Here’s a short overview I wrote for DJ Mag’s Disco edition last year, outlining some of the musical threads that resulted in the evolving Disco movement’s expansion from the underground into the eye of mainstream attention as the ‘70s unfurled.
Tag Archives | Donna Summer
News has just emerged that Cleethorpes born Rod Temperton died from cancer in London last week, aged 66. The musician / songwriter was best known for his collaborations with Michael Jackson on the classic albums ‘Off The Wall’ (1979) and ‘Thriller’ (1982), as well as being part of the band Heatwave, who scored a string of hits in the ‘70s including ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘ ‘Always And Forever’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’, ‘Mind Blowing Decisions’ and ‘The Groove Line’, the first two going platinum in the US.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of my first club appearance. Last night I played for 5 hours at The Garage and tonight I’m at The Jacaranda to conclude a celebratory weekend in my home city of Liverpool with a talk about what it was like to be a DJ back in those proto-Disco days.
The Northern Soul movement has marked 2 significant anniversaries this year – the launch of the weekly All-Nighters at the scene’s most famous venue, Wigan Casino, in 1973, as well as the opening of its foundation club, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, 10 years earlier. A new book, ‘Northern Soul – An Illustrated History’ was recently published by Virgin Books, its co-author, Bury-born Elaine Constantine, also the director of the upcoming film ‘Northern Soul’. The book has been well received by Northern aficionados, Constantine (and Gareth Sweeney) congratulated for their insightful overview of the movement, which is enhanced by the anecdotal offerings of some of the DJs, dancers and collectors who epitomized Northern Soul. Alongside the music and the clubs in which it featured, the book also highlights the drug culture that played such a major role, amphetamines fuelling its development.
I was over in Amsterdam last weekend for ADE, one of 300,000 visitors to the city from countries all over the world for its 18th, and most successful, dance music festival / conference to date. During recent years the Amsterdam Dance Event has superseded the Winter Music Conference in Miami as the main annual gathering point for the dance music industry to schmooze and network – it’s a destination where the dreams and schemes of a multitude of DJs / producers are prevalent, as they arrive in the hope that they’ll meet up with someone who can give them their big break, or at least help them along their career path.
Daft Punk are sitting pretty at the top of the UK singles chart for the first time. The track in question, ‘Get Lucky’, taken from their forthcoming album, ‘Random Access Memories’, came as something of a surprise, for instead of hitching itself to the current EDM juggernaut that’s sweeping America, the French duo have completely bucked the trend by drawing their influence from Disco, featuring its most celebrated guitarist, the great Nile Rodgers of the Chic Organisation (as well as R&B vocalist, Pharrell Williams). A media sensation, it’s everywhere at the moment – on the radio, on the TV, in the clubs and, of course, all over the internet, becoming the most streamed new release in Spotify history. It’s already been re-edited by a whole host of DJs, myself, via Richard Lee, included (www.gregwilson.co.uk/2013/04/just-plain-daft/), and is pretty much nailed on to be the single of the summer.
Just heard the news that disco diva Donna Summer died today at her home in Key West, Florida, aged 63. She’d been diagnosed with cancer last year, but had kept her illness private.
Recently found this piece I did in June 2007 for the now defunct magazine One Week To Live, where I listed a track per year from the summers of ’74 through to ’80. It’d be good to hear your own memories of summers gone by if you’d like to post a comment.