Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture
by Alice Echols
Norton. 338 pages, $26.95
COMPARED TO MOST musical genres, disco ascended, flourished, and fizzled in a remarkably brief period from roughly the mid-1970’s until the early 80’s. It’s fair to say that disco didn’t even enjoy a solid decade of widespread popularity. Of course, those dates are debatable, and it all depends on how you define disco. And while disco’s reign was quick and fleeting (not to mention conflicted) in the U.S., it fared much better overseas. Alice Echols’ Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture offers a history of the disco era, but as the book’s title indicates, it’s more an interpretive, cultural history than a “who-what-where-when” catalog of disco’s origins, performers, and songs.