“Once upon a time there was the disco. When we were still dancing”

Title: “Once upon a time there was a record. When we were still dancing”

Author: Francesco Vaccari

Publisher: Lir edizioni

Size: 17 x 24 cm

Pages: 208

Edition year: 2022

ISBN: 9 7888885 620797

Cover price: 15 euros

New in the Library Once upon a time there was disco-2They made us dance, have fun, fall in love. These are the discos that from the sixties to the nineties of the last century in our city and province had golden years. Discos have been “fascinatingly intriguing places” for decades. Then the growing management difficulties, the change of habits of the new generations, the bureaucracy and more, have in part put an end and in any case considerably slowed down the activity of large and small discos. The trajectory of these clubs that for decades have made generations of “discos” dance is well told in this book-testimony by Francesco Vaccari who in the introduction highlights: “Clubs, clubs, hangouts and anything else still active in the entertainment sector continue to be a strong appeal for the “people of the night. But today the atmosphere and enthusiasm that have amused and cheered at least two generations of young people no longer exist ”. The book traces the “historical moments” such as the birth of the first dance clubs, the development of these in discos and then their transformation into places of entertainment, meetings, fashions that have influenced entire generations. There are many testimonies that recall the evolution of Piacenza music and beyond: from radio broadcasters to diversified forms of entertainment.

He writes Fabio Bianchi in the introductory pages of the book «I strongly advise everyone to read this book by Francis. He has reconstructed with sincerity and passion a story that, from personal, has quickly become collective. His narration allows us to know the history and in part also the evolution – unfortunately also the decay – of the “disco” phenomenon that was so successful in recent decades. In his pleasant and very pleasant storytelling, no cultural ambition, no scientific pretension emerge, only vivid memories of his decades-long experience as a disk-jockey. It is a transversal analysis of society, of the importance of fun and of the playful dimension – if you like – of the life of many of us. At the provincial level – not only on closer inspection – the figure of the disk-jockey acquires with Francesco a considerable depth, musical primarily due to his particular sensitivity. He has ridden trends, but – here’s the point – he has been able to control the profound changes of recent times, claiming to this day, after almost half a century, the incidence of the disk-jockey in enlivening the key moments of an otherwise too much everyday life. routine “.


Gigi Maini – In my opinion, belonging to a generation, born and spread indifferently between the end of the 50s and the end of the 70s, served much more than a vaccine to immunize young people and children in those years to distil all the good things that that double decade reserved. And the music has done the best part, and so important, in giving new life to all those hearts bewitched by the magic of the Beatles and to all those who have cradled new and alive music. Fast years that gave birth to the places to make and play music: the clubs. In those early seventies I met Francesco Vaccari, becoming a “Big Brothe – or a” Pard “; handsome blue-eyed boy with dark hair, who immediately began to combine soul – with disco and funky with rock and roll; leaving many memories of her being “Dee Jay” in the most famous clubs throughout Northern Italy ….

Maurizio Sesenna – The volume you are about to read tells the “story” – above all musical, but not only – of Francesco Vaccari, a dear friend and an impeccable professional with whom I have worked, since the “roaring” years of Club 33, for a long time , with him sharing in addition to the passion for music important fragments of our mutual personal stories. I participated with great pleasure, with Francesco and his journalist friend Fabio Bianchi, in the many meetings that in the reassuring pre-dinner atmosphere of the “Refuge” in via Vignola civico 33 (Piacenza) saw this “story of life” take shape between reconstructions “historical”, anecdotes and jokes.


Francesco Vaccari, dj from Piacenza (with a diploma in electrical engineering) who this year celebrates 47 years of activity. He has made generations of discos dance, who have always recognized his ability to create an innovative lineup. Music represents the passion of life: in his house there are about 23 thousand vinyl records. In the years 1975-1976 he was a collaborator of the newspaper Libertà writing reviews on new recordings and musical concerts. He then became the first radio DJ of the seventh free radio born in Italy: the legendary one Radio Piacenza by Gianni Comotti. The episode that radically changed his life was the encounter with Club 33 with Giovanni Tonini, established DJ in the Piacenza clubs; began a collaboration as a partner of the evenings at the club – then located in via Chiapponi – which was then called PEOPLE. From that moment it became a real profession that it still carries out with enthusiasm today. He still does not lack the desire to continue studying and to stay on the scene: he has always worked day and night, but – as the pages of his first book show – he does not seem to feel the weight of fatigue.

– “When you are sad, listen to sad music; when you are cheerful, listen to cheerful music. The important thing is never to reverse “. Tell us this recipe of yours.

It is a recipe that I have experienced extensively personally. I know it seems counterintuitive, but since the music is linked to mathematics (in fact the bars are divided into 4/4 in most cases),

if the emotional state is addressed to the minus sign and you listen to a cheerful musical line, the result can only be negative (less for more always less). If, on the other hand, a melody with more intimate and melancholic lines is proposed, the result can only be positive (less for less = more). Apart from the elementary equation, listening in moments of euphoria to cheerful music increases or maintains one’s mood in the positive, in the opposite sense the melancholy is slowly dissolved when a more intimate melody manages to dispel the fog that in that time period clouds our soul.

– Among the merits that are recognized to you is the ability to always keep up with new technologies that – you highlighted – for some have unfortunately served to overshadow artistic skills.

As with all professions (because this too is even more “artistic), technology is the basis for the evolution of work. But as in all sectors, there is still the historical basis that allows those who practice an activity to form their own experience. What no longer happens now. I too carry out the profession using equipment in step with the times (once there were only vinyls with turntables and everything needed to make the evening), and I take advantage of this technological evolution, but sometimes I return, with more taste, to propose DJ Sets with the help of discs only, both 45 and 33 and Discomix. Also because the technique used in the two conditions is different, and the second is able to give more satisfaction to those who use it. Yes, because having direct physical contact with the vinyl placed on the turntables (in a nutshell you touch the surface to move from one proposed song to the next), and this operation manages to convey a unique emotion). Contrary to the use of current systems where one intervenes in proposing music now only with USB sticks or computers, thus acting only with the aid of keys and various effects. And then with the possibility of preparing already “packaged” or the program itself or a part of it. Thus working in a sort of Playback. Undoubtedly, simplicity in the work gains us, but above all we lose the spontaneity and unpredictability in the strong point proposals of the past.

– The subtitle of the book When did you still dance was thought before or in the Covid era?

The subtitle was conceived when the book was now completed but in any case it reflects a trend that has already been in place for many years. Unfortunately, the desire for dance, as I explain in the book, has slowly waned. The new generations are turned to other types of behaviors. Less disco and more social, removing in my opinion an almost ancestral component that belongs to all of us. Moving following a musical line of any kind has always accompanied the evolution of man, starting with tribal manifestations, followed by stylistic evolutions that have accompanied us up to the present day (see the continuous search for new styles of expression exploded on streets around the world). I myself have always had the passion, the few times I could, to throw myself on a track and let myself be carried away by the emotions that the proposed music transmitted to me, making me move with joy. My hope is that the new generation will be able to listen to their own bodies again so as to let themselves be drawn back into the emotion of a liberating dance.

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