Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey Paperback – May 20 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
Beginning with the contention that the disc jockey is "dance music's most important figure," Brewster and Broughton persuasively argue that the contemporary DJ is the epitome of the postmodern artist and that disc jockeys have long influenced the evolution of American musical tastes. Brewster and Broughton's ardent history is one of barriers and sonic booms, spanning almost 100 years, including nods to pioneers Christopher Stone, Martin Block, Douglas "Jocko" Henderson, Bob "Wolfman Jack" Smith and Alan "Moondog" Freed. Along the lines of Kurt B. Reighley's recent Looking for the Perfect Beat: The Art and Culture of the DJ, this is an obsessively unabridged and ever-unraveling (the authors will offer updates at www.djhistory.com) chronology of DJs and the musicAnorthern soul, reggae, disco, hip-hop, garage, house and technoAthey have fostered, and, more accurately perhaps, the music that has fostered them. So as not to miss a note, the authors, both former editors at Mixmag USA and contributing writers to The Face, interviewed more than 100 DJs, dancers and scenesters and elicited some vibrant, pull-quote anecdotes, especially in the hip-hop chapters. What comes to light makes sense: readers learn that the DJ is a distinctly American invention (Reginald A. Fessenden in 1906), but they came into their own, and into wealth and fame, in Britain (case in point: Paul Oakenfold). Brewster and Broughton's subtext is refreshing: rather than draw curt lines between American and British contributions, they show how intimate the countries were in forging a communications phenomenon. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The DJ has been at the center of music history for the last forty years-from the first time a record was played over the airwaves, through reggae and Northern Soul, the births of disco, hip hop, house, and techno, to the current global underground. The club economy now brings in billions and superstar DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Fatboy Slim are overtaking rock stars in popularity and earning power. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is the first comprehensive history of the disc jockey, a figure who has revolutionized the way music is conceived, created, and consumed. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the world's most important DJs and the revelers at some of the century's most legendary parties, this book is nothing less than the life story of dance music.
"Brewster and Broughton...have written a lively and--to anyone with a more than casual interest in the history of popular music in the latter half of the 20th century--necessary volume."--The New York Times Book Review
"A riveting look at record spinning from its beginnings to the present day, the authors show that the history and art of deejaying makes for a grander and more fascinating story than one would think..... The book is intricately detailed and informative, filled with grand themes and historical anecdotes, all leavened with a wiseass humor that keeps the whole thing from getting too pretentious."--Time Out
"What makes [Last Night a DJ Saved My Life] so good, besides the crisp, lucid writing, is that it also gives a fascinating, episodic history of the jive-talking radio DJs and Parisian discos that established the themes that would play out in hip-hop, disco and rave culture."--Salon
"These British music-mag writers deliver the goods with humor and a basic sense of good storytelling."--Vibe
"Brewster and Broughton exhibit considerable skill in rendering the meta-story seamless, subtly turning what is essentially an oral history, culled from original interviews and other published sources, into an orchestral piece."--Hartford Courant
"Very informative...takes you way back into the 'true roots' of dance music and hip hop's culture, then smoothly brings you into the future."--Danny Tenaglia
"This is for anyone who has ever found themselves lost on the dancefloor."--The Face
"Exhaustive yet entertaining...a definitive history of the disc jockey.... The book lovingly captures a host of compelling stories from every seminal DJ across the last century.... Energy jumps from the book's pages."--iD
"From counterculture to mainstream leisure, the DJ has always been at the heart of clubland.... An illuminating, thoughtful, and insightful tome."--Muzik
Excerpts Last Night a DJ Saved My Life:
"Today (no offense to priests and ministers, who try their best), it is the DJ who presides at our festivals of transcendence. Like this witchdoctor, we know he's just a normal guy really--I mean, look at him--but when he wipes away our everyday lives with holy drums and sanctified basslines, we are quite prepared to think of him as a god, or at the very least a sacred intermediary, the man who can get the great one to return our calls.
"In a good club, and even in most bad ones, the dancers are celebrating their youth, their energy, their sexuality. They are worshipping life through dance and music. Some worship with the heightened levels of perception that drugs bring; but most are carried away merely by the music and the people around them. The DJ is the key to all this. By playing records in the right way the average DJ has a tremendous power to affect people's states of mind. A truly great DJ, just for a moment, can make a whole room fall in love. Because, you see, DJing is not just about choosing a few tunes. It's about generating shared moods; it's about understanding the feelings of a group of people and directing them to a better place. In the hands of a master, records become the tools for rituals of spiritual communion that for many people are the most powerful events in their lives."
Bill Brewster has been editor of Mixmag's Update USA. His writing appears reg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
great read for any DJ or anyone into the history of club musicPublished 14 months ago by Sean Metcalfe
The book was in good condition @ a fr
action of the retail cost.
Orde processing and shipping was quick.
Au début, je ne voulais pas lire ce livre à cause du titre. Je croyais que c'était pour être un autre livre sur les raves bonbon djs plogués etc... Read morePublished on July 9 2005 by Ruby
For those interested in EVERY aspect of DJ culture and its rich history, this is the book for you. Every DJ should read this book to know where you've come from so that you know... Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2003
I found this book to be a great read. Very well written, thorough, and extremely interesting! It's exactly what I was looking for when I went searching for information about the... Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2002 by Adam Machanic
i am a professional disc jockey who has been spinning for 12 years, mostly hip hop. this book changed the way i look at music and the mixing of it, forever.Published on Dec 9 2001 by antaclaude
I bought this book specifically for the history of techno and electronica music and was extremely impressed by the depth of coverage this book has on the impact of the DJ on the... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2001 by Jamie Wilson
reading this book has giving me a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of the people, the technology which now enables us to make inncredible music. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2001
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