The shimmer of the cymbals. The slinky grooves. The orgasmic ooohs and aaahs. The salacious come-ons of the divas and queens that changed dance music -- not to mention aerobics -- forever. Disco was pure liberation. Blacks, whites, Latinos, gays, and straights with open minds and swiveling hips came together like a nation under a groove, thrilling to hits like Donna Summer
's "I Feel Love," Chic's "Good Times," Anita Ward
's "Ring My Bell," and Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Shame." Now 80 of those classics -- spanning a decade of decadence -- have been compiled on Rhino's essential four-CD set, The Disco Box
. From its radiant disco-ball packaging to its 50-plus pages of liner notes, this set embodies the spirit of the age like no other release of its kind. Funk-fueled fun like Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music" and Rose Royce's "Car Wash" bump up against crossover classics like Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and Sister Sledge's "We Are Family." Light on kitschy cheese (sorry, folks, no "Disco Duck") and chirping Australian pretty boys, The Disco Box
moves from soul candy (the Jackson 5
, Peaches and Herb) to proto rap (Indeep's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life") and '80s electro (Freeze's "IOU"), chronicling a sound that laid the groundwork for the past 20 years of house, hip-hop, and electronica. Revolution never felt so good.