Reddit Reddit reviews Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey

We found 23 Reddit comments about Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey
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23 Reddit comments about Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey:

u/preezyfabreezy · 26 pointsr/edmproduction

Simon Reynolds' "Generation Ecstasy" is the big one about 90's dance music. It was like required raver reading back in the day. Big focus on UK hardcore/early jungle.

Co-sign "Last Night a DJ saved my life" also a really good one.

Dan Sicko's "Techno Rebels" is great one with a big focus on the early detroit techno scene

Kai Fikentscher "You better work" is a great one about the early NYC dance scene. The loft, the paradise garage etc.

Mireille Silcott "Rave America" is an awesome one about the 90's US rave scene. Big focus on Midwest hardcore/hard techno. Also has a super early interview with Tommie Sunshine before he became a DJ.

Brian Belle-Fortune "All Crews" is a good one about the UK 90's D&B

If you're into digging for old dance records. There's a series of books called "the rough guide" that was distributed by Penguin that are basically little mini-encyclopedias of 90's dance artists/releases. I found them REALLY helpful back in the day before the internet was a thing.

I've got the rough guides to house, techno & d&b. Here's a link to the house one.

EDIT. Forgot to add. THE MANUAL by the KLF is fucking hilarious read & kind of an amazing historical artifact. It's like a $100 on amazon (Ugh, a friend borrowed my copy back in the day and never gave it back) but there's text/pdf versions floating around the web

u/AZZAMusic · 5 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

Don't have much time or nearly enough knowledge to answer but you must read this book - there's a massive chapter on Northern Soul and a great deal before and after covered in the meat of this book. Fascinating stuff and definitely helps shed a lot of light on why some of the peculiar parts of the genre are embedded in both DJ culture and also seem so strange to us now.

u/djmantis · 5 pointsr/videos

When disco failed, two music genres rose from it's ashes, House music in Chicago and Techno in Detroit. These were the fore-fathers of EDM. Source.

u/Nav_Panel · 5 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

> Therefore, the creation of music by these groups was not centered on live performance and the studio was the safest space to create music. So this has resulted in rock music generally favoring "authentic" sounds that mimic live performance, while pop sounds "synthetic" and often uses electronic instruments and many effects.
> I would argue that Disco, House, Techno, Hip Hop, etc... all were created under similar conditions.

Except, they weren't created for the conditions of domesticity. Disco came out of Philly Soul which was a live music. Add a drum machine to a soul band and you have Disco. Disco led to Garage, which was the name for what Larry Levan played at his club, the Paradise Garage -- diverse stuff, and the man Levan as the DJ was the driving force behind it.

A bunch of guys from Chicago, notably Frankie Knuckles, took Garage back to the clubs in Chicago, the most popular being called The Warehouse. When people were looking for dance cuts from the Warehouse, they'd eventually just start asking for "House" music.

Techno came from the affluent Detroit suburbs as a consciously-futuristic style of music inspired by Kraftwerk, etc.

Hip-Hop came about from a unique mixture of Caribbean "Dub" mobile sound system culture and "breaking" to the raw drum beats on funk/soul/disco tracks -- have a DJ loop the breakbeats back to back, toss on a dub/reggae MC, and you have hiphop.

I'd recommend a book called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life for more detail on the origins and development of these styles into contemporary dance music.


The only one of these styles created as a conscious studio effort designed for domestic listening was Techno. The other styles are all specifically styles of dance music which doesn't even interact with the public/domestic dichotomy.

In fact, I'd suggest these styles of music were created for the third space of the nightclub -- fundamentally distinct from the first space of domesticity and the second space of the workplace i.e. public sphere. Similar to the idea of a "safe space" today but considerably broader, though often serving the same function.

> Disco, in all of it's joy and frivolity, was favored by those who had to navigate oppressive systems that sidelined lgbtq people, ethnic and racial minorities, and women.

This is a point I can potentially agree with. When I listen to tracks like Dreaming A Dream by the Crown Heights Affair, especially in the context of a mix, I feel a palpable desparation alongside the joy and exhileration -- almost like "this is your only chance to dance, make it count". This seems to agree with the ethos of Northern Soul, a very working-class style from the UK that would pillage American soul and r'n'b records and dance all night to them.

On the other hand, it could just be the tension inherent in good dance music: build, and release. This was very popular with Larry Levan -- tracks like Put Your Body In It seem to dragggg onn... until the euphoric chorus hits. And Levan was known for doing tricks like playing two copies of the same record offset, so when the audience expects the chorus to hit, he can cut away to a verse again and keep the tension building.


We could also view this as a technological development in one area: drugs. My pet theory is that the history of popular music (in the broad sense of not-art-music rather than top 40) can be traced to the development and popularity of various drugs.

