from Vanity Fair

Donna Summer sizzles in sequins on Halloween in Boston, 1978. By Ron Galellaopposite, Grace Jones performs at Studio 54 on New Year’s Eve, 1978. By Waring Abbott/Getty Images.


Boogie Nights


It became known, and ultimately reviled, as Disco. But the music that surged out of gay underground New York clubs such as the Loft and 12 West in the early 70s was the sound of those who wanted to dance, dance, dance—blotting out everything but their bodies and the beat. The author hears from Donna Summer, Ian Schrager, Gloria Gaynor, and others who helped create the strobe-lit, sex-driven, amyl-nitrite-fueled scene, the phenomena of Studio 54 and Saturday Night Fever, and the songs that reverberated into a new millennium.


When we made “Love to Love You Baby,” we knew it was somewhat innovative, but nobody knew people would jump on that bandwagon and all of a sudden the whole world would be going disco.—Donna Summer

After Saturday Night Fever, we wanted to do a poster, with the three of us in Rambo’s bodies, with machine guns, and in the background there’d be a body in a white suit, bullet-ridden, and the mirror ball all shot to pieces. —Maurice Gibb, 1987.

The disco beat was created so that white people could dance. —Bethann Hardison.

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