Wise Women - Earth, Wind And Pyre


20191226 (6M)6 Music Wise Woman Jessica Hynes selects a documentary about the controversial 'Disco Sucks' campaign.

In 1979 the disco industry was worth an estimated $4 billion - more than movies, television or professional sport - and accounted for up to 40 per cent of the singles chart. The same year in Chicago, Steve Dahl, a disgruntled rock DJ left his WDAI radio show in protest at its switch to an all-disco play list. He really hated disco. A switch to rival station, which shared the same owners as the Chicago White Sox baseball team, resulted in an audacious publicity stunt that signalled the death knell of disco.
The promotion was simple: For a mere 98 cents listeners could bring all their unwanted disco records to the White Sox's Comiskey Stadium and watch them being blown up by Dahl and his chums, who called themselves "The insane Coho Lips Anti-Disco Army." Over 70,000 people turned up to offload their disco records and chant, "Disco sucks! Disco sucks!" Thousands were locked out and the riot police were called in to quell pitch invasions.
Recalling the event, Dahl has said: "Disco was a fad probably on its way out but the event hastened its demise." Presenter Candi Staton sets out to uncover if there was a true anti-disco sentiment while legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles charts disco's revenge and metamorphosis into house a decade later. We track down some of the pitch invaders and baseball players to find out how strongly they felt about disco then, and how they view the events of that July evening.

As part of our Wise Women special, Candi Staton recalls the 1979 anti-disco protest.