Larry Levan born 20 July 1954 (d. 1992)
Larry Levan (born Lawrence Philpot) stands at the crossroads of disco, house and garage. He was the legendary DJ who for more than 10 years held court at the New York City night club Paradise Garage.
The club has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club, because it was entirely focused on dancing, and was the first to put the DJ at the centre of attention. He developed a cult following, who referred to his sets as 'Saturday Mass'. Quite a number of today's most successful producers and DJs credit their first exposure to Larry's music at the Paradise Garage as a moment that changed their lives forever and inspired their whole careers. François Kevorkian goes so far as to credit Larry with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music and being the first DJ to play a very eclectic and open-minded mix of music. Ironically, this - and his excessive drug use - meant that he dropped out of favour for a period as seamless beat matching became the norm.
Levan was, with Frankie Knuckles, guest DJ during the opening weeks of London's Ministry of Sound nightclub.
Larry was openly gay and got his start in clubs such as The Gallery and The Continental Baths.
Among the records that received Levan's touch are the remix of Ain't Nothin' Goin On But The Rent by Gwen Guthrie, Heartbeat by Taana Gardner, and Don't Make Me Wait by the Peech Boys, a group that Levan formed and was part of.
The re-opened West End Records - which came out of the Paradise Garage - has released a two disc live recording of a Levan DJ set, as well as a compilation of popular Levan productions.
He died in 1992 of endocarditis.
In September 2004, Levan was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement as a DJ.
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