Get up and get down to the funky sound
Every body out there, come on and get down
Uptown, rock the house, and
Downtown, rock the house, and
Eastside, rock the house, yeah
Westside, rock the house, and
Manhattan, rock the house,
Wherever you are keeping grooving out
Sha Rock of the Funky 4 + 1 at the Kitchen,
22 November 1980
New York serves as a reminder of how fragile hedonistic
lifestyles can be, how ephemeral all true cosmopolitan
entertainment is. And to think that all of us who were
immersed in the vertigo of those times believed that it
would never end . . . that it would get better and more crazy
instead! The only consolation is that, like in the past, this
sad state of affairs will change too, sooner or later, for better
or worse. The outcome depends on all of us.
Rudolf Piper, interview
It’s hard to disagree with Will Hermes when he argues in Love
Goes to Buildings on Fire that New York City reached a peak of sonic creativity
during 1973–1977 that fell away during the 1980s and 1990s.1 How could any-
thing compare to the era that produced disco, punk, the loft jazz scene, the
breakout of experimental minimalism and post minimalism, Salsa, and the
first articulations of what would later be known as hip hop? But although they
mightn’t have displayed the same level of streamlined coherence, the sounds
and scenes that defined the opening years of the 1980s reached a comparable
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