Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Disco Demolition Night

We had an inquiry last week wondering if we remembered "Disco Demolition Night" at old Comiskey Park back in 1979.  
At the time, I mentioned that not only did I remember it, but I was supposed to go to the game!  Instead, I opted to watch it on TV ... and boy, was I glad I did!!!  Nothing short of complete pandemonium ensued ... here's a short recap along with a YouTube video clip as sent in to us last week by FH Reader Frank B:
They were talking about this on Ron Smith's Oldies.
Do you remember it ?
Frank B.
Disco Demolition - Thirty Years Ago!
Thursday, July 12th 1979. At around 8:30 ~ 9 pm.
Visit The Museum of Classic Chicago Television at http://www.FuzzyMemories.TV for more fun!
>>>Heck yeah, I remember it!  In fact, I was supposed to GO to that game!!! Decided to skip it thinking it would be jam-packed with crazies!!!  Ended up watching it at home on TV ... and it was complete insanity.  NOBODY in their WILDEST dreams could have predicted just how out of hand it would get.  And my beloved White Sox ended up forfeiting the game!  That was a first for me.  I can't believe it's been 30 years.  (Actually, 32!!! - kk)  I did a FH tribute to this several years ago ... maybe for the 20th anniversary???  (23rd - kk - see below!)  I can't remember exactly and I can't find it in the archives.  This dates back to the old pre-website, email days.  (But I just found a good-sized chunk of it!!! - kk)  Steve Dahl was the hottest thing on the radio at the time ... EVERYBODY listened to him back then!  Last week he announced that he was starting his own subscription network for his podcasts from home ... it'll be interesting to see just how many people are STILL listening.  (He even had his own TV show here in Chicago back then!)  kk

Meanwhile, I see that this has also turned into a pretty hot topic on Ron Smith's OldiesMusic.com webpage ... so I dug a little deeper ... and can now share this with you! 

So ... without further adieu ... here ... in all its glory ... out of the vintage '60's Shop / Forgotten Hits archives ... is MOST of that Disco Demolition piece from 2002 (along with some 2011 updated comments!)


STEVE DAHL pretty much made Chicago the "Disco-Sucks" capitol of the world back in 1979 when he staged the Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park that ended up with THOUSANDS of fans storming the field (and forcing our beloved WHITE SOX to forfeit the second half of a double header to the Detroit Tigers.)

DAHL was a HUGELY (no pun intended) popular Chicagoland DJ at the time ... and when hard-rock FM station WDAI switched their format to all-disco, DAHL bolted to THE LOOP (WLUP) and began blowing up disco records on the air!  When he decided to have listeners bring their disco records to the Sox game (with the intention of blowing them up between games of a double-header), his fans filled the ballpark (something that RARELY happens at Comiskey...even when the Sox are winning!)
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Back then, Steve Dahl WAS huge ... as famous for his bulky build as he was for his wacky radio show!  And it's true that back in 1979 The Sox couldn't draw ANYBODY out to the old ballpark ... which is probably why Bill Veeck's son Mike was eager to stage such a promotion, knowing full well that Dahl could help to pack the park with disco-hating fans.  Since this piece ran, The Chicago White Sox have put together a number of winning seasons ... including a World Series Win in 2005!  (kk)

To say that things got a little out of hand would be a TREMENDOUS under-statement!  Thousands of fans stormed the playing field and tore the place up ... the second game couldn't even be played ... and the Sox ended up forfeiting the game ... earning yet another famous black-mark in Major League Baseball History!  Believe it or not, that all happened 23 years ago today!!!
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  This piece first ran in Forgotten Hits back in 2002 - kk)

DAHL cut an anti-disco anthem called DO YOU THINK I'M DISCO?, a parody of the ROD STEWART hit DO YOU THINK I'M SEXY?, which went all the way to #5 here in Chicago on rival radio station WLS.  (Ironically, WLS and Dahl's old station, WDAI, were BOTH owned by parent company ABC Broadcasting at the time!)  
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  WDAI ultimately became WLS-FM, which then became The True Oldies Channel and now is back to being simply WLS-FM again. - kk)

While WLS refused to play Dahl's hit on the air ...  he was, after all, a competitor on a different station ... I've got to give them credit for accurately reporting his record sales on their weekly chart (although they listed the artist as TEENAGE RADIATION, the name of DAHL's back-up band, rather than throw ANY free press STEVE DAHL's way!)

I remember one particular evening when JOHN "RECORDS" LANDECKER was playing the most-requested songs of the day and Dahl's record topped the chart ... instead of PLAYING the record on the air, he simply BLEW UP the record on the air ... again, a very fitting tribute to one of Chicagoland's most popular DJs.
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  And TWO Chicagoland radio legends, I might add! - kk)

As a special Forgotten Hit (as well as an anniversary tribute) , we're featuring Dahl's novelty hit today ... which went on to make the National Charts as well, peaking at #58 in Billboard and #61 in Cashbox.