Book Review: ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey’ by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton

4star

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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is a comprehensive history of DJing over the last century and how innovative techniques spawned new genres of music. It’s also a testament to the artistic merit of DJing which is commonly despised by people who think that DJing is nothing more than playing one record after another, without any sort of musicianship or skill. DJing is, in fact, a momentous artistic force that has helped to define eras in musical culture.

This book goes well with other music history books like Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang, and Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture by Simon Reynolds. There is a deep overlap between all three of these books which I found very satisfying.

Unfortunately, the problem with all music history books is that the subject matter is based around an auditory experience, so it’s frustrating not being able to hear the music that these books are referencing. Luckily there are places like YouTube now where you can go and hear a few examples here and there, but that can become time-consuming. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life would inundate me with so many facts about songs and people that it became dizzying. It would be nice if there were comprehensive multi-part video documentaries about this stuff so that people can simultaneously experience the music while learning about it. If you’re reading this review and have any suggestions, please let me know.

As a “bedroom DJ” myself, I found Last Night a DJ Saved My Life to be super inspirational whenever I went to read it. It’s full of lessons that inspired me to work on my craft more, and for the right reasons. I’d recommend this book to any aspiring DJ, especially those who sense a deeper meaning to the craft.

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