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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life (Updated) Paperback – May 22 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; Revised edition edition (May 22 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755313984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755313983
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #279,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Bill Brewster is co-owner of dance label Forensic, a renowned DJ and a freelance writer. Frank Broughton is an author and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in NME and ROLLING STONE and was deputy editor of i-D magazine.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Back when man was stumbling around the dusty savannahs figuring out the best way to surprise a woolly mammoth, he found his experience divided sharply between night and day. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life lives up it's billing as the definitive history of the disc jockey, as well as that of club culture. Brewster and Broughton presented an extensively researched and well connected history through a number of key genres, from sock hops, Jamaican sound systems, soul, disco, hip hop, and into house and techno. Through interviews with survivors of these scenes, the reader is given a good deal of first hand information, and gets a real feeling for most of the music presented, regardless of how familiar you are. In fact, one of the greatests aspects of this book is that it centers on the underground cultures: hip-hop before it became rap, disco before it became mainstream, etc.
However, the book is not without it's faults. Very early on, the authors slam academia, claiming that such an approach is incapable of providing a passionate or meaningful account. Certainly, this is both true and false, and it is unfair to make such a claim. My other main complaint with the book is that once it moves into the more modern genres of house and techno, the writers seem to lose their steam. One gets the feeling that these chapters were included in an effort to be definitive, not a level of deep-rooted passion for the music by the authors. Consequently, these chapters are not very interesting reads.
Still, this is the definitive book on the subject. Despite the aforementioned flaws, it is extremely informative, and overall, very well researched. A must for anyone interested in deejaying, club culture, or general music history.
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Format: Paperback
Frankly, I bought this book because I was interested in learning more about techno/trance DJs, and was initially disappointed by the relative dearth of discussion of current trends (a discussion of these comes only in the last quarter of this book). However, my disappointment turned into appreciation as I realized this book truly is a history of the DJ, from way back in the early 1900s to today. This history offers a vast amount of information about who the first DJ pioneers were, and it is divided up into sections on the first radio DJs, northern soul DJs, reggae, disco, rap, and--finally--techno.
The authors point out that they're not doing any academic, high-fallutin' theoretical study of the DJ, but I think they took this anti-academicism too far. The DJ is a fascinating figure because s/he challenges so many of Western culture's ideas about what constitutes "music" and what constitutes "artistry." This book could have been much enriched by delving into the ways the DJ changes how we think about music.
As it is, the history in this study is admirably exhaustive; but because it doesn't connect this history to a larger history of music and aesthetics, it sometimes becomes just exhausting.
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By A Customer on Oct. 11 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book. It is meticulously researched and very well written (though sometimes the authors are too clever for their own good). It is THE definitive book on the DJ and its history. The sections on hip hop, reggae, and disco are mountains of knowledge. Even the sections on the types of music I dislike (house, techno, etc.) had me turning pages furiously. My quips: There is no mention of Acid-Jazz (not that this is an innovative or defining genre). The authors praise the drug ecstasy to no end. True, it was definitely an intrinsic force in the shaping of the UK rave scene, but they conveniently ignore the fact that it is a dangerous drug with nasty side effects and the potential to kill. Finally, the authors seem to celebrate the fact that as the result of the rise of the DJ in recent years, the live musician has been "made redundant". Whether this is true or not is open to debate, but I don't think it's such a great thing either way. Even though I am a DJ myself, I view the decline of actual live muscians and live music venues as very depressing. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. Other than that, though, this book is superb. If there is a better book out there chronicling the history of the DJ I have yet to know of it.
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Format: Paperback
Coming across this book has been one of the most enlightening finds of my music loving life. I picked it up and read it in it's entirety in 2 days. It is a thorough history of the DJ and the music forms that DJ's have spawned since the advent of vinyl as a medium of auditory stimulation and satisfaction. Just the discography alone, a listing of the top fifty or hundred songs and artist on the playlists of fundamental dance floors (like The Roxy, Paradise Garage, Warehouse, and The Loft to name a few) makes this book worth its weight in gold. The history that this book attempts to recount isn't end all to be all, but it covers enough ground to satisfy even the most discriminating old club lover like myself. And even the most well versed club historian and afficionado will find something entertianing and educational within this books covers. I've bought three copies of this book, just to put some of my friends forever in my debt.
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Format: Paperback
After almost 30 years in the music industry and reading all the other accounts of "how it was", I can truthfully say someone got it right. While tending not to overly focus on any sub-genre of dance music, this book is an excellent read of the history of the DJ and where it all came from, traveling through the turbulent 60's right through to the creation of dance music in the 70's, it's subsequent death and rebirth in the 80's and its' continuing refinement today. The most important part, the authors have truly done their homework and gotten the right names and the right facts to give an honest and thoughtful overview of the nightclub disc jockey while making sure to pay their dues to those who got us where we are today. More than any other book, I recommend "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" to the new, up and coming DJ who wants to know about our history and the selfless people who created a movement.
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