Disco is a genre of dance music containing elements of funk, soul, pop, and salsa that was most popular in the mid to late 1970s, though it has had brief resurgences. Its initial audiences were club-goers from the gay, African American, Italian American, Latino, and psychedelic communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Disco also was a reaction against both the domination of rock music and the stigmatization of dance music by the counterculture during this period. Women embraced disco as well, and the music eventually expanded to several other marginalized communities of the time.
The disco sound has soaring vocals over a steady "four-on-the-floor" beat, an eighth note (quaver) or 16th note (semi-quaver)hi-hat pattern with an open hi-hat on the off-beat, and a prominent, syncopated electric bass line. In most disco tracks, strings, horns, electric pianos, and electric guitars create a lush background sound. Orchestral instruments such as the flute are often used for solo melodies, and lead guitar is less frequently used in disco than in rock. Many disco songs use electronicsynthesizers.
Well-known 1970s disco performers included Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Bonny M, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Trammps, Gloria Gaynor and Chic. While performers and singers garnered some public attention, producers working behind the scenes played an important role. Many non-disco artists recorded disco songs at the height of disco's popularity, and films such as Saturday Night Fever and Thank God It's Friday contributed to disco's rise in mainstream popularity. Disco was the last mass popular music movement that was driven by the baby boom generation. Disco was a worldwide phenomenon, but its popularity declined in the United States in the late 1970s. On July 12, 1979, an anti-disco protest in Chicago called "Disco Demolition Night" had shown that an angry backlash against disco and its culture had emerged in the United States.
By the late 1970s most major U.S cities had thriving disco club scenes, with Studio 54 being a well-known example of a disco club. Popular dances included The Hustle, a sexually-suggestive dance. Discotheque-goers often wore expensive and extravagant fashions. There was also a thriving drug subculture in the disco scene, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud music and the flashing lights, such as cocaine.
Disco was a key influence on the 1980s dance music style called House. A disco revival was seen, first in 2005 with Madonna's album Confessions on a Dance Floor, and again in 2013, as disco-styled songs by artists like Daft Punk (with Nile Rodgers),Justin Timberlake, Breakbot, and Bruno Mars filled the pop charts in the UK and the US.