Book details
Page count:
Paperback / softback
8.75 in x 6.16 in

When Rock Met Disco

The Story of How The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, KISS, Queen, Blondie and More Got Their Groove On in the Me Decade

Steven Blush

About this book

Disco began as a gay, black, and brown underground New York City party music scene, which alone was enough to ward off most rockers. The difference between rock and disco was as sociological as it was aesthetic.

At its best, disco was galvanizing and affirmative. Its hypnotic power to uplift a broad spectrum of the populace made it the ubiquitous music of the late '70s. Disco was a primal and gaudy fanfare for the apocalypse, a rage for exhibitionism, free of moralizing. Disco was an exclamatory musical passageway into the future.

1978 was the apex of the record industry. Rock music, commercially and artistically, had never been more successful. At the same time, disco was responsible for roughly 40% of the records on Billboard's Hot 100, thanks to the largest-selling soundtrack of all time in Saturday Night Fever. The craze for this music by The Bee Gees revived The Hustle and dance studios across America.

For all its apparent excesses and ritual zealotry, disco was a conservative realm, with obsolete rules like formal dress code and dance floor etiquette. When most '70s artists "went disco," it was the relatively few daring rockers who had the most impact, bringing their intensity and personality to a faceless phenomenon.

Rock stars who "went disco" crossed a musical rubicon and forever smashed cultural conformity. The ongoing dance-rock phenomenon demonstrates the impact of this unique place and time.

The disco crossover forever changed rock.

About this author

STEVEN BLUSH has written five books about rock music: American Hardcore (2001),.45 Dangerous Minds (2005), American Hair Metal (2006), Lost Rockers (2015), and New York Rock (2016)—and one about Billie Jean King's rebel tennis league, Bustin' Balls (2020).

His journalism has appeared in over fifty publications, like Spin, Details, Interview, Village Voice, and The Times of London. Blush was a contributing editor to Paper Magazine. He got his start in the early '80s promoting punk rock shows in Washington, DC, and then moved to NYC in 1986, where he published fifty-two issues of Seconds Magazine through 2000.

He wrote and produced the theatrically released Sundance Film Festival-premiered doc film American Hardcore. His follow-up film with director Paul Rachman, Lost Rockers, about great forgotten rock musicians, came out in 2017.