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1970's Soul / Disco

Early 1970’s Soul


This period characterizes the birth of modern dance music.  James Brown, Manu Dibango, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5 and other Motown artists, the Temptations, Al Green, as well as MFSB were some of the major artists from this period. 


Records were either on an album or if released as a single, available as a 45.  The music was almost exclusively performed using live instruments since synthesized music was not introduced until several years later.  Many of these artists worked as session artists for others and many of these singers began singing cover versions of others’ songs until they found success with their own recordings.


Other relevant songs and artists from this period include:


Get Up - Feel Like Being A Sex Machine and Give It Up Or Turn It Lose by James Brown; Stoned Love by The Supremes; Melting Pot by Booker T And The Mgs; Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield; Woman by Barrabas; Cymande by Bra; The Love I Lost by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes; Law Of The Land by The Temptations; Dirty Old Man by The Three Degrees; Dancing Machine by The Jackson 5; Yes We Can Can by The Pointer Sisters; Love Train by The Ojays; - Brothers Gonna Work It Out by Willie Hutch;


Links to songs which are examples of music from this period include:


Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango -





Mid 1970’s Club Disco


This period represents the young years of modern dance music.  The songs characterized as from the period of Mid 1970’s Club Disco also generally use live instruments and orchestras were often backing up strong singers and/or groups of singers and rhythm sections (a rhythm section refers to the combination of the bass player/guitar player and drummer).  The rich string arrangements added a sense of grandeur and drama to the music. 


Significant artists from the period include Vincent Montana’s Salsoul Orchestra, First Choice, Lolita Holloway, Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Diana Ross, as well as others. 


1976 saw the release of the first commercially available 12 inch single with Walter Gibbons’ mix of Double Exposure’s Ten Percent and the record labels made additional millions in sales.  At the end of this period, independent record labels like West End Records and Salsoul Records began to release songs which influenced the period.


Other relevant songs and artists from this period include:


What Can You Do For Me and Messin With My Mind by Labelle; Express by BT Express; Bad Luck by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes; Free Man by South Shore Commission; Love Hangover by Diana Ross; Down To Love Town by The Originals; My Love Is Free by Double Exposure; Spring Affair by Donna Summer; Cherchez La Femme by Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band, Dreaming and Hit And Run by Loleatta Holloway; Do What You Wanna Do by T-Connection; Dr. Love by First Choice; You Can’t Hide From Yourself by Teddy Pendergrass;

You’re Just The Right Size by The Salsoul Orchestra; Love To Love You Baby by Donna Summer; Love In C Minor by Cerrone


Links to songs which are examples of music from this period include:


He's a Friend of Mine by Eddie Kendricks -

Disco Party by The Tramps -

Love is the Message by MFSB -





Mid 1970’s Radio/Popular Disco


This period represents a cultural swing as modern dance music became accepted by mainstream audiences and radio stations and major record labels and distributors supported the genre.  Live instruments also were regularly utilized and studio influences began to become more obvious in the production process. 


In addition to the artists listed below, Silver Convention, Sister Sledge, and The Andrea True Connection were important artists from this period.  Diana Ross and the Tramps, it should be noted, enjoyed success both in the clubs and also on the radio as they had songs which fit both categories.  The Philadelphia (Philly) Sound became a huge influence on the period with Philadelphia International Records’ large number of releases in both the club Disco and radio/popular Disco categories.  


Links to songs which are examples of music from this period include:


Disco Inferno by The Tramps -

Staying Alive by The Bee Gees -

Good Times by Chic -

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