This is the definitive history of the disc jockey, the most important figure in dance music. The power of the DJ has forged the modern record industry, and his taste-making skills brought us rock'n'roll and rhythm and blues, and many other genres.
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So in the preface fun is poked at "abstract nonsense about postmodern intertextuality", and the pair thunder into well-reasoned, impassioned debate about the DJ being a modern-day shaman--pulse-racing stuff, which makes it all the more uncomfortable when it segues into an unremittingly dull chronological history of the invention of the record deck. The pace quickens with an excellent chapter on Northern Soul, and in hot pursuit follow impressive histories of the reggae, hip-hop and disco genres. But then Acid House--perhaps Britain's most important musical evolution ever--is given short shrift and techno is dismissed over a mere ten pages as "house's swotty offspring". The term "definitive", it seems, has been faded out of the mix.
Last Night A DJ . . . is no Bible for the penitent vinyl worshipper, and its difficult chronology makes it an uncomfortable read. Still, if you think that Northern Soul records were made in Leeds and disco began with the Bee Gees, there's a wealth of knowledge here that'll put you right --Louis Pattison
It is still a mystery how the history of such a pivotal figure in music has until now been uncharted. I can only thank the authors for giving us such an outstanding account of the great careers and innovative minds that every record we now listen to have stemmed from.
Buy the book, read the book, then go to a club, you will find yourself in a different frame of mind than you have done before. More alert to the DJ's hold and power over his crowd. You will hear mix's you have missed before, 'sets' will either come alive or die on its feet. Then read the book again.
Although i have nothing but praise for this masterpiece i think my girlfriend would disagree, since reading the book i have spent more money on records than ever before and any spare time on my decks. Sorry darling!
For example, you will not believe who the world's first club DJ was!! Read this book to discover one of the club scene's best kept secrets....
This is a fascinating book, full of amazing stories, interviews and snippets of history so colourfully described you almost feel like you're there - at the Loft, Paradise Garage, Wigan Casino, the Music Box, Hacienda, the list goes on.
The two things that stand out for me about this book are: the discovery that, for a culture that so innovatively recycles great forgotten sounds, all the people you thought were pioneers were just borrowing from someone before them. What they do so brilliantly is make it sound original. This book goes right back to the source for ALL the classics, whatever your dance music interests.
The second thing is: I now finally understand what Northern Soul is! Clubbers I got to know in the eighties who were into the Northern Soul scene in the seventies talked about stuff that made no sense to me. Now it's all clear - and it sounds like it was an incredible time to be dancing.
So if you've ever wondered about a great sample, buy this book and discover what made it so great in the first place.