Five 1970s bands who sadly broke up too soon

These bands gave up too soon.
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By the end of the decade, disco had soared to the zenith of pop culture and had already begun its transition into a dated punchline. It’s easy, for those of us who lived through it, to chuckle fondly at its excesses, both musical and stylistic. But just like any music genre, there were things about disco that were as fresh and innovative as the newest of waves. Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band showed, in their brief time on the planet, that dance music could go much farther than throbbing basses and glitter balls.

Formed by New York brothers Stony Browder, Jr. and August Darnell (Thomas Browder), you can see them as predictors of the neo-swing of Brian Setzer and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Or you can see them as Sly and the Family Stone in a parallel universe – one in which peppy disco tunes take the place of sinuous funk. They were eclectic - black and white, gay and straight, boy and girl – and their music reflected that, drawing on influences from the entire globe. They were world music before it had a name.

Their biggest club hit “Cherchez le femme” would have been right at home in a Michel Legrand movie. On “The Gigolo and Me,” singer Cory Dane slips between French and English in front of horns that come straight out of the 1940’s. On “Mister Love,” she references Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. “Transistor Madness/Future D.J.” is a sweet, dancey love song to the radio a decade before LL Cool J served up his tougher hip-hop take on the subject.

Dr. Buzzard broke up after three albums when the brothers wanted to go in different directions. Darnell became a vital producer of new music in subsequent years. Perhaps he needed to break away. Or perhaps they would have accelerated neo-swing and world music by a decade or two had they stayed together.