Sunday, April 24, 2005

Saturday Night Forever?

Okay, don't get mad at me, but this weekend I finally watched Saturday Night Fever (1977) for the first time.

The familiar dance film featuring Tony Manero, played by a young John Travolta, chases his aspirations for life through his joy of dancing on the night floor at Club Odyseey 2001. Outside the club, he's a nobody working a dead-end job in a local Brooklyn paint store. But inside the club, on the dance floor, Tony is a king and treated like such. Yet the movie shifts into various changes that proves to be relational and possess a strong significance even today, after all these years. And believe it or not, this film, which surrounds the hated genre of disco music, still outshines some of the greatest movies released during the late 70s.

I don't know why I, for the first time, viewed Saturday Night Fever...or desired to see the movie after all these years. The cashier at my local Wal-Mart looked at me with a puzzled and confused stare; as if I was related to Bin Laden when I handed her my copy of Saturday Night Fever for purchase. She immediately thought that I had the "night fever" after viewing the dance/disco show of FOX's American Idol (yeah, that was the same show that caused Anwar Robinson to finally go home). But it wasn't that. I just felt like watching it and owning a piece of music history.

You gotta give it to Robert Stigwood and his Saturday Night creation for what it did to suburban America. Disco was a fad that was part of urban America and was a way of escape from all of the toils and heartache during the difficult 70s (remember the high gas prices, Watergate, Vietnam). This movie helped revolutionize America to dance their pain off their shoulders. And finally, you could hear various music styles ranging from Euro-disco to classical, from jazz to funk, from pop to rock joining together to make music that helped individuals across America smile again.

After watching the dark, yet engaging film of Saturday Night Fever, I pause and wonder if disco, in all of its glory, revisited us today. Yes, we have many alterations of disco music with us; which include house, hi-NRG, techno, garage and other dance/club styles, but what if we had real music with real musicians to return into the studios and put out music like this once again, could be become the "one nation under a groove" that we once used to claim.

This week I sit here listening to "One Nation Under A Groove", performed by George Clinton and Funkadelic. And I remember when everyone jammed to the funk, to the sounds of the early synths and the message that help unite cultures and diversities. Also this week, hundreds of individuals will be engaging their ears to Kurt Carr's "One Church" project. I just hope that Kurt Carr can pull off what he intended to do (unite cultures and make a project appealing to all...while also making money) can do for gospel and Contemporary Christian and Southern Gospel and...the list goes on...what Parliament for secular music.

For those individuals that considered disco music to be a vain lifestyle only full of druggies, homosexuals, sinners, they are misguided and dangerously misdirected.

If they only knew.

Watch out church folkz, I got the FEVER.


Rod said...

It was a fun movie. It was a fun time. Hey! That club is still open in Brooklyn, with the lights on the floor!

Qamar said...

That film holds up surprisingly well. It transcends the era and its association with "disco."

Part of the reason disco got such a bad rap is that most of the critics were raised on 50's rock and roll and 60's Beatlemania. Basically, they were aging white men who prefered music that sounded (and looked) more like what they were used to.

The racial element was a factor and affected pop radio well into the 80's.