the early 1970s, mainly from funk popular with black audiences in large U.S. cities, and derives its name from the French word "discotheque".

Slightly earlier, a "disco" also meant a club where people went to dance to pre-recorded music (on disc records) played by a disc jockey, as opposed to live music, see below.

Like all such musical genres, defining a single point of its development is difficult, as many elements of disco music appear on earlier records (such as the 1971 theme from the movie Shaft[?] by Isaac Hayes); in general it can be said that first true disco songs were released in 1973. One of the earliest was "The Love I Lost" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes[?]. Initially, most disco songs catered to a nightclub/dancing audience only, rather than general audiences such as radio listeners. 1975 was the year when disco really took off, with hit songs like "The Hustle" and "Love To Love You Baby" reaching the mainstream.

Disco's popularity peaked in the so-called Disco era of 1977 - 1980, driven in part by the late-1977 film "Saturday Night Fever".

Instruments commonly used by disco musicians included the rhythm guitar, bass, strings (violin, viola, cello), string synth (a type of organ), trumpet, saxophone, trombone, piano, and drums (sometimes using an auxiliary percussionist as well as somebody on a drum kit). Most disco songs have a steady four-on-the-floor beat (sometimes using a 16-beat patern on the hi-hat cymbal, or an eight-beat pattern with an open hi-hat on the "off" beat) and a heavy, syncopated bassline. Disco also had a characteristic electric guitar sound.

Among the most popular disco artists of the 1970s were The Bee Gees, Chic, Sister Sledge, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Boney M, The Village People, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Voyage[?], Salsoul Orchestra[?], The Trammps[?], Blondie, and Barry White. Many rock artists, from The Eagles to The Rolling Stones, discofied some of their songs.

Disco music diverged from the self-composed and performed rock of the 1960s, seeing a return (though not universally) to the influence of producers who hired session musicians to produce hits for different artists whose role was purely to sing and market the songs. Top disco music producers included Patrick Adams[?], Alec Costandinos[?], Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards[?], Quincy Jones, Kenton Nix[?], François Kevorkian, Meco Monardo[?], Greg Diamond[?], Giorgio Moroder, Tom Moulton[?], and Vincent Montana Jr[?].

In the early 1980s, George Benson, Patrice Rushen[?], Brothers Johnson, Commodores, The S.O.S. Band[?], and many other artists created disco classics. After 1980, however, disco music morphed into other forms, including house and Hi-NRG[?], and much of the general public lost interest in disco, giving rise to the phrase "Disco is dead."

In the 1990s a revival of the original disco style began and is exemplified by Jamiroquai's 1996 release "Cosmic Girl" and a number of attempts by artists like Cher ("Strong Enough") and The Spice Girls ("Never Give Up on the Good Times").

At the beginning of the 2000s, there were disco releases by Ultra Nate[?] ("I Don't Understand It"), Jamiroquai ("Love Foolosophy"), Sophie Ellis Bextor[?] ("Murder on the Dancefloor"), The Company[?] ("Should I Let Him Go?"), and several other artists.

Disco artists:

A disco is a place where revellers congregate to socialise, also known as discotheque (see above), 'nightclub' or (especially in the UK) just 'club'. Such gatherings involve music and dancing and in most cases alcohol. Illegal use of recreational drugs such as ecstacy is commonplace in many modern clubs.

Often there are light-effects such as many colorful lights, light going on and off, moving light beams, etc. One common item is a disco ball: a rotating football-sized ball at the ceiling, covered with many small flat mirrors, with a light beam directed on it; the reflections form a multitude of moving light spots on the floor and on the people.

The Whiskey-a-Go-Go[?] night club in Los Angeles, was the first disco in the United States. It opened on January 11, 1962.

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