Garage music (US garage)

For other genres of music with similar titles, see UK garage and garage rock.

Garage music or garage house is a subgenre of electronic music that developed alongside house music,[1] yet is classified by some sources as being a subgenre of house music, as an overlap between these two genres began in the late 1980s. Garage music was developed in the Paradise Garage nightclub in New York City and club Zanzibar in New Jersey, USA, during the early-to-mid 1980s.[2] It predates the development of Chicago house and is relatively closer to disco than other electronic dance styles.[3] However Garage has eventually been grouped as a variant of the broader term 'house'. DJs playing this genre include Tony Humphries, Larry Levan and Junior Vasquez.[4][5]

Garage music is often confused with speed garage or UK garage; while these genres are influenced by garage music, they are different genres.


Dance music of the 1980s made use of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines. These instruments are an essential part of garage music.[6] The direction of garage music was primarily influenced by the New York City discothèque Paradise Garage where the influential DJ Larry Levan(1954-1992) played records.[4] Levan was best known for his decade-long residency at the New York City night club Paradise Garage. He developed a cult following who referred to his sets as "Saturday Mass". Influential post-disco DJ François Kevorkian credits Levan with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music. Along with Kevorkian, Levan experimented with drum machines and synthesizers in his productions and live sets, ushering in an electronic, post-disco sound that presaged the ascendence of house music.[7] Levan got his start alongside DJ Frankie Knuckles at the Continental Baths.[8] At the height of the disco boom in 1977, Levan was offered a residency at the Paradise Garage. Although owner Michael Brody intended to create a downtown facsimile of Studio 54 catering to an upscale white gay clientele, Levan initially drew an improbable mix of streetwise blacks, Latinos, and punks. Open only to a select membership and housed in an otherwise unadorned building on King Street in Greenwich Village, the club and Levan's DJing slowly entered the mainstream. Levan became a prolific producer and mixer in the 1980s, with many of his efforts crossing over onto the national dance music charts.

According to Blues & Soul, garage music started with the early records of the group Visual, i.e. "Somehow, Someway" and "The Music Got Me" in 1983 and the recordings by The Peech Boys.[9]


In comparison to other forms of house music, garage is more polished, and it includes gospel-influenced piano riffs and female vocals.[10] The genre was popular in the 1980s in the U.S. and 1990s in the United Kingdom. The popularity of the genre in the UK gave birth to a derivative genre called UK garage.[10]


Prominent labels


  1. Saunders, Jesse (Nov 1, 2007). House Music: The Real Story. SandlerComm. p. 118. ISBN 9781604740011. "However, New York did not truly develop a recognized House music scene of its own until 1988 with the success of DJ Todd Terry—not until then did they understand what House music truly was all about. They did, though, have Garage.
  2. Simpson, Paul (2003). The rough guide to cult pop. U.S.: Rough Guides, 2003. p. 42. ISBN 1843532298.
  3. ""Garage" --Allmusic".
  4. 1 2 Sylvan, Robin (2002). Traces of the spirit: the religious dimensions of popular music. U.S.: NYU Press. p. 120. ISBN 0814798098.
  5. ": Garage at Allmusic". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  6. Ann Dupuis, Anne De Bruin (2003). Entrepreneurship: new perspectives in a global age. U.S.: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003. p. 79. ISBN 0754631982.
  7. Broughton, Frank & Brewster, Bill (2000). Larry Levan's Paradise Garage | - Disco's revenge. Retrieved on 1-4-2010.
  8. Bidder, Sean (June 1999). House: the Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 202–205.
  9. "untitled". Blues & soul: Issues 526-537. Napfield Ltd., the University of Virginia '(originally)'. 1988. [...] term as garage music now started about five years ago with the first Boyd Jarvis records and the group Visual who did the songs "Somehow, Someway" and "The Music Got Me"
  10. 1 2 Verderosa, Tony (2002). The techno primer: the essential reference for loop-based music styles. U.S.: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002. p. 36. ISBN 0634017888.
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