Yesterday morning I posted as my Facebook status “Disco flute fixes everything.” The reason that I posted that is because recently, I’ve been utterly obsessed with what I think is one of the most underappreciated songs of the disco era – Phyllis Hyman’s “You Know How To Love Me.” And it has disco flutes in spades.
I blame Studio 54 Radio on Sirius XM, a free trial of which we have in our car right now. That station plays so many obscure disco hits, you can’t even imagine. I’ve purchased at least 3 songs entirely because I heard them on Studio 54 Radio – “Love Come Down” by Evelyn “Champagne” King, “Can’t Play Around” by Lace and of course, “You Know How To Love Me.” There’s something about disco that just really makes me happy. Those of you that know me are thinking “Duh, Dan, we already knew that” but it’s true. Whenever I think of disco, I always think of the “disco sucks!” backlash, with its burning of disco records at baseball games and guaranteeing that the Bee Gees would never have another hit.
Songs like these remind me of Saturday afternoons in the late 70s and early 80s when Soul Train would come on the TV. I never knew that many of the songs as I was still rather single minded in my love for Olivia Newton-John, but I always felt like I should know them. I feel like they are largely forgotten these days. It’s not surprising for as time passes, the cream floats to the top – in the case of disco, Donna Summer floats the highest.
Phyllis Hyman’s discography is available, by and large, on Spotify and I’ve been listening to the You Know How To Love Me album while I’ve been writing this post. Many of the songs are songs I’m hearing for the first time. It’s only a matter of time before I drop the 5 bucks and buy it on eMusic. Because in these uncertain times, it’s so nice to be able to take a little bit of comfort in something simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. And as for disco, it never really went away – it changed into house and dance remixes and techno, but sometimes you have to go back to where it started.
I found out last night that Phyllis Hyman’s life was tragically cut short in 1995 at the age of 45. Her death was right out of Valley of the Dolls – a suicide using pentobarbital and secobarbital. At least the music lives on.
Disco will never truly die, at least not as long as we have Studio 54 Radio. And for that, I’m happy today. And because someone with the name “Phyllis” was a star. They’d so make her change her name nowadays.