We are all aware of the basic concept of a DJ, but how many of you are familiar with how it all started? DJing has a rich and fascinating history behind it. Incredibly the lead up to DJing started a while before the radio and dates back to the early 1900s. From there it continued to change and evolve until it reached what we currently understand as DJing. So let’s have a little look at the history of the DJ.
The phonograph was one of the first pieces of machinery created that allowed us to listen to pre-recorded music. This was then followed closely by the gramophone which in turn led to the public production of records. By the end of the 1800s, these records were available for public purchase. We then experienced the first radio transmission in the early 1900s and this was the first big movement for what we now know as the DJ. This marked the first spinning of a record by a DJ, namely Ray Newbie. He was a Californian who many agree was the first recorded radio DJ. This began to build a base for other DJs to explore the world or records, giving modern DJs the background that supported the evolution of record spinning.
How The DJ Was Built
The first recorded use of the term Disk Jockey appeared in 1935 when the term was coined by Walter Winchell. He used the term to describe the radio announcer Martin Block who was extremely popular at the time.
The first DJ dance party was launched in the mid-40s using a variety of jazz records. This event was held in the upstairs room of an English bar. Unfortunately, it was led by then-popular radio personality turned accused sex offender Jimmy Savile. He claimed that he was the first DJ to use the two turntable method.
In 1947 the famous French nightclub Whisky A Go-Go was thought to be the world’s very first actual disco. The term disco came from the French word discotheque. This is where many believe the first use of the duo turntable happened, paving the way for the modern DJ.
The double-deck DJ style was brought to the US in the mid-50s by sockhop DJ Bob Casey. At this point, the DJ would still talk to the crowd between songs and sometimes they would even bring in a drummer to fill the gaps between records.
What Happened Next?
As we moved into the 60s and 70s the concept of the DJ spread across the US and Europe. We began to see the rise of specialised equipment which would allow DJs to seamlessly transition between songs. They were able to match tempos and even start mixing songs at a very base level. During this time the rise of live bands was returning and DJs were only thought of as relevant for certain shows. However, towards the end of the 70s, the first real turntables were released by Technics and the DJ game completely changed.
We began to see songs from bands like Kraftwerk and artists like Frankie Knuckles who used this technology to create lengthy songs and mixes. As we moved into the late 70s and early 80s these mixes started to appear on charts and became popular in mainstream American and European music scenes.
Artist Afrika Baambaata brought DJing into the Hip Hop scene and for a long time, it rested on the 5 pillars of hip hop music and culture. Namely DJing, graffiti, rapping, knowledge and breaking.
The Modern DJ
As mixed music became more and more popular venues all over the world wanted DJs to play sets for their club nights. The equipment was becoming significantly more affordable so musical members of the public began working on their own mixes and joining DJ courses to learn how to use turntables.
Now rather than being closely connected with hip hop most modern DJs focus on electro and house music. Most venues that use DJs are nightclubs specialising in trance and other fascinatingly trippy forms of music. These genres lend themselves perfectly to mixing and several DJs will famously combine songs from completely different genres but which are in the same key, use similar notes or similar beats to create completely new forms of music.
DJing is now a number of different things, we have radio DJs, club DJs, alternative DJs and more genres than you could shake a stick at. The freedom of expression that comes with music mixing is almost unrivalled and it is hardly surprising that DJ is such a coveted and sought after profession.
The PLAYLIST DJS
The Playlist DJ’s is a new brand from Gary Farmer. The pages were built from Gary’s love of everything from Oldskool House to Deep House. Gary isn’t a DJ or Producer but big fan and avid playlist creater. This is his mean deep house playlist on Spotify that’s definitely worth a follow.
The vision for Playlist DJ’s is to make it a hub for the best house music playlists on the net across all the platforms like Deezer, Apple Music, Apple Music, You Tube & Tidal. Along with that sharing great content aimed at DJ’s, producers and fans alike like we do on The Playlist DJ’s Instagram page.
In the longer term we aim to become a marketing and promotions hub where you will find the best DJ courses or production courses as well as marketing and promotions.
You can connect with Gary who runs the page, here on LinkedIn > https://www.linkedin.com/in/garyfarmsocial/