‘In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous’.
– Andy Warhol
In the 1960’s Andy Warhol famously once said that everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. After partying in Studio 54, he confessed that he was bored with his original quote and changed it to state that everyone (presumably in Studio 54) will be famous in fifteen minutes.
Studio 54 opened it’s doors on April 26, 1977 at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan. The site was originally a broadway theatre and then a television studio. But after this day 33 years ago, it would become the most famous nightclub in the world. Albeit the party was very short-lived because Studio 54 closed it’s doors exactly three years later on April 26, 1980.
But during those three years, Studio was the king of discotheques. The club was opened by Steve Rubell and Ian Shrager and became infamously known for it’s over-the-top hedonism and infuriating door policies. Apparently the two owners would stand outside the club and hand-pick the people they wanted to see inside, which usually consisted of a healthy mix of glamorous celebrities and nobodies. However, being famous never meant guaranteed entry. In fact, there are dozens of stories of some of the most famous people in the world being told to ‘f*ck off’.
The resident DJ, who oversaw the proceedings for the decadent three years was Richie Kaczor. He was from New Jersey and considered by most to be a very technically gifted DJ, who could not only segue music impeccably but could beat-match while mixing as well. With his DJ skills, an attentive crowd, a legendary sound system and the biggest discotheque in the world, he soon developed the power to ‘make’ a record just by playing it in Studio. The most famous example of this was ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor, which started out as a B-side to her single ‘Substitue’. After Kaczor got his hands on it and championed it, the song soon became the Studio 54 theme.
As a small tribute to Richie and the Studio, I have mixed a podcast of some of the Studio’s anthems. From the opening song, ‘Devil’s Train’, which was the first song Richie every played in Studio 54, to ‘I Will Survive’, every chosen track was anthemic and an essential part of the disco magic that was captured within Studio’s walls in the late 1970s.