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Monday, April 3, 2017

Gino Soccio

I've been a huge Gino Soccio fan since 1979.  His string of disco hits are all considered classics now. I feel an affinity to him too since he's an Italo Canadian like I am an Italo American.

As I'm especially drawn to the space disco sound his tunes many of which were in this vein with the added joy of super disco diva vocals made him a favorite.

His two biggest disco hits on the Billboard dance charts, Dancer his debut maxi single in 1979 and Try it Out in 1981 both remained at the top for six weeks making them a couple of the biggest disco records of their respective years.  It's Alright in 1982 managed to stay at #2 for five weeks and was also a major success.  His association with the soul singer Erma Shaw proved to be quite fruitful and brought about some of his best collaborations.

Gino though a huge disco star really didn't get to receive the kudos of a major cross-over to pop hit.  Though Dancer and Try it Out did chart on the R & B charts which is quite a feat in itself, for a white Canadian.  He was also the first artist signed to Ray Caviano's seminal Warner Brothers disco imprint label RFC.  A label which was sort of just coming up as the disco movement was nearing it's end.  Which Gino believes was orchestrated by the rock department guys who were jealous and hateful about the sound and it's aficionado's who were often minorities or gay.

Gino Soccio was also the man behind Kebekelektrik (a huge Paradise Garage record) and Witch Queen two other acts which scored huge disco hits and he brought some disco success to fellow Montreal native Karen Silver.  He was pretty prolific for a disco artist with four full length albums in his three years of charting.  There were also a few singles which weren't on any album.

In an interview with Wresch Dawidjan back in ’78, Gino commented, “The reason I went over to Disco was that it seemed to be the only type of music where I could really be free. There are no limits to what you can do with disco.”  Wresch would later go on to own a very popular dance music record store, 12 inch Dance Music in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. which happened to be on P street in the middle of the gay neighborhood.  I spent a lot of money in that store, and my buddy at the time Matt Drudge worshiped the guy and used to spend lots of time hanging out and shooting the breeze with the employees there.

A fabulous image is Gino Socio at Studio 54.  

His last single release Human Nature from 1985 flopped and Gino Soccio was deeply disappointed.  He basically decided to drop out of the scene altogether.

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