|Birth name||Patrick Joseph Cowley|
|Born||October 19, 1950|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Origin||Buffalo, New York, U.S.|
|Died||November 12, 1982 (aged 32)|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Patrick Joseph Cowley (October 19, 1950 – November 12, 1982) was an American disco and hi-NRG dance music composer and recording artist. Along with Giorgio Moroder, he often is credited as a pioneer of electronic dance music.
Patrick Cowley was born October 19, 1950 in Buffalo, New York to Ellen and Kenneth Cowley. The family originated in the Horseheads and Corning areas of New York and lived in Rochester, New York. During his teenage years, Cowley became a successful drummer with local amateur bands before attending Niagara University and later the University at Buffalo to study English. In 1971, at the age of 21, Cowley moved to San Francisco to attend the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) where he studied music, specifically the use of synthesizers.
Cowley met San Francisco-based musician Sylvester in 1978. Sylvester had asked Cowley to join his studio band after hearing some of his early synthesizer recordings. He played synthesizer on Sylvester's 1978 album Step II which included the hits "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)". In addition, he wrote "Stars" and "I Need Somebody to Love Tonight" from his 1979 album Stars. Cowley also joined Sylvester's live band and joined him on several world tours.
Cowley's own hits included "Menergy" in 1981, a frank celebration of the gay club scene, and "Megatron Man", which hit #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1981. That same year, Patrick Cowley was celebrated at the Menergy parties at The EndUp in San Francisco. He also wrote and produced the dance single "Right on Target" for San Francisco artist Paul Parker, which reached #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 1982. "Do Ya Wanna Funk", a collaboration with Sylvester, made #4 on the Billboard dance chart that same year. Cowley also did a 15'45" long remix of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", which is now a collector's item. Mind Warp, his final album, was composed as he felt the increasing effects of HIV infection, and its songs reflect his increasing detachment from conventional reality as the disease progressed.
During a world tour with Sylvester in late 1981, Cowley complained of feeling increasingly unwell. Upon returning to the United States, he visited a doctor who diagnosed food poisoning. Weeks later, with his condition only worsening, doctors again failed to identify what was wrong with him. At this early stage in the history of the HIV and AIDS, misdiagnosis was common and so Cowley, who was gay, was discharged from the hospital (in 1982) after doctors could do nothing more for him. Cowley died at his home in the Castro District neighborhood in San Francisco on November 12, 1982. He was 32 years old, an early victim of AIDS.
A couple of tracks were completed for a planned Sarah Dash album that year, which was cut short by Cowley's death.
Despite remaining largely unknown, Cowley is regarded as a pioneer of early electronic music and the creator of hi-NRG, an uptempo strain of disco. His influence as a producer was cited by New Romantic acts such as Pet Shop Boys and New Order. Cowley has been described as "a musical pioneer whose achievements rippled throughout queer culture and beyond into the disco mainstream".
Since the 2010s, Cowley's profile has risen as "listeners and scholars excavate disco's intersection with gay liberation."
Amid the accompanying emergence of nu-disco in the late 2000s and early 2010s, profiles of Cowley in Gawker and other high-profile outlets have contributed to a resurgence of interest in his work. 2009 saw the release of Catholic, a compilation of post-punk-flavored collaborations with writer/singer Jorge Socarras from 1976 to 1979.
|1981||Menergy||Patrick Cowley||Fusion Records|
|1981||Megatron Man||Patrick Cowley||Megatone Records|
|1982||Mind Warp||Patrick Cowley||Megatone Records|
|2009||Catholic||Patrick Cowley, Jorge Socarras||Macro Recordings||Recorded 1976-1979.|
|2013||School Daze||Patrick Cowley||Dark Entries Records||Recorded 1973-1981. School Daze, a collection of electronic instrumentals (influenced by Giorgio Moroder, Isao Tomita, and Wendy Carlos). The album contains several soundtrack cues from the eponymous gay porn film.|
|2015||Kickin' In||Patrick Cowley||Dark Entries Records||Recorded 1975-1978.|
|2015||Muscle Up||Patrick Cowley||Dark Entries Records||Recorded 1973-1981.|
|2016||Candida Cosmica||Patrick Cowley, Candida Royalle||Dark Entries Records||Recorded 1973-1975. Candida Cosmica an album co-created by Candida Royalle and featured experimental synthesizer music. Candida Cosmica may be a nod to both female sexuality and gay pornography existing within the same sound.|
|2017||Afternooners||Patrick Cowley||Recorded 1982.|
|2019||Mechanical Fantasy Box||Patrick Cowley|
|2020||Some Funkettes||Patrick Cowley|
Cowley wrote and produced songs for several San Francisco musicians including friends Paul Parker and Frank Loverde. He was associated with many other musicians such as Kat Mandu, Maurice Tani and Linda Imperial.