Experience Music Project permanent collection
Record cover for a Donna Summer album featuring the songs "I Feel Love" and "Can't We Just Sit down (And Talk It Over)."
Disco. The very word conjures memories of Donna Summer, The Village People, Gloria Gaynor, the Bee Gees, Halston dresses and shiny shirts, high society, parties and sequins.
While many would like to forget the disco era ever happened, others who love the music and the lifestyle will no doubt revel in the Experience Music Project's latest effort. The Seattle Museum, the brainchild of Microsoft co-founder and Jimi Hendrix fanatic Paul Allen, is the first museum in America to dedicate a major exhibit to disco.
The display combines movie clips, music, interviews with the DJs and stars who helped fuel the disco craze, and artifacts from the era. The exhibit also pays homage to where disco was born: the underground, multi-racial gay dance scene in New York City.
"Like all great parties, disco came to an end, brought down by its own excess," says NPR's Jacki Lyden, in a guest-host appearance on All Things Considered. "Cocaine turned out not to be a wonder drug. AIDS appeared and tamped down the hedonism of some clubs. And familiarity bred boredom — by 1980, there were 15,000 discos in the country."