Life and Death on the New York City playlists 1980-83

Red Bull Music Academy have created YouTube playlists for nine of the book's playlists (permission was granted--thanks to Todd Burns and Torsten Schmidt for their support). So if you want to listen while you read, or even dance while you read, here are the links:

Larry Levan, The Paradise Garage (1980)

Seán Cassette and Mark Kamins, Danceteria (1980)

Alan Dodd, Opening Night at The Saint (20 September 1980)

David Mancuso, The Loft (1980-1981)

François Kevorkian, AM/PM (1981-1982)

Africa Bambaataa, Afrika Islam, Grand Mixer D.St, Grand Wizard Theodore, Jazzy Jay, and Red Alert, The Roxy (1982)

Ivan Baker, Pyramid (1982-1983)

John “Jellybean” Benitez / John Benitez, The Funhouse (1982-1983)

Johnny Dynell, Area (1983)

Walter Gibbons

Walter Gibbons, David Mancuso and Arthur Russell--these are the three innovators from the downtown dance scene of the 1970s that I've been drawn to repeatedly while researching the culture. All were shy, Walter perhaps most of all, yet were also remarkably articulate when they communicated through music. I started to dig deep into Walter's contribution during research for Love Saves the Day and ended up positioning him as one of the key figures in the book thanks to his groundbreaking DJing style (which saw him innovative the technique of mixing between the breaks) and remixes (he edited the first commercial 12" single, "Ten Percent", and was the first DJ to manipulate the multitrack tapes on his mix of "Hit and Run"). Walter's increasingly strident religious convictions led him to marginalise himself from the dance scene towards the end of the 1970s but that didn't stop him from releasing one of the most innovative mixes of the 1980s--Strafe's "Set It Off". I've written quite extensively about Walter--see the articles listed below--and plan to write more in the future when I've had the chance to complete further interviews.


Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 2 August 1975, Record Worldhere.

Walter Gibbons, Outside Inn, 13 September 1975, Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 22 November 1975, Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 27 December 1975. Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 28 February 1976. Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 10 April 1976. Record World.  here.

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 15 May 1976. Record World. here

Walter Gibbons, Galaxy 21, 12 June 1976. Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Better Days, 9 October 1976. Record World. here.

Walter Gibbons, Second Storey, 25 December 1976. Record World. here.


Brewster, Bill. "Walter Gibbons". Record Collector, 2005.

Harvey, Steven. "Behind the Groove". Collusion. September 1983.

Kent, Al, Lee, Dave. "Walter Gibbons", Keep On, Vol. 4.

Lawrence, Tim. “Disco Madness: Walter Gibbons and the Legacy of Turntablism and Remixology”, Journal of Popular Music Studies, 2008.

Lawrence, Tim. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79. Index references: Walter Gibbons and John "Jellybean Benitez, 217; Better Days, 217; Better Days, 261; and Kenny Carpenter, 214, 215, 399; Disco Boggie, 265; Disco Madness, 384-85; DJing style, 215, 216, 217, 218, 383, 410; Double Exposure, 213-14, 218, 410; Galaxy 21, 214, 261; and François Kevorkian, 216, 217, 411; Loleatta Holloway, 261, 263-64; Bettye LaVette, 325; and Larry Levan, 411; Love Committee, 324-25, and Tom Moulton, 212, 268, 325; music, 215 (discography: Outside Inn 1975), 218; and the New York Record Pool, 158; Outside Inn, 214, 215; remixing style, 218, 263-64, 268-69, 411; Salsoul, 213-14; Salsoul Orchestra 224-25, 325; Sanctuary (Seattle), 324; and Nicky Siano, 246; Strafe, 392; and David Todd, 214.

Lawrence, Tim. “Mixed with Love: The Walter Gibbons Salsoul Anthology”, Suss’d Records 2004.

Lawrence, Tim. “Walter Gibbons: Jungle Music”, Strut, 2010. 

McMillan, Neil. "Cut Up or Shut Up: An Edited History of Cut 'n' Paste".


Walter Gibbons memorial service


Discogs: Walter Gibbons. Walter Gibbons.

Million Dollar Disco: Walter Gibbons.

Mark Kamins


A self-described “black New Yorker”, Mark Kamins shaped the sound of New York party culture during the late 1970s and the 1980s, holding down residencies held at Trax, Danceteria and the Tunnel as the city’s dance floors burned with incandescent energy. As a DJ he played across the sonic spectrum whenever he took to the decks and as a producer his lengthy discography includes David Byrne’s “Big Business”, Quando Quango’s “Love Tempo”, Marcel King’s “Reach for Love” and “Beastie Groove” by the Beastie Boys. It’s just a pity that sound bite history has left him characterised as a so-called new wave DJ who’s best known for being an ex-boyfriend of Madonna and the producer of her debut single.

