Celebrating other “Firsts” From The Dance Fever Dispatch

The Ultimate Disco Cruise will set sail in February for the very first time ever. In the spirit of our inaugural cruise, we had some fun putting together a list of other disco “firsts” to help get our “Celebration” going.


The word disco (and discotheque) began popping up in vocabularies around the world in the late 1950s, describing the nightclubs that began playing records instead of hiring live bands. In 1960, The Atlantic magazine described a Parisian discotheque and by 1964 Playboy magazine referred to disco clubs in Los Angeles. Did you know that for a short period of time in the mid- sixties, disco and discotheque also described a style of dress that fashionable women wore?


Rolling Stone magazine is credited with running the first article about disco.


The first disco radio show debuted in New York City in WPIX. Ever wonder what songs would it have played? There seems to be quite a debate about what those very first disco songs were.

Among the contenders:

  • “Dance To The Music” by Sly and the Family Stone (1968)
  • “One Night Affair” by the O’Jays (1969)
  • “Theme from Shaft” by Isaac Hayes (1971)
  • “Love Train” by the O’Jays (1972)
  • “Win, Place or Show” by The Intruders (1972)
  • “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango (1972)

*Fun fact: “Soul Makossa” was sampled in Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’’ and Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”


Billboard magazine launches the Disco Action chart in November, topped by the Ultimate Disco Cruise’s Gloria Gaynor and her hit “Never Can Say Goodbye.”


DJ Walter Gibbons is credited with crafting the first dance remix when he was hired by Salsoul Records to rework “Ten Percent” by Double Exposure and started a creative movement that lives on today.


We think we’ve pinpointed the very first movie soundtrack to embrace disco, and it features the Ultimate Disco Cruise’s very own Rose Royce. When “Car Wash” was released to theaters in 1976, the soundtrack that accompanied it was also Rose Royce’s debut album, gave the group a #1 single and won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album.

By 1977, disco filled the soundtracks for blockbusters like “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and got top billing in “Saturday Night Fever.” Even the theme songs to “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” received disco makeovers that year.


Karen Lustgarten publishes the best-selling “The Complete Guide To Disco Dancing!” after teaching disco dance moves in San Francisco for five years.


Gloria Gaynor leads the disco era yet again, this time winning the first – and only – Grammy Award for the Best Disco Recording, honoring “I Will Survive.”

And disco kept on hitting new milestones in the decades that followed, including the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” The song launched a thousand stadium waves when the Yankees spotted a few fans dancing the song’s trademark moves during spring training in 1996 and decided to bring it to Yankee Stadium that season. By 2008, a world record was set when 44,148 people danced to the largest, longest performance of “Y.M.C.A.” at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, TX.

We can’t wait to hear all about your first memories of disco when we’re all aboard the Ultimate Disco Cruise!