During the late 70s, MDA became popular in the clubs -- a drug similar to MDMA, but stimmier and less euphoric. Just as dope fueled jazz, speed fueled skiffle, and LSD fueled psychedelia, we can view MDA (or coke, if you could afford it) as fueling disco. You can see dance music change further in the late 80s when MDMA enters Ibiza and the UK (rave culture?).

u/kaptain_carbon · 4 pointsr/Metal

> I'm a huge fan of Retro/Synthwave but i've never been attracted by their live show, what's the point of having a guy behind a macbook clicking Next every 3 minutes?

there is a great book called Last Night a DJ Saved My Life which gives a history of the DJ and also electronic music. One thing I learned is that many people judge electronic music from the perceptive of rock music where albums are the format released and concerts are there to see and appreciate the musician making the music. (this isn't helped by promoters / venues who advertise high profile electronic acts)

Electronic music is different as it is more about the party and dancing and uses the music as a backdrop. You can still have "personas" and be there to see a person and what they do. Mix Mag has this series that has famous DJs do a set with different music. This is Skream (original dubstep) spinning UK GARAGE which was the precursor to dubstep.

The problem happens when people begin to judge how other people have fun. These czech ravers seem to be having fun standing in front of speaker banks with no DJ in site. The raves and electronic shows I have gone to have all been of varying qualities with even some of the most fun times being of average music quality. there is a rock belief that music and the musician must be revered and worshiped like artwork where electronic shows are more communal with music as a backdrop.

u/SmilesCassidy · 4 pointsr/Beatmatch

save ur time and read this, it'll open ur mind to the history and you'll be able to hold a conversation with any DJ from the last 50 years

u/finndumonde · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

If you're interested in that kind of stuff check out the book Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. Covers a crazy amount of history, from Jamaica soundsystem parties and dub plates, the rise of disco and house, Herc/Bambaataa/Flash, northern soul. From the first dude who set up two turntables so he could cue up a second record in advance up to modern day (the original leaves off around the era of Oakenfold, looks like this revised version covers more recent stuff).

u/novt · 3 pointsr/electronicmusic

'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' has always been one of my favorites. Less of an electronic music history and more of a history on DJing, but still makes for a very interesting read.

FACT has an article on this though.

u/SentientSandvich · 3 pointsr/deephouse

I was originally going to post this as a reply to a comment, but it might be more appropriate as a top level post...

If y'all are interested in reading more about history of the lgbt / outsider side of dance music, check out this piece from Luis-Manuel Garcia, and hosted by RA. It's really well done.

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is also pretty good if you're hungry for more. It's a weighty tome that covers DJing more generally from like... the 1920s or so up to the present.

House music stands for love. :-)

ed.: also if anyone has suggestions for more pieces about the roots of the music we love, I'd like to hear them. :)

u/hashtagPLUR · 2 pointsr/House

Think about it like this: you're job is a writer covering dance music and you HAVE to produce articles on a weekly basis sometimes daily so what do you do? Write up on a "new" genre and hope the term would catch on. According to Frank Broughton's essential book "Last Night DJ Saved My Life" Techno was a term created to differentiated the new proto-disco sounds of Chicago called House music so to sell CDs some labels focused on the industrial history of Detroit and the fact that the local producers relied more on sampling p funk rather than disco.
I'm not totally shitting on the American public though, Europe is certainly ahead on its musical knowledge but they too can make mistakes for example in the U.K. Vocal House was called "Garage" because many believed House music started at the Paradise Garage in NYC and that genre begat Speed Garage, another subsect that branched from Drum N Bass with house music. We didn't even touch upon Italio Disco! Lol

u/dj_soo · 2 pointsr/DJs

This book is really good for the early days of dance music:

In terms of hip hop, this is a good one:

Lots of movies to check out - Scratch is one of my favourites for a primer on hip hop djing and its roots:

This is an excellent documentary about house music:

That should get you started.

u/DJSamedi · 2 pointsr/Music

How did I get into it? I started as a DJ. Next logical step I suppose.


Read up. Here are some of my favorites, and I do recommend buying them as you will probably refer to them often.

This would be my top pick:

This is one on psychoacoustics, which I've found had some helpful knowledge:

And this is one on the history of electronic music, which I personally LOVED reading. Great information, and if you truly respect the scene as a whole, you should 100% read this:

As far as software goes, they are all kind of a personal thing. Some offer things that others don't. My recommendation is to try before you buy, especially considering production software is expensive.

In addition, there is also a large choice of hardware you can use for production. You should look into getting a keyboard and some good monitor speakers at a bare minimum. If you stick with it, I would suggest you buy yourself a drum machine/step sequencer. My personal recommendation is Native Instruments 'Maschine.'

EDIT: A word.

u/ViennettaLurker · 2 pointsr/edmproduction

For Jamie XX and Four Tet at least, going into dance music history could help. Going deep and trying to find inspiration from all over, in that nerdy/connoisseur way, can help. In Colour always struck me as kind of love letter to dance music. Not just listening, but reading more and researching dance music in an academic way, might bring you a similar vibe.

