Main | Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Instant Disco History, Vol.1

Voggue - Dancin' The Night Away (6:18) Atlantic 1981

Two Canadian sisters, affecting a vapid image that simultaneously conjured the brittle fashion of the Dynasty uber-bitches and the hair-dont's of heavy metal rockers Poison, somehow delivered an elegant and elegial tome to disco culture, then being dismantled as disco, homophobia and "gay cancer" began their solemn pas de trois.

Breezy, jazzy, chugging and mid-tempo, a quintessential summer record, the track was a full-stop rebellion against the 136 bpm hi-NRG anthems crowding that period's dance chart. Therefore, "Dancin' The Night Away" was a guaranteed floor killer and many DJs would only play it early in the evening. However, the so late it's really the next day gay club scene was having a love affair with dreamy slow disco tracks and "Dancin'" became an eventual pillar of many morning music sets. This track was produced by another Canuck duo, the husband/wife team of Denis & Denyse LePage, better known in discoland as Lime, about whom I'll doubtless write at some time. Even to this day, in their production I hear the early echoes of Madonna's "True Blue", which followed "Dancin'" five years later.

My circle of friends so adored this song, that we actually invented a specific dance for it that we would perform in a half-circle on the edge of the Parliament House dance floor, ignoring the rolled eyes of the hi-NRG queens, impatiently clutching their amyl bottles. (Here's where you visualize the 22 year old Joe doing his "Dancin' The Night Away" dance.)

Voggue followed up "Dancin'" with "Love Buzz" an uninspired copycat record that nonetheless garnered a decent audience. It remains unknown to me whether the extra "g" in Voggue was an affectation or the result of threatened legal action from the magazine of the same name. For some reason, we seemed to speculate on this quite a bit. (I know).

Looking back at the lyrics from the distance of 24 years, my own gay Da Vinci Code finds ominous prediction in the simple words. Retroactively finding tragic portent in the lyrics of disco songs would become a sobering hobby of mine, once fully engulfed in the Plague Years.

Saw you on the dance floor
Telling me you wanna go

As we danced the night away
I wanted you to stay


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