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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Dec 2018 > NO DISCO


Gareth Murphy visits Downtown Manhattan at the dawn of the 80s to explore a dazzlingly influential moment in pop culture that forged the decade and pointed the way into the 90s…
A view of the dancefloor at the Mudd Club on White Street in New York in 1979

Typically, a musical happening acquires a genre term. But every now and then, there are happenings referred to only by a time and a place. New York in the 1979 to ’82 period is possibly the most spectacular example. Too big for any one genre label to fit, this was the mother of all melting-pot eruptions, that shaped the popular landscape for at least two decades to come.

To understand what was happening and why it was concentrated in Downtown Manhattan, the story begins in the bankrupt mid 70s, when New York City was a ratinfested wasteland of junkies and crumbling brownstones. From a grotty Downtown club called CBGB, the Ramones detonated the punk explosion, but the word ‘punk’, meaning scumbag or petty criminal in American slang, was always going to be a hard sell to American radio stations. that’s why, in and around late 1977, the term ‘New Wave’ was popularised by indies such as Sire. the idea was to persuade sceptical jocks to spin punkish records such as Psycho Killer by Talking Heads, which to be fair, weren’t really punk anyway. the idea took off and New Wave became synonymous with punk’s prettier cousins on both sides of the Atlantic: Blondie, Talking Heads, Devo, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Lene Lovich, the Stranglers, Elvis Costello, XTC and others who rose up on the back of punk but, being ‘real’ musicians to begin with, made ever-more slick and radio-friendly records through 1978.

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About Long Live Vinyl

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Issue 21 of Long Live Vinyl celebrates the moment 50 years ago when the two biggest bands on earth went head to head on record-shop shelves. Our cover story tells the inside story of the making of The White Album and Beggars Banquet, while taking a look inside the new Deluxe Editions of both albums – you’ve never heard The White Album like this before! And our special collector’s edition covers enable you to choose either a Beatles or Stones edition – or buy both! Elsewhere this issue, we meet two of the most outspoken characters in the current musical landscape – Richard Ashcroft and Baxter Dury – to hear about their extraordinary new albums, and Heavenly Records founder Jeff Barrett talks us through his remarkable life in music, selecting the records that have soundtracked his career. Tim Burgess sits down for a chat about his O Genesis record label, The Trip visits Liverpool, our Classic Album is A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 hip-hop masterpiece Midnight Marauders and we round up 40 Essential Laurel Canyon records that should be residing in your collection. If all that’s not enough, we bring you the most extensive range of new album, reissue and hardware reviews anywhere on the newsstand.