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Episode 1

Episode 1 of 2

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 12 March 2013

In 1979 the disco industry was worth an estimated $4 billion - more than movies, television or professional sport - and accounted for up to 40 per cent of the singles chart. The same year in Chicago, Steve Dahl, a disgruntled rock DJ left his WDAI radio show in protest at its switch to an all-disco play list. He really hated disco. A switch to rival station, which shared the same owners as the Chicago White Sox baseball team, resulted in an audacious publicity stunt that signalled the death knell of disco.
The promotion was simple: For a mere 98 cents listeners could bring all their unwanted disco records to the White Sox's Comiskey Stadium and watch them being blown up by Dahl and his chums, who called themselves "The insane Coho Lips Anti-Disco Army." Over 70,000 people turned up to offload their disco records and chant, "Disco sucks! Disco sucks!" Thousands were locked out and the riot police were called in to quell pitch invasions.
Recalling the event, Dahl has said: "Disco was a fad probably on its way out but the event hastened its demise." Presenter Candi Staton sets out to uncover if there was a true anti-disco sentiment while legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles charts disco's revenge and metamorphosis into house a decade later. We track down some of the pitch invaders and baseball players to find out how strongly they felt about disco then, and how they view the events of that July evening.

Music Played

14 items
  • Image for Parliament

    Parliament Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)

    Debutante

  • Image for Candi Staton

    Candi Staton Young Hearts Run Free

    Disco Fever (Various Artists), Global Television

  • Image for Van McCoy

    Van McCoy The Hustle

    Simply The Best Disco (Various), Warner E.S.P.

  • Image for Esther Phillips

    Esther Phillips What A Difference A Day Makes

    The Soul Years 1974-75 (Various), Connoisseur

  • Image for The Vee Gees

    The Vee Gees Night Fever

    Bee Gees - Their Greatest Hits, Polydor

  • Image for The Vee Gees

    The Vee Gees You Should Be Dancing

    Bee Gees - Their Greatest Hits, Polydor

  • Image for Grace Jones

    Grace Jones La Vie En Rose

    Grace Jones - Island Life, Island

  • Image for Gloria Gaynor

    Gloria Gaynor I Will Survive

    Disco Fever (Various Artists), Global Television

  • Image for Cheap Trick

    Cheap Trick I Want You To Want Me

    Epic

  • Image for Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

    The Best Of Rod Stewart, Warner Bros

  • Image for Bruce Springsteen

    Bruce Springsteen Badlands

    CBS

  • Image for Parliament

    Parliament Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)

    Debutante

  • Image for Cheap Trick

    Cheap Trick I Want You To Want Me

    Epic

  • Image for Bruce Springsteen

    Bruce Springsteen Badlands

    CBS

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