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by Chuck Eddy

July 22, 2013

Disco Metal & Metal Disco

by Chuck Eddy  |  July 22, 2013

Metal and disco are two great tastes that taste great together, which hardly ever happens, or at least hasn't very often since most hard rock forfeited most of its R&B-based dance groove in the late '70s Not coincidentally, this was also when rock fans set disco records aflame at a White Sox game and metal started defining itself as its own little rule-bound world.

Which explains why so much of this playlist comes from metal's turn-of-the-'80s pop side -- a side Iron Maiden and Judas Priest partisans never considered metal in the first place, although not-very-convincing arguments have been made about presumably accidental disco beats beneath those two bands' songs. KISS' 1979 pop hit "I Was Made for Lovin' You," on the other hand, was probably the most intentional disco move any metal band made. And tracks from Van Halen, Aldo Nova, Billy Squier and Loverboy seemed at least conscious that disco was happening, and they didn't mind trying its platform shoes on for size.

The same thing happened from the other direction, when dancefloor acts from Cerrone to Madonna upped the guitar volume. Other artists -- David Bowie, Suzi Quatro, Jimmy Castor, Joy Division, the British spaghetti-prog band Babe Ruth -- managed now and then to bridge metal and disco without identifying as either. That may also be the case with Norway's obscure Titanic, who supposedly played "heavy Uriah Heep-style thrash rock" (according to early metal critics Tony Jasper and Derek Oliver), but whose 1971 single "Sultana" was a fixture in club sets by the early New York disco DJ Steve D'Aquisto. If he were around today, maybe Steve would be spinning German stoner trio Kadavar's "Abra Kadabra" instead; it sure has more in it to move your feet than, say, White Zombie covering K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

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