Hundreds of classic Fire Island DJ mixes discovered and shared online

For decades Fire Island has been the summer party destination for New York’s queer community. Just a short trip from Manhattan, the island is filled with beach bungalows, walkways and paths through pine filled forests.

The queer community has congregated in the hamlets of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove and enjoyed summer parties from Memorial Day in May through to Labor Day in September.

Now the purchasers of a house on the island have discovered a huge series of recordings of DJ sets from gay parties throughout the decades, and with the permission of the DJ’s who are still living, they’ve been uploaded to Soundcoud.

The collection is spread over 200 tapes with sets from DJs such as Michael Jorba, Giancarlo, Teri Beaudoin, Robbie Leslie and Shaun Buchanan.

The most recent mix uploaded is from DJ Michael Jorba and is titled Heaven Can Wait, it was recorded in May 1985 and opens up with a dub version of Heaven by Perth band Eurogliders.

The mix also includes Modern Talking, Bad Boys Blue, Mike Mareen, Pookah Makes Three, Gina Soccio, Lime, ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog, and April, and a lot of obscure 80’s pop sounds.

Jorba was the DJ for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Morning Party from its inception in 1983 until he handed the reigns to DJ Michael Fierman in 1994. He created a soundtrack to a historic time in the Pines community.

Take a listen to the sound of a party on Fire Island in 1985.  

Dive into the entire collection at Mixcloud

Who were Eurogliders?

Eurogliders were one of the biggest Australian bands of the 1980’s. They formed in Perth in 1980 and featured Grace Knight on vocals, Bernie Lynch on guitar and Amanda Vincent on keyboards.

The band recorded their debut album Pink Suit Blue Day in Manilla, but it didn’t being them any chart success. After relocating to Sydney, they headed to London to record their second record This Island.  Released in 1984 it spawned the hits Maybe Only I Dream and Heaven (Must Be There), which has become a staple of Australian FM radio.

Their third album Absolutely came out in October 1985 and was filled with hits that kept them in charts for two years. We Will Together, Can’t Wait To See You, The City of Soul, So Tough and the title track Absolutely were all singles.

After spending years touring the world the band fractured in 1987 and most of the members left the group. Bernie Lynch and Grace Knight has married, and then separated but continued working together in the band, but they only had limited success.

Grace Knight developed a successful career as a jazz singer, and Amanda Vincent went on to tour with the Thompson Twins, Billy Bragg, Gang of Four and worked with Boy George. After leaving the world of pop music Vincent became an academic and is a respected music researcher.

Lynch and Knight have brought Eurogliders out of retirement several times over the years.

Graeme Watson

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