These video clips document the pivotal events of July 12, 1979 when radio personality Steve Dahl staged a Disco Demolition Night at the Old Comiskey Park in Chicago before a game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox.
After this sad event a riot ensued when the rock fans stormed the baseball field much to the dismay and outrage of Jimmy Piersall and Harry Carey. The batting cage was destroyed, the field ripped apart as well as a bonfire being lit in center field. After 40 minutes the field was cleared by police leading to 39 people being arrested. Unfortunately the field was declared unplayable and the Detroit Tigers were awarded the game via forfeit. (view a news report on the event below).
In 1979 the music industry in the US was undergoing its worst slump in decades, and disco, despite its mass popularity, was blamed. The record industry felt the largely Afro-American and Latino producer-oriented sound did not mix well with the industry’s artist-oriented marketing system.
A&M Records, told the Los Angeles Times that “radio is really desperate for rock product” and “they’re all looking for some white rock-n-roll” Gloria Gaynor argued that the music industry supported the destruction of disco because rock music PRODUCERS were LOSING MONEY and rock musicians were LOSING the spotlight.
Out of the ashes of the “lynching” of Disco by the fans of rock music and the record industry, emerged Chicago’s House music scene, Techno from Detroit and Garage from New York…These art forms are now a multi billion dollar industry that drives the economies of cities in Europe… These economic benefits would have reaped in cities in the midwest if it had not been for a few short sighted individuals…
This quote from DJ Magazine sums it up pretty well…
“Like it or not, house (music) was first and foremost a direct descendant of disco. Disco had already been going for ten years when the first electronic drum tracks began to appear out of Chicago, and in that time it had already suffered the slings and arrows of merciless commercial exploitation, dilution and racial and sexual prejudice which culminated in the ‘disco sucks’ campaign. In one bizarrely extreme incident, people attending a baseball game in Chicago’s Comiskey Park were invited to bring all their unwanted disco records and after the game they were tossed onto a massive bonfire. Disco eventually collapsed under a heaving weight of crass disco versions of pop records and an ever-increasing volume of records that were simply no good. But the underground scene had already stepped off and was beginning to develop a new style that was deeper, rawer and more designed to make people dance. Disco had already produced the first records to be aimed specifically at DJs with extended 12″ versions that included long percussion breaks for mixing purposes and the early eighties proved a vital turning point.” Phil Cheeseman- DJ Magazine