I interviewed Mark via Skype on 30 October 2008 and 3 November 2008 while researching a book on New York party culture 1980-83. At the time I understood that Danceteria was a key party space of the period but knew little about Mark—beyond his new wave and Madonna notoriety. We hit it off easily, just as I’m sure Mark hit it off with everyone he met, such was his charm, warmth and energy. We covered territory that left me convinced of Mark’s central importance to the story of New York during the incandescent era of the early 1980s. In early September 2012 I sent Mark a list of quotes I was going to use in the book so that he could check and approve them. Then, on 14 February, 2013 news broke that he died as a result of a heart condition aged 56. 

Scores of us gathered on-line to mix sadness and shock with fond memories. I then search for material on the post-1983 period of Mark’s life we never properly got to discuss, only to re-appreciate that remarkably little is out there, with this exchange one of the most solid. Wondering if anybody else had interviewed Mark in depth, I decided to publish our exchanges on the first anniversary of his passing so that he could finally have his say. What follows is the full transcript.


Mark Kamins, interviewed by Tim Lawrence, October/November 2008.

Tim Lawrence: How did you get involved in party culture and DJing?
Mark Kamins: Well, I remember my first club. It was Le Jardin. That was the first place I went to.
You’re kidding me. When did you go there?
I think that must have been ‘72.
It opened in June 1973. 
I was also working in a record shop then, Record Connection, which was the first shop that sold European 45s to DJs. The 45s had an instrumental on the B Side. So the DJs would buy two 45s so they could do a mix from the instrumental to the vocal. And we were the first record shop for DJs in New York. It was called Record Connection on Washington Square.
I thought Downstairs Records was the first.
You mean the one in the subway station?
Yes. Nicky DeKrechweo was it? 
Yes, Nicky and Lisa—Lisa Cooper. They were great. 
I had no idea you went back so far.
Yes sure, you had to go back that far. I wouldn’t have been where I was in the eighties if I hadn’t started in the seventies, you know? You don’t come out of nowhere. You don’t magically appear. You have to have that history. Whether I was a DJ or not, I still had that history, and I worked at Record Connection for five years. That’s where I got familiar with the catalogues of music and producers and DJs. And working at the Record Connection I met all the gay DJs who worked in the gay clubs and the lesbian clubs, the black clubs. I saw what they bought and that led me to start DJing. 

read more


An edited version was published by Red Bull Music Academy.


Mark Kamins, Danceteria, March 1984, Vinyl Maniac. here.
Mark Kamins, Danceteria, May 1984, Details. here
Mark Kamins, Danceteria, September 1984, Details. here.
Mark Kamins, Danceteria, April 1985, Details. here.


Burns, Todd. "RIP Mark Kamins"Red Bull Music Academy, 2013. 

Lawrence, Tim. “Discotheque: Haçienda”. Gut / Active Records, 2006.

Wilson, Greg. "Mark Kamins". Being a DJ, 2013. 


Kamins, Mark. Facebook page.

The Tube visits New York, including Danceteria, late 1983. Mark Kamins clip at 3:26.

Discography: Love Saves the Day

The following discography lists all of the recordings referred to in Love Saves the Day. It provides basic information on the name of the artist, the title of the recording, the name of the label that originally released the recording, and the year in which the recording was first released. Entries are listed in alphabetical order, first according to the name of the artist, and subsequently according to the title of the recording. Albums are highlighted in italics, whereas individual album cuts, seven-inch singles, and twelve-inch singles are written in normal typeface. 


Abaco Dream. ‘‘Life and Death in G & A.’’ A&M, 1969. 

Area Code 615. ‘‘Stone Fox Chase.’’ Polydor, 1970. 

Ashford & Simpson. ‘‘Found a Cure.’’ Warner Bros., 1979. 

----------.‘‘It Seems to Hang On.’’ Warner Bros., 1978. 

----------. ‘‘Over and Over.’’ Warner Bros., 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Stay Free.’’ Warner Bros., 1979. 

Atmosfear. ‘‘Dancing in Outer Space.’’ Elite, 1979. 

Auger, Brian, & the Trinity. ‘‘Listen Here.’’ RCA, 1970. 

Ayers, Roy, Ubiquity. ‘‘Don’ t Stop the Feeling.’’ Polydor, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Running Away.’’ Polydor, 1977. 

Babe Ruth. ‘‘ The Mexican.’’ Harvest, 1973. 

Barrabas. Barrabas. RCA, 1972. 

----------. ‘‘ Wild Safari.’’ RCA, 1972. 

----------. ‘‘ Woman.’’ RCA, 1972. 

Barrow, Keith. ‘‘ Turn Me Up.’’ Columbia, 1978. 

Bataan, Joe. ‘‘Aftershower Funk.’’ Mericana, 1973. 

----------. ‘‘Latin Strut.’’ Mericana, 1973. 

----------. ‘‘Rap- O Clap- O.’’ Salsoul, 1979. 

----------. Salsoul. Mericana, 1973. 

Bean, Carl. ‘‘I Was Born This Way.’’ Motown, 1977. 

Beatles. ‘‘Here Comes the Sun.’’ Apple, 1969.  

----------. ‘‘It’s Too Funky in Here.’’ Polydor, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Mother Popcorn (You Got to Have a Mother for Me).’’ King, 1969. 

Brown, Peter. ‘‘Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me.’’ TK, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Love in Our Hearts.’’ TK, 1979. 

B. T. Express. ‘‘Do It (’ Til You’re Satisfied).’’ Scepter, 1974. 

----------. ‘‘Express.’’ Scepter/Roadshow, 1974. 

----------. ‘‘Peace Pipe.’’ Scepter/Roadshow, 1975. 

Bumble Bee Unlimited. ‘‘Lady Bug.’’ Red Greg, 1978. 

----------. ‘‘Love Bug.’’ Red Greg, 1976. 

Byrd, Bobby. ‘‘Hot Pants—I’m Coming, Coming, I’m Coming.’’ BrownStone, 1971. 

Candido. ‘‘Dancin’ and Prancin’.’’ Salsoul, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Jingo.’’ Salsoul, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘ Thousand Finger Man.’’ Salsoul, 1979. 

Cara, Irene. ‘‘Flashdance . . . What a Feeling.’’ Casablanca, 1983. 

Carn, Jean. ‘‘ Was That All It Was.’’ Philadelphia International, 1979. 

Cerrone. ‘‘Black Is Black.’’ Cotillion, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Call Me Tonight.’’ Atlantic, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Love in ‘C’ Minor.’’ Cotillion, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Midnight Lady.’’ Cotillion, 1977. 

----------. Supernature. Cotillion, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Supernature.’’ Cotillion, 1977. 

Chakachas. ‘‘Jungle Fever.’’ Polydor, 1972. 

Change. ‘‘A Lover ’s Holiday.’’ RFC, 1980. 

Charo and the Salsoul Orchestra. ‘‘Dance a Little Bit Closer.’’ Salsoul, 1977. 

Cher. ‘‘ Take Me Home.’’ Casablanca, 1979. 

Chic. ‘‘Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).’’ Atlantic, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Good Times.’’ Atlantic, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Le Freak.’’ Atlantic, 1978. 

Chicago. ‘‘I’m a Man.’’ Columbia, 1970. 

----------. ‘‘Street Player.’’ Columbia, 1979. 

Chocolat. Kings of Clubs. Salsoul, 1977. 

C. J. & Co. ‘‘Devil’s Gun.’’ Westbound, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘ We’ ve Got Our Own Thing.’’ Westbound, 1977. 

Class Action featuring Christine Wiltshire. ‘‘ Weekend.’’ Sleeping Bag, 1983.

Clifford, Linda. ‘‘Runaway Love.’’ Curtom, 1978.

Collins, Lynn. ‘‘ Think (About It).’’ People, 1972. 

Consumer Rapport. ‘‘Ease On Down the Road.’’ Wing & a Prayer, 1975. 

Cookie Monster & the Girls. ‘‘C Is for Cookie.’’ Sesame Street, 1978. 

Costandinos, Alec, and the Syncophonic Orchestra. Romeo and Juliet. Casablanca, 1978. 

Creative Source. ‘‘ Who Is He and What Is He to You?’’ Sussex, 1973. 

Crown Heights Affair. ‘‘Say a Prayer for Two.’’ De-Lite, 1978. 

Curtis, Chantal. ‘‘Get Another Love.’’ Key, 1979. 

Cymande. ‘‘Bra.’’ Janus, 1972. 

Dash, Sarah. ‘‘Sinner Man.’’ Kirshner, 1978. 

Dees, Rick, and His Cast of Idiots. ‘‘Disco Duck.’’ RSO, 1976. 

De La Fe, Alfredo. ‘‘Hot to Trot.’’ Criollo, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘My Favorite Things.’’ Criollo, 1979. 

Deodato, Eumir. ‘‘Night Cruiser.’’ Warner Bros., 1980. 

Dibango, Manu. ‘‘Soul Makossa.’’ Atlantic, 1973. 

Disco Dub Band. ‘‘For the Love of Money.’’ Movers Records, 1976. 

Disco Tex & the Sex- O-Lettes. ‘‘Get Dancin’.’’ Chelsea, 1974. 

Dinosaur. ‘‘Kiss Me Again.’’ Sire, 1978. 

Doobie Brothers. ‘‘Long Train Running.’’ Warner Bros., 1973. 

Doors. ‘‘Roadhouse Blues.’’ Elektra, 1970. 

Double Exposure. ‘‘My Love Is Free.’’ Salsoul, 1976. 

----------. ‘‘ Ten Percent.’’ Salsoul, 1976. 

Douglas, Carl. ‘‘Kung Fu Fighting.’’ 20th Century, 1974. 

Douglas, Carol. ‘‘Doctor ’s Orders.’’ Midland International, 1974. 

----------. ‘‘Midnight Love Affair.’’ Midland International, 1976. 

Downing, Al. ‘‘I’ ll Be Holding On.’’ Chess, 1974. 

Downing, Don. ‘‘Dream World.’’ Scepter, 1974. 

Dozier, Lamont. ‘‘Going Back to My Roots.’’ Warner Bros., 1977. 

Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. ‘‘Cherchez la Femme.’’ RCA, 1976. 

----------. Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. RCA, 1976. 

----------. ‘‘I’ ll Play the Fool.’’ RCA, 1976. 

----------. ‘‘Sour and Sweet.’’ RCA, 1976. 

Duke, George. ‘‘I Want You for Myself.’’ Epic, 1979. 

Dury, Ian. ‘‘Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick.’’ Stiff, 1978. 

Dynamic Corvettes. ‘‘Funky Music Is the Thing.’’ Abet, 1975. 

Earth, Wind & Fire. ‘‘Boogie Wonderland.’’ ARC, 1970. 

Easy Going. ‘‘Baby I Love You.’’ Prism, 1979. 

Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. ‘‘Ask Me.’’ Roulette, 1974. 

Ecstasy, Passion & Pain featuring Barbara Roy. ‘‘ Touch and Go.’’ Roulette, 1976. 

El Coco. ‘‘Let’s Get It Together.’’ AVI, 1976. 

Emotions. ‘‘I Don’ t Wanna Lose Your Love.’’ Columbia, 1976. 

Equals. ‘‘Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys.’’ President, 1970. 

Executive Suite. ‘‘ When the Fuel Runs Out.’’ Babylon, 1974. 

Extensions from (212). ‘‘Manhattan Shuffle.’’ Friends & Co., 1979. 

Exuma. ‘‘Exuma, the Obeah Man.’’ Mercury, 1969. 

Fair, Yvonne. ‘‘It Should Have Been Me.’’ Motown, 1975. 

Faithfull, Marianne. ‘‘ Why D’Ya Do It?’’ Island, 1979. 

Fatback. ‘‘King Tim III (Personality Jock).’’ Spring, 1979. 

Fidenco, Nico. Emanuelle Nera. West End, 1976. 


First Choice. ‘‘Armed and Extremely Dangerous.’’ Philly Groove, 1973. 

----------. Delusions. Gold Mind, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Double Cross.’’ Gold Mind, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Doctor Love.’’ Gold Mind, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Guilty.’’ Philly Groove, 1974. 

----------. Hold Your Horses. Gold Mind, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Hold Your Horses.’’ Gold Mind, 1978. 

----------. ‘‘Let No Man Put Asunder.’’ Gold Mind, 1977. 

----------. ‘‘Love and Happiness.’’ Philly Groove, 1973. 

----------. ‘‘Love Thang.’’ Gold Mind, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘Newsy Neighbors.’’ Philly Groove, 1973. 

----------. ‘‘Smarty Pants.’’ Philly Groove, 1973. 

----------. So Let Us Entertain You. Warner Bros., 1976. 

----------. ‘‘ The Player.’’ Philly Groove, 1973. 

