Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes.

Label: Groove Line Records.  

After graduating from the Northeastern University in Boston, with a degree in Civil Engineering, twenty-four year old John Luongo decided to turn his back on the world of engineering and become a full-time DJ. He had been DJ-ing for five years, and was well on way to becoming Boston’s top DJ. 

Just a couple of years after becoming a full-time DJ, John Luongo had firmly established himself as Boston’s top DJ. He was also working as a promoter, had cofounded Nightfall Magazine with Arnie Ward 1975 and founded Boston’s first record pool in 1976. By then, John Luongo’s career as a remixer was well underway, having remixed Leon Collins’ I Just Wanna Say I Love You in 1974.This was just the start of the rise and rise of John Luongo.

By the early eighties, John Luongo had established himself as one of American’s top DJ and remixers. He had been one of the leading lights of the disco movement before its demise in the summer of 1979. Still, though, John Luongo’s remixes continued to fill dancefloors in the early eighties. That is the still the case today, and is no surprise. 

John Luongo was one of the most innovative remixers of the disco era, and nowadays, is regarded as one of the greatest remixers ever. There’s twenty-one reasons why on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes, which has just been released by Glasgow based label: Groove Line Records. These remixes were released between October 1978, which was the height of the disco era, right through to July 1982, three years after disco’s demise. Still John Luongo’s remixes were filling dancefloors. This was fourteen years after John Luongo first thought about becoming a DJ.

This was something that had fascinated John Luongo since the night he saw a DJ spinning records at The Townhouse in Boston in 1968. John Luongo was a student at Northeastern University, was intrigued by what the DJ was doing, approached the booth and started taking with him. He watched as the DJ played one record, and then faded out and clumsily brought in another record, leaving dead air. By then, John Luongo had already decided he wanted to try DJ-ing, and as he left the club, handed the DJ a napkin with his phone number on it, and said if he wanted someone to fill in for him, give him a call.

It was more hope than expectation that John Luongo would ever hear from Peter the DJ at The Townhouse again. A week later John Luongo received a phone call from the manager of The Townhouse on the Thursday who told him that the Peter the DJ had quit, and given him his name. The manager offered John Luongo a job as DJ at The Townhouse, starting the next night, Friday.

This didn’t give John Luongo much time to prepare for his DJ-ing debut. However, he had time to head to his local record shop and buy a mixture of new and classic singles. This would be enough for John Luongo as he made his debut behind the wheels of steel that Friday night.

Despite some first night nerves, John Luongo’s first night at The Townhouse was a success, and within a month, it was Boston’s most popular club. It was a meteoric rose for the nineteen year old student 

Before long, John Luongo was one of Boston’s leading club DJs playing at Rhinoceros, the largest club in Boston and made guest appearances at Zelda’s, By then, he was known as John ‘TC’ Luongo after the cartoon character Top Cat. This was the moniker John Luongo used for his show on student radio, and later, on a local radio station. That was still to come.

Meanwhile, he continued to combine his DJ-ing with studies. However, it looked unlikely that John Luongo would use the knowledge he had gained over the last few years. Sure enough, when John Luongo graduated with a BSc in Civil Engineering from the Northeastern University in Boston in 1973, he turned his back on engineering and become a full-time DJ.

Over the next couple of years, the rise and rise of John Luongo continued, as he became Boston’s top DJ. Soon, the DJ, promoter and future remixer started to spread his wings when he remixed his first track.

In 1974, Larry Pamcacci had founded his own record label ELF Records. It’s first release was Leon Collins’ I Just Wanna Say I Love You, which Larry Pamcacci played to John Luongo. When he heard the song, John Luongo realised that it wasn’t quite right. With the help of arranger Misha Segal, John Luongo remixed the track adding percussion and a break. When the single was released, it was huge success in New York and was filling dancefloors in the Big Apple. John Luongo was receiving feedback from New York based DJs, who told him how successful his first remix was. This was the start of John Luongo’s career as a remixer.

