“Queen of the Night”, Régine, inventor of the modern disco, has died.
Born Regina Zylberberg in Belgium, Régine is credited with inventing the disco and the DJ that reinvented nightlife for the stereophonic age.
She told The New York Times,
“When the music stopped, you could hear snogging in the corners.
It killed the atmosphere. Instead, I installed two turntables so there was no gap in the music. I was barmaid, doorman, bathroom attendant, hostess, and I also put on the records.
It was the first-ever discotheque, and I was the first-ever club disc jockey.”
Régine eventually turned her single club, Chez Régine, into an empire of 20-plus clubs worldwide worth half a billion –and a somewhat less successful singing career.
She said in 1999.
“Everyone said, ‘You’re crazy to open in New York; the whole place is going to go plop in the river…
I am the one who saved this city from bankruptcy. I made it happy again.”
Originally only letting in glitterati, Régine’s eventually admitted regular people at a steep cover to mingle with Andy Warhol, Brooke Shields, and Joan Collins. Mick Jagger was once turned away at the door. He was wearing sneakers.
With competition from Studio 54, her clubs lost their glamour and edge in the ’80s. It was comparatively less druggy time…
Author Bob Collacello said in 1999,
She wasn’t giving out Quaaludes to movie stars, she didn’t have bartenders with their shirts off.
She didn’t have what people wanted when the times changed.”
But for a time, she WAS the Queen of the Night. She spent the last part of her life in Paris, managing a handful of clubs and continuing to perform.
Reginé was 92.
Régine, who was credited with opening the world’s first disco, has died at 92. She built a $500 million empire of 23 clubs in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, including Régine’s in Manhattan, the most famous nightspot of its era. https://t.co/FMFz5XwWRn pic.twitter.com/w9aTgR0WGX— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 1, 2022
(Photos, YouTube; via Vulture)