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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Paperback – 4 Nov 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; Revised edition edition (4 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747275734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747275732
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,778,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The self-styled "definitive" history of the humble art of spinning plates of vinyl, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life steps up to the turntables with worthy pretensions. The work of journalists Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, who, between them, have worked on The Face, i-D, Rolling Stone, and Musik, they certainly know their deep house from their speed garage. But while Last Night A DJ . . . is an impressively knowledgeable compilation of information, they never quite decide whether this is an intellectual resource, a complete history, or if they're playing these records just for kicks.

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

Review

'The history of the disc jockey, from their humble start in the 1960s to the superstardom of today' Sarah Broadhurst

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Format: Paperback
Being a bedroom DJ myself, not a very good one at that, it has always been an intangible interest of mine to get a little more educated on the history of not just the DJ himself but the origins of the music the DJ is playing. Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have accumulated everything there is to know in such a superb way that even the most ardent of rock fans has to sit up and listen.
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!
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Format: Paperback
Out of all the many books that I have read charting the musical evolution surrounding disco through to todays dance scene, this is by far my favourite one. It's not just for people who are into dance music, but is a good book for anybody who likes music at all. It discusses musical and cultural change.
The book is thoroughly enjoyable to read, full of great humour and affection for the scenes being discussed, right from nothern soul through to acid house and more recently.
The book is weighted with disco and hip-hop histories and the only gripe is that the last few chapters breeze through the 90s dance scene (for this try 'adventures in wonderland: a decade of club cuture'). But you couldn't hope to find a more insightful summary of 70s and 80s music.
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Format: Paperback
Are an aspiring DJ yourself? Or are you maybe a complete audiophile? Who knows, maybe you're like me where you're both! If so then you "need" (don't just consider) to buy this book.

This is the Bible of all DJ stories out there. At over 2 inches thick, you'll be forced late at night to eventually put down this entertaining read that covers just about every aspect that has shed a light in the world of 'DJing' not just as you know it today, but in all the ways you never even dreamed of it existing.

It's all here. From reading about Jimmy Savilles first gig's that led him to partially melting a grand piano, to an old vinyl-junkie learning the benefits of a felt slip-mat all by accident because he misplaced the rubber mat that would have normally been on the platter, you'll be sniggering away on every chapter to the weird and wonderful ways in which ordinary people changed the way we not only played music, but the way we created music around the notion of dancing.

Perhaps the most enlightening thing about this book is that because it covers all the stories, events, tales, and facts between the early 1900's to 2004, you judge for yourself just how placid and selfish the business has become. When reading about the lovely feel-good era that was the early 1980's, where Frankie Knuckles played smooth new 'house' tracks that influenced a whole generation of people to party wildly, the latter two decades suggest that anyone high-up in the club/marketing business is merely after a taste of £££. This just wasn't an issue back in the discothèque days.

I myself have taken Popular Music Studies as a University course, and although I was DJ'ing before I started Uni, this book opened my eyes to the truth, and I wish it had been on the course!!
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Format: Paperback
I started clubbing and DJing in 1986 and had a whole new world open up to me with the arrival of acid house soon after. Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling, Johnny Walker, etc provided the soundtrack to my clubbing baptism. This book documents how that scene was almost an end point in the evolution of the DJ. Everything we know the DJ for now has sprung from very humble beginnings, which this book has researched painstakingly thoroughly (trainspotters will love it - especially the club charts for all the great places, in the UK and US).
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.
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