It’s hard to say who exactly the first DJ was, but Ray Newby is definitely a strong contender. Newby was only 16 years old when he became the world’s first DJ in 1909. The history maker was from Stockton, California (I guess California really does know how to party).
The term disc jockey was not coined until 1935 by Walter Winchell, an American radio commentator. DJs still were not that big of a hot topic though. At least not yet…
Jimmy Savile definitely put DJs on the map when he threw the world’s first DJ dance party in 1943. The party of the year took place in Otley, England. Savile also went down in history as the first DJ to use turntables to keep the beats bumping on a continuous loop so the dancefloor would never be empty.
Following this hot trend, Paris opened its famous Whiskey A Go-Go in 1947. Way before the Los Angeles location was even imagined, the OG Whiskey was a popular discotheque. The Whiskey also wrote its name down next to Jimmy’s as being the world’s first disco.
Like all trends, things tend to shift. DJing started making its way into the streets of New York. It was here that different styles and techniques were discovered. All of these changes really cemented DJing as an art form.
Turntables were being used heavily because it allowed for DJs to manipulate tracks and blend them together. The days of picking each song and letting it play without interruptions were over. DJing became a way for artists on the up and up to explore music in a whole new way.
Fast forward to 1985: the first conference for all DJs was held in Florida. This conference was a place where DJs of all backgrounds and styles could come together and talk about their music. This still goes on today. Ultra Music Festival in Miami is a direct result of this.
Now that DJs are coming together and collaborating, raves became the new things to do in the early 1990’s. Europe took to raves like no other and allowed for DJs’ status and popularity to skyrocket (then again, who doesn’t go crazy for Eurobeat???)
With the digitization of music in the 90’s, DJs were about to start ditching their vinyls. Turntables were created to adapt to this trend too, allowing for DJs to play with mp3s instead of huge disks. Fortunately, there was no program to make all of the songs automatically sync up and sound decent together with no effort (yeah, fake DJs, I bet you know what I’m talking about). Djs still had to rely on their artistic talent and practice to be successful at their craft.
Recently, DJs have been making a huge comeback. People have been requesting good DJs for nearly every event. Even EDC and other raves have been seeing an increasing amount of event attendance.
Who knows what will be in the next chapter of DJ history, but, from what I can see, it looks like it’s going to be a really fun one. Make sure you check us out now because Famous DJ Agency will definitely be a leading character in the next part of the story.