Jewish performers who began their
careers entertaining at a gay bathhouse.
In the next few years, from 1971-
1975, disco emerged out of the New
York underground as DJs and record
producers (gay, black, Puerto Rican,
Jewish, etc.) created danceable mixes
combining many influences.
One of those influences was the
"smooth Philly soul sound." Linda
Creed, a white Jewish Philly woman,
was the co-writer of smooth Philly hits
like "Stop, Look and Listen (To Your
Heart)," "I'm Stone in Love with You"
and "Rubber Band Man."
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JEWS from page 36
The most important disco label was
Casablanca, founded by Neil Bogart, a
nice Brooklyn Jewish boy.
Bogart heard a little
single called "Love to
Love You Baby, " by a
black singer named
Bogart signed Summer
in 1974, and over the
course of the next five
years she put out
many of the most
hits: "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff" and "Last
Dance" among them.
Like Summer, a large percentage of
disco singers were women or black or
Summer was atypical, however,
because she had many hits. Most disco
artists were one-hit wonders, probably
because the producer — not the per-
former — dominated the music form.
Another exception to the one-hit rule
was the Village People, a group Bogart
helped put together. They scored with
such hits as "YMCA" (with its gay sub-
text) and "Macho Man."
Meanwhile, Bogart, who died of can-
cer in 1982, produced the disco movie
Thank God Its Friday (1978), a series of
Summer's performance of "Last
Dance" is the highlight of the flick.
Jewish actor Jeff Goldblum appears as a
disco owner/lothario. Jewish actress
Valerie Landsburg, best-known for
Fame, has a large supporting role in the
film, and another Jewish actress, Debra
Winger, appears in a small part.
Meanwhile, Regine landed on
American shores in 1976 and opened up
a New York City club. At her peak, she
had 19 clubs in a dozen cities around
Her clubs were an upscale world pret-
ty far removed from Bill Graham's
grunge palaces. And it certainly didn't
hurt her clubs when, in 1979, she sang a
French version of "I Will Survive" that
hit the tops of the European charts.
(Regine's chain would fade over the next
two decades, but she is still very much
In 1975, two
Jewish guys, Steve
Rubell and Ian
Studio 54, the most
famous disco club.
Studio 54 was a pri-
vate club, so Rubell
could discriminate as
to its patrons.
He reportedly told
a bouncer, "Keep the
on page 45
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Visitors will be able to hear the evolution of disco music and see original album
artwork at different listening kiosks throughout the exhibit "Disco: A Decade
of Saturday Nights" at Henry Ford Museum.
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Nate Bloom is the editor of www.Jewhoo.com .