"Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" - Various Artists

Compilation Album

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Full Track Listing:

  • Largo (Intro) – Handel
  • Red Alert Chant – DJ Premier of Gang Starr
  • I Got To Get Away – Dave Barker
  • True True – U Roy
  • Funky Donkey – Bernard “Pretty” Purdie
  • Do I Love You (Yes I Do) – Frank Wilson
  • It Really Hurts Me Girl (Tom Moulton Mix) – The Carstairs
  • Vicious Rap – Tanya Winley
  • Get Ready (Looking For Love) (Back To The Music Box Edit) – Patti LaBelle
  • Love Is The Message (Danny Krivit Re-Edit) – MFSB / The Salsoul Orchestra
  • Glad To Know You (Disconnect Re-Edit) – Chas Jankel
  • Weekend (Larry Levan Weekend Mix) – Class Action
  • Snakecharmer (Francois Kevorkian Snake Dub) – Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay
  • Bird In A Gilded Cage – Jungle wonz
  • Frequency 7 (Dance Mix) – Visage

Background Information

In 2000 a book was released by authors Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster titled “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey”. The book tracked the history of the DJ up to and including the superstar DJs of modern days. The book was released in July of 2000 and was a good seller. At the time Nuphonic Records put together a compilation also titled “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” and marketed it as “The officia l soundtrack to the book that documents the rise of the DJ”. The compilation starts with Handel’s “Largo” aria, which was the first recording to ever be played over the airwaves, making Reginald Fessenden, an American engineer, the first DJ. There was a limited pressing of the book with the CD, and the CD was also sold separately. The tracks on this album were chosen by the writers of the book.

The track included here is labelled “Snakecharmer (Francois Kervorkian Snake Dub)” and is listed as being performed by Jah Wobble, The Edge and Holger Czukay. The track is taken from the 1983 EP “Snakecharmer” and on that release this particular version is labelled as “Snakecharmer (Reprise)”. The “Snakecharmer (Reprise)” was different depending on where the EP was pressed, with the US pressing featuring a longer mix. It is the US version of the song which is featured here on “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”. The version that is found on “The Sun Does Rise” single by Jah Wobble is the UK version, and is not the same mix of the song that is found here.

In the liner notes for “Last Night a DJ Saved my Life” the authors discuss their choice of this song, “The original version of ‘Snakecharmer’ came out on an excellent mini-LP in 1982, produced by Francois K, which shows this interesting clash of styles: British dubwise new wave meshed with a New York dance sensibility. The cut included here is a rare promo-only club mix by Francois”. As mentioned, to a US author probably familiar with only the US mix of the EP this seems like a new mix, however, in reality this is the version common on the UK releases.

The “Snake Charmer” EP featured five tracks. The Edge was listed as participating on three of the tracks, “Snake Charmer” (slide guitar and soloist), “Hold on to Your Dreams” (lead guitar and effects), and “Snake Charmer (Reprise)” (slide guitar and soloist). However, there was an error when the recordings were pressed in the US, and this resulted in alternate versions of the tracks being used on the UK vs the US pressings. “Hold on to Your Dreams” was the same on both releases. “Snake Charmer” was different at 6:14 on the UK release, and the alternate version being 6:20 on the US release. “Snake Charmer (Reprise)” was also different being 6:54 on the UK release, and an alternate version at 6:58 on the US version. These weren’t just edits, but are actually very distinctive different mixes. Jah Wobble started out as a member of Public Image Ltd (PiL) and later would form the Invaders of the Heart. Holger Czukay was a co-founder of the band Can. The entire EP was mixed by Francois Kervorkian, a French DJ, producer and remixer, who worked on U2’s “Two Hearts Beat as One” as well in 1983.

In 2007 the book was re-released with additional content, and a double CD was compiled with the name “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”. This CD no longer has the pink and white cover, and also does not have any U2 content.

Liner Notes

Performed by Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay. Written by John Wardle, Ollie Marland, Holger Czukay, Francois Kervorkian. Remixed by Paul “Groucho” Smykle. Produced by Francois Kervorkian. Slide guitar solo by The Edge. Dictaphone, french horn and lead guitar by Holger Czukay. Linn drum prog by Francois Kervorkian. Keyboards by Ollie Marland. Percussion by Neville Murray. Rhythm guitar by Animal. Recorded and mixed at the Fallout Shelter, London UK.

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