I’m excited to share this one. Today’s episode (#130) is all about my favourite subgenre of disco and dance music – Italo. What it is, where it came from and why it’s so enduring.
Italo disco is a European form of electronic disco that proliferated throughout Europe in the early ’80s. It’s a catch all term for 80s electronic pop of mostly Italian origin.
Italo is what happens when disco starts getting made with drum machines and synthesizers – a loveable curio of romantic pop, a tasteless yet tasteful novelty item, A simple music born at a time when music was increasingly sophisticated.
Italo is big fun electronic pop music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is time capsule of a generally more innocent time of bad dancers, keytars, moustaches and chrome-shimmering fashion.
Imagine, if you can, if somebody made a B-movie of the entire disco genre. Music so obviously emotional, it becomes inescapably affecting. This is Italo and its heartstring-pulling magic. It’s not disco, in fact in most cases it’s technically a lot worse, but there is untold charm in the chintz.
Niall and Andrea take you deep into how US disco morphed into Italo, how Moroder and Hi-NRG fits in, the characteristics of Italo disco, the glitz, the glamour and the keytars. Plus, we talk about the Nialler9 Podcast theme song – Red Dragon Band’s ‘Let Me Be Your Radio’.
Patreon members get exclusive access to my 8 hour Italo Disco playlist featuring all of the songs played on this episode, which includes classics like
Doctor’s Cat – Feel The Drive
Mr. Flagio – Take A Chance
La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover
RAF – Self-Control
Ken Laszlo – Hey Hey Guy
Ryan Paris – Dolce Vita
Sabrina – Boys
and many more.
Andrea has a Substack newsletter to subscribe to.
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.