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.
Cusp of an Important Fusion
The broader New York City party scene ended 1982 in rude health. The drive to integration and synthesis drew on and inspired recordings that were largely recorded in the city. Indeed it even appeared as though the history of dance was being recast as “Don’t Make Me Wait” begat “Planet Rock” begat “Go Bang!” begat “Thanks to You” in just a couple of months, with “The Message,” “Situation,” “Buffalo Gals,” and “Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don’t Stop)” following in close succession. The relative absence of the corporates provided independent labels with the kind of market freedom that had last existed during the first half of the 1970s. Loft regular Gail Bruesewitz experienced the disjuncture firsthand when she became marketing and promotions manager of twelve-inch singles at Columbia in August. Meanwhile Frankie Crocker pioneered the introduction of the urban contemporary format and commissioned his first rap show in the summer of 1982.