Four Tops. ‘‘I Can’ t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).’’ Motown, 1965. 

----------. ‘‘Still Waters.’’ Motown, 1970. 

Franklin, Aretha. ‘‘Ain’ t No Way.’’ Atlantic, 1968. 

----------. ‘‘Respect.’’ Atlantic, 1967. 

Front Page. ‘‘Love Insurance.’’ Panorama, 1979. 

Funk Machine. ‘‘Funk Machine.’’ TK, 1977. 

Gardner, Taana. ‘‘ When You Touch Me.’’ West End, 1979. 

----------. ‘‘ Work That Body.’’ West End, 1979. 

Gaye, Marvin. ‘‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine.’’ Tamla, 1968. 

----------. ‘‘ What’s Going On.’’ Tamla, 1971. 

Gaynor, Gloria. ‘‘Casanova Brown.’’ MGM, 1975. 

----------. ‘‘I Will Survive.’’ Polydor, 1978. 

----------. ‘‘(If You Want It) Do It Yourself.’’ MGM, 1975. 

----------. ‘‘How High the Moon.’’ MGM, 1975. 

----------. Never Can Say Goodbye. MGM, 1975. 

----------. ‘‘Never Can Say Goodbye.’’ MGM, 1974. 

----------. Park Avenue Sound. Polydor, 1978. 

----------. ‘‘Substitute.’’ Polydor, 1978. 


Gentry, Bobbie. ‘‘Ode to Billie Joe.’’ Capitol, 1967. 

Giorgio. From Here to Eternity. Casablanca, 1977. 

Glass House. ‘‘I Can’ t Be You (You Can’ t Be Me).’’ Invictus, 1970. 

Grant, Eddy. ‘‘Living on the Frontline.’’ Epic, 1978. 

----------. ‘‘ Walking on Sunshine.’’ Epic, 1979. 

Green, Al. ‘‘Let’s Stay Together.’’ Hi, 1971. 

----------. ‘‘Love and Happiness.’’ Hi, 1972. 

Green, Jesse. ‘‘Nice & Slow.’’ Scepter, 1976. 

Hammond, Johnny. ‘‘Los Conquistadores Chocolatés.’’ Fantasy, 1975. 

Harris, Damon. ‘‘It’s Music.’’ Fantasy/WMOT, 1978.

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Arthur Russell

I first heard about Arthur Russell in 1997, just after I started to research Love Saves the Day. I was interviewing Steve D'Acquisto at the time and Steve started to rave about Arthur, Arthur, Arthur and even suggested that I should write a biography about him. That's what I started to do right after Love Saves the Day went into production during 2003. I loved Arthur's mutant dance tracks yet ended up being just as beguiled by other recordings, from the shimmering voice-cello sound of World of Echo to the electronic-funk-pop posthumously released by Audika on Calling Out of Context in 2004. Steve Knutson, head of Audika, and Tom Lee, Arthur's surviving partner, made Arthur's archives available to me during my research and became hugely important facilitators; I remain indebted. Arthur's spirit lives on through his music, released and re-eleased by Audika, Soul Jazz and other labels, through Matt Wolf's lovely documentary film Wild Combination and, I sometimes like to think, through the publication of Hold On to Your Dreams. I have a significant amount of material I would like to upload to this page. It will take a while...


I never got to interview Arthur, who passed away in 1992, 12 years before I started to research and write Hold On to Your Dreams. What a regret. I will post the small number of interviews conducted with Arthur in Articles, below, at some point in the future.


Full discography from Hold On to Your Dreams. here.


Bishop, Stacey. "Arthur Russell: Tower of Meaning"Sound Choice. February 1985

Fricke, David. "On the Edge"Rolling Stone, 1994.

Lawrence, Tim. “Icons: Arthur Russell”. Attitude, October 2009.

Lawrence, Tim. “Review: Wild Combination”. Journal of the Society of American Music, 2010.

Lawrence, Tim. "24 --> 24 Music". Sleeping Bag Records/Traffic Entertainment Group, 2011.

Lucas, Gary. "An Appreciation"Alternative Press, November 1994.

Sandow, Gregory. "Music for a Rainy Day". Village Voice.


Byrne, Glass, Ginsberg on Arthur Russell, Recorded in 1994.

Frere-Jones, Sasha. "Let's Go Swimming: Arthur Russell's Gentle Revolutions"New Yorker. 8 March 2004.

Ratlif, Ben. "The Many Faces, and Grooves, of Arthur Russell"New York Times, 29 February 2004.