The year is 1978. A rose gold mirror ball illuminates the wooden floors of the roller rink, guiding everyone around the circular pathway as the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack kicks your Saturday night off. It’s summertime, you’re with your friends and ready to groove without a care in the world — what a life!
Short for the French word “discothèque” meaning nightclub, disco was a pivotal era for society. It sought to destigmatize dance music and can be considered a reaction to the rock and roll movement of the 1960s. Emerging in the early 1970s, soul music is at the root of the genre’s origins — specifically Philadelphia’s and New York’s rhythm and blues scenes. The African American, Latino and LGBTQ communities made up the mainly underground movement until it went mainstream, peaking in 1978 before fizzling in 1980.
Characterized by fast tempos, irresistible basslines and reverbed vocals, remnants of the era are still visible in today’s music. British singer Dua Lipa’s uber-successful 2020 album “Future Nostalgia” is a testament to the revival of dance music, along with Doja Cat’s “Say So” and Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky.”
So, are you ready to boogie? Right on! Grab your roller skates and sequined jumpsuit because it’s time to get down to VALLEY’s list of disco beats.
“I’m Every Woman” – Chaka Khan
We’re starting the night strong with R&B legend Chaka Khan’s hit 1978 debut solo single. This powerhouse of a song will make you feel like you’re on top of the world, able to do anything and everything with nothing standing in your way.
“Rasputin” – Boney M.
The instrumental build-up of this song is unmatched. The Euro-Caribbean vocal group, known for their distinctly creative tracks, was one of the most popular of the disco era. The bassline in this song will get anyone on their feet, and after one listen, it’s hard to get enough.
“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” – Rod Stewart
From his ninth studio album, “Blondes Have More Fun,” this was British rock singer Rod Stewart’s first venture into disco music. If you’re not feeling the fantasy yet, this song’s riff will do just the trick. You’ll get lost in the ever-so-hidden bass guitar, skating circles around everyone.
“Lay All Your Love On Me” – ABBA
Now that the night is in motion, it’s time we use our vocal cords. This electro-disco song is another hit of many from the Swedish group’s star-studded discography. Its alluring anthem-like chorus will undoubtedly shake the room.
“Stayin’ Alive” – The Bee Gees
It isn’t a disco playlist without this gem. The smooth funk of the song will get you strutting to your own beat, like that of the Gibb brothers in the music video. Oh-so-seamless, the synergy of the layered instrumentals and vocals are, making this the ideal tune to get your groove on.
“Hot Stuff” – Donna Summer
The Queen of Disco herself. The late Donna Summer will have you hooked from the first note, twirling in her contagious energy and rocking out to the guitar solo, feeling the nightlife as it comes alive.
“Levitating” – Dua Lipa
Are we defying the space-time continuum in this roller rink? It’s only fitting. As this song begins, the light reflecting off the disco ball looks reminiscent of glitter. This track is arguably perfect for a roller disco, with its infusion of enchanting synthetic beats and space-inspired lyrics giving you all the more energy to keep the night going. Not to mention the bassline is captivating.
“Leave The Door Open” – Silk Sonic
It’s time we take things slow with the suave charm of super-duo Silk Sonic, comprised of acclaimed artists Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars. The harmonious delicacies of this song are borderline magical, smoother than silk and an instant classic.
“Dynamite” – BTS
Can you hear the bass boom? The South Korean boy group BTS oozes radiance in bursts of vivid color throughout this song, filling your heart with nothing but inexplicable joy. VALLEY won’t blame you for picking up speed on your rollerskates when the funk just becomes too good — gliding like it’s nobody’s business. The group attested this notion by performing the song in a roller rink on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in October 2020.
“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire
When this comes on, suddenly all is good in the world, and all of your problems subside even if it’s just for three and a half minutes. It’s an example of timeless feel-good music. The excitement you feel when those celebratory horns blare is enough to make you start rollerskating backward, feeling invincible and ending the night on a high note.
Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, to let us know which disco song is your favorite!