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Ian Levine

Biography

Ian Levine

Ian Levine is a British songwriter and producer, a veteran of the music industry since the 1960s.

He is most noted for his work in the genres of pop, soul, and Hi-NRG music. He and songwriting partner Fiachra Trench were among the main figures in the development of the Hi-NRG genre. During the 1990s he wrote and produced for the highly-successful UK boy band Take That.

He is also a well-known fan of the science fiction television series Doctor Who, and acted as an unofficial continuity consultant on the series during John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer. There is a long-standing fan myth that he secretly owns copies of so-called lost episodes of the series that were destroyed by the BBC after their original broadcasts, but there is no known basis in fact to this rumour. Levine, in fact, was responsible for the rescue of many episodes from destruction in the first place during the 1970s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Levine [Mar 2005]

Interview

Where were you born?
I was born in 1953 in Blackpool. Started collecting Motown records as early as 13-years-old. Really intensely by the time I was fourteen. I set out to get every Motown record ever released in the UK. The guy who claims he was the first ever rare record dealer, Gary Wilde records were 6s. in those days and he charged 5 for these rare Motown and northern things. He had a cigarette kiosk in Blackpool town centre in Victoria Street. He sold cigarettes and rare records and all the mods would congregate outside his kiosk. Real pioneer of this. This was 67 and 68. The first person to set a trend that, 30 years later has people now spending 15,000 for Frank Wilson. By the time I was 15 I was going with my parents on holiday to America and finding very rare Detroit records in these record shops. --Ian Levine via http://www.djhistory.com/djhistory/archiveInterviewDisplay.php?interview_id=18 [Mar 2005]

Internet quotes on Levine

[...] but Levine himself is a controversial figure. Back in the 70s, his attempts to bring Northern Soul up to date divided fans. A feud between Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino caused some fans to don "Levine Must Go" T shirts.

"In retrospect we probably went too far, and I admit it now," Levine thinks. "But at the time it seemed the right thing to do." Today's Northern Soul scene is still troubled by internal wrangling. "The people who stuck with it in the 80s are hugely resentful of the people who stopped going to soul all-nighters to have a family. There's stuff on the internet saying 'Who are these returning soulies? How dare they come back?' And now they've done it to me: 'How dare Ian Levine come back?'" But he has, and the strange world of Northern Soul is all the more rich and strange for it.

All-time top 10

1 Do I Love You Frank Wilson (Soul)
2 You Didn't Say A Word Yvonne Baker (Cameo)
3 Open The Door To Your Heart Darrell Banks (Revilot)
4 Seven Day Lover James Fountain (Peachtree)
5 Lend A Hand Bobby Hutton (ABC)
6 She'll Come Running Back Mel Britt (FIP)
7 It Really Hurts Me Girl The Carstairs (Red Coach)
8 Out On The Floor Dobie Gray (Charger)
9 The Snake Al Wilson (Soul City)
10 Moody Woman Jerry Butler (Mercury)

Snowboy

In the late seventies I was a student at Southend College of Art, and my friends there took me to jazz dances. Actually, the jazz funk scene at that time was as big as house music is in England today. New releases from the States came in every day and went straight into the charts, you had all these jazz funk festivals and all-dayers, and 90% of all clubs would play it. The scene was strongest in the South of England, and they had northern soul up north. Then the legendary northern soul-jock Ian Levine left the soul scene for Latin jazz and funk, and you had all these protesters wearing t-shirts saying "Levine Must Go".

Hi-NRG

Do Ya Wanna Funk (1982) Sylvester [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Hi-NRG
Hi-NRG is an early evolution of new-style disco. It is typified with simple, fast, danceable early house styles where the bass often takes the place of the hi-hat. Considered to be a cheesy, obsolete form of house by underground fans but still played in some of the more commercial clubs.

It has been said that the defining Hi-NRG track is Evelyn Thomas' "High Energy", produced by Ian Levine.

  • Hi-NRG musicians include: --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-NRG [Mar 2005]

    See also: disco - electronic music - house music - cheesy - commercial

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