Global Notes: Love it or hate it, disco has ‘hustled’ the globe for 52 years

October 19, 2011

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(AP/Richard Drew)
In 1978, club goers shimmy at New York's historic Studio 54.

In this week's installment of Global Notes, we examine a genre that may not be as quintessentially American as it seems: disco.

Fifty-two years ago this week, Franzkarl Schwendinger opened the "Scotch Club" in the quiet German city of Aachen. To enliven the atmosphere, he hired the world’s first disc jockey. Inauspiciously, the discotheque era was born.

The phenomena spread like wildfire around Europe in the 1960s. A decade later, New York clubbers discovered "Soul Makossa" by Cameroonian artist Manu Dibango, a track that many consider the first modern disco hit.

To pay homage to the genre's global heritage, Jerome and Radio M host Tony Sarabia spin everything from Italodisco and Nigerian Afrobeat-infused disco to disco-inspired house music from Brazil.

You can hear the tracks and their conversation in the audio link above. But here's a short list of seven great global disco tunes:

Track List

1. I Feel Love - Donna Summer (U.S.)

2. Ein Schiff wird kommen - Lale Anderson (Germany)

3. Soul Makossa - Manu Dibango (Cameroon)

4. Walking On Music - Peter Jacques Band (Italy)

5. Robot Is Systematic - 'Lectric Workers (Italy)

6. Love Affair - SJOB Movement (Nigeria)

7. Sao Paulo - Dj Fist & Rio Dela Dun (Brazil)


Watch the video for "Comanchero" by Italodisco artist Moon Ray


Be sure to download our Global Notes podcast to get sounds from around the world anytime you want.