Ian Levine

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Ian Levine
Ian Geoffrey Levine

(1953-06-22) 22 June 1953 (age 70)
EducationArnold House School
Occupation(s)Disc jockey, record producer, songwriter
Years active1971–present
Known forBlackpool Mecca, Heaven, Record Shack Records, Motorcity Records
Notable workMiquel Brown, Evelyn Thomas, Take That

Ian Geoffrey Levine (born 22 June 1953)[1] is a British songwriter, producer, and DJ. A moderniser of Northern soul music in the UK, and a developer of the style of hi-NRG, he has written and produced records with sales totalling over 40 million.[2] Levine was once known as a fan of the long-running television show Doctor Who.[3]

Early and personal life[edit]

Levine was born into a Jewish family; his parents owned and ran the "Lemon Tree" complex in Blackpool, including its casino and nightclub.