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Rap: Legendary DJs And Clubs

Legendary DJs And Clubs

"In the seventies, when clubs only needed one DJ, that DJ was in a position to make waves. And in cities where the clubs were usually soundtracked by jukeboxes, those waves could become a storm."

As a DJ, Larry Levan had an impeccable sense of style and taste and his landmark work in the studio led to the first whole album concept where the DJ/(re)mixer gets top billing over the original artist. Larry has mixed around 80 songs for 15+ labels. Quite a number of today's most successful producers and DJs credit their first exposure to Larry's music at The Garage as a moment that changed their lives forever and inspired their whole careers...

But before Larry Levan there was Kool Herc who by most accounts was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle. By mixing back and forth between the two copies he was able to double, triple, or indefinitely extend the break. In so doing, Herc effectively deconstructed and reconstructed so-called found sound, using the turntable as a musical instrument.

Ron Hardy When Ron Hardy, who had begun DJing in 1974 took over the decks at The Music Box on the south side of Chicago,he pioneered a different sound; Hardy's mix of disco, European electronica, industrial and alternative sounds was spiced with tape edits which he would manipulate and pause by hand. The Music Box became known as a rough, wild and hedonistic club it was here that the straight black crowds from the south side caught the bug.

Tee Scott Tee Scott was the first of modern DJs. He started DJing in the early seventies, the 12" record wasn't even around yet. Tee Scott got his break at New York club Better Days, where he installed his own sound system. He is often compared to and mentioned with his friend Larry Levan. Together, they laid the foundations of club culture and started a great tradition still carried on until today in clubs like the Loft, Shelter and Body and Soul.
Francis Grasso: White DJ Francis Grasso invented the technique of `slip-cueing': holding the disc with his thumb whilst the turntable whirled beneath, insulated by a felt pad. He'd locate with an earphone the best spot to make the splice, then release the next side precisely on the beat...His tour de force was playing two records simultaneously for as long as two minutes at a stretch.


There are two US clubs that had simultaneously broken the barriers of race and sexual preference, two clubs that were to pass on into dance music legend - Chicago's Warehouse and New York's Paradise Garage. Up until then, and after, the norm was for black, hispanic, white, straight and gay to segregate themselves, but with the Warehouse, opened in 1977 and presided over by Frankie Knuckles and the Paradise Garage where Larry Levan spun, the emphasis was on the music. And the music was as varied as the clienteles - r'n'b based Black dance music and disco peppered with things as diverse as The Clash's 'Magnificent Seven'. For most people, these were the places that acted as breeding grounds for the music that eventually came to be known after the clubs - house and garage.

*Music Box Chicago, Ron Hardy created the environment for the house explosion. Where Knuckles' sound was still very much based in disco, Hardy was the DJ that went for the rawest, wildest rhythm tracks he could find and he made The Music Box the inspirational temple for pretty much every DJ and producer that was to come out of the Chicago scene *Paradise Garage New York, 1976: The Paradise Garage was the legendary club which was located at 84 King Street, New York from 1976 till 1987. The Paradise Garage club gave its name to garage music, New York's flavor of underground dance music. . *Warehouse Chicago, 1978.

The Windy City is not exactly a dance music mecca. Like the majority of American cities still are today, Chicago was a rock and blues town. Plenty of live music and beer swilling bars, but not much in the way of dancing or clubs. A young DJ, newly arrived from New York, opens a club named The Warehouse, and will unwittingly change the lives of thousands of people in the late 80's and early '90s. That DJ was Frankie Knuckles *The Loft David Mancuso:

I started giving rent parties which basically it's still down to the same thing, to manage and afford a life-style, that's basically the goal, to have a good time *Stonewall The Stonewall was a gay bar in Greenwich Village that was raided--for no apparent reason--by the police in the late 60's for being a gay establishment.

The Stonewall Riots are considered the birth of militant gay rights and ushered in the era of gay pride *Studio 54 blahzay ... blahzay *Better Days Opened in the 1972 and closed in 1988. It was located on West 49th Street. DJs Tee Scott, Bruce Forest, Francois Kevorkian , Kenny Carpenter, Larry Patterson, Shep Pettibone, and others played to a loyal, attitudeless black crowd over a period of more than 15 years *Sanctuary "...this discotheque opened up in a converted German Baptist church in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York in 1969 and was probably the first nightclub. The altar was the deejay box." *Sand Piper on Fire Island Tom Moulton related *Galaxy 21 New York area club.

1976: Walter Gibbons was the DJ, Francois K. had been hired to play live drums on top of Walter's mixes. Kenny Carpenter, who must have been 17 at the time, did the lights. *Gallery New York club where both Larry Levan as well as Frankie Knuckles learned their basic mixing skills. It was owned by Nicky Siano. Loleatta's first performance as a club artist was at The Gallery. *Continental Baths Levan got his break in 1972 when the DJ at the club where he worked, the Continental Baths, was sacked. The owner told him to go home and get some records *Experiment 4 In 1976, Jellybean was spinnin' here. Francois K replaced him for an evening.

This was Francois K's debut as a DJ. *Private Eyes The first in NYC to have video as the main attraction--34 screens playing many different images at once while people danced or just hung out. Run by Steve Sukman, it was a big record industry hangout from 1983 to 1987. *Fun House Jellybean's club. 'Stone Fox Chase' by Area Code 615 was a popular track there.

Legendary New York club, founded in 1970 by David Mancuso. Loft Classics. * Shelter Timmy Regisford was and is chief DJ of this venue. * Body And Soul This is what House music is all about. Body & Soul, the only Sunday afternoon party in New York City occupies the same space as the legendary Shelter, home of Timmy Regisford and garage heads of the late 1980's.

With Francois Kevorkian, Joe Clausell and Danny Krivit on the decks from 3:00 pm till 10:00pm every Sunday, there is no better place in the world to experience what House music is all about; positivity, unity and bangin' tracks. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, straight & gay, everyone is here to get along and groove to the best the New York underground has to offer. * Zanzibar "I remember when Zanz[ibar] was the Lincoln Motel, and when it became Zanz (1979/1980?), I think every Wednesday, they had one of the top jocks at that time play. Tee Scott, Larry Levan, Hippie Torales , etc.. That's what got it going. I don't recall Tony Humphries. Merlin Bobb was a doorman.
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