Disco (The Forgotten Artists)

By Gary: 

It is not a secret that I was never a huge Disco Fan, but we dressed up and we danced, which I enjoyed.  I would be in my mid to late Thirties when the fad hit, I loved to Dance, but did not like all of the music. 

Now, there were some songs that I liked, so I will just mention a few with the artists that made them famous.  These artists had limited success, but had a few hits.  There were some “Huge” artists that were created by disco, but these artists are the ones that most of us have forgotten. 

I am not trying to criticize the era because a lot of people really enjoyed it.  Trust me, I had some great dances during the Disco Era like everyone else and these were my favourite’s.  I am very aware of the Bee Gees, Village People, Donna Summer, K.C. & the Sunshine Band and the huge artists from the era.  These are the Big Artists of the era, this is about the songs we remember, but most people and radio have totally forgotten who recorded them. 

Just a music note, even though a lot of Disco Music was studio driven, the productions were complicated, professional and all in all well done.  So, from a music standpoint, even though I was not a big fan, the production of some of these songs is just fantastic. [Keyboard synthesizers were heavily used during most of these productions]

Steve Greenberg / Cynthia Johnson and Lipps Inc

This band from Minneapolis made “Funkytown”  #1 in 28 countries around the world in early 1980,

1980 / Funkytown / # 1 /

Rose Royce

This L.A. Band had everybody dancing in 1976 to the main song from a movie of the same name “Car Wash
Live on Soul Train /

Peter Brown

 Actually a very talented singer, songwriter and record producer from Chicago –  In 1978, his big year, he had a #8 hit with Dance with Me.
1978 / Dance with Me /


 A Gay singer from L.A. who actually died of AIDS in 1988.  He had two songs I enjoyed.  In 1978 he would have #36 You make me feel Mighty Real and # 19 Dance Disco Heat.
You Make Me feel Mighty Real /
Dance Disco Heat /


Rufus, was not a Disco Band, but they had one song that everyone danced to.  They were a great funk band out of Chicago and there featured singer was one of my favourite’s, Chaka Chan.
Live on Soul Train
  and 1974

Thelma Huston

Thelma Huston, multi-talented, singer and actress had a #1 Disco song in 1977 .
On the Midnight Special
and the original album cut

Shirley Goodman

Shirley Goodman started in 1956 with Let the Good Time Roll and then in 1975 had this Disco Hit Shame Shame Shame around the world. Unfortunately she left us in 2005.
Live in 1975
and in 1974 as Shirley and Lee
and the original

Claudia Barry

Claudia Barry was a singer and actress, born in Jamaica but lived in Scarborough a suburb of Toronto most of her life. 

In 1979 she had a huge hit Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes.


Honourable Mention “Musique” In the Bush 1978
They were a Studio creation consisting of 5 female singers,  Christine Wiltshire, Angela Howell, Gina Taylor Pickens, Mary Seymour Williams and Jocelyn Brown. 
How did I first hear this song? WELL, I took some customers to a “Gentlemen’s Club” (where women danced) and while they were paying attention to the women, I heard the song, found the disc jockey and got the information on this one and a few others.  Yes, my customers made fun of me and yes I was just a little ridiculous, but music comes first, so sad.
The Sylvers were one of the best groups to watch as they were “slick”.  They were all one family (10 siblings) from the tough area of Watts in L.A.  They had a #1 song in 1974, but watch this 1976 Midnight Special and they were so slick doing Boogie Fever, man they could move
Paul Jabara, was just talented, period.  He wrote “Last Dance” for Donna Summer, he was in “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  He wrote for Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Julio Iglesias and unfortunately died from AIDS complications at the age of 44 in 1992.  I remember waiting for the credits of a 1976 movie called “Mother, Jugs and Speed” just to find out who wrote the opening and closing music. 
It was an obscure disco hit
in 1976.
This one will challenge you.  If you were listening to the radio in 1975, a singer named Gertrude Wirschinger from Austria had a top 10 hit around the world. She changed her name to Penny McLean and recorded “Lady Bump” and it sold millions around the world.
Here is another studio creation, but a lot of Disco was created either in the Studio or driven by the Gay community.  Now this girl, Amii Stewart actually did exist and the production of an Old R&B Favourite was huge and over all not bad, not as good as the original, but not bad. 
Huge Production:
Amii Stewart – vocals
  • Jimmy Chambers – backing vocals
  • Sheen – backing vocals
  • Tony Jackson – backing vocals
  • Gerry Morris – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Adrian Sheppard, Peter Boita – drums
  • Alan Murphy – guitar
  • Barry Leng – guitar, backing vocals
  • Ian Hughes – keyboards
  • Pete Arnesen – keyboards
  • Simon May – keyboards
  • Glyn Thomas – percussion
  • Ken Freeman – synthesizer


  • Producer – Barry Leng
  • Brass arrangement – Ken Freeman
  • Strings arrangement – Ian Hughes
  • Engineering (Marquee Studio) – John Eden, Phil Harding, Steve Holroyd
  • Engineering (Red Bus Studio) – Geoff Calver, Tony Swain
  • Engineering (T. W. Studio) – Alan Winstanley
  • Engineering (Utopia Studio) – Greg Walsh, John Mackswith
  • Mastering – Ian Cooper
  • Recorded at T. W. Studio, Utopia Studio, Marquee Studio and Red Bus Studio
This song was #1 in Canada by a group called the Hues Corporation
In 1974 they released
Initially it looked like it would flop and then it was picked up by the Disco Community and it was huge.
Then there was that John Travolta Movie “Saturday Night Fever” and a group called the Trammps, very slick with Disco Inferno
I’m have just about run out of the forgotten hits, but I will give you ONE more to think about.  This was and actual dance by a very talented musician song writer, Van McCoy.  He had over 700 copyrights to his credit.  Unfortunately he left us after a heart attack at age 39.  This song was recorded with the Soul City Symphony, The Hustle
OK, just one more – another slick group in 1976 called Tavares.  The song Heaven must be missing an angel was huge.
I guess the song that literally defined the disco movement was of course by the Village People
Let’s Dance



6 responses to “Disco (The Forgotten Artists)

  1. And don’t forget the great Tina Charles who had several hits off one album – this was my fave: Tina Charles – I love to love | | Tina Charles – I love to love | |

     Glenda J. Fordham, HPFMT: 416-966-2049Blog/website: http://www.fordhampr.caFordham P.R.If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!     

  2. Sylvester worked with Patrick Cowley – an amazing sound engineer, mixer out of Montreal, Canada. Cowley is one of those forgotten musicians who still influences techno pop & dance music decades after his death.

  3. Yes for many of us this was not our favorite genre. That being said the vocals, dance moves and musicianship were pretty good. Speaking of musicianship you could have included the group Chic performing Le Freak featuring the great Nile Rodgers on guitar.

    • Hi Denny – some musicians felt that Disco was not really “good” music, but you have to admit it certainly got people moving with its huge infectious beat, great hook melodies and lush production techniques. Some musicians cite Disco as bringing death to lounge groups, but that could be just a coincidence with changes in drinking and smoking legislation, as well as increasing popularity of rhythm poetry (rap). – Russ


    The seventies was my claim to fame myfans called me DISCO BABE for the 10 year run on great PITTSBURGH CLUBS 2001 V.I.P.’S and BOARDWALK.
    Records Companies knocked
    on my door with many of my friends working for labels like CASABLANC , BUDDAH and. T.K.
    My all time favorite was A TASTE OF HONEY ” BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE” and “FUNKYTOWN”
    My friend RICK DEES had a million seller with “DISCO DUCK” thanks for RYAN SEACREST his wings were plucked on KISS RADIO
    A toast to you and Russ “HAPPY ST. PATRICK DAY to you and your Irish friends..


  5. After being a DJ at various Toronto area clubs during the early to late 60’s playing R &B, Soul as well as some of the mainstream music of that period the Disco scene was more than a bit of a shock . I dropped out and focused on my day job as i seemed to me that just about everything had changed. Like you I have to admit there were some great musicians and writers who did in fact put out some very decent music during that era.
    Ron Pickford
    ps. thanks once again for the posts and the obvious love and effort putting them together.

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