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Where do we go from here?

July 17, 2013

At around 2am on Monday September 28th 1987, Larry Levan put on the last record to be played at The Paradise Garage. His mythical status had been achieved over the previous decade, elevating the art of DJing to a level that very few (if any) have ever been able to match since. He didn’t just play great records, he used them to tell stories to his members-only crowd, tuned in to the connection from record to record through lyrics or the lives of the artists as much as their tempo and mood.

Legend has it that the last record Larry played was The Trammps: Where do we go from here? The Garage had dominated New York’s club scene in the 80s to such an extent that life without it was barely comprehensible for many of those involved. But for a significant number of it’s members, the future was far from bleak – House music was about to take over the world and The Garage had inspired a generation of producers and DJs that were ready to export it.

House music was born in Chicago of course, but the links back to New York were strong. Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan had been friends since they were teenagers, DJing together at The Continental Baths before Larry opened The Garage with Michael Brody in 1977. Larry himself was asked to become resident DJ at Chicago’s Warehouse that year, but turned it down to pursue his dream in New York. He recommended Frankie, who would become as famous in Chicago as Larry would in New York. When Frankie left The Warehouse in 1983 to open his own club (The Power Plant), Ron Hardy took his place and The Warehouse became the Music Box – the spiritual home of Acid House.

The music would flow back to New York – to a large extent through Larry – to influence New York’s legion of House music evangelists. And as Frankie Knuckles hilariously points out in the brilliant documentary Maestro (from 1:06:22 in the clip below), for Larry at least, you’d only really made it once you’d made it in New York… 😉

From → Clubs, DJs

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