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Disco pioneer Tom Moulton: ‘People thought I was from another planet!’

He invented the 12in single and introduced Grace Jones to the world – and at 80 years old is busy pumping out new remixes from quarantine

In his heyday, disco DJ Tom Moulton was known as the Doctor: a cantankerous ex-model whose editing scalpel could turn near-misses into hits, and hits into classics. His extended mixes were the toast of New York DJs a decade his junior, nearly all of whom he has outlived. Today he surveys his years with old-Manhattan pizzazz, unruffled, half-yelling and aghast at talk of retirement. “People say: ‘We know you’re 80 and you’re going to stop,’” he says from his Upper West Side apartment. “No. When I stop, that means I died.’”

Moulton is video-calling from his music room, the nerve centre of the home he shares with two cats and a bounty of Eurodisco singles. He moved there in 1972, the decade that would lead him to create the dance mix, introduce a young Grace Jones to the world and – when his pressing plant ran out of smaller acetates – invent the 12in single by accident.

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