I was in Greece when Disco Demolition Night happened 40 years ago today.

pete greece
Here I am at The Acropolis in Athens, Greece in July 1979. I missed The Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979.  Pete Kastanes.

Hello everyone. Today I am writing about the 40th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night. When I enrolled in Bogan High School in September 1977, disco music was in full swing. Almost all the kids I knew despised disco music. If you liked disco music at that time, you would be either taunted, bullied, and ridiculed as long you were in school. For me, I liked all kinds of music. I didn’t mention to anyone that I liked some disco songs, because I was afraid I would get the same treatment as I mentioned above. It grew more popular with the release of The 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever and when WDAI-FM 94.7 switched from rock music to disco at the stroke of midnight on New Years 1979.  Right after I finished my sophomore year at Bogan High School in May 1979, my parents decided that we are going to Greece for our summer vacation. I really didn’t want to go because I want to spend the summer with my high school friends. So, on July 1, we left Chicago and headed out to Greece. I wasn’t that happy staying there, but there were a few pluses. The scenery was beautiful, seeing and staying with all my relatives was a lot of fun and the food is awesome. My main complaint at the time was that nobody spoke English. My Greek was really rusty and still is today. Today in Greece is more Americanized, and almost all young Greeks speak and understand English. While we were there, my brother received a letter from a friend we knew and the letter mentioned Disco Demolition Night. My brother and I didn’t understand what he meant. When we returned to Chicago in mid-August, all our friends welcome us back with open arms.  They told us about Disco Demolition Night that was held at Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979, and I was intrigued by what happened that night. It was promoted by Steve Dahl while he was a disc jockey at WLUP-FM 97.9 The Loop. If you brought a disco record at Comiskey Park, you would be admitted for 98 cents. It sounded like a great promotion, but it became ill-fated. It was a doubleheader game and Dahl was to blow up records between the two games. I was told that a lot of people got in the ballpark without having any tickets. The capacity of the stadium was enormous. Once the explosions started, it became sheer pandemonium. Everyone ran onto the baseball field and it was nearly impossible for security to control the crowds. Some people ran away and others got arrested. Some people got injured, but none too seriously. When I started my junior year at Bogan in September 1979, most people I knew in my class went to that night. Most of them bragged about it, and others told me that they didn’t go but wished they had. I told them I was in Greece, and I was unaware of what happened there. In a way, I am glad I didn’t go if I was here in town. I had a good time in Greece, but I’m not like a lot of people who want to go every year. Disco Demolition Night is still talked about to this day. A book was published in 2016. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing that memorable night. Today, disco music is still detested by most people, but newer generations have discovered it and now embrace it. I still listen to it on my Mac using Apple Music. When you do Google search, chances are you would find rare songs that haven’t been heard in years. If you watch the footage on YouTube of this event, some people will either laugh, smile, or be disgusted about what happened that evening. I certainly missed that famous fiasco that day on July 12, 1979. I doubt there will never another event like that in our lifetimes. Maybe something worse, but I hope not. Thank you. Pete Kastanes-Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.