As mentioned in the recent Salute 2 post, 500MH has long-wanted to pay its own tribute to Disco’s pioneers by giving a permanent home to some genuinely historic mixes (many of which only circulate in the semi-clandestine world of DJ forums). So when we heard that this particular mix had dropped off the radar, we were delighted to present a poignant moment in the ongoing story of New York nite life.
For many, The Saint was the ultimate club: an icon of the NYC gay scene throughout the eighties, it opened in its doors in September 1980 on the site of venerable live music venue, the Fillmore East. With a $4 million budget, and aspirations to match, it immediately became the night spot du jour for the upscale party crowd (membership was $250 per year and sold out immediately). Such was its success that the main competition (12 West and Flamingo) closed down within months.
So…a high-tech paradise and drug-fuelled Bacchanalian fleshpit, but what about the music?
Unlike contemporary nite spots such as The Paradise Garage and The Loft, The Saint was never known for the adventurousness of its music policy. Instead its DJ’s honed a distinct house-style that blended the theatricality (melodrama?) of 1970’s disco with the more contemporary sounds of Hi NRG and Euro-synth-pop. Limahl was a big favourite.
Jim Burgess was a DJ, remixer and sometime professional tenor with a penchant for retirements and comebacks. A resident in the early days of The Saint (along with the likes of Alan Dodd, Roy Thode and Robbie Leslie), he retired in spectacular fashion in 1981, walking out midway though a record at the height of the evening. But a few years later he was back in the saddle and played the second-last set of The Saint’s non-stop 48 hour closing party (leaving it to Robbie Leslie to bring down the final curtain).
Sadly Jim passed away in 1993, but he leaves us with this wonderful 4 hour mix (track-listings in the lyrics tab as usual):
Download Jim Burgess – Last Party at The Saint (Part 1) (right click)
Download Jim Burgess – Last Party at The Saint (Part 2) (right click)
Download Jim Burgess – Last Party at The Saint (Part 3) (right click)
Download Jim Burgess – Last Party at The Saint (Part 4) (right click)
As well as references in the usual books (more on these in a future post), here are a few worthwhile online sources:
For an in-depth JB profile head over to the Disco Disco site.
Memories of The Saint can be found at The Saint NYC.
And finally, The DJ History beards dissect proceedings here (thanks to Fabiofal from DJ History for posting the mixes that I’ve used above).