Entertainment Magazine: Entertaining Tucson Vol. 1

Disco in Tucson: A fad of the ‘70s

By Ilaina Krauss 
Autumn 1979 – Youth Awareness Press. Page 8

This page is from the 3-volume set of "Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades," Download a free, 100 page, special edition digital PDF sample of selections from all three volumes, including the full Table of Contents, Indexes and a samples of historical articles and photographs. "Entertaining Tucson Highlights.


In the 1950s the music scene was Bill Haley and the Comets, The Crew Cuts, the Platters, and the Mellow Kings. And of course the ‘60s– Jan and Dean, The Yard Birds, the Kinks– and let’s not forget the Beatles. Then came the ‘70s… In Tucson, the 1970s disco scene started out dull and slow.

There were no other fads and little fun. Inflated prices were beginning; also the mini skirt era was ending. Then disco began. Discos opened all over. Rock radio stations converted to disco music, and stores began to fill their racks with various disco fashions such as satin pants and jackets, slit dresses and spike shoes. Peaches and Herb blared through huge· stereo speakers and disco lights flashed. The ‘70s turned from dull to dynamite!

When tomorrows’ generation has their own fad, “disco” can be added to the list of nostalgia. Disco is getting bigger and better. It is spreading all over the country. Some cities even have teen discos now for the younger set. They’re a perfect place to meet people, socialize, and also dance the night away. It’s an inexpensive way to spend an evening. All it takes is a cute outfit, a will to get down with the music and a smile on your face.


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Teen dances at the Gazebo

Photo: Teens dancing at the Gazebo, February 1979, in Tucson, Arizona. Youth Awareness Press archives. Photos by Robert E. Zucker.

Tucson teenagers had their own disco nightclub in the spring of 1979 at the downstairs Gazebo Restaurant, 831 N. Park Avenue, on the northwest at University Blvd.– right next to the UA Main Gate.

The weekend dances were hosted by the new youth newspaper, Youth Awareness Press (formerly Youth Alternatives). Local radio stations helped promote and local businesses provided give-a-ways to the hundreds of teens who would gather each weekend.

Tucson Radio stations KRQQ and KTKT held dance contests and gave away free albums. Local radio disc jockeys met listeners and played the latest disco hits. Steve Rivers, KRQQ DJ, hosted a live show on Friday and Saturday nights at the Teen Disco.

The Gazebo is a combination restaurant upstairs and a nightclub downstairs. The basement disco features a sparkling light show and pushily decorated to set the mood.

Since liquor is not served to youth under 19, or allowed in the downstairs disco lounge, acceptable identification must be shown to prove legal drinking age to be served beer or wine upstairs in the restaurant.

The weekend teen disco dances ran from the end of December 1978 through May 1979.

The teen disco dance fad continued through the summer as the Youth Alternatives newspaper helped organize and operate a series of summer teen dances throughout Tucson.

The building that housed the Gazebo (a former Hardy’s Hamburger Restaurant in the early 1970s) was razed in 2005 for the new Marshall Building. [1]



[1] Robert Zucker, who organized the 1979 teen dances at the Gazebo and produced the Youth Alternatives/Youth Awareness newspapers, had also worked in the newly built Louis Foucar Marshall Building in 2005 for the University of Arizona Department of Journalism (now School of Journalism). It was an odd feeling being in the same space two and a half decades later.

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2014-2017 © Entertainment Magazine and BZB Publishing, Inc., Robert Zucker and Newsreal, Jonathan L. All rights are reserved. These are the compiled works of contributed materials from writers and photographers previously published in the Tucson Teen, Magazine, Entertainment Magazine and Newsreal newspapers, and from Entertainment Magazine On Line (EMOL.org). No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher.

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