Disco

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Disco broadened the contours of blackness, femininity, and male homosexuality. African-American musicians and producers experimented with lavish, sophisticated arrangements that didn’t always sound recognizably “black.” Their lush new sounds became the foundation of disco. With this sonic turn, black masculinity moved away from the “sex machine” model of James Brown towards the “love man” style of Barry White. As for gay men, as they became newly visible, largely through the dissemination of disco culture, their self-presentation shifted as effeminacy gave way to a macho style recognizable to anyone who has ever glimpsed the Village People. Feminism’s critique of three-minute sex found its voice in disco, and black female performers broke with representational strategies rooted in respectability. There’s no way to make sense of how we got from Diana Ross to Lil’ Kim without exploring disco.

Alice Echols, author of Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture

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Japan- Quiet Life (1979)

I’m making my way through the entire Japan catalog, and this album is blowing me away! Quiet Life is their third album and shows the band moving away from their earlier glam and rock elements to a smoother and more electronic sound.

This album was described by some as the first ever new romantic album, and the influence that this album had on bands like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet is obvious. Overall this album has mellow grooves and a heavy synth vibe that would end up dominating much of the sound of British pop music of the 1980s.

Track Listing:

01 – Quiet Life
02 – Fall In Love With Me
03 – Despair
04 – In Vogue
05 – Halloween
06 – All Tomorrow’s Parties
07 – Alien
08 – The Other Side Of Life

Choice Quotation

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“Once inside, everybody’s a star. The social rules are simple but rigid: All you want to hear is how fabulous you look, so you tell them how fabulous they look. You talk about how bored you are, coming here night after night, but that there’s no place else to go. If you’re not jaded there’s something wrong. It’s good to come in very messed up on some kind of pills every once in a while, and weekend nights usually see at least one elaborate, tearful fight or breakdown. If you’re 18 you’re over the hill.”

-about Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, 1973

Janice Dickinson

I’ve wanted to dedicate a post to ‘The World’s First Supermodel’ Janice Dickinson for quite some time. While many people see her as a out-of-her-mind reality star, she is easily one of my favorite models of all time. In the 1970s, modeling was full of All American looking models with blonde hair and blues eyes, a la Cheryl Tiegs, Patti Hansen, Christie Brinkley, until Janice came around and shook the modeling world on its head. She was one of the first ethnic looking models to reach supermodel status and her hard-partying, rock-n-roll spirit set her apart from all of the other girls at the time.

I would definitely recommend reading her autobiography, No Lifeguard on Duty. In the book, she’s very candid about her abusive childhood, the not-so glamorous life of a new model, and of course many salacious stories about Studio 54 and the 70s party scene, her many famous flings (Jack Nicholson, Sly Stallone, Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, Liam Neeson), and her substance abuse issues.

But beyond that, and as these pictures hopefully demonstrate, Janice was a fantastic model with the unique ability to look multi-ethnic and totally transform herself for every photo shoot. 



Style Inspirations

Even though the rest of the world is seemingly stuck in the early 90s, at least fashionably speaking, I am firmly stuck in the 70s. Sure, the 1970s had just as many bad fashion trends as the 90s (gaucho pants, polyester, garish patterns, Burt Reynolds’ mustache), but at least they all were original.

Anyway, here are some far out ladies from the 70s that might be inspiring to you as well.

Rita Coolidge

-Rita Coolidge was a singer who dated hotties like Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and was married to Kris Kristofferson. Nice. Totally feelin’ the turquoise.

Carly Simon

-Carly Simon’s casual bohemian/hippie look is eternally in style. Her floppy hat is continuously popular in the spring and summer. Not too sure about the bra-less look that both Rita and Carly are rockin’, but to each their own.

Sara Dylan

-There aren’t many photos of Bob Dylan’s first wife Sara, but she was very beautiful and very stylish.

Random Model circa 1971

-This is a random model in 1971, but the entire look is something that could almost be in the current issue of Elle. The model’s romper, espadrilles, and fringed bag are all trends that have made a comeback in 2009.