Disco Inferno

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For other uses, see Disco Inferno (disambiguation).
"Disco Inferno"
Single by The Trammps
from the album Disco Inferno
B-side "You Touch My Hot Line"
Released December 28, 1976
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1976
Length 10:54 (album version)
3:35 (radio edit)
Label Atlantic
The Trammps singles chronology
"Ninety-Nine and a Half"
"Disco Inferno"
"I Feel Like I've Been Livin' (On the Dark Side of the Moon)"
Saturday Night Fever track listing
"Disco Inferno"
Single by Tina Turner
from the album
What's Love Got to Do with It
B-side "I Don't Wanna Fight" (Single edit)
Released July 12, 1993
Format CD Single
Recorded 1993
Genre Pop
Length 4:03
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Leroy Green, Ron Kersey
Producer(s) Tina Turner, Chris Lord-Alge, Roger Davies
Tina Turner singles chronology
"I Don't Wanna Fight"
"Disco Inferno"
"Why Must We Wait Until Tonight"
"Disco Inferno"
Single by Cyndi Lauper
from the album A Night at the Roxbury
Released August 3, 1999[1]
Recorded 1999
Genre Pop
Label Jellybean Records
Writer(s) Leroy Green, Ron Kersey
Producer(s) Cyndi Lauper, Mark Saunders, Jan Pulsford
Cyndi Lauper singles chronology
"Early Christmas Morning
"Disco Inferno"

"Disco Inferno" is a 1976 song by The Trammps from the album of the same name. With two other cuts by the group it reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in early 1977, but had limited mainstream success in the U.S. until 1978, after being included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, when a re-release hit number 11 on the Hot 100.[2][3]

It was also notably covered by Cyndi Lauper on the A Night at the Roxbury soundtrack[4] and Tina Turner on the What's Love Got to Do with It soundtrack.[5]

The refrain is not to be confused with the saying "Burn, Baby, Burn" which was used to refer to the Watts Riots.

Song information[edit]

The song was originally recorded by The Trammps in 1976 and released as a single. It was inspired by a scene in the 1974 blockbuster film The Towering Inferno in which a discotheque is caught in the blaze.[6] According to Tom Moulton, who mixed the record, the Dolby noise reduction had been set incorrectly during the mixdown of the tracks. When engineer Jay Mark discovered the error and corrected it, the mix had a much wider dynamic range than was common at the time. Due to this, the record seems to "jump out" at the listener. With "Starvin'" and "Body Contact Contract", it topped the U.S. Disco chart for six weeks in the late winter of 1977.[7] On the other US charts, "Disco Inferno" hit number nine on the Black Singles chart, but it was not initially a significant success at pop radio, peaking at number fifty-three on the Billboard Hot 100.[8]

"Disco Inferno" gained much greater recognition once it was included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, this time in extended form, running nearly 11 minutes.[9] Re-released by Atlantic Records, the track peaked at number eleven in the U.S. during the spring of 1978, becoming The Trammps' biggest and most-recognized single. Later, it was included in the Saturday Night Fever musical, interpreted by the 'DJ Monty' in the "Odissey 2001" discothèque.

The song also became an unofficial theme song for former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams. It was often played at old Yankee Stadium while the scoreboard and video systems displayed the phrase "Bern Baby Bern", a play on the song's refrain and Williams' first name.[10]

In 1996, "Disco Inferno" was included on the soundtrack to the cult comedy film Kingpin, and featured in two pivotal scenes in which Roy Munson (played by Woody Harrelson) confidently strolls into a bowling alley. The song was also used in the trailer to the Adam Sandler comedy Bedtime Stories. In 2006, the extended version was featured on a remastered version of the Ghostbusters soundtrack.[11]

On September 19, 2005, "Disco Inferno" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.[12]

Cover versions[edit]

Tina Turner version[edit]

Tina Turner covered the song in 1993 for the What's Love Got to Do with It soundtrack and it charted at number twelve in the UK Singles Chart, 4 places higher than The Trammps' version (number 16). The single included remixes by The Beatmasters.

Versions and remixes[edit]

  • Album Version - 4:03
  • 12" Version - 5:33
  • 12" Dub - 6:57

Cyndi Lauper version[edit]

Lauper performed this song live for the first time at New York, Bryant Park on June 21, 1998.

In the Billboard magazine dated May 16, 1998 in the "Dance Trax" column, there was a story on remixers Bobby Guy and Ernie Lake, aka Soul Solution: "They are working with Cyn on a chest-pounding rendition of 'Disco Inferno'. The cut will be featured on the forthcoming soundtrack to A Night At Roxbury."

Although the original release date of the maxi single was August 3, 1999, it was distributed from July 24 in some regions. The single was officially released in the U.S. on December 16, 1999. Lauper performed it at many shows around the time of its release.

Official versions[edit]

  1. Boris & Beck Roxy Edit Dub
  2. Boris & Beck Roxy Dub
  3. Club Mix
  4. Rescue Me Mix
  5. Soul Solution A Capella
  6. Soul Solution Drumapella
  7. Soul Solution Mix
  8. Soul Solution Radio Edit


Year Recipient Award Result
1999 "Disco Inferno" Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording Nominated

Other cover versions[edit]


  • Fast Eddie sampled "Disco Inferno" on his "I Want You, Girl"
  • Madonna performed her vocals from "Music" over an instrumental version of this song on her 2006 Confessions Tour creating the mash-up "Music Inferno".
  • In August 1998 UK dance act Baby Bumps released their song "Burning", essentially a modern remake of "Disco Inferno" which covers that song's intro riff and chorus looped over a modern house beat, although the recorded vocals were much more in the style of Tina Turner's version. It reached No.17 on the UK Top 40.
  • Punk icon John Otway and Steps songwriter Barry Upton used the song as the backing for John's 2nd Top Ten Hit Bunsen Burner.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

The Trammps version[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
Chart (1977) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 11
UK Singles Chart 16

Tina Turner version[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
UK Singles Chart 12
UK Airplay Chart 3
U.S Hot Dance Club Play 8
Irish Singles Chart 13
New Zealand Singles Chart 25

Cyndi Lauper version[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales 12


  1. ^ "Disco Inferno by Cyndi Lauper | MTV". Vh1.com. 1999-08-03. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  2. ^ "The Trammps Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Dys, Andrew (March 8, 2012). "'Disco Inferno' singer Jimmy Ellis of Rock Hill dies at 74". The Herald (Rock Hill, SC). Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Disco Inferno Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper - Night At The Roxbury Soundtrack Lyrics". Lyricsondemand.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ "Disco Inferno Lyrics - Tina Turner". Sing365.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  6. ^ "DeepSoul: The Trammps - "Disco Inferno"". DeepSoul.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 263. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 587. 
  9. ^ Video on YouTube
  10. ^ "Bern Baby Bern: Bernie Williams' Burning Desire for Baseball Relit". Bleacher Report. 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  11. ^ "Ghostbusters: Alternative Rock Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  12. ^ "Trammps Frontman Jimmy Ellis of Disco Inferno Fame Dies | E! Online UK". Eonline.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  13. ^ "Age Of Chance - Beneath The Pavements The Dancefloor (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  14. ^ "Age Of Chance - Crush Collision at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Don't Leave Me This Way" / "Any Way You Like It" by Thelma Houston
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (with "Starvin'" and "Body Contact Contract")
February 5, 1977 - March 12, 1977
Succeeded by
"Do What You Wanna Do" by T-Connection