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June 11, 2004 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-06-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

FUNKY

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
Donna Summer.
Bogart signed Summer
in 1974, and over the
course of the next five
Disco songwriter
years she put out
Linda Creed
many of the most
remembered disco
hits: "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff" and "Last
Dance" among them.
Like Summer, a large percentage of
disco singers were women or black or
both.
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
disco-related stories.
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
the world.
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
alive.)
In 1975, two
Jewish guys, Steve
Rubell and Ian
Schrager, founded
Studio 54, the most
famous disco club.
Studio 54 was a pri-
vate club, so Rubell
could discriminate as
Studio 54's
to its patrons.
Steve Rubell
He reportedly told
a bouncer, "Keep the

FUNKY JEWS

on page 45

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Nate Bloom is the editor of www.Jewhoo.com .

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