Larry Levan was one of the best DJs ever! A legendary master, Larry paved the way for the eclectic and soulful to join together and party for days on end! This is my tribute to the master and to my mother who was an orginal ID card carrying member!
1. I Like What You’re Doing To Me – Young and Company
2. Give Me Your Love – Sylvia Striplin
3. Let No Man Put Asunder – First Choice
4. Double Exposure – Ten Percent
5. I Know You, I Live You – Chaka Khan
6. Just Us – Two Tons of Fun
7. Victim – Candi Staton
8. Doctor Love – First Choice
9. Everybody Dance (Clap Your Hands) – Le Chic
10. Walking Into Sunshine – Central Line
11. You’re The One For Me D-Train
12. I Got My Mind Made Up – Instant Funk
13. Seventh Heaven – Gwen Guthrie (Larry Levan 12′ Remix)
14. Don’t Make Me Wait – Peech Boys
15. You Used To Hold Me So Tight – Thelma Houston
16. Street Life – Crusaders with Randy Crawford
17. Padlock – Gwen Guthrie (Larry Levan 12 inch’ Mix)
18. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Stanton
19. Push Push in the Bush – Musique
20. MY LOVE IS FREE – Double Exposure (1976 Salsoul)
21. George Krantz – Din Daa Daa
22. Love Is the Message – MFSB and The Three Degrees
Opening in February 1978 and closing down in the fall of 1987, Paradise Garage is quite possibly the most revered of all of the great Dance clubs. Strongly influenced by David Mancuso’s stellar sound system and familial atmosphere at The Loft, Paradise Garage became known for industry-defining sound and a congenial, loving environment. DJ Larry Levan presided over the Garage and inspired a reverence from club audiences unsurpassed in the history of Dance music. Paradise Garage became known musically for preserving the spirit and ambience of classic Disco while moving resolutely forward in musical style and innovation. The Dance music genre Garage is a lasting tribute to the club’s importance to Dance music history.
Located at 84 King St., New York City, in an old garage building, Paradise Garage officially opened February 17, 1978 in 20,000 square feet of space after hosting a series of construction parties while the space was under construction. Envisioned as an ongoing party by its owner Michael Brody instead of a club, Paradise Garage issued much-coveted memberships for those who wished to attend. Throughout its history, the clientele of Paradise Garage was predominately black, Latin, and gay, but as its reputation grew, key figures in Dance music from all backgrounds came for the Paradise Garage experience.
Throughout its history Paradise Garage had only one resident DJ, Larry Levan, widely revered as one of the most talented of all Dance DJs. A veteran of the Gallery, Continental Baths, and Reade St. (Paradise Garage’s immediate precursor), Levan had strong connections with the New York Disco community. One of his closest colleagues, Frankie Knuckles, left New York for Chicago shortly before the opening of Paradise Garage. Knuckles would go on to fame as a key founder of House.
Aside from Larry Levan’s worshipful following, Paradise Garage was also known for building and maintaining one of the best Dance music sound systems ever. Richard Long was hired to design the sound system and he brought in Al Fierstein. Together they developed equipment specifically for the space at the Garage. A paper presented at the International Convention of the Audio Engineering Society explains in detail their application of acoustical principles when designing an optimal system. A number of clubs have attempted to recreate the aural qualities of the Paradise Garage sound system, but have never succeeded in creating a true duplication. Long and Fierstein put together the system for the specific space in which it was used making the sound experience unique to Paradise Garage.
Larry Levan’s musical palette at Paradise Garage was one of the most diverse ever in a Dance venue. He would incorporate elements of Rock, Disco, Jazz, R&B, Latin and more if it seemed to fit the mood of the moment. While nearly anything might be heard on the dancefloor, a more specific style began to emerge as a predominant sound. Ultimately known as Garage, this style was true to the sound and feel of Disco while adding technological elements that successfully brought the music forward. Levan’s intimate connection with the record label West End Records, run by Michael Brody’s life partner Mel Cheren, insured success for such West End classics as Karen Young’s Hot Shot, The Peech Boys’ Don’t Make Me Wait, and Taana Gardner’s Heartbeat.
As with most all classic Dance venues, Paradise Garage did come to an end. Owner Michael Brody announced that the Garage would close after a final party September 26-27, 1987 which drew an estimated 14,000 people over the two days. The official reason for closing was failure to renew a lease. Michael Brody claimed local residents ‘did not want a black club in the neighborhood’ and so refused to renew its lease, but Brody was also very ill and would die within months of the closing of Paradise Garage. The reputation of the Garage and Larry Levan has dimmed little with the passing of years. In recent years, West End Records has engaged in a program of re-releasing live sets by Larry Levan and a number of favorite mixes from the Paradise Garage era. Part legend and part reality, Paradise Garage is certain to live on.