Try this book, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, if you're looking for some more detailed material. I haven't read it in a long time but I remember enjoying it.

u/addsubtract · 2 pointsr/DJs

I hardly thought that expecting people to know the biggest name in the biggest genre of dance music was being snobby, but hey maybe you're right.
If you (or anyone else) would like further education on the history of house, be sure to check out Pump up the Volume, and for history of the craft, recommended reading is Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and The Record Players.

edit: bad grammars

u/submarinefacemelt · 1 pointr/LetsTalkMusic

Last Night A DJ saved My Life will give you a really good run down most dance/electronic genres and the development of their scenes from the 60s until the 2000s.

u/Dr_Blowfin · 1 pointr/electronicmusic

One of the most influential Berlin night clubs of the past 2 decades, which holds similar ideals today much like most of the well known clubs that were born around techno music in Germany:

The birthplace of House music in Chicago "The Warehouse was patronized primarily by gay black and Latino men":

Recommended books you can read to learn about the history of music:

A snippet from the above book by Laurent Garnier regarding Detroit, the birthplace of Techno music:

"Like Manchester in the early 1800s, during the golden age of the British Industrial Revolution, Detroit also became the great American city of industry. Several thousand blue-collar workers came from all over the US to work at the Ford automobile plant, while the black workers were confined to the foundries.

In 1959 Motor Town gave birth to Motown, the cultural pride of the black community. Then the battle for civil rights broke out in the US, and in July 1967 Detroit experienced three days of bloody rioting. The white community fled to the suburbs and the ghetto grew bigger and bigger. And finally, in the 1980s, there was an explosion in drug abuse, especially of crack, in these same ghettos.

Detroit techno music tells the story of all of this hardship. And within this music one can feel the life force that refuses to be put down. Words are of no importance. Everything is expressed within a few notes, repeated ad infinitum. Detroit techno is made of metal, glass and steel. When you close your eyes you can hear, far off in the distance, then closer and closer, the echo of crying. Like in jazz and blues, Detroit techno transfigures suffering. This authenticity of spirit has no price.

'In 1981, a record – "Sharevari" – was released that would play a pivotal role in the history of Detroit techno. "Sharevari" is the very first techno record from Detroit, but as yet nobody had used the term "techno," it simply didn't exist.

Mike Banks, alias Mad Mike, is the true soul of Detroit techno. He is an urban guerrilla, a man haunted by the suffering of his city. Mike has chosen music to fight against the problems of daily life and takes his inspiration from the Afro-American struggle of the 1960s

Through his record label Underground Resistance, Mike Banks spreads a guerrilla philosophy whose targets are the major record labels, the American segregationist system, and despair in the ghetto.

Mad Mike pursues his causes – to get young people away from crime and drugs, to rally against the economic disaster that is Detroit – and music.

UR is the continuation of a long struggle and we chose existing technologies to make this struggle move forward. Through UR, we wanted to express everything through sound; no need for pictures. We were against everything you have to accept in order to be famous.

We were just coming out of the 80s, a time when many black artists had had their noses done or their skin whitened. Fuck that! If a guy doesn't know what you look like, he won't care, as long as he likes your music. It's Detroit and the whole black experience in America that gave birth to Underground Resistance.

We both had experience of deals with majors in which we had been swindled. That is where the name Underground Resistance came from. Literally, to create a resistance to the "overground."

What's really remarkable is that I have to go out of my way to explain and showcase all of this to you, when this is something that is known amongst most fanatics of electronic music.

Much like Germany had its own sub-culture tied to political movement, so did Chicago and Detroit.

It's like I'm talking to a person saying "The sky is blue" while said person refuses to look up and constantly spews things like "No! Wrong! Wrong! It's green! Prove it!"

Why do you think Punk Rock is named after a whole sub-culture, just out of pure coincidence? It's laughable that I have to explain such a simple concept to someone so ignorant. It's like you talk about things that are 100% obvious and make yourself the clown of the room while genuinely refusing to acknowledge it, it's very cringeworthy.

I'm going to block you now because you're a prime example of the kind of people /r/edm is filled with and why no electronic music fanatic actually wants to remotely even deal with people of your kind, you've demonstrated that point very well. It's laughable how you refuse to educate yourself in any way and then you come on these boards with a hostile attitude dismissing things that have been known for multiple decades because of how dense and ignorant you are, from people who have a much better understanding of what they are saying. Electronic music is 40 years old now, do you genuinely think that nobody has touched on these subjects beforehand? Have a look at the list I linked to you and do yourself a favor and stop being hostile with your replies as long as you remain ignorant, you're really embarrassing yourself and most other EDM listeners with your example.