Disco burned brightly and it burned fast. From some time late in 1975, through the late seventies, and til about 1980ish, it was a disco inferno in America. But the "Disco Sucks" movement started in '79 or so, and by late 1980 to early '81, disco was dead. Well, it was dead in name. But it didn't take long for it to morph into (the brand new) MTV-ready dance music. They stirred in a little punk, a little new wave, a little rock, but disco really did survive, and continues to pop up here and there. But that brief Carter-era window was really ruled by disco. And some of it was pretty great. [Story continues below]
Peaches & Herb's Shake Your Groove Thing was the song that inspired this post, popping up on my CD jukebox (yes, I still use mine) while I was doing chores. It's probably the best of the batch. Labelle's Lady Marmalade was another biggie, later remade for the movie Moulin Rouge. Everybody started getting in on the act. Non-disco act Rod Stewart dipped a toe in with Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? Some singers made their name with disco, but probably none as strongly as Donna Summer. MacArthur Park was an odd choice for a disco remake, but it worked.
The Bee Gees had been an act for many years, but struck gold when they recorded the soundtrack to John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever. Unlike Travolta, the Bee Gees pretty much got stuck in the disco era. As did their brother, Andy Gibb, who had a solo career that included Shadow Dancing. By the end of the era, even Barbra Streisand went disco, teaming up with Donna Summer for No More Tears (Enough is Enough). And given the impact that the Bee Gees had on the era, it's fitting that their Tragedy was pretty much the coda at the end of the era.