Walter Gibbons  

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"Gibbons started to mix between the breaks of disco and funk records around the same time DJ Kool Herc began to test the technique in the Bronx, and the disco spinner was as technically precise as Grandmaster Flash, even if the spinners directed their deft handiwork to differing ends."--“Disco Madness: Walter Gibbons and the Legacy of Turntablism and Remixology” (Journal of Popular Music Studies, 20, 3, 2008, 276-329) by Tim Lawrence[1]

It was Gibbons transformation of Double Exposure's "Ten Percent" from a three minute album track into an eleven minute dancefloor stormer that radically changed the disco undergound in terms of record production, remixing and development of the 12" record. At the time when orchestration was commonly used on dance records, Gibbons' technique was to concentrate on percussion and the song. He was an explorer and innovator of DJ techniques and skills which we now take for granted and he was also considered to be one of the most impeccable live mixers of his time. Walter Gibbons' Djing began in the early 70s in NYC at the Galaxy 21, Fantasia, and Buttermilk Bottom, Second Story in Philadelphia and the Monastery in Seattle. Years before his death Gibbons became a Born Again Christian and wouldn't mix songs with sexual content. However, he resurfaced in 1984 with the unforgettable electro classic "Set It Off", and did two more mixes for Arthur Russell in 1986. --[2]

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Walter Gibbons (April 2, 1954 - September 23, 1994) was an American record producer, early disco DJ and remixer. Some of his more experimental work was collected on Walter Gibbons ‎– Jungle Music (Mixed With Love: Essential & Unreleased Remixes 1976-1986) in 2010.



He was an important part of the early 1970s New York disco underground scene, influencing garage and house music DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan. He also laid the foundations for early 1980s experimental Chicago house music. One of the early pioneers of beat-mixing, and known for considerably more skillful mixing than many better-known DJs at the time, he is cited by many early pioneers of the house-music scene asreb an influence. His "Disco Blend" remix of Double Exposure's "Ten Percent" was once described by UK DJ Ashley Beedle as providing a "blueprint for house music".


Gibbons was known as "the DJ's DJ" because his peers would go out of their way to hear him play. Kool DJ Herc brought Dub to the New York City music scene, where Gibbons and other remixers played it and applied dub techniques to dance music. He played disco songs, focusing more on the percussion than the melody, and "stretched out the grooves so much that they teetered on the edge of motionlessness." (Shapiro 2000) Like Arthur Russell, who recorded with him, Gibbons "used dub as a dislocating device, preventing disco's simple groove from developing under the dancers' feet." (Shapiro 2000).


He enjoyed a long association with Salsoul Records at the end of the 1970s. His DJ skills, punctuality and seriousness convinced Salsoul to assign him the remix of "Ten Percent", by Double Exposure, even though he had never produced. It was the first commercially available 12-inch single in the world. This was his best-known remix.

His remix of "Hit and Run" by Loleatta Holloway was a surprise hit (he had considerably lengthened the recording and even removed Holloway's first two verses of vocals).

In 2004, Salsoul / Sussd' Records released a triple cd compilation with Walter's remixes for the label.
It is called Mixed with Love (Walter Gibbons Salsoul Anthology). It is composed of three discs, being #1 The Madness Begins..., #2 The Madness Continues... and #3 Total Insanity. These feature Gibbons' mixes of tracks by the likes of Loleatta Holloway, The Salsoul Orchestra, Double Exposure, First Choice, Love Committee and Anthony White among others. The tracks feature the 12" mix and the Disco Madness mix of some of the tracks like Loleatta Holoway's "Catch Me on the Rebound" - a different version is found on each of the three CDs.

The Anthology also includes a 40-page booklet with an essay, on Walter Gibbons work, by Tim Lawrence, author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture 1970-79.


The 1996 album Walter's Room was Black Science Orchestra's homage to Gibbons, released in London on Junior Boy's Own Records.

Gibbons became a reborn Christian in the 1980s, but still managed to turn out cutting edge mixes during this period (he simply focused on songs and lyrics that did not offend his beliefs). He died of AIDS-related symptoms in 1994.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Walter Gibbons" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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