Christian John Wikane

Based in NYC, Christian John Wikane is a Contributing Editor for PopMatters, where he authored the five-part oral history, Casablanca Records: Play It Again. He's penned extensive essays for several dozen album re-issues. He also co-founded the UnFiltered Concert Series with Nona Hendryx and produces an annual benefit at Joe's Pub (NYC).



"Radio Casbah: Inside the Kingdom of Casablanca Records"

Beyond the gates of 8255 Sunset Boulevard, it was called "the Casbah" -- a Moroccan-styled city that projected the glitz of Hollywood in everything it created. The sound of this glittery metropolis reverberated through throbbing beats, rubbery funk, and blistering rock and roll. Disco queens, comic book rockers, blues men, hip hop pioneers, comedians, Oscar-winning composers, jazz trumpeters, and even Ronald McDonald all called the Casbah home. To the outside world, it was called Casablanca Records.

From 1974 through 1980, label founder Neil Bogart led Casablanca with an expansive musical vision. Beginning with a small number of acts that included T. Rex, Fanny, Greg Perry, and the Hudson Brothers, Casablanca soon became one of the top three record companies in the music industry. Its success was predicated upon two of its earliest signings, Parliament and KISS, as well as its top-selling solo act, Donna Summer, plus a number of artists and producers who fueled the multi-billion dollar business of disco.

Radio Casbah: Inside the Kingdom of Casablanca Records will examine the qualities that made Casablanca a unique music center: the co-habitation of different acts and the numerous musical styles that intersected at the Casbah, the role of design and marketing in the label's releases, the woman who became the Casbah's defining solo star, and -- as a forthcoming biopic will surely illustrate -- the creativity of the Casbah's "governor", Neil Bogart. Then and now, no city has ever grooved quite like the Casbah...

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, March 25

11:15am EDT