Larry Levan: Paradise Lost, Vibe, November 1993
For over a decade, Larry Levan ruled the dance-music world from his roost in the DJ booth at New York’s legendary Paradise Garage. Last November, his weak heart — made weaker by years of excessive drug abuse, gave out. Was it a gradual suicide? Frank Owen looks back on the day the music died.
A TYPICAL NIGHT at the Paradise Garage began after 4 a.m. At a time when most clubgoers were finally heading home, Garage devotees were trekking through the near-deserted Soho streets. They came from New Jersey via the PATH train, from Brooklyn and Queens by subway, from uptown in cabs, and the nearby West Village on foot. They came for the atmosphere, the electricity, the “religious experience.” But mostly, they came for the music: the “garage sound” — that classic combination of booming bass, honky-tonk piano, and soaring gospel-derived vocals.