By: Renee Grant
For the past 40 years, Bob Pantano has kept the Delaware Valley dancing every weekend. This Saturday night at Adelphia Restaurant & Nightclub in Deptford, NJ, he celebrates that milestone with one of his biggest dance parties yet. Live performances by Tavares and The Blue Notes are set, and Bob even says a special guest is on the bill. Tributes to Donna Summer and The Trammps will also be a part of the festivities.
“I got a forty-year case of Saturday Night Fever,” Pantano says. “[The movie] was out in 1977 and that’s what really launched everything. Disco wasn’t new, but that’s when it hit the mainstream.” Although we’re all wishing a white, bell-bottomed suit would make an appearance for his 40th anniversary, Bob says with a hearty laugh, “my wife said no! That’s exactly what I wanted to do!”
Pantano has had the pleasure of providing records to a young DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith (then the Fresh Prince), DJing parties for some of our areas most popular people including celebrities and politicians and breaking new music to his listeners. All the while Pantano has remained humble, and after 40 years he still loves what he does.
When reflecting on all the famous fans he has, the South Philly native counts the number of Presidents he’s entertained at 7, as well as industry heavyweights like Bruce Willis, Billy Joel, and Lionel Richie.
“I’ve met a lot of people, especially performers. Donna Summer and the Village People, we debuted them on our show in ’77, so I’ve met so many people. Lionel Richie, Gloria Gaynor, Smokey Robinson. I’ve pretty much met everybody. Prince… unfortunately, too many of them are gone.
“I played Whitney Houston first, and now she’s gone. I remember at 12 years old, Whitney Houston was singing with a Disco band, Michael Zager’s band. Her mother Cissy had dance albums out in the 70’s.”
While Pantano has been in the business for 50 years, he still enjoys his career and hopes to continue his parties for at least another decade.
“I’m just amazed that I’m still doing this after 40 years, and that people are still enjoying it. The show has been on every Saturday night for 40 years, never missed a Saturday,” Pantano says. “Forty years is a lot of music and a lot of shows. Show number two thousand seventy-nine will be Saturday, the longest running dance party in America.”
We are proud to celebrate 40 years of Bob Pantano keeping the people dancing, and Bob is thankful for all the fans and all the love.
“Thank you for forty great years, and keep on dancing! I’ll try for 10 more,” he says.
We will, as long as we’ve got a party to get to on Saturday night!