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Twelve inch vinyl record

Related: album - single

Typical Salsoul twelve inch sleeve

In 1976, Salsoul release the first commercially-available 12 inch: Walter Gibbons takes double Exposure’s Ten Percent and works it into an 11 minute disco extravaganza. Repetitive beats, disco and club music as we know it are born.


The 12-inch single gramophone record gained popularity with the advent of disco music in the 1970s. As the songs became much longer than the average pop song but the DJ in the club wanted a sufficient sound level, the format had to be changed from the 7" single. Since production costs for 7", 10", and 12" records were about the same by this time, there was no real motivation to use the smaller formats.

Record producers also sought a loud recording level to compensate for the poor signal-to-noise ratio, apparent when simply turning the volume up during playback. A loud recording level requires more space as the grooves' excursions (especially in the low-end so important for dance music) become much greater. Later music styles took advantage of this new format an recording levels on vinyl 12" maxis have steadily increased, culminating in the extremely loud (or "hot") cuts of drum and bass records of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The term "12-inch" usually refers to a single with several remixes. Now that advances in compact disc player technology have made the CD acceptable for mixing and "turntablism", the term maxi single is increasingly used.

In the mid-late 1980s, prior to the rise in popularity of the CD single, vinyl maxi-singles for popular artists often included "bonus" songs that were not included on albums, in a manner similar to the older EP format. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12-inch_single [Apr 2005]

Twelve Inch Single

The 12-inch single was a late and unexpected child of the recording industry. It was therefore given a name to distinguish it from its older vinyl siblings. "12-inch" refers to the diameter of the record — which it shares with the LP. "Single" refers to the quantity of songs per side — as on the 45 rpm single. Whereas 45s and LPs have been common fare since the late 1950s and 1960s, respectively, 12-inch dance singles were issued first in mid-1975, and then only to a small clientele: disk-jockeys, alternatively known as DJ's, who were perceived to constitute the only group to become attracted to the new format. --Kai Fikentscher, "Supremely clubbed, devastatingly dubbed", 1991


The modern vinyl record was launched in 1948 and is a direct descendent of the gramophone record. This new media has several advantages over the shellac 78RPM original gramophone record. The 12" LP record rotates at 331/3 RPM and has tight "microgrooves" allowing 25 minutes of playing time per side. The vinyl material also is quieter than the 78RPM shellac improving greatly the signal-to-noise ratio. In 1949 the 7" 45 RPM record (single) was introduced with a playing time of up to 8 minutes of playing time per side. In 1958 stereophonic versions of the discs became available with two separate audio channels in the same microgroove allowing stereo playback. [...] Vinyl records sales where at their most popular in the 1960-70s. By the end of 1982 sales of pre-recorded music on cassette tape had overtaken the LP record. The launch of the compact disc (CD), also in 1982, had a massive impact on LP sales in the late 80s. [...]

Walter Gibbons [...]

It was Gibbons transformation of Double Exposure's Ten Percent from a three minute album track into an eleven minute dancefloor stormer that radically changed the disco undergound in terms of record production, remixing and development of the 12" record. At the time when orchestration was commonly used on dance records, Gibbons' technique was to concentrate on percussion and the song.

Tom Moulton [...]

Tom Moulton's concepts singlehandedly created a new industry of remixing--producing records with greater dance impact. He leapfrogged Philadelphia sonics by rebalancing the frequency range, extending the high frequencies much further than Motown ever did. "Because 45s were geared for radio, they were all 'middle,' and you couldn't cut a lot of [bass] onto the record. A lot of records didn't have the fidelity and sounded terrible. But you were playing them for the songs, not the fidelity."

That regard for the integrity of a song also guided Moulton in the studio. He not only sharpened sound for high-volume nightclub play, but he also restructured records, setting up hooks and repeating the best parts, greatly amplifying the original song scheme's tension and release. He'd tweak levels obsessively all through the record--effectively rephrasing a track or vocal by hitting the volume control--when he felt it would increase intensity. "I was so wired into the song. They thought I was crazy. But you go for the blood and guts, the thing that really counts in a song." Moulton's hook might be a mistake by the players, and he points out that the insane sonic power of "Disco Inferno" happened when he was compensating for a console that was set up wrong. Repeatedly--with the simple woodblock in "More, More, More (Part 1)," in the strong but never overdone pop pump of "Instant Replay"-- Moulton made good records stronger. His blueprint has been used thousands of times over.

