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First Ladies of Disco: 32 Stars Discuss the Era and Their Singing Careers Paperback – June 19, 2013


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First Ladies of Disco: 32 Stars Discuss the Era and Their Singing Careers + First Legends of Disco: 40 Stars Discuss Their Careers in Classic Dance Music + Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco Records
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Diva lovers and disco fans will dig James Arena's new book..." -- Advocate.com

"This book is a fantastic tribute to the women who made the world dance some thirty years ago and still have on their boogie shoes ready for an encore! And hopefully Arena isn't through with disco either, would love to see a sequel!" --librarything.com

"The year's best book...outstanding accounts." --Windy City Times

"Thorough...riveting and detailed journey into the lives and careers of some of the most important women at the forefront of the height of an era...engaging...highly recommended." --SoulTracks.com

"Dust off your platform heels for a strut down memory lane to the Disco clubs."--EdgeBoston.com.

"Interesting and informative reading...most highly recommended." --Examiner.com

About the Author

James Arena, former editor of the pop music magazine The Street, is a New York-based freelance writer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (June 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786475811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786475810
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Arena is a New York-based published author and commentator who has been featured on MSNBC, FOX, SiriusXM, Clear Channel, and other major communications networks. He is the author of STARS OF 80s DANCE POP - THE EUROPEAN EDITION, which features interviews with over 50 international music legends from 9 nations. Arena is also the creator of FIRST LEGENDS OF DISCO and FIRST LADIES OF DISCO, books that placed the spotlight on major pioneering artists of the classic disco music era. James has interviewed over 120 stars of dance music. His first published work was FRIGHT NIGHT ON CHANNEL 9, runner up for book-of-the-year honors at the Rondo Awards. He is a former executive with Bertelsmann Direct North America.

Customer Reviews

It is nice to reflect back to when times were easier and a lot more fun.
amazonite
A “must read” for both die-hard disco/dance music fans as well as those who are newer listeners of the genre.
michael l. metzler
James Arena has a real love for disco music and the artists who toured and brought this music to life.
Cynthia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. McWilliams on July 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having been involved in the disco scene from the beginning, with 25 years as a club DJ in Chicago, Miami and Key West, I had the pleasure of working with many of these great ladies. This book pulls together over 30 of the fabulous queens of the disco. The interviews are all extremely interesting and beautifully interpreted by James Arena. The stories of their lives before, during and after their successes are all truly fascinating and inspiring. There is a lot of information that can't be found in Wikipedia or album liner notes.
More than just a trip down memory lane, the book is an inspiration to any young artist interested in the business, and will leave you scrambling to order (on Amazon of course) any of their available material.
Thanks James for taking the time to give dues to these often overlooked vocalists who have left their voices on popular culture and the collective soundtrack of our lives.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By IsolaBlue on November 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
The disco ball turns, the strobe lights flash, and there's a rush toward the dance floor. In the mind of the reader, many of disco's best moments will be relived again through James Arena's collection of interviews with - and memoirs of - female disco singers from the 70s and early 80s. Anyone who lived through and enjoyed the disco era will be able to relate to the recollections of various disco divas. Just the title of a popular song will start a rhythm in the head of the reader which will have him/her dancing around the living room floor.

It appears that Arena's purpose in writing this book (which is really more of a compilation of various singers' memories) was to honor the women who sang the songs that created some special meaning in his life. It is very obvious that the disco years were very important to Arena and that the music that accompanied his growing up and coming of age hold a place close to his heart. The disco era was magical, particularly for many baby boomers, and there should be a nostalgic-hungry audience for Arena's book. A slight disconnection, however, is that Arena (born 1960) concentrates heavily on the mid-70s to early 80s period of disco, thus missing some of the great club music and beginning disco from the early 70s. Not everyone reading the book will find that their favorite diva has been profiled. That said, Arena did a good job with the women he was able to reach out and interview.

Another focus of Arena's is to make the case that gay clubs and gay audiences meant something just as special to the disco divas as the women did to their largely gay male fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean D Rindge on August 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Arena has written a book that will make a lot of disco lovers happy. He shines a light on 32 of the ladies who sang some of the biggest disco hits. He lets the ladies tell their own stories---their family backgrounds, how they got started, how they felt about disco at the time and the hit(s) they recorded, and what they've been up to in the intervening years. The book contains exactly the kind of information I have been dying to know for a long time. You come away from the book seeing how strong and resilient these ladies are, as well as what nice people they are. There is also a strong theme of faith and love for all people running through their lives. Reading this book helped me realize that the good feelings and happiness that come through when I listen to their music is genuine, and was present during the creative process as they recorded their songs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
James Arena has a real love for disco music and the artists who toured and brought this music to life. He has an abundance of artists, speaking in first person, telling him how their hay days felt and what they experienced. If you like disco and it's artists, you'll love this book. I hear volume 2 is being written now, so if you have a favorite disco star who didn't make it into this book, maybe they'll be in the next. Jim writes with an eye for detail and emotional sensitivity.It is so fun to read about my peers , in this insightful and supportive book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Bunning on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
A book of this nature was long overdue, and thanks to author James Arena, it has finally arrived!
32 stars of the era, including Gloria Gaynor, Carol Douglas, Pamala Stanley, Linda Clifford, Claudja Barry, Evelyn `Champagne' King, Martha Wash, The Ritchie Family and many others finally get the chance to tell their stories. They are all shown to be well-rounded, 3 dimensional people with distinct personalities, offering informed opinions and insights based on their experiences during this exciting musical era. You will also be able to read about their lives and careers before and after disco ruled the music charts.
The ladies clearly relished the chance to tell their stories, and there is a lot of information which has never appeared in print before. For instance, if you've always wondered why the complete line-up of The Ritchie Family changed overnight, you will finally find some answers here - from the group members themselves.
If you love the music of the disco era, and the divas who made it hot, you won't want to miss this well written, informative and entertaining book!
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