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Style of dance music that arose in the mid-1970s, characterized by hypnotic rhythm, repetitive lyrics, and electronically produced sounds. Disco (short for discotheque) evolved largely from New York City underground nightclubs, in which disc jockeys would play dance records for hours without interruption, taking care to synchronize the beats so as to make a seamless change between records. Artists such as Donna Summer, Chic, and the Bee Gees had many hits in the genre, which peaked with the release of the film Saturday Night Fever (1977). Disco faded quickly after 1980, but its powerful influence, especially its sequenced electronic beats, still continues to affect much of pop music.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on disco, visit Britannica.com.