The reason the good old days are referred to as good, is cuz they killed! Thirty years ago yesterday, Steve Dahl’s Disco Army, which was dedicated to the eradication and elimination of disco joined forces with baseball wiseacre Bill Veeck to promote the infamous Disco Demolition Night at Chicago's Comiskey Park. The plan:
All fans bringing a disco record to the stadium would be charged 98 cents admission (as in 98.3 FM, The Loop’s radio frequency) for the doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. The records would be collected in a large trash dumpster by the main gate, and the dumpster would be relocated to center field after the first game of the doubleheader, to be blown into smithereens by the commander himself, Steve Dahl. “Stayin’ Alive” and “I Will Survive” would do neither-this was to be the death of disco. On July 11th, Disco Demolition Eve, the White Sox drew just over 15,000 fans to Comiskey Park, filling less than a third of the roughly 52,000 seats in Comiskey Park. By all accounts, the hope was that the promotion the next day would draw an additional 5,000 to 10,000 fans. Three hours before the first game, it became astonishingly clear that all expectations would be exceeded. Read more >>>
The 70s were filled with good old days, in part, because people were less concerned with lawyers and insurance underwriters. Take Ten Cent Beer Night" at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in '74. It ended when "a large number of intoxicated fans – some armed with knives, chains, and portions of stadium seats that they had torn apart – surged onto the field, and others hurled bottles from the stands." Party!
In stark contrast to today, sporting events of yore were fun. Veeck once said, "you can draw more people with a losing team, plus bread and circuses, than with a losing team and a long, still silence." Bravo for circus. Today, everything in sports is too well managed, branded and spun for anything promotionally 'off-point' to occur. The era of flamboyance in sports ownership is gone. Al Davis is finished and should soon be going the way of Teddy Baseball and Mark Cuban couldn't carry Bill Veeck's jock. I still love the soap opera of athletics but professional sporting events suck. Blowing up disco records and having cheap beer brouhahas is more my jelly-roll, and if that ain't American, I'll kiss your ass.
Listen to Steve Greenberg, CEO of S-Curve Records and a former president of Columbia Records, trace the impact of that night.
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