Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983
Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992, both also published by Duke University Press.
It Wasn’t Rock and Roll and It Wasn’t Disco
The convergence of punk and dance gathered momentum during 1981 when local New York bands Liquid Liquid and ESG released their debuts on 99 Records. During a prolific year, ZE Records came out with releases by Cristina, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Gichy Dan, Material, and the Waitresses. The label also released a compilation album—titled Mutant Disco: A Subtle Discolation of the Norm in the United Kingdom—that captured the zeitgeist. David Byrne and Brian Eno contributed to the mutant moment with the release of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Arthur Russell joined in with 24 → 24 Music. Island’s showcasing of the interlocking efforts of Black Uhuru, Grace Jones, and Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare contributed to the breakthrough of a set of Jamaican sounds that had previously enjoyed only an episodic presence on the New York party scene.