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Well the title itself is a misnomer for starters as the disco era was a fairly short period during the mid to late 1970's as disco was eventually ousted from the music scene by Punk and the 80's were ruled by 2 Tone Ska then the New Romantics & synth music at least as far as the UK went any way.
Disco may have lived on into the 80's in America but it was replaced by electro, hip hop then rap followed by House music. Wikipedia even openly admits that disco died in 1979 but also states "the genre continued to be popular elsewhere during the 1980s", probably in less fashionable countries that hadn't adopted whatever was popular from England or America by then. Take it from someone who lived through all 3 decades, disco was dead and gone by the 1980's.
So whats on this album then?
1. High Energy - Evelyn Thomas. This was #1 in a few places in 1984 but can't really be classed as disco even though its origins are rooted there. The tracks title did spawn a new musical genre though.
2. Ain't Nothing But A House Party - The Contours. If this was ever a hit anywhere then I can't find any references to it nor could I find a release year, the song itself is a Motown tune. Definately not disco, not even close.
3. Another Man - Barbara Mason. From 1984, its best position was #45 in the UK charts so it can't be considered to be a hit in any way, shape or form. The Americans said it was R&B and it reached #68 in their R&B chart. So not a hit and certainly not disco.
4. Saddle Up - David Christie. Also from 1984, this album isn't doing very well as far as Disco era tunes goes so far is it? Christie was a French 1 hit wonder & this is it, I could only find 1 chart listing this as a hit and that was the Swiss chart where it was #4. The song itself certainly does contain elements of disco but then the French were always behind trends as far as music went.
5. Don't Stop The Music - Dina Carroll. From 1990 so its at least 20 years too late to be considered disco and it charted in the UK at #84 so it couldn't possibly be considered a hit. It sounds more like a House/Funk fusion if I'm honest, not even slightly like disco.
6. Hit And Run Lover - Carol Jiani. From 1981, it reached #4 on the US Billboard Club Play Singles chart. Its very synth pop & sounds a lot like "Trapped" by Colonel Abrahams or "Searching" by Hazel Dean. Its one of those dance music tracks that was really popular in gay clubs that were still mourning the passing of disco and would buy anything that sounded remotely like it.
7. Hang On In There Baby - Johnny Bristol. Finally after 7 tracks we get something from the 70's! From 1974 it was #3 in the UK but only #4 in the US R&B Charts despite being classed as a soul song, so yes it was a hit but no it wasn't disco.
8. Going Back To My Roots - Odyssey. From 1981 and it was more popular in the UK than anywhere else as it was #4, its best in America was #55 on the US Dance Charts. What you might not know (and I certainly didn't until I reviewed the album) was theirs was a cover version of Lamont Doziers 1977 funk original. Oh and his version is better than theirs.
9. So Many Men So Little Time - Miquel Brown. From 1983 and produced by Ian Levine, the same guy who wrote and produced High Energy. This track was actually the 1st creation in the HI-NRG club music genre made in an attempt to prove disco wasn't dead. According to Ian Levines Youtube entry it was #1 pop in France & Mexico & #1 on the US Billboard dance chart. It failed to chart in the UK, so we liked Sinitta but not her mum? Yep, she was Sinitta's mum!
10. Feet Don't Fail Me Now - Trammps. The only date I could find for this was 2006 and I could find no chart position at all, they were also listed as Soul as well as R&B. So not disco then.
11. We Are Invincible - 501's. From 1984 its another HI-NRG dance track, I can't find a chart position for this either in any countries chart so its unfair to be calling it a hit.
12. Love Machine - The Miracles. From 1975 and it was an actual disco hit too reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 as well as #3 in the UK.
13. Bass (How Low Can You Go) - Simon Harris. From 1988 this was a House track if it was anything but it was a US Billboard Dance #1. So yes a hit, no not disco sorry.
14. Strut Your Funky Stuff - David Christie. The only date I can find for this is 1995 but couldn't find any chart position. The album it was on was tagged as disco and its got quite a disco type sound to it, maybe disco but not a hit.
15. Footsteps Following Me - Frances Nero. From 1991, it reached #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, it only got as far as #17 in the UK Charts. A nice tune but its more Motown/R&B influences than anything.
16. Do You Know The Way To San Jose - Croisette. From 1983 by the looks of it, its a HI-NRG cover tune in the vein of "Never Can Say Goodbye" by The Communards. I couldn't find any chart positions for it anywhere in the world though.
