Patrick Cowley was a man ahead of his time. His experience in electronic dance music pioneered the way for many of today's hit recordings. Before computers and synthesizers could punch up a sound effect, Patrick was crafting his art the hard way. Painstakingly patching his own programs by hand and creating what was to become famous as 'The Cowley sound'. Being a brilliant songwriter, master technician and commercial producer, Patrick's carreer sky-rocketed in the early 80's around the planet. Today his music is still fresh, contemporary, and is currently being rediscovered by a new generation of dance enthusiasts, aerobic instructors, and clubs. Patrick died November 12th 1982 of A.I.D.S. His death shocked the world and many still mourn his loss. He was my best friend, business partner in Megatone, and I loved him very much. It is with great honor that I dedicate this album to Patrick, his fans, everyone living with A.I.D.S., to the forty thousand plus we have lost, and especially to his fantastic family and loving father, Mr. Kenneth Cowley.
President, Megatone Records
It's shocking to see how little information on Patrick Cowley and his music is available on the net. There are some who remember his music, but very few who seem to know anything about the man himself. An extensive search using all available search engines yielded very little result. The only thing I found out was that Marty Blecman died in 1991, but Patrick is not even mentioned in his 'In Memoriam' at ImmuNet.
What I do know is that I heard his music for the first time in 1982, when I was twelve. My brother had bought the 'Mind Warp' album that had just been released a few months before. The combination of old-fashioned disco with hi-energy dance music (think of Lime and Giorgio Moroder), made with analogue synths really attracted me. Shortly after that, Patrick died of AIDS, then still known as 'gay cancer'. It was the first time I heard of this disease, but definately not the last, as this was the start of a period in which everything to do with AIDS would be exhaustively covered by the media.
Patrick Cowley was born in 1950 in Buffalo, NY. He grew up in upstate New York, where he worked in local rock bands and eventually studied English at the University of Buffalo. After moving to the Bay Area in 1971, Patrick began an intensive study of the synthesizer at San Francisco College. His recording carreer really took off when he was asked to join SF based artist Sylvester in the studio after he heard what Cowley was doing with the synthesizer and was excited by Cowley's innovative techniques. This resulted in the album 'Step II', which skyrocketed Sylvester to international fame. The album landed Cowley a job as a back-up musician on Sylvester's subsequent world-wide tour.
Cowley remained close to the San Francisco club-scene and eventually joined forces with producer/keyboardist Marty Blecman (a former Fantasy Records employee) to form Megatone records in the summer of 1981. This co-operation led to the release of the dance-oriented 12" 'Megatron Man', that opened the doors for his award-winning album of the same name.
In the same period, Patrick teamed up with SF based singer Paul Parker and wrote and produced the dance single 'Right on target', which reached #1 on Billboard's disco charts. He also reunited with Sylvester and produced the chart-busting 'Do you wanna funk', released on the Megatone label. In 1982, Cowley continued his high-tech fusion of man and machine with the release of the 'Mind Warp' album. Although I have no way of proving it, I think Patrick must already have been sick while writing this album, just check the lyrics of 'Mutant man', a song that's strangely slow considering his style. The background image on this page was inspired by the lyrics, and made with POV-
Megatron Man was synthesizer whiz Patrick Cowley's first hit on the newly formed Megatone Records. It reached the top of the Disco charts in March of 1982 only 5 months after his first major hit Menergy. Megatone was formed with songwriting and producing partner Marty Blecman.
Sadly, Patrick Cowley died from AIDS later in 1982 at age 32. Although his recording career was brief, he made a strong impact on the development of synthesizer use in dance music and the emerging Hi-NRG sound, a successor to classic Disco.
From the sleeve of '12 by 12 : The Patrick Cowley Collection'. Note : Marty Blecman died at his home in San Francisco on September 20, 1991 of AIDS-related diseases.
Cowley found more success in the '80s with several chart-topping hits. At the time he released "Megatron Man," he also teamed up with the San Francisco singer Paul Parker. Both wrote and produced the dance-oriented single "Right on Target," which hit the disco charts at number one. Patrick found even more chart topping success, teaming up with Sylvester once again to produce the single "Do You Wanna Funk" for Megatone. In 1982 Patrick Cowley produced his final album, "Mind Warp," for Megatone.
In his brief career 1980-1982 he not only produced the items above, but also produced and worked with Loverde, Jo-Lo (formerly known as The Patrick Cowley Singers), Michelle, Hot Posse, and did his legendary remix of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." An instrumental contributor to the history of the synthesizer in dance music, Partick Cowley’s influence carried far beyond his late-'70s early-'80's prime. Artists including Pet Shop Boys and New Order consider Cowley to be a major musical influence on their work. Cowley explored uncharted territories of synthesizer sounds and instrument programming, long before modern-day music conveniences. His work with the band Sylvester gained him fame and would allow Cowley to have his own glory as a producer, writer, and musician.
Blecman cited Cowley as patching his own programs by hand to create a certain sound that Cowley felt was necessary in order for a track to be complete. Initially founded as a partnership, Megatone Records was incorporated in 1983 and moved to Hollywood, California in 1994. Blecman headed the record label until his death on September 20, 1991. Blecman dedicated 1990's "The Patrick Cowley Collection" to Patrick’s memory. He died of A.I.D.S. on November 12, 1982. He was the first known entertainer to die of the disease. One can only imagine what would have come from the brilliant mind of Patrick in the years to come. In the early 1980's after the disco backlash he single handedly bridged the gap from "disco" to "dance" music
PATRICK COWLEY`S DISCOGRAPHY Maxi-singles.
TITLE LABEL NUMBER COMPANY
I got a line on you/ X factor Uni 1068 Unidisc Canada
Menergy/ I wanna take you home Fpsf 003 Fusion USA
Menergy/ I wanna take you home 2141 484 Polydor Germany
Megatron man/ Teen planet 0930.059 Metronome Germany
Megatron man/ Percussion instrumental Fpsf 005 Fusion USA
Megatron man 87/ If you feel it Mt 146 Megatone USA
They came at night ( Holland 82 remix) Rhr 3237 Rams Horn Holland
Get a little M 1003 Megatone USA
Megamedley/ Menergy/ I wanna take you home Mt 103 Megatone USA
Going home (Remix)/ Tech-no-logical world instr. Mt 104 Megatone USA
Tech-no-logical world/ Primitive world Ramsh 12-3155 Rams Horn Holland
Mind warp/ Goin`home Cbs A122937 Cbs France
Mind warp remix 89 Mt 168 Megatone USA
Related Maxi concerning Patrick Cowley
Megatron man/ Age 2001 (Artist are Deadline) Uni 1074 Unidisc Canada
Menergy Ulp 30 Unidisc Canada
The Album Fpsf 004 Fusion USA
Megatron man M1001 Megatone USA
Megatron man (Grey triangle on left) M1002 Megatone USA
Megatron man (Black triangle on left) M1002 Megatone USA
Megatron man Lat 1132 Attic Canada
Mind Warp M1004 Megatone USA
Greatest Hits dance party M1012 Megatone USA
12 by 12 The Patrick Cowley Collection M1024 (2lps) Megatone USA
Associated artists and others interesting releases (Vinyl)
Homenaje a Patrick Cowley A Mexican megamix of some of the hits by Patrick....Bizarre!!! On Gamma Label #D33-100.
Sarah Dash "Lucky tonight" On Megatone Mt112 Produced By Pat. Cowley
Loverde "Die hard lover" On Moby Dick label Btg 1132 Produced by Pat. Cowley
Sylvester "Do you wanna funk" On Megatone Mt 102 Produced by Cowley...Please note also that Cowley appear also on the "Stars" album from Sylvester ( You make me feel....Dance disco heat) released at the end of the 70`s.
Sylvester "Do you wanna funk" Remixed by Italian boy On Full time Ftm 31721 a great remix of a classic!
Paul Parker "Right on target" On Megatone Mt 101 was produced and written by Cowley.
Paul Parker "Too much to dream" LP was produced by Pat. Cowley and definitively a must have for fans
Donna Summers "I feel love" Megamix 15 minutes long produced by Pat. Cowley. On Casablanca
Jeannie Tracy "Sing your own song" The B side of "Time bomb" Mt 125 Megatone Records 1984 was also written by Pat. Cowley. He`s last official release.
Patrick Cowley "Menergy" on Disconet remix service a mega version running 15 minutes...yes 15! with a surprizing break (Released only for the Disconet 10 th anniversary edition..) Digital Mastering...THE definitive version. (Dated 1987)
"American dream" by Hot Posse was also produced by Pat. Cowley it was on year 81 on Moby Dick label USA...Also a version exist on Disconet remix service