Joni's Reviews > Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco

Turn the Beat Around by Peter Shapiro
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's review
Feb 05, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: disco
Read from February 17 to 29, 2012

(First reading, 2012) Probably one of the best books about music out there. A little much for me to read every word of - it's quite long, and goes deep into the workings of a lot of names, songs, bands, even movements that I've never heard of. This is bad for the overall accessibility but it shines through that this guy really knows his disco, and that doesn't stop at the music. Shapiro's not afraid to tell the complete story of the modem western world as if it revolved around a mirrorball instead of the sun. I can't wait to sit in front of YouTube and look up a handful of the obscure songs and artists he casually drops references to. There's a whole world to be discovered in here.

(Second reading, 2015) It's three years later and now Spotify is a thing. I went through this again and put together a monster playlist of some 521 songs in the order they are referred to here. I can't imagine how much time this man must have spent listening to disco. Last time I read this I overlooked just how funny it is, especially through the constant name drops of long-forgotten bands that sound made up but are all too real-- Bumblebee Unlimited, The Universal Robot Band, Skipworth & Turner etc etc. Shapiro's quasi-sarcastic trains of thought through the history of music are fascinating. I have much digging to do. Here's the playlist, use it wisely:

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