Producer Bobby Orlando became a legend in the '80s through a multitude of disco and Hi-NRG records released on his independent label, O Records. The son of a Westchester, NY, school teacher, Orlando boxed straight out of high school and listened to Alice Cooper and T. Rex. He turned down a classical music scholarship, instead playing Johnny Thunder-style guitar in teenage glitter bands. Swept up by disco, Orlando engineered "Dancin'" by Todd Forester in 1977. The song featured the galloping bass line developed by synth-phenom Giorgio Moroder, who Orlando strove to emulate throughout his career. Orlando also developed a life-long fascination with the studio perfection of ABBA. In 1980, Orlando masterminded the excellent Lyn Todd album, before setting up O Records. The first releases, "Just a Gigolo" by Barbie & the Kens and "Change of Life" by I Spy, made Billboard's dance chart. As disco died, Orlando unflinchingly flooded the market with beat-heavy blasts. Some, like Roni Griffith's "Desire" and "Take a Chance on Me" by Waterfront Home, became club hits. Also in 1980, Divine came to Orlando for his production expertise, and the pair unleashed a string of notoriously successful singles. Orlando then devised the Flirts, a figurehead trio of revolving beauties to perform his songs. Orlando's Nunzio Brocheno Productions also produced Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and Full Force. This underground cult movement was dubbed Hi-NRG and led Smash Hits writer and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant to seek out Orlando. Orlando launched the career of the British duo, including an early version of "West End Girls." The Pet Shop Boys left for EMI and global success. Hurt by the lack of gratitude from his mass stable of artists, Orlando slowly phased out of his music empire. He returned to his law studies and finished a book called Darwin Destroyed, refuting the theory of evolution. In the '90s, he began another label, Reputation Records.
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