Buffalo in the 70’s: The early days of disco in WNY

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Far from the cultural touchstone it is today, 40 years ago in the News’ entertainment section, disco was only mentioned twice — but those mentions were big ones.

In 1975, New York City’s Studio 54 was still two years away, but Buffalo’s Club 747 was touting itself as “America’s only superjet disco.” WKBW Radio disc jockey “Super Shannon” was “in the cockpit” playing records and bringing plenty of energy to the microphone and atmosphere.

Hertel Avenue’s hotspot of the 1970s was Mulligan’s. Ads from this week in 1975 offer exquisite detail about one of the city’s hottest clubs, which was only weeks away from opening.

The coming of the disco era saw an overall landmark shift in the increasing popularity of dancing to recorded music in nightclubs.  Live bands were more and more often giving way to record-playing personalities in DJ booths.

Big Bertha’s opened this week in 1975, and while promising live bands like Talas, Weekend and the Road seven nights a week, it’s clear they were also seeing the growing influence of disco, encouraging potential patrons to “Experience (their) electric dance floor!”

Other clubs Buffalonians visited for a good time this week 40 years ago include He & She’s, Gran Zepplin and Steak & Brew.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.