Important Cities in the Development of Electronic Dance Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


This blog post will explore some of the most important cities in the development of electronic dance music. We’ll look at the history and evolution of the genre, and how different cities have played a role in shaping it.


Detroit has been a major player in the development of electronic dance music. The city has a long history of producing innovative and influential music, and it has continued to be a hotbed of creative activity in recent years. Detroit’s electronic music scene has produced a number of internationally successful artists, and the city has also played host to a number of important music festivals.

The Belleville Three

The Belleville Three, also known as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, are considered the originators of techno music. These three friends attended high school together in Belleville, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) in the early 1980s. They were heavily influenced by the electronic music coming out of Europe at the time, particularly from the German group Kraftwerk. In 1985, they released their first record as a group, which was titled “The Belleville Sessions.”

Juan Atkins

Juan Atkins is a Detroit-based musician and one of the pioneers of electronic dance music. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Techno” for his role in the development and popularization of the genre.

Atkins began his musical career in the early 1980s as a member of the group Cybotron, whose song “Clear” is considered to be one of the first techno tracks. He has released numerous solo records and collaborated with a number of other artists, including Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson as part of the group Threechic.

In recent years, Atkins has been involved in various educational initiatives, including spearheading a project to bring techno music to schools in Detroit. He is also a member of the Electrobass ensemble, which performs experimental music using electrified double basses.

Derrick May

Derrick May, born in 1962, is a DJ, record producer, and composer from Detroit, Michigan. He is widely credited as being one of the pioneers of the Detroit techno sound. May’s hits include “Strings of Life” (1987) and “Transmat Is Yours” (1989).


Chicago, Illinois is considered by many to be the birthplace of electronic dance music. House music, a subgenre of EDM, was first created in the city in the early 1980s. DJs such as Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy were spinning records at clubs such as the Warehouse and the Music Box. These clubs were important in the development of the Chicago house sound.

Frankie Knuckles

Frankie Knuckles, nicknamed “The Godfather of House”, was a pioneering DJ and producer who was instrumental in the development of the Chicago house music scene in the 1980s. He was one of the first DJs to use drum machines and synthesizers to create new, distinctive dance music. His style of DJing and production influenced a generation of electronic dance music producers and DJs.

Marshall Jefferson

A native of Chicago, house music producer and DJ Marshall Jefferson is credited with creating the first house record, “Move Your Body,” in 1986. House music was heavily influenced by disco and early electronic dance music, and Jefferson’s use of Roland drum machines and synthesizers helped to create the signature sound of house.

Farley “Jackmaster” Funk

Jackmaster Funk is a Chicago house disc jockey and producer. He was one of the key figures in the development of house music in the city in the 1980s, and was one of the first DJs to play the music on the radio. Funk was a resident DJ at The Warehouse, a Chicago club that was one of the earliest venues for house music. He also produced a number of tracks that were prominent in the early days of house, including “Don’t Stop… Jack Your Body”, which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in 1986.

New York City

New York City’s electronic dance music scene was helped by the city’s nightlife culture. Clubs such as The Loft, The Paradise Garage, and Studio 54 were important in the development of the genre. New York City is also home to the annual Electric Zoo music festival.

David Mancuso

David Mancuso is a DJ and party organizer who was influential in the development of the underground dance music scene in New York City. He is best known for his work at The Loft, a private party he started hosting in 1970.

Mancuso was born in 1945 and grew up in Rochester, New York. He moved to New York City in 1967, and began working as a lighting designer for various nightclubs. It was during this time that he developed an interest in music, and began collecting records.

In 1970, Mancuso began hosting private parties at his apartment on Broadway, which he called The Loft. These parties quickly became popular, and attracted a diverse crowd of people from all walks of life. The Loft became known for its eclectic music policy, which ranged from soul to disco to African music.

Mancuso continued to host The Loft until 1986, when he moved the party to a new location on Prince Street. The Loft continued to be successful at its new location, and became one of the most important nightclubs in New York City. In the early 1990s, Mancuso took a break from DJing and returned to his work as a lighting designer.

In 1999, Mancuso returned to the club scene with a new party called Love Saves the Day. This party was similar to The Loft in many ways, but featured a more diverse range of music genres. Love Saves the Day continued until 2006, when Mancuso retired from clubbing altogether.

Although he is no longer active in the club scene, Mancuso’s influence can still be felt today. He is widely credited with helping to develop the underground dance music scene in New York City, and his parties helped to shape the sound of dance music for generations to come.

Larry Levan

Larry Levan was a DJ who played a pivotal role in the development of electronic dance music, particularly house music. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and got his start playing at the local disco, the Gallery. He quickly gained a reputation for his eclectic taste in music and his ability to keep people dancing all night. In 1977, he started working at the Paradise Garage, which became one of the most famous nightclubs in the world. Levan played a key role in making the club a success, and he is credited with popularizing house music. He continued to DJ until his untimely death in 1992.

Frankie Crocker

Frankie Crocker (born Francis Joseph Underwood; April 4, 1935 – October 19, 2000) was an African American radio personality and disk jockey who was influential in the development of Rhythm and blues and disco music. He worked as a programmer, on-air personality, and music director at several radio stations in the United States throughout his career, including WBLS in New York City. He was one of the first black DJs to gain a large following in the white popular music market.

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