The Best Disco In Town

Album: Arabian Nights (1976)
Charted: 17
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • 1976 marked a turning point in the Philadelphia music scene, as the soul sounds is was famous for gave way to disco. The Ritchie Family was comprised of two members of the Philly group Honey & The Bees, and was named after their producer Ritchie Rome, who was shepherding them into the disco era.

    The song's lyricist was Phil Hurtt, whose compositions ("I'll Be Around" by The Spinners, "Mama Never Told Me" by Sister Sledge) were often poignant tales of life's defining moments. This song, however, is about a visit to the hot dance club, a place where "If you make a request, the DJ will do his best." The lyric is trite and filled with buzzwords from the era ("boogie," "groove"), but Hurtt had to make a living. "It was less of a challenge because it was supposed to be fun and camp," he told us. "Those things are easier to do. What I have to do is pull back a bit and allow what the producer is asking for, which is not as as serious or meaningful as the material I would like to write. It's a little bit different."
  • This was one of the first songs to feature a medley of hits within the song, and the first hit song to do so ("Stars On 45 Medley," released in 1981, went to #1 US using this technique).

    The songs in the medley were not sampled, but recreated by the backing musicians, which was a group called Gypsy Lane. The first song in the medley is "Reach Out I'll Be There" by The Four Tops. This is followed by some Philadelphia Soul songs: "I Love Music" by The O'Jays, "Bad Luck" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" by MFSB. Next is "Fly, Robin, Fly" by Silver Convention and finally "Brazil," which was The Ritchie Family's first single.
  • Ritchie Rome and Jacques Morali produced this song and co-wrote it with Phil Hurtt and Henri Belolo. Morali and Belolo thrived in the disco era, unleashing the Village People on America a year later with help from Hurtt, who wrote songs for the group's first EP - it was during sessions for the Arabian Nights album when they started forming the concept for the Village People (Gypsy Lane once again provided the backing tracks). Morali and Belolo were French, and the "The Best Disco In Town" production was their first production in America.
  • Two guys sang backup on this track: Buddy Turner from the Corner Boys, and the song's co-writer Phil Hurtt.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 22nd 1976, "The Best Disco In Town (Medley)" by the Ritchie Family entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #81; and on November 21th, 1976 it peaked at #17 {for 2 weeks} and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #12 on Billboard's R&B Singles...
    And Surprise! Surprise!; on August 1st, 1976 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
    The studio assemblage had two other Top 100 records; "Brazil" {#11 in 1975} and "I Want to Dance With You (Dance With Me)" {#84 in 1975}.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gary Numan

Gary NumanSongwriter Interviews

An Electronic music pioneer with Asperger's Syndrome. This could be interesting.

Michael Bolton

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Movie Stars In Music Videos

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Jon Anderson

Jon AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Jon Anderson breaks down the Yes classic "Seen All Good People" and talks about his 1000 Hands album, which features Chick Corea, Rick Derringer, Ian Anderson, and many other luminaries.

Ian Gillan of Deep Purple

Ian Gillan of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan explains the "few red lights" in "Smoke On The Water" and talks about songs from their 2020 album Whoosh!