Donna Summer is the Mother of Science Fiction

Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" was the futuristic dance music song of the late 1970s. But she wasn't the only disco goddess to get futuristic. Disco historian Tim Lawrence told io9 that the music that got the Village People in a sweat was also science fictional to its core. Not only did disco borrow from science fiction, but also changed the dorky spaceship-obsessed genre forever. The secret love affair between disco and Space 1999 after the jump.

Disco producers felt a pulsating urge to create a futuristic sound and atmosphere, says Lawrence, author of Love Saves The Day :

A lot of this had to do with the "other-worldly" space of the dance floor, where a combination of sonic, lighting and drug effects generated a sense of entering into another dimension.


Disco also peaked at a time when America's love for space opera was at its greatest, says Pagan Kennedy, who wrote about disco in her book Platforms: A Cultural Chronicle of the 1970s. The music lifted a lot of its sparkly imagery from science fiction like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Kennedy adds:

Don't forget Space:1999! That show featured the ultimate disco spaceship — every surface was slick and shiny and white and biomorphic. It was as if the astronauts lived inside a giant sanitized intestine.

She adds that disco included "skimpy silver clothes made of that 'space blanket' stuff," and promiscuous use of a NASA font on musical products. "It's hard to say whether space got disco-ized, or disco got spaced," Kennedy says.

Disco disintegrated in the early 80s, but dance culture still embraces the future. Just think of all those shiny raver kids in the early 1990s. Says Lawrence:

Sci-fi imagery has always permeated movements that are interested in changing social circumstances, and images of the future were particularly prominent in Detroit techno. This tradition ... has continued in newer dance genres such as drum 'n' bass and, more recently, dubstep.


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