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Remembering 1979’s ugly Disco Demolition Night

On July 12, 1979, shock-rock DJ Steve Dahl unleashed “Disco Demolition Night” and what was supposed to be a wacky promotional stunt to sell discounted tickets to a White Sox baseball game turned ugly. Piles of vinyl records, many by artists of color, were destroyed as thousands of anti-disco rioters, 39 of whom were eventually arrested for disorderly conduct, stormed the field. Dahl has vehemently denied that the event had any racist or homophobic undertones or intentions, arguing that “annexing this event to today’s advocacy is lazy academically and inappropriate geographically” and that what happened should be “viewed in the 1979 lens.” However, for many people that claim was, at the very least, naïve and irresponsible, Chicago house music pioneer Vince Lawrence is one of those people.