Disco Inferno

Album: Disco Inferno (1976)
Charted: 16 11
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Trammps keyboard player Ron Kersey wrote this song with Leroy Green. They were inspired by a scene in the movie The Towering Inferno where a disco on top of a building is on fire.
  • "Disco Inferno" was first released in 1976 on the album of the same name. It was popular in dance clubs, but made it to just #53 on the US charts. In 1977, the song was used in the movie Saturday Night Fever, and in 1978 it was re-released as a single, going to #11. The scene where the song was used in the movie was shot at the 2001 Club in New York, where The Trammps would often perform.
  • The raging fire in this song is a metaphor for the musical heat on the dance floor, but the refrain "burn, baby, burn" was also a phrase chanted at the Watts Riots in 1965 as fires raged throughout the Los Angeles neighborhood.
  • Besides Saturday Night Fever, this song has also featured in Ghostbusters (1984), Backfire (1995), Donnie Brasco (1997), and Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001).
  • The Trammps were a Philadelphia group that had their most success on the R&B charts, mostly with disco songs, including "That's Where The Happy People Go," which made #27 in 1976. They came together when two local groups, The Volcanoes and The Exceptions, merged. They called themselves The Trammps after Charlie Chaplin, who was known as "The Little Tramp," and added the extra M to infer they were "superior tramps."
  • The song was covered by Tina Turner on her 1993 What's Love Got To Do With It soundtrack and by Cyndi Lauper on the 1998 A Night At the Roxbury soundtrack.
  • On September 19, 2005 this song was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York City.
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Comments: 10

  • Melinda from AustraliaMegamix from London, that was a funny comment.
    Yup we all remember carrying on crazy with our sometimes synchronised disco moves to this all encompassing song.
    I love how it has that tumbling start. It’s really unusual. Unique.
    Pity that it’s eventual amazing success, came right near the very end of Disco.
    The world discovered this song when it was included on the Saturday Night Fever album. That everyone on the planet bought in 1977.
    Where did Disco groups go after 1979?.
    Well sadly nowhere.
    New Wave and early 1980’s synth pop bands had already started to form.
    The 80’s Generation Xers. And Punks. Who either claimed truthfully or untruthfully to hate Disco. We’re dominating pretty quickly.
    But really if you think about it, 80’s Pop Synth bands like Depeche Mode for example, were really just another generation of ‘a spin on disco’. But they would rather have died than admit it. They were far too busy being tragically cool, political and/or immature to give former artists any compliments. For influence.
    Disco was honest.. almost silly fun. That’s why people loved it.
    Something 1980’s music lacked I used to think.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 27th 1977, "Disco Inferno" by the Trammps entered Billboard's Hot top 100 chart at position #90; it stayed on the chart for nine weeks, peaking at #53...
    Then the following year on February 12th, 1978 it re-entered the Top 100 at #82; and twelve weeks later on May 21st, 1978 it peaked at #11 {for 2 weeks} and spent a grand total of 29 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #9 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    And on January 30th, 1977 it peaked at #1 {for 6 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
    Between 1972 and 1983 the 11-member group had fifteen records make the R&B Singles chart; with two making the Top 10, their other Top 10 record was "Hold Back the Night", at #10 in 1975.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyInteresting fact; stayed in the Top 100 for 29 straight weeks but just couldn't make the Top Ten, it peaked at #11!!!
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiThis is a good song! I didn't know that it came from The Towering Inferno.
  • David from Youngstown, OhA solid disco/soul band from Philadelphia. Outside of Disco Inferno, probably their best song was That's Where the Happy People Go, an extremely catching 1976 song. In the song, the singer used to live a lonely existence until he "eased on down to the disco" because "that's where the happy people go." The correct name of the band is the Trammps (two Ts). They first performed in beat-up clothing to go with the name of the band. But they cleaned up their image, wore those classic red suits popular during the disco era and received some success. Disco Inferno was released as a single at about 4 minutes long. The complete 10-minute-plus song ends the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It adds extra music and a talking part that includes the great line, "I hope you know what I'm talking about. I'm not talking 'bout burning down a building."
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEither by design or default, 'Disco Inferno' was in the UK chart at the same time as Hudson-Forde's Top 20 hit entitled 'Burn Baby Burn'. In 1998/1999, Disco had a mini-revival of sorts in the UK, and 'Disco Inferno' was sampled on 'Burning', a 1998 UK Top 20 hit for 1990s English dance duo BABY BUMPS. Fortunately, the rock and rap revival in 2000/2001 put an end to this so-called new wave of Disco...
  • Megamix from London, EnglandUK Comedian Peter Kay mentioned this song in character as fire officer Keith Laird when he said he had received a letter from someone who had said..."One hundred stories high People gettin' loose y?all gettin' down on the roof" and "Folks were screamin' - out of control" and "when the boogie started to explode I heard somebody say Burn baby burn"! Using this (quite oblivious to its source) to demonstrate the danger of fire.
  • Tim from Charlotte, NcThis is one of the best songs ever to dance to.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrDisco is a joke, thank God it's over.
  • Pete from Philadelphia, PaThe tramps were originally called the Volcanoes in the early sixties. There hit song was called Storm Warning. Pete from Philly
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