The fifteenth edition of my ‘Discotheque Archives’ series for DJ Mag is now online, featuring more landmarks in pre-Rave club culture:
IAN LEVINE – A crucial, sometimes controversial force within Northern soul, Ian Levine probably unearthed more rare records than any other DJ during the scene’s ‘70s heyday. Working alongside Colin Curtis at the Blackpool Mecca, he pushed new sounds forward, creating the infamous schism with Wigan Casino, he later pioneered Hi-NRG in London at superclub Heaven.
ATLANTIC RECORDS – Set up in New York by Ahmet Ertegün with partner Herb Abramson, Atlantic struggled over its first few years, but fortunes changed when the focus shifted from jazz to R&B with producer/A&R man, Jerry Wexler, who coined the term ‘rhythm & blues’. The label acted as mother label to Memphis’ Stax with acts like Otis Redding, Booker T and Sam & Dave and later reached the charts with Aretha Franklin, Chic, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
THE DANCETERIA – Danceteria best embodied the spirit of NYC cross-pollinating creativity – its sensory overload spread throughout three floors. The club was home to DJs Sean Cassette and Mark Kamins, Cassette’s punk and dub reggae leanings complemented by Kamins’ lateral approach to disco. Many people who would go on to world fame worked at or frequented the club, including Madonna, Keith Haring, Sade, The Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, whilst the club also paired with The Haçienda, exchanging ideas and DJs.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER – Saturday Night Fever was a huge commercial success that would popularize disco music worldwide in 1977, casting a young actor called John Travolta as Tony Monero. The film’s soundtrack would be a phenomenon in its own right – the best-selling LP of all-time until Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ overtook it five years on. A 17 track double-album, dominated by the Bee Gees, who, after a fallow period in the early ‘70s, had re-invented themselves as a disco force.
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