17. We Are Family - Sister Sledge. An honest to goodness actual disco era hit! From 1979 it was #1 on two different US Billboard charts as well as also being a disco chart #1, we didn't embrace it quite as much in the UK as it only reached #7 on its initial release here however it reached #5 when it was remixed & rereleased in 1993. Personally I'd have sooner have had "Lost In Music", its a much better song by them.
18. Easy Love - Vikki Thomas. I'm wondering if they screwed up the labelling of this track as the only thing called Easy Love by anyone with that specific spelling is Vikki Benson from 1983, quite a nice synthy club track very much from the Pete Waterman school of music. It wasn't a hit though.
19. I'm Gonna Love You Forever - Jimmy Ruffin & Jackson Moore. From 1984 its yet another HI-NRG club track but I couldn't find any chart position for it.
20. Third Finger Left Hand - Angie Gold. From 1987 and another HI-NRG track also produced by Ian Levine, to be honest they may as have called this album "Now Thats What I call Tracks By Ian Levine" as there are so many by him on it.
21. It's Too Late - The Core.
22. Searching - Faces.
There is no information on the previous 2 tracks because I couldn't find any reference to either group. If Searching was by The Faces as fronted by Rod Stewart then I could find nothing about them having recorded it. I couldn't even find a group called The Core.
23. Sky High - Jigsaw. From 1975 and more funk than disco but certainly a bit of a disco influence. As soon as they started singing the chorus I recognised the song! They blatantly stole this from David Bowie as its the tune to "Life On Mars" which was written in 1971. This didn't do too badly being #1 in the Japanese Oricon International Singles Chart, it was #9 in the UK and #3 in the US Billboard Hot 100. I didn't know the band were Midlanders or that one of them was from my hometown of Coventry though.
24. Michael Jackson Medley - Ashaye. From 1983, the medley consisted of the following songs - Don't Stop Til You Get Enough,Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Rock With You & Billie Jean. I couldn't find a chart position for it but there was also a 12 inch version which also included Get On the Floor, Shake Your Body & Blame It On The Boogie in the medley.
25. Reflections - Evelyn Thomas. From 1986 it reached #18 in the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart so it was just about a hit but the song is quite a slow ballad type song, definately NOT disco.
26. Fly Me On The Wings Of Love - Celi Bee. From 1979 and it certainly sounds very disco from the intro, it reached #16 in the US Billboard Disco Charts.
If you were going by each tracks best position in ANY country then this album has 6 #1 records but then again it has 11 records that I either couldn't find a chart position for or they actually failed to chart in any country anywhere. Considering the staggering array of possible disco hits available this cd made an exceptionally poor selection of choices.
For an album calling itself a "Selection of Greatest Disco Hits" it has a distinct lack of Bee Gees or Ottowan or Gloria Gaynor. I do get the feeling the album was compiled in a very small European country where perhaps these were all minor hits but the compiler had no clue of the music scene outside his country.
(This review also appears on Ciao)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 High Energy - Thomas, Evelyn
2 Ain't Nothing But A House Party - Contours
3 Another Man - Mason, Barbara
4 Saddle Up - Christie, David
5 Don't Stop The Music - Carroll, Dina
6 Hit And Run Lover - Jiani, Carol
7 Hang On In There Baby - Bristol, Johnny
8 Going Back To My Roots - Odyssey (1)
9 So Many Men So Little Time - Brown, Miquel
10 Feet Don't Fail Me Now - Trammps
11 We Are Invicible - 501's
12 Love Machine - Miracles
13 Bass (How Low Can You Go) - Harris, Simon
14 Strut Your Funky Stuff - Christie, David
15 Footsteps Following Me - Nero, Frances
16 Do You Know The Way To San Jose - Croisette
17 We Are Family - Sister Sledge
18 Easy Love - Thomas, Vikki
19 I'm Gonna Love You Forever - Ruffin, Jimmy & Jackson Moore
20 Third Finger Left Hand - Gold, Angie
21 It's Too Late - Core (1)
22 Searching - Faces (2)
23 Sky High - Jigsaw (1)
24 Michael Jackson Medley - Ashaye
25 Reflections - Thomas, Evelyn
26 Fly Me On The Wings Of Love - Bee, Celi