Standout Detroit House Songs

Selections from two men who were a part of the LGBT club scene in the 80s and 90s.

House music may have been created in Chicago, but in Detroit’s LGBT club scene in the 1980s and 1990s, it was huge.

In a recent StoryCorps Detroit interview, Damon “Magic” Percy and Curtis Lipscomb talk about their memories from being a part of that scene. Here is bonus content not included in that episode where the two talk about the songs that stood out to them from the movement.

Magic’s Pick: “The Pressure” by Sounds of Blackness

Magic remembers that the DJ at an after-hours Detroit gay bar called Heaven, Ken Collier, would loop this version of “The Pressure” and play it two or three times back-to-back.

“When he played it all of the kids would run to get on top of the speaker in the spotlight to see who was gonna lip-sync it. So, he would play it repeatedly so each of the prominent drag queens would get their moment,” Magic says.

Curtis’ Pick: “Me And The Gang” by Hamilton Bohannon

Curtis remembers this B-side song being played by Melvin Hill, a DJ at The Famous Door, a now defunct gay bar that was located in downtown Detroit. Curtis says Melvin made the song his own. On the album, Curtis recalls that the song was short, just making up a sliver of the record’s surface.

“And Melvin used to take that sliver and make it a steak. He used to mix that at least 15 minutes long. And that was a groovy, bass-heavy bass, funky, low, low club record,” Curtis says.

Magic is a writer, musical historian and cultural critic. Curtis is the executive director of LGBT Detroit. You can listen to their interview on the StoryCorps Detroit podcast here.

Author

  • Laura Herberg

    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.