A lot of us weren’t alive when this amazing anti-disco rally occurred on July 12, 1979 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Chants of “disco sucks” were heard throughout the stadium when local disc jockey Steve Dahl of WLUP-FM took the field with his army of anti-disco supporters.
And it got completely out of control.
Mike Veeck, who was the Chicago White Sox promotions director, had this to say about the idea of having “disco demolition night” in between a day-night doubleheader between Chicago and Detroit Tigers (via Ultimate Classic Rock).
I was just mesmerized by the fact that we drew 20,000 people. At the end of the night a record plugger named Jeff Schwartz and I were talking about drawing 20,000 to listen to this terrible music. I said, ‘We ought to have a night for people who hate disco, an anti-disco night.
The idea backfired big time as riots broke out at Comiskey Park that evening.
Fans were climbing the walls as explosives blew up numerous records in trash cans. One such explosion blew a hole in the outfield turf. A total of 60,000 showed up for the event, which got out of control relatively quickly. Only 50 off-duty police officers were on hand in order to help quiet the storm. Unfortunately, 20 of them had to take to the field in order to stop the crowd from rioting even more.
The field was eventually cleared after riot police took the situation into their own hands.
Tigers manager Sparky Anderson later called American League president Lee MacPhail in order to figure out what to do about the second game of the twin bill, which had been postponed due to the conditions of the field. MacPhail then forced Chicago to forfeit the game 9-0 because the organization did nothing to provide acceptable playing conditions.
A total of 39 people were arrested.
After watching the following video, it’s hard to blame the fans for rioting. Disco was REALLY bad, guys/gals.
In all seriousness, imagine if a situation similar to this happened today. No, don’t get any ideas.
Photo: NY Times