Sunday, July 12, 2009

Disco Demolition Night

On this date in 1979 the city of Chicago witnessed the infamous Disco Demolition Night, one of the most memorable baseball promotions of all time.
On Christmas Eve 1978, popular morning jock Steve Dahl was fired from 94.7 WDAI when they switched from Rock to an all-Disco format.


Dahl was then hired by WLUP "The Loop" (named after the historical center of downtown Chicago) and mounted an aggresive “Disco Sucks” campaign bent on destroying WDAI.



Despite Dahl’s best efforts, “Disco DAI” performed well in the ratings. So the 24 year old DJ along with Mike Veeck (the son of the owner of the Chicago White Sox) and other station personnel came up with the idea of Disco Demolition.
Fans who brought a disco record to the ballpark would be admitted for 98 cents, a number which also matched WLUP’s dial position. The event took place at Comiskey Park between games of a White Sox/Tigers double-header. Early fears of embarrassingly low attendance were squashed when 90,000 disco-haters converged onto a stadium that held 52,000. After the Sox lost the first game 4-1, during which time the increasingly-rowdy fans got drunker and drunker, the real fun began. Steve Dahl wore a combat helmet and rode around the ballpark in a Jeep. In centerfield a giant box was packed full of disco LPs and blown up which left a hole in the playing surface. People who didn’t get their Village People, KC & the Sunshine Band and Sister Sledge records in the box used them as frisbees and began flinging them through the air. Thousands of fans then swarmed the field, lighting fires and starting small riots. The bases were stolen, the batting cage was destroyed and chaos ruled. Chicago police in riot gear finally cleared the field which was so badly damaged that the second game could not be played. It was later determined that the White Sox would have to forfeit the game to the Tigers because they failed to provide acceptable playing conditions.
Steve Dahl's brainchild really did signal the death of disco. Around the time shards of vinyl were littering the Comiskey Park outfield, most of the Top 10 records on the chart would have been considered disco. By October there would be none. Billboard magazine even changed the name of their Disco Chart to the Dance Chart. An era was over.

2 comments:

  1. Greatest radio promotion of all time, bar none.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Loop Still Rocks To This Day! POW!

    ReplyDelete