The Queen is dead. Aretha Franklin, born in Detroit 76 years ago, and destined to be acknowledged as ‘The Queen Of Soul’ following her late-‘60s breakthrough, was the daughter of minister C.L. Franklin, developing her vocal prowess in the church, before embarking on a secular career in 1960, when she was 18.
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I received a copy of the new Late Nite Tuff Guy remix 12” through the post recently. Issued by Salsoul, the classic New York label that unleashed numerous dancefloor gems between 1974-84, including the very first commercially available 12”, ‘Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure (1976). LNTG’s 12” included another Double Exposure favourite, ‘Everyman’, plus ‘Dr Love’ by First Choice, both of which have been huge for me, having received digital copies in the last couple of years – ‘Everyman’ topping my ’20 Choice Edits & Reworks’ selection for 2017, whilst ‘Dr Love’ featured on the 2016 list:
Back in 1975 a single appeared on the United Artists label in the US by a new band called Banbarra, entitled ‘Shack Up’. It addressed one of the burning issues of the day, something that had been highlighted during the sexual revolution of the ’60s – co-habiting with a partner outside of wedlock, or what was more commonly referred to as ‘living in sin’.
Minnepolis born music icon Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as simply Prince, died today at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota aged 57. The cause of his death is still undetermined as I write this, but last week he was taken into hospital for a few days with flu-like symptoms, following an emergency plane landing in Illinois after he’d performed in Atlanta.
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 During recent years the Amsterdam Dance Event has superseded the Winter Music Conference in Miami as the main annual gathering point for the dance music industry to schmooze and network – it’s a destination where the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.
Really shocked to hear that one of the great New York DJs, Mark Kamins, died in Guadalajara, Mexico last Thursday (Feb 14th) following a heart attack – he was only 57. Although our paths nearly crossed almost 30 years ago, it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally got to meet Mark, when he came to see me play in Vienna, where he lived at the time, and then again in Paris in 2009, after he’d moved there. Having returned to his home city, we planned to hook-up in New York 2 years ago, when I was over for Brooklyn’s Mister Saturday Night, but he emailed to inform me that he was on the move again, having landed a new job tutoring on electronic music at a university in Guadalajara.
One of the world’s most celebrated clubs, The Haçienda in Manchester, opened 30 years ago today, on Friday May 21st 1982. In June 2007, a little after the 25th anniversary, the inimitable Manchester-based writer / musician, John Robb, author of books including ‘The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996’ (2009), ‘The Stone Roses And The Resurrection Of British Pop’ (1996) and ‘Punk Rock: An Oral History’ (2006), did a short interview with me about the club’s legacy: