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Johnny Dynell (born John Savas) is a New York City DJ and recording artist. Dynell started his DJ career at the seminal Mudd Club in 1980 and has worked at many New York nightclub since including Danceteria, The Pyramid Club, Club 57, Area, Boybar, The Tunnel, Twilo, Vinyl, The Roxy, The Limelight, The Palladium, Nell's, Susanne Bartsch's Copacabana, Crobar, Mr. Black, Greenhouse and scores of other New York clubs, lounges and venues. He has also appeared in many cities nationwide and worldwide.
Johnny Dynell's first single "Jam Hot" (ACME Records, 1983) became a cult classic and has been remixed and sampled many times over the years. In 1990 Norman Cook a.k.a. Fatboy Slim and his group Beats International released "Dub Be Good to Me". The song features Johnny Dynell's signature "Jam Hot" rap, "tank fly boss walk jam nitty gritty you're listening to the boy from the big bad city, this is Jam Hot, this is Jam Hot". The line became an instant classic and was repeated often, being used as the most common reference to the song. The song was a massive hit spending 4 weeks at number one on the UK singles chart in February 1990. It was the 7th best-selling single of 1990 in the UK. In the US, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart and #76 on the Billboard Hot 100. The term "Jam Hot" is now in The Urban Dictionary.
As a recording artist Dynell has been on Atlantic Records, Arista Records, Epic Records, Heinz Records, Tribal Records, GIG Records, Xtravaganza Records, Pow Wow Records, ACME Records and Warlock Records. As a song writer has collaborated with Malcolm McLaren and Pink Martini.
In 1988 Dynell introduced Malcolm McLaren to the Voguing/ballroom community by sending him clips from the Jennie Livingston documentary "Paris Is Burning", at that point unfinished. Sound bites from the film were incorporated into McLaren's 1989 Voguing anthem "Deep In Vogue". The lyrics "Sometimes on a legendary night/ Like the closing of the Garage/ When the crowd is calling down the spirits/ Listen, and you will hear all the houses that walked there before" were excerpted from Chi Chi Valenti's 1988 article "Nations" in Details Magazine.
In 1989 Johnny, a member of the House of Xtravaganza, recorded his own Voguing song "Elements Of Vogue" in London with DJ David Depino and the late ballhouse MC David Ian Xtravaganza. "Elements of Vogue" contains samples from the disco songs "Love Is the Message" by MFSB and "Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)" by the Salsoul Orchestra. A year later Madonna recorded her song "Vogue" with the same samples. "Elements of Vogue" has been a Voguing classic for two decades.
In 1990 Johnny along with his wife writer Chi Chi Valenti, fashion designer Kitty Boots, dancer/choreographer Richard Move and actor Brian Butterick a.k.a. Hattie Hathaway, founded the performance club Jackie 60, an influential underground party that ran for the entire decade, and evolved into the full-time Meat Market venue Mother. Although he continued to DJ at Jackie 60, his energy for the next ten years was totally devoted to running this long-running hit club and its many satellite nights and projects. These include the cyber-fetish experiment Click + Drag and the marathon Night Of 1000 Stevies (still going strong in 2011).
After the closing of Jackie 60 and Mother in 2000, Dynell found his way back to his first love - spinning - when he accepted a residency at Gotham's first new mega-club of the decade, Crobar, in 2003. His Saturday night following there for the next four years also inspired him to begin writing dance music again, including the Pink Martini hit "Una Notte a Napoli". As the Oughts ended, his residencies at gay dance club MR. BLACK and the uber-popular Vandam Sundays at Greenhouse found him back with a vengeance, and a sound described by Michael Musto as "Johnny Dynell's bracing mix of newish-old and oldish-new". Other 2009/2010 highlights included back to back Glammy Awards for Best DJ of the Year and remixing for artists including Scissor Sisters, Escandalo and the B-52's.
Also in 2010, a new generation discovered Johnny with the release of a Jam Hot / Big Throwdown remix project on Smash Hit Records. This Nu-Disco project, which spent three weeks at #1 on the Juno sales chart, featured remixers including Tensnake, 40 Thieves, Peter Rauhofer, Mark Kamins, Clouded Vision, Elija Rudman and of course, Johnny. Summer 2011 will see the launch of Dynell's own label, Endless Night Music, distributed by The Orchard (Digital Distribution Company), and its first release, "21st Century Vogue" (featuring Sade Pendavis, Paul Alexander, Jocelyn Brown and Princess Xtravaganza)
Recording Artist and Writer
- Jam Hot, 1983 (Acme Records / Epic)
- The Big Throwdown, 1983 (Acme Records)
- Say Yeah!, 1987 (Warlock Records)
- Jam Hot, Peter Rauhofer Remix, 1988 (GIG Records)
- The Big Throwdown, Peter Rauhofer Remix, 1988 (GIG Records)
- Jam Hot Money, Junior Vasquez Remix, 1988 (GIG Records)
- Rhythm of Love, 1988 (Pow Wow Records)
- Rhythm of Love, Larry Levan Remix, 1988 (Pow Wow)
- Elements of Vogue, David Ian Xtravaganza 1989 (Xtravaganza Records)
- Love Find A Way, 1990 (Atlantic Records)
- Jam Hot, Bingoboys Remix, 1991 (Atlantic Records)
- The Jackie Hustle, 1992 (Arista Records)
- Riding Into Battle, 1995, Adults Only Club 69 (Tribal Records)
- Una Notte a Napoli, Pink Martini, 2005 (Heinz Records)
- Jam Hot / The Big Throwdown, 2011, Remix (Smash Hit Records)
Writer, Collaborator and/or Producer
- Fans, Malcolm McLaren, 1984 (CBS Records)
- La Bruja, 2008, Escandalo
- Hot Corner, 2009, B-52's
- Battlecat, 2009, Jonny McGovern presents Princess Xtravaganza
- Fire With Fire, 2010, Scissor Sisters
- Moustache Ridin', 2010, Apokalipps feat. Heather Litteer
- Marc Jacobs, Bill Blass, John Galliano, Rifat Ozbek, Thierry Mugler, Betsey Johnson, Victoria Secret, Roberto Cavalli, Vivienne Tam, La Perla, Perry Ellis, Cynthia Rowley
Museums and Cultural Events
- New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, PS1, Performance Space 122, The Andy Warhol Museum, Sotheby's, New York City Ballet, Low Life @ Howl Festival, Exit Art, Leo Castelli Gallery
- AMFAR Cinema Against AIDS at the Cannes Film Festival 2010, 2011, *Elton John Aids Foundation Elton John Oscar Party 2011, *Vanity Fair Post Oscar Party, Vanity Fair Centennial, The New Yorker Centennial, Interview Magazine, Details Magazine, Paper Magazine, Time Out NY, The Village Voice
Fashion Shows And Benefit Events
- The Life Ball (Vienna), The Love Ball I & 2, Balade de L'Amour (Paris), Fire & Ice Ball Los Angeles, Louis Vuitton Centennial, Marc Jacobs Various, Giorgio Armani Various, AMFAR, ASPCA Gimme Shelter, DIFFA, Calvin Klein Various, Donna Karan, Victoria's Secret, CFDA, Planned Parenthood, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Macys, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Don't Bungle The Jungle, 7th on Sale San Francisco, Alternative Fashion Week NYC, The Goddess Ball, Love Heals, Collection Rouge, Hearts of Gold, The Downtown Costume Institute
Other special events
- MCA & BMG Grammy awards parties, Ross Bleckner's CRIA picnics, Alba and Francesco Clemente, Alexa Hampton, Yoko Ono, The Playboy Mansion, The New York Stock Exchange, Barneys San Francisco Opening Night, Pink Martini at Carnegie Hall, MTV Moscow
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