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Ashford & Simpson - Bourgie Bourgie (Larry Levan @ Paradise Garage Tribute) 1980

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Published on Sep 6, 2013

Larry Levan (July 20, 1954 – November 8, 1992) was a DJ best known for his decade-long residency at the New York City night club Paradise Garage, which has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club. He developed a cult following who referred to his sets as "Saturday Mass". Influential US DJ François Kevorkian credits Levan with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music. Along with Kevorkian, Levan experimented with drum machines and synthesizers in his productions and live sets, ushering in an electronic, post-disco sound that presaged the ascendence of house music.

The Paradise Garage was a discotheque notable in the history of modern LGBT and nightclub cultures and in dance and pop music. It was founded by Michael Brody, its sole proprietor, and was located at 84 King Street, in the Hudson Square neighborhood of New York City. It operated from 1976 to 1987 and was the base for DJ Larry Levan. Its name derives from its origins as a parking garage. The Paradise Garage's business model was largely inspired by David Mancuso's Loft parties: no liquor was served, there were no sales of food or beverages, and the club was not open to the general public.

The sound system was developed, designed and installed by Richard Long of Richard Long & Associates (RLA), and was said by those who attended to be the best in New York City at that time. The club has been credited for its influence on the development of the modern dance club as it is today; unlike other clubs of its time, the Paradise Garage was focused on dancing rather than social interaction, and it was the first to put the DJ at the center of attention.

Among those to benefit from what became known as "The Garage Sound" or "Garage Music" was West End Records, run by Mel Cheren. Among its successes were "Sessomatto" by Sessa Matto, Karen Young's "Hot Shot," "Heartbeat" by Taana Gardner (remixed by Levan), "Do It to the Music" by Raw Silk, and "Don't Make Me Wait" by the Peech Boys (produced by Levan). West End Records folded for a number of years, re-opening in the late 90s and releasing one of Levan's DJ sets recorded live at the Garage. In the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, a post-disco radio station, Paradise FM, plays music representative of the club's playlists at the height of its popularity. Tim Curry had a minor hit with a song about the club, also named "Paradise Garage". In 1992, a UK music production and remix team called West End produced numerous UK #1 Club Chart hits influenced by the style of "The Garage Sound" and the associated West End Records label. By 1994, West End the remixing team started a company called West End Radio Productions, whose founder, Eddie Gordon, created the Essential Mix show for BBC Radio 1 in the UK.

The building which housed the Paradise Garage is now a facility for Verizon Communications. As of 2008, the Paradise Garage trademark is now owned by Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC).

The unique and eclectic style of disco and dance music played at the Garage gave rise to the descriptive terms "garage," "garage style" and "garage classic" (to describe a record that was made famous or is associated with the Paradise Garage). When the term "garage music" is used in reference to the Paradise Garage, it does not exclusively mean house music, although certain house tracks may be considered to be garage classics. House music as a genre got its start from the Garage's house DJ Larry Levan and his contemporaries, Frankie Knuckles and Nicky Siano who were both also influential disc jockeys. These disc jockeys played all kinds of music so long as it was danceable; at the Paradise Garage, one was liable to hear The Clash and The Police as well as traditional "disco" artists like Gwen Guthrie and Sylvester. Levan is remembered by all for his ability to choose and play different records from different types of music and make it all fit together. The term "garage" has changed meaning over time, see UK garage for a more detailed description.

This form of music is not related to garage rock.

It's also where Madonna filmed her first video clip Everybody.

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