Moulton worked in promotion for Scepter Records, and mixed DCA Productions' "Dream World" by Don Downing for the label. In 1974, when DCA called him to work on Gloria Gaynor's first album, he made history. Never Can Say Goodbye featured a side-long medley of three long songs segued together. Meco Monardo says it was "a revelation" when Moulton extended three-minute songs to more than six by lengthening the instrumental. But Moulton knew by instinct that this would intensify and modulate the impact of a song or a series of songs: "You start here [he points down], and go allll the way up." Incredibly, Moulton's credit does not appear on the album because of a potential conflict: he'd by then launched the first music trade-paper column on the scene, "Disco Mix," in Billboard.

Like everything else in disco, formula set into remixing, but it wasn't Moulton's fault. He often critiqued remixers for making music into a DJ tool, instead of mixing to maximize the original intent of a song. He used drum breaks, for example, as transitions within a song, to set up an emotional rush with the return of the rest of the music, or when key changes made a break necessary to create dramatic structure--not merely because drum breaks made it easier for a DJ to mix in or out of a record. "People have said, 'You make disco records,' and I said: 'Wrong. I make records you can dance to.' I wouldn't know how to make a record just for discos." source: http://www.rhino.com/features/liners/75595lin7.html

--Brian Chin

1975 [...]

So "disco version" or "disco mix" means primarily that the record is longer than the version released for radio play, though it may also mean that the cut is specifically mixed for a "hotter," brighter sound. Disco DJs are much more concerned with the technical quality of the records they play than their radio counterparts, rejecting otherwise danceable singles because of the deadness of their mix or their loss of distinction at high volumes. This passion for quality has had its effect: Both Atlantic and Scepter have put selected single cuts on 12-inch discs at 33 1/3 for best reproduction at top volume. -- Vince Aletti in Rolling Stone Magazine, 8/28/75 [...]


Salsoul release the first commercially-available 12 inch. Walter Gibbons takes double Exposure’s Ten Percent’ and works it into an 11 minute disco extravaganza. Repetitive beats, disco music as we know it are born. [...]

"Supremely clubbed, devastatingly dubbed" [...]

From its inception in the mid-seventies, the 12-inch single became a vehicle for the emancipation of the disk-jockey, documenting his development from a more passive role as turntable operator to more active ones in the fields of song writing, production and engineering. Via the 12-inch single, many a DJ has risen to the status of artist, and this has necessitated a redefinition of such familiar concepts as musical instrument, performer and the role of audience in performance. Here Kai Fikentscher tells about the history of this record format and the way it was used by DJ's to change their role in music production. --Kai Fikentscher

Twelve Inches Allow for Bass

Because 45s were geared for radio, they were all 'middle,' and you couldn't cut a lot of [bass] onto the record, the twelve inch record allowed more bass and made records suitable for night club play. The first promotional copies appeared in 1975 and the first commercial release was the 1976 release 'Ten Percent' by Double Exposure, on the Salsoul label. [...]

The First 12" was a 10" :-)

"OK, Well - You have to remember something - so many great ideas are accidents... I mean - I thought it [the 12" single] was a great idea AFTER the fact.

You see, this is going back now to the early 70's, when I first started I took my records to Media Sound to master.

Tom continues; "So, the thing is - one day I went in there to José - José Rodriguez - and I had "I'll be holding on" by Al Downing and I said; "José, I could really need some acetates." And he said; "Just Tom, I don't have any more 7" blanks. All I have is like the 10"." And I said; "Well, if that's the only thing - we're gonna do it, what difference does it make?". So he cut one, I said; "It looks so ridiculous, this little tiny band on this huge thing. What happens if we just like... can we just like, you know, make it bigger?". He goes; "You mean, like spread the grooves?" and I said; "Yeah!". He goes; "Then I've got to rise the level." I said; "Well, Go ahead - rise the level." And so he cut it like at +6. Oh, when I heard it I almost died. I said; "Oh my God, It's so much louder and listen to it. Oh! I like that - why don't we cut a few more?". So it was by accident, that's how it was created.

But for the next song we cut, we went for the 12" format instead of the 10" and the song was "So much for love" by Moment of Truth. That was the birth of the 12" single.
--Tom Moulton

Herb Powers

Powers was a former club DJ who joined Frankford/Wayne in 1976, learning the art of mastering records. "Back then the job entailed converting the music from half-inch tape to vinyl. I started putting my name on the dead wax on the first record, because I wanted to keep track of what I was doing. A lot of times, record companies did not give you credit on the records. It was a way for me to know that I actually mastered that record. It was also a way to tell that the record wasn't a reproduction made by a bootlegger." [...]


During the [late] seventies in Jamaica the 12" mix of popular songs became the vogue. The vocals and dubs were mated for a musical extravaganza. As a result of the popularity of these 12" singles Coxsone Dodd compiled and released some "Showcase" albums. - jo moenen for amazon.com

Always a hit factory, [Studio One] came close to completely dominating the Jamaican dance floor with the emergence of the long-playing 12-inch “discomix” in the [late] 1970s. Studio One capitalized on the extended discomix format, successfully recycling some of its best material from the 1960s. Older hits were updated simply by mixing in lengthy instrumental endings. The popularity of the discomix allowed the label to prolong its reign, even after its most creative period had passed. Because a discomix filled up an entire side of a [12"] record, a hit song had the power to keep competing records off the DJ’s turntable for a good long time.

[Studio One produced about 50 12" mixes, Wackies about 50 too.]


1974: extended seven inch records, promo copies

1975: extended twelve inch records, promo copies,

1976: Salsoul releases first commercially available 12 inch record

Reconstructive Surgery (2004) - Tim Lawrence

Vinyl, which had been spinning round and round for years, was about to undergo a real revolution. "The twelve-inch happened by accident," says Tom Moulton. "I was cutting a reference disc for Al Downing's 'I'll Be Holding On' and Jose Rodriguez ran out of seven-inch blanks." Rodriguez suggested that they put the material onto a twelve-inch blank. "I said, 'Oh, it's a shame, the single only uses up a little bit of space.'" To which Rodriguez replied, "We'll just open it up and spread out the grooves." The result? "I almost died because the level was so loud." Steve D'Acquisto, Walter Gibbons, Bobby Guttadaro, Richie Kaczor and David Rodriguez were the first DJs to hear the result. "They used to come over to my apartment every Friday to hear my week's work," says Moulton. "I played them the twelve-inch and they loved it." Yet while the increase in volume was revelatory, the Al Downing acetate hadn't exploited the format's potential to accommodate longer recordings, and even the improvement in sound quality was lost when Chess records eventually released Moulton's five-and-a-half minute "disco mix" on a forty-five towards the end of 1974.

A flurry of extended recordings ensued. At the beginning of May 1975, Atlantic Records released a DJ-only "Disco Disc" series of long-playing seven-inch singles that included album cuts of "Mad Love" by Barrabas and "Disco Queen" by Hot Chocolate, and a week later the same label released special versions of "Ease On Down the Road" by Consumer Rapport and "Tornado" from The Wiz original cast recording — again as non-commercial long-playing seven-inch singles. Warners simultaneously announced that it was going to issue an extended version of "Dance, Dance, Dance" by Calhoon on a ten-inch format at 33 1/3 RPM, although a series of delays resulted in the record being released at the beginning of July on a one-sided twelve-inch disco that ran at six minutes nineteen seconds.

By that time Mel Cheren had stepped in to transform Moulton's fortuitous mistake into every DJ's dream when he released Bobby Moore's "Call Me Your Anything Man" as a twelve-inch single — the first twelve-inch single — in the middle of June. "Scepter Records is launching a policy of servicing discos with 12-inch 45s to keep the recording level at a maximum as often as possible," Billboard reported. "According to Stanley Greenberg of the label, Scepter has found that to produce a single of more than five minutes in length, the recording level requires lowering. With the new, larger singles, the problem is hopefully remedied." Even if the record's George McCrae-style production values were unexceptional, the format amounted a major breakthrough. As Vince Aletti reported in his "Disco File" column, Moore's "long disco mix runs just over six minutes and will be shipped to DJs on special 12-inch records at 33 1/3 to give it its best, hottest sound — something other record companies have been talking about doing for the disco market but that Scepter is the first to carry out."

Yet, while extended recordings could now be generated specifically for the dance floor without having to squeeze onto the constricted grooves of a forty-five or experience life alongside a collection of inferior album cuts, the new-born format suffered a symbolic setback when the following month Scepter released Disco Gold. Containing some of Moulton's finest work to date, including a mesmerising six-and-a-half minute version of Patti Jo's "Make Me Believe in You" (a Curtis Mayfield production that was originally released on Wand in 1973), Disco Gold was a long-playing album rather than a series of twelve-inch singles. DJs were more than mollified by Cheren's decision to pay them a special tribute on the back cover — "Thanks. For without your help this album would not be possible" — but it wasn't until the spring of 1976 that the twelve-inch single became a for-sale commodity, when Ken Cayre attempted to consolidate the success of the faceless Salsoul Orchestra by signing a string of recognizable stars and bands, one of which he decided to promote via the new format.

Once again Philadelphia proved to be a rich source of talent for Cayre when Norman Harris introduced him to Double Exposure, one of his own discoveries. Determined to make the most of the new signing, the label mogul decided to push Double Exposure's first release — "Ten Percent," arranged by Harris, produced by Baker, Harris and Young, and featuring the Salsoul Orchestra — on both the traditional seven-inch and the nascent twelve-inch formats. This was the first time that any record company had attempted to sell the "giant single," and the Salsoul head compounded the risk by employing a DJ who had never set foot in a studio to mastermind the reediting process. "I asked the boss of Atlantic the key to success. He said, 'Walk slowly and hope you bump into a genius.'" Cayre followed his advice and bumped into Walter Gibbons who, true to his profession, was visiting record labels like a believer visits a house of prayer. "Walter was a big fan of Salsoul," says Cayre, "He would regularly come to the office for records." Denise Chapman, now head of promotions at the label, became the DJ's point of contact, and the two of them hit it off. "A lot of the girls got into a Betty Davis bitchiness, but not Walter," says Chapman. "He just loved the music and went to his own beat." Crucially, Gibbons "took everything seriously" and "would show up on time," and these qualities — which weren't exactly common in your average DJ — persuaded Cayre and Chapman to give him the "Ten Percent" assignment. "At the time no other studio had allowed a non-producer to mix a record," says Cayre, "but we had confidence in Walter, and it was clear that the DJs understood how dance crowds responded to records."

A tiny, shy twenty-two-year-old from Brooklyn, Gibbons didn't have the charismatic pulling power of Cappello, Guttadaro, Levan, Mancuso, Savarese or Siano and he'd spent most of his short DJing career bouncing around a series of unremarkable commercial clubs including the Outside Inn in Queens and Galaxy 21 on Twenty-third Street. "David Todd was Walter's DJ hero," says Kenny Carpenter, who got a job working the lights at Galaxy 21 on his first visit to the club. "Walter used to visit David in Philadelphia. He always said that David could hold the beat of a mix longer than anybody else." Gibbons didn't attract much attention until he started to push "2 Pigs and a Hog" from the Cooley High soundtrack, which he introduced to Hector LeBron (Limelight), Tony Smith (Barefoot Boy) and Tony Gioe (Hollywood). "The cut is only 1:46, but the DJs play it two or three times in a row, making it longer," reported Moulton in October 1975. "The LP has been around for several months and Walter believed in the record enough to try and convince others." Gibbons also believed in the percussion-heavy "Happy Song" by Rare Earth and Jermaine Jackson's "Erucu," and by the end of the year his technique of taking two records and working them back and forth in order to extend the drum breaks beyond the horizon of New York's tribal imaginary had earned him the reputation of being a highly-skilled original. "Walter was so innovative," says Carpenter. "He would buy two copies of a record like 'Happy Song' and he would loop the thirty second conga section."

The rhythmic crescendo at Galaxy 21 intensified in February 1976 when the club's owner, George Freeman, hired François Kevorkian, a young French drummer who had travelled to Manhattan the previous September, to play alongside the DJ. "I was very enamoured with Hendrix, Santana, Jeff Beck, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and I came to the conclusion that I was wasting my time in France," says Kevorkian. "I came to New York to establish a sort of beachhead for the rest of my band. My bass player came three or four months later with his girlfriend, and she decided that they were going to live in California. The guitar player never made it." Life picked up when Kevorkian began to fine-tune his technique with the Miles Davis drummer Tony Williams — "He traded drum lessons for French lessons" — and the new arrival landed his first serious job when he stumbled into Freeman. "I didn't really have anywhere to live so I decided to search through the ads in the Village Voice. Instead of looking for a reasonable apartment to share, I decided to look for the most expensive apartment to share. I didn't have any money and figured that if somebody had a big apartment and was looking for a roommate then they could probably afford to hire somebody to help them look after the place." Kevorkian called the owner of the priciest apartment. "I explained my situation to this person called George Freeman and he said, 'Listen, I'm not into sharing my apartment, but I've got this club and if you want to come down I'll hire you to play the drums.'" Kevorkian agreed, much to the irritation of Gibbons. "Walter got terribly upset. He kept saying that I was throwing him off and that he couldn't mix the way he wanted to, but I kept going. He tried to trip me up by playing all of the drum solos of all the records, although I managed to stay with it most of the time. It seems people liked what I was doing because if they hadn't I would have been thrown out after the first night."

Kevorkian was in a perfect position to witness the DJ's percussive-expressive agenda. "Walter's DJing was very emotional, based on crescendos and drumming. His style was fiery and flamboyant. Walter's thing was drums for days. I guess he preferred them when they were on vinyl." Rare Earth's "Happy Song" remained his trademark record. "You would never hear the actual song. You just heard the drums. It seemed like he kept them going forever, although I would imagine it was actually about ten minutes." Gibbons was the first Manhattan DJ to cultivate such a purist, percussive aesthetic, and his mixing technique was precision personified. "The break in 'Happy Song' is only thirty seconds long, and he knew exactly how to make it click because to me it sounded like one record. I was playing along with the drums and it was always the same pattern, always the same number of bars. He had this uncanny sense of mixing that was so accurate it was unbelievable." The Galaxy DJ's technical perfection disguised the difficulty of the mix. "When you listened to the record it was like, 'Wait a minute, where do I cue up to know exactly where I am?' It's not easy. The record doesn't just start. It fades up. You really have to have a very keen ear to pick it out through the headphones."

A version of this method was also going on in the Bronx, where the Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc had started to play back-to-back breaks around the same time as Gibbons. Initially Herc had pushed reggae at his parties but, according to music critic David Toop, his selections "failed to cut the ice" and in 1974 "he switched to Latin-tinged funk, just playing the fragments that were popular with the dancers and ignoring the rest of the track. The most popular part was usually the percussion break." Afrika Bambaataa remembers that Herc began to turn to "certain disco records that had funky percussion breaks like The Incredible Bongo Band when they came out with 'Apache' and he just kept that beat going." Cymande's "Bra", "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" by James Brown, the Dynamic Corvettes' "Funky Music Is the Thing" and "Get Into Something" by the Isley Brothers provided other percussive nuggets for Herc's venture into breakbeat eternity, and the crowd's crazed response persuaded him to make the technique a part of his nightly repertoire.

While Herc wasn't mixing with anything like the same degree of precision as Gibbons — the Bronx DJ notoriously faded from one record to the next without lining up the beats — the similarity between their styles was striking. "I grew up on Davidson Avenue in the South Bronx, so I experienced the whole hip-hop scene before it even became hip-hop, with DJs scratching records and quick-cuts," says John "Jellybean" Benitez, the petite, cute son of Puerto Rican immigrants. "I heard Bambaataa and all those guys." Benitez also ventured into Manhattan. "Me and my friend Tony Carrasco would listen to all these DJs. We were two straight guys going to all of these gay clubs. We would buy all the records and go home and practice." Benitez soon started praying to the deity called Gibbons. "I thought I was the greatest DJ in the world until I heard Walter. He would cut up records creatively, he would play two together, he did double beats, he worked the sound system, and he made pressings of his own edits. I said, 'I've got to practice!'" Benitez was drawn to the way Gibbons bridged the ostensibly disconnected worlds of Manhattan and the Bronx. "Walter played a lot of beats and breaks, and I had never heard a disco DJ playing those kinds of records before. His style appealed to my Bronx sensibilities. He just blew me away." The arrival of Kevorkian added a touch of humour to the proceedings. "I never got the impression that Walter really wanted François there so he would do things to totally fuck him up."

Gibbons set the drummer a new test within a week or two of his debut: how to keep up with his remix of "Ten Percent" by Double Exposure. The diminutive DJ had transformed the final studio production of the four-minute song into a nine-minute-forty-five-second cut-and-paste roller coaster at the Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs and was paid $185 for his efforts ($85 to cover a night's work at Galaxy, plus $100 for the blend). Having tested his work-in-progress on a reel-to-reel over a period of months, Gibbons started to play an acetate of the remix — effectively a readymade version of the quick-fire collages he had already been concocting at Galaxy — in late February/early March and at the end of April Salsoul sent out 2,500 copies of the recording to club DJs. Breaking new ground, "Ten Percent" was commercially released in May 1976, much to the chagrin of song-writer Allan Felder. "The mixer cut up the lyrics and changed the music," he says. "It was as if the writers and producers were nothing." Cayre, though, stood his ground. "We broke our first record via the discos, and that's where our strength still is," he told Billboard, which ran a front-page story on the release. "We feel that disco spinners are better equipped to judge the public's response to disco product."

The public's response was everything Salsoul could have hoped for. "I went to hear Walter at Galaxy with David Todd and Larry Patterson," says Arthur Baker, who was DJing in his college town of Amherst, Massachusetts and making midweek trips to New York in order to visit Todd at his RCA office. "It wasn't an influential club, and there were only a few people there, but when Walter started playing this track I was blown away. I thought he was using two records because I had heard John Luongo going back and forth between two forty-fives. I thought, 'Hey, he must be really quick!' Then I went up to the booth to take a look and saw that it was just one record. I was like, 'Wow! This is fucking amazing!'" The reedit embodied the dexterity and imagination of one of New York's most inventive night priests. "I heard it on an acetate in the Gallery," says Michael Gomes. "It sounded so new, going backwards and forwards. It built and built like it would never stop. The dance floor just exploded."

Salsoul made sure that their new commodity had a different feel to the regular twelve-inch album by packaging "Ten Percent" in a universal four-color album jacket that contained a center cut-out, which enabled buyers to read information about the title and artist on the record's inner label. There was also a new price of $2.98, which retailers generally knocked down to $2.29, and a new speed of forty-five RPM, rather than the standard album tempo of thirty-three. "There are two reasons for the 45 RPM speed," Salsoul marketing chief Chuck Gregory told Billboard. "One is practical and the other is psychological. On the practical side is the fact that the wider groove allows you to turn it up and play it real hot without popping the needle out of the groove. The psychological reason for the 45 r.p.m. speed is the fact that even a 9-minute version at 33 1/3 [NB: a third] would still only take up a relatively small portion of the vinyl in a 12-inch pancake and the customer would see this and think he is being cheated. The faster speed takes up more space and doesn't call the customer's attention to a lot of unused vinyl space."

The twelve-inch provided Double Exposure with a double exposure, prompting both Billboard and Record World to run simultaneous front-page stories on Salsoul's marketing strategy. Joe Cayre, the president of Cayre Industries, noted that sales of the twelve-inch had been "excellent all over the country", with the "giant forty-five" selling 110,00 copies in a single week. "Radio plus discos has really created a market," added Gregory. "The twelve inch is outselling the other size by two-to-one." Some retailers went further. "The big record is selling very well," reported Albert Dakins of the Record Museum chain in Philadelphia. "As a matter of fact it's outselling the standard single by 10 to one. It's not only the R&B and club people who are buying it. We're even getting people who are into rock 'n' roll asking for the record." Sales were also strong in Disco Central. "It's the hottest item I have had in years in the store," noted Dave Rothfeld of Korvette's on Thirty-fourth Street. "It looks like Joe Cayre has got a winner with this idea."

That was certainly what Cheren appeared to be thinking when he rush-released Jesse Green's "Nice & Slow" on the new format. The record had begun life as a non-commissioned remix by Howard Metz, the DJ at Circus Maximus in Los Angeles, who received a promotional copy of the seven-inch and decided to reinvent and extend the three-minute-five-second vocal version and the four-minute-forty-second instrumental flip side (both of which had been mixed by Cheren). Metz sent his five-minute-forty-five remix to Scepter, and Cheren was sufficiently impressed to go back into the studio and use it as a guideline for a new commercial twelve-inch. "We saw how the Salsoul record was selling," says Cheren, "and decided to do the same."

By the end of June it had become clear that the "giant single" was about to consolidate its position. "A greater market impact from the new commercial 12-inch disco single is expected shortly, as a number of labels here have given the go-ahead on releasing retail versions of disks previously used for promotional purposes only," reported Billboard. "The goods will come from Roulette, CTI, Scepter, RCA-distributed Midland International and possibly Amherst." Yet, with the music industry absorbed by the commercial potential of the twelve-inch, an equally seismic development passed by virtually unnoticed: the DJ was about to challenge the producer as the key player in the creation of dance music. For sure, mixers had already edged their way into the recording industry, but Gibbons was the first to get his hands dirty on the cutting room floor, and his triumphant intervention meant that he and his comrades could now do more than tell record companies which songs were likely to make it in the clubs. "These DJs had extraordinary talent," says Cayre. "They knew first hand from their booth what the dancers reacted to. The producers might make a good song, but they might not get the right sound or extend the best parts." Gibbons and his contemporaries knew what to do. "The DJs understood how to turn a good song into a great song. They were experts in reconstructive surgery."

--Tim Lawrence, Keep On Magazine (2004)


  1. Give Your Body Up: Club Classics & House Foundations, Vol. 1[1CD, Amazon US]
    If you want to find out about the roots of modern American club culture, this is the series to start.
    Tracklisting: Funky Sensation -- Gwen McCrae Over Like A Fat Rat -- Fonda Rae Can't Play Around -- Lace --> Larry Levan mix What Can I Do For You? -- LaBelle Always There -- Side Effect Why Leave Us Alone -- Five Special Is It All Over My Face (Female Vocal) -- Loose Joints Free Man (Disco Version) -- South Shore Commission Bad For Me -- Dee Dee Bridgewater I Love Music -- The O'Jays
  2. Give Your Body Up: Club Classics & House Foundations , vol. 2 [Amazon US]
    If you want to find out about the roots of modern American club culture, this is the series to start. [...]
    1. Just Us - Two Tons O' Fun 2. Baby I'm Scared Of You - Womack & Womack 3. Somebody Else's Guy - Jocelyn Brown 4. Touch And Go - Ecstasy, Passion & Pain 5. Love Is The Message - MFSB 6. Running Away - Roy Ayers Ubiquity 7. Now That We Found Love - Thirld World 8. Bra - Cymande 9. Down To Love Town - The Originals 10. Over And Over - Sylvester
  3. Give Your Body Up: Club Classics & House Foundations vol. 3 [Amazon US]
    If you want to find out about the roots of modern American club culture, this is the series to start.
    1. Give Your Body up to the Music - Billy Nichols 2. Weekend - Phreek 3. You Got Me Running - Lenny Williams 4. I'll Do Anything for You - Denroy Morgan 5. Runaway Love - Linda Clifford 6. Girl You Need a Change of Mind - Eddie Kendricks 7. I Want to Thank You - Alicia Myers 8. Clouds - Chaka Khan 9. Vertigo/Relight My Fire - Dan Hartman 10. Music Got Me - Visual
  4. Nice Up the Dance-Studio One Discomixes - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Always a hit factory, the label came close to completely dominating the Jamaican dance floor with the emergence of the long-playing 12-inch “discomix” in the 1970s. Studio One capitalized on the extended discomix format, successfully recycling some of its best material from the 1960s. Older hits were updated simply by mixing in lengthy instrumental endings. The popularity of the discomix allowed the label to prolong its reign, even after its most creative period had passed. Because a discomix filled up an entire side of a [12"] record, a hit song had the power to keep competing records off the DJ’s turntable for a good long time. Nice Up The Dance complies the very best of these highly sought-after 12-inch classics, including tracks from such legendary artists as Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, and Tommy McCook. The album opens with Cornell Campbell & the Eternal’s obscure classic, “Queen Of The Minstrels,” which unfolds in a deliciously slow groove that suspends both time and worry. The discomix of Alton Ellis’s eternal reggae classic, “Can I Change My Mind,” clocks in at an astounding 11-minutes. This endless version gives us plenty of time to experience the full magnitude of Ellis’s mighty soul caressing voice. The lengthy instrumental sections that fill Nice Up The Dance not only give added depth to older hits, but also showcase the impressive talents of the Studio One house musicians, masters of the hypnotic reggae groove. For almost three decades, Studio One has provided Jamaicans with the soulful soundtrack of their lives. -- John Ballon

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