A year later, in 1975, John Luongo embarked upon a career as a publisher when he cofounded the Nightfall Magazine with Arnie Ward. John Luongo’s next business venture was organising Boston’s first ever record pool. John Luongo also returned with another successful remix.

This was Dancing Free by Hot Ice, which was released on Rage Records in 1976. When it was released and proved a success, this opened doors for John Luongo.

His big break came when Cheryl Machat, a product manager at EPIC Records, asked John Luongo to help with a new release. When he heard the song, he realised straight away that it wasn’t right. To rectify the problem, John Luongo took his two-track recorder and recorded the record on one of the tracks. He then recorded overdubbed himself used a salt shake as a shaker and some spoons as a tambourine. The finished mix was speeded up and sent to Cheryl Machat on cassette. She loved the new version, and soon, John Luongo was hired to remix the song using the ideas he had outlined. For John Luongo this was the break he had been waiting for.

Soon, John Luongo was being asked to remix songs by some of the biggest names in music, including the names that feature on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes. This includes Sly Stone, Santana, The Jacksons, Marlena Shaw, Patti LaBelle, Melba Moore, Gladys Knight and The Pips and Cerrone. There’s also remixes of some of the tracks by Jackie Moore, Sarah Dash, Southern Exposure and Stanley Clarke. In total, there’s twenty-one of John Luongo’s carefully crafted dancefloor fillers. The first of these was released in October 1978.

That was Melba Moore’s You Stepped Into My Life which was released on Epic un October 1978, and reached number five on the US Disco charts. It’s an imaginative and timeless remix with a bubbling bass and disco strings accompany Melba Moore as she dawns the role of disco diva. So does Marilyn McCoo as she joins forces with Billy Davis Jnr on Shine On Silver Moon. This classy dancefloor filler was released on Columbia in December 1978, and reached thirty-two on the US Disco charts. However, one of John Luongo’s finest remixes of 1978 was also released  as a promo by Epic in December. His irresistible remix of The Jacksons’ Blame It On The Boogie reached number twenty on the US Disco charts, and was the first of several tracks John Luongo remixed for The Jacksons.

The next came in February 1979 when Epic released John Luongo’s remix of The Jacksons’ Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground). It was reinvented and lit up dancefloors across America, and reached number twenty on the US Disco charts.

March 1979 saw the release of John Luongo’s eight minute remix of Patti LaBelle’s Music Is A Way Of Life reached number ten in the US Disco charts. That was no surprise, as it’s a soulful and sassy slice of disco that sounds just as good thirty-eight years later. So does Melba Moore’s disco classic Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance which was also released by Epic in March 1979 and reached twenty-two in the US Disco charts.

A month later in April 1979, three of John Luongo’s remixes were released. This included The Real Thing Can You Feel The Force?, which found favour with DJs on both sides of Atlantic after John Luongo worked his magic on the track. It’s a similar case with Santana’s One Chain (Don’t Make No Prison). Although they were unlikely disco stars, the track reached fifty-three in the US Disco chart and shows another side of Santana as their trademark sound is given a disco makeover. However, the most successful of the three remixes was The Quick’s Zulu, which was funky, soulful and hinted at the boogie sound that would soon replace disco on American dancefloors. Zulu topped the US Disco charts, and was one of two number one disco hits John Luongo would enjoy during 1979. 

In May 1979, John Luongo’s remix of Might Clouds Of Joy’s In These Changing Times was released by Epic/City Lights. It was one of his most innovative remixes and totally transformed the original track into a ten minute dancefloor epic. John Luongo was well on his way to becoming one of the top disco remixers.

Two John Luongo remixes were released during June 1979, including Jackie Moore’s This Time Baby. When it was released by Columbia, this future soulful disco classic reached number one on the US Disco charts. Meanwhile, John Luongo’s hook-laden remix of Sarah Dash’s (Come and Take This) Candy From Your Baby was released by Kirshner but failed to trouble the US Disco charts. For Sarah Dash and John Luongo this was a disappointment given the quality of the song and the remix.

In July 1979, John Luongo’s remix of Johnny Mathis’ Gone, Gone, Gone was released by Columbia. Although the remix showed another side of the former easy listening star, it failed to trouble the US Disco charts. Neither did Southern Exposure’s remix of On Our Way which was released on RCA. With strings and horns being joined by a harmonica and wah wah guitar it was an impressive dancefloor filler from the master of the disco remix John Luongo. Later in July, the disco bubble burst spectacularly on Disco Demolition Night.

July the “12th” 1979 was billed as Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park the home of the Chicago White Sox. Everyone who brought a disco record was admitted for ninety-eight cents. Crowds flocked from far and wide to watch the disco records being blown up at half-time during a double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. For many in the crowd, seeing  the crate of disco records blown up was the highlight of the evening for many. Pressing the detonator was Steve Dahl the organiser of the Disco Sucks’ movement. After the explosion, many in crowd rushed onto the filed and the pitch was damaged. This resulted in the Chicago White Sox having to forfeit the game. However, that night, was also the day that day disco died.

Suddenly, record companies lost interest in disco and disco artists. They were dropped as record companies began looking for the next big thing. For many DJs, this was boogie where synths and drum machines replaced strings and horns. Still, though, disco had an underground following and John Luongo continued his career as a remixer.

Two months after disco’s demise John Luongo returned with a remix of Marlena Shaw’s Touch Me in the Morning. It had given Diana Ross a hit in 1973. Six years later, it became disco track and Epic tested the waters by releasing a promo of Marlena Shaw’s disco makeover of Touch Me in the Morning in September 1970. Marlena Shaw embraces her newfound role as disco diva and combines a vocal that is a mixture of power and soulfulness.

In October 1979, two of John Luongo’s remixes were released, including Stanley Clarke’s Just A Feeling on Nemperor.It showed that disco wasn’t dead, and instead had moved underground where it was popular amongst DJs and dancers. Epic released John Luongo’s remix of Sly Stone’s Dance To The Music.This anthemic track  was transformed and taken it in a new direction as disco, soul, funk and a hint of boogie combine to create a remix that was sure to find favour with dancers and DJs.

When Dan Hartman was recording Vertigo/Relight My Fire he brought onboard Southern Soul singer turned disco diva Loleatta Holloway who unleashes a vocal powerhouse. This disco classic was released by Blue Sky in November and was the third John Luongo remix to reach number one on the US Disco charts during 1979.

The next remix on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes is The Jacksons’ Walk Right Now which was released by Epic in July 1981. By then, the boogie era was in full flight. Despite that, Walk Right Now and John Luongo’s remix was a reminder of the disco era, and reached number five in the US Disco charts. While Gladys Knight and The Pips’ I Will Fight was released in October 1981, and was a soulful slice of disco, it stalled at thirty-five in the US Disco charts. It’s an oft-overlooked dance-floor filler.

French singer, songwriter, musician and producer Cerrone was enjoying a successful career by the time he released on Back Track as a promo on Pavillion. This remix is a reminder of what both John Luongo and Cerrone were capable of during what was the peak of their career. It’s the latest of the twenty-one tracks on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes.

For anyone whose unfamiliar with John Luongo’s career, and his work as a remixer during the disco era, then Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes which has just been released by Groove Line Records is the perfect starting point. It’s a reminder of one of the most innovative remixers of the disco era, and indeed, in the history of modern dance music. Proof of that, is the twenty-one tracks on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes which feature a true master at work.

During the four years that Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes covers, John Luongo carefully crafts dancefloor fillers which became favourites and of dancers and DJs. That is still the case today. Whenever DJs decide to drop one of the remixes on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes, suddenly the dancefloor fills. That is no surprise as the remixes on Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes are guaranteed to get any party started.

Can You Feel The Force? The John Luongo Disco Mixes.

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