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
Recorded 1976; Sigma Sound Studios
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Length 10:54 (album version)
3:35 (radio edit)
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Ron "Have Mercy" Kersey
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" is a song by American disco band The Trammps from their 1976 fourth studio album of the same name. With two other cuts by the group it reached number-one on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in early 1977, but had limited mainstream success until 1978, after being included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, when a re-release hit number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1][2]

It was also notably covered in 1993 by American-born singer Tina Turner on the What's Love Got to Do with It soundtrack,[3] and in 1999 by American singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper on the A Night at the Roxbury soundtrack.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] On the other U.S. 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 53 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]

"Disco Inferno" gained much greater recognition when the 10:54-minute album version was included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. Re-released by Atlantic Records, the track peaked at number 11 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 'DJ Monty' in the "Odissey 2001" discothèque.

On September 19, 2005, "Disco Inferno" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.[8]


The Trammps
  • Jimmy Ellis – lead vocal
  • Robert Upchurch – lead and baritone vocal
  • Earl Young – bass vocal
  • Harold Wade – first tenor
  • Stanley Wade – second tenor
Additional Personnel


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 1
Chart (1978) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 16
US Billboard Hot 100 11

Tina Turner version[edit]

"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 rock
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"

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. The single included remixes by The Beatmasters.

Formats and track listings[edit]

UK CD single

  1. "Disco Inferno" (album version) – 4:03
  2. "I Don't Wanna Fight" (single edit) – 4:25

UK 12-inch single

  1. "Disco Inferno" (12-inch version) – 5:33
  2. "Disco Inferno" (12-inch dub) – 6:57
  3. "Disco Inferno" (album version) – 4:03

UK CD single

  1. "Disco Inferno" (album version) – 4:03
  2. "I Don't Wanna Fight" (single edit) – 4:25
  3. "Disco Inferno" (12-inch version) – 5:33
  4. "Disco Inferno" (12-inch dub) – 6:57

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 56
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 10
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[11] 38
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 16
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 25
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 12

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 143

Cyndi Lauper version[edit]

"Disco Inferno"
Disco Inferno.jpg
Single by Cyndi Lauper
from the album A Night at the Roxbury
Released August 3, 1999[17]
Recorded 1999
Genre Disco
Length 3:18
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"

Cyndi 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. in August 1999. Lauper performed it at many shows, including her Summer Tour '99, 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 Nominee/work Award Result
1999 "Disco Inferno" Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording Nominated

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[19] 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales[20] 12

Other cover versions[edit]


  • Fast Eddie sampled "Disco Inferno" on his 1998 single "I Want You, Girl".
  • 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 2002 hit "Bunsen Burner".
  • Madonna performed her vocals from "Music" over an instrumental version of this song on her 2006 Confessions Tour creating the mash-up "Music Inferno".

Appearances in other media[edit]


  • 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 used in the trailer to the Adam Sandler comedy Bedtime Stories.
  • In the Shrek 2 animated short Far, Far, Away Idol, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is shown singing "Disco Inferno", but has his rear set on fire as Dragon performs with him.
  • The recording by The Trammps was played in the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!?, and in the 2011 film Hop.
  • "Night Fever" (another song from Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack, performed by the Bee Gees) and "Disco Inferno" appeared and were included in the soundtrack of the 1999 movie Mystery Men.
  • The Trammps' version is danced to by Mari and Sadie in the film Little Voice as a celebration, in Mari's living room.
  • The Trammps' version is heard in the background of a scene in the movie Ghostbusters. In 2006, the extended version was featured on a remastered version of the Ghostbusters soundtrack.[23]
  • The Trammps' version is heard in a scene in the movie Talk Radio.
  • The song is featured in the film Hobo with a Shotgun while the film's villains fire a flamethrower upon a school bus full of children.


Video games[edit]

  • A version of the song recorded by The Earl Young Band was included in the video games Dungeon Keeper 2 and Bulletstorm.
  • The Trammps' version was featured in a mashup mix in DJ Hero, alongside Rihanna's "Disturbia".
  • The Trammps' version appeared on the Grand Theft Auto IV expansion pack The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  • The Trammps' version appeared on the video game Dance Central 3 represented by Miss Aubrey (Lu$h Crew).
  • The first piece of downloadable content for the Dante's Inferno videogame, entitled Dark Forest, includes an additional "Disco Inferno" costume, a novelty piece in the style of polyester disco fashion wear inspired by The Trammps's song.
  • The Trammps' version appeared on the Zombies map Shaolin Shuffle' of the video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.


  • 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.[24]


  1. ^ "The Trammps Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ 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. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Disco Inferno Lyrics - Tina Turner". Sing365.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  4. ^ "Disco Inferno Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper - Night At The Roxbury Soundtrack Lyrics". Lyricsondemand.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ "DeepSoul: The Trammps - "Disco Inferno"". DeepSoul.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 263. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 587. 
  8. ^ "Trammps Frontman Jimmy Ellis of Disco Inferno Fame Dies | E! Online UK". Eonline.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  9. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Tina Turner – Disco Inferno" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 25, 1993. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Disco Inferno". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 47, 1993" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  14. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Tina Turner – Disco Inferno". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  15. ^ "Tina Turner: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  16. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1993" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Disco Inferno by Cyndi Lauper | MTV". Vh1.com. 1999-08-03. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  18. ^ "Cyndi Lauper - Disco Inferno". Discogs.com. 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  19. ^ "Cyndi Lauper - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  20. ^ "Cyndi Lauper | Awards". AllMusic. 1953-06-22. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  21. ^ "Age Of Chance - Beneath The Pavements The Dancefloor (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  22. ^ "Age Of Chance - Crush Collision at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  23. ^ "Ghostbusters: Alternative Rock Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  24. ^ "Bern Baby Bern: Bernie Williams' Burning Desire for Baseball Relit". Bleacher Report. 2009-03-28. 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