The Borough of Disco

7 April 2020

9 dance tracks from the Listening to Brent playlist.

Brent is the borough of Reggae, however thanks principally to Kwaku’s research we now know that between 1974-85 it was also The Borough of DISCO.

Here are 9 pieces of evidence which you can find on the Listening to Brent Playlist - a Spotify playlist, featuring musicians and bands with a connection to Brent and music released by labels who are or were located here.

Phil Fearon & Galaxy

Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting (1974) [watch]
Carl Douglas is often cited as having a Brent connection, but we are yet to establish what it is. We know he left Jamaica for the UK and studied sound engineering. We speculate that he lived in Willesden. This must be the first novelty-disco records.

Right Back Where We Started From - Maxine Nightingale (1975) [watch]
Maxine Nightingale was a Wembley-born pop/ R&B singer who performed locally before she was signed by Pye Records. These days she lives in the US.

Baby Do You Wanna Bump - Boney M (1976) [watch]
Although Liz Mitchell was from Harlesden, Boney M were more of a euro-carribean project. Their debut single ‘Baby Do You Wanna Bump’ was perhaps their most Brent record as it was released by Harlesden’s Creole Records.

Miss You - The Rolling Stones (1978) [watch]
They were a rock band, but this was a disco tune. The original version was 9 minutes long. Although we can’t verify it, the introduction to this interview with Delroy Washington says that Delroy’s track ‘Jah Wonderful’ was the inspiration for Miss You. Charlie Watts was from the the borough - Mick Jagger and Kieth Richards lived in it briefly.

Hi Tension - Hi Tension (1978) [watch]
Hi-Tension were a Brit-Funk band signed to Island Records, who recorded for a brief period at the end of the 1970s and had two records in the top 20.

Dancing in Outta Space - Atmosfear (1979) [watch]
Atmosfear were started by Kingsbury High School educated musician and All Ears record shop owner Andy Sojka. He also ran the Elite record label which operated from Harlesden. The DJ Pete Tong often references Dancing in Outta Space as one of his favourite records.

Dancing Tight - Phil Fearon & Galaxy (1983) [watch]
Phil Fearon is a recurring figure in Brent’s music history as an artist, band member, label and recording studio owner. Phil Fearon resurfaced in the mid-1980s as Galaxy. These days he lives in Kingsbury. Dancing Tight made the top 5.

Street Sounds Volume 1 - Mixed by Mastermind (1983) [watch]
Not strictly Disco, but on the edge of it. Street Sounds was a compilation series that brought US electro and hip hop to the UK. Most of the best compilations in the series were mixed by NW10’s Mastermind Soundsystem.

You Should Have Known Better - TC Curtis (1985) [watch]
TC Curtis was a gospel singer, from Willesden - we think. Galaxy provided the backing vocals on this track. It has that sort of early-Madonna disco sound that would morph into house music.