Happy Birthday, Larry Levan

In honor of what would have been Larry Levan’s 67th birthday, I’m posting an article that originally ran at Pitchfork about Levan’s lasting influence, which emanated far beyond the parking garage walls of the Paradise Garage to the wastelands of suburbia.

The Larry Levan Bump: How the Legendary Paradise Garage DJ Ignited Some of the ‘80s Biggest Hits

Before songs like Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” and Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” became era-defining hits, they were favorites at Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage. By Andy Beta.

In March 2013, followers of the Paradise Garage Bot were baffled. The Twitter account, which sends out links to singles that sainted DJ Larry Levan once spun at the hallowed New York City club, had just posted Rick Astley’s infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up”, which hit #1 in the U.S. in March 1988—six months after the Paradise Garage closed its doors in September 1987. Was this automatic bot Rickrolling its followers all of a sudden?

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Where to Start with West End Records

West End

“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of West End Records, not just in disco but in hip-hop and house as well, thanks to a roster that drew from soul, R&B, gospel, and funk. West End fueled the sound of both the Paradise Garage and Studio 54, and launched the careers of many pioneering remixers. Some of the headiest early work from Tom Moulton, largely credited with inventing the remix, was for the label. Other luminaries and legends abound under the West End name: Larry Levan, Tee Scott, Walter Gibbons, François Kevorkian, and Arthur Russell, with one of his earliest dance-music productions.”

Last month I paid a little tribute to Mel Cheren and West End Records. Those hot pink sleeves really jump off the record shelves still. Also be sure to check out the immersive West End issue from the heads over at Love Injection.

Where to Start with West End Records, for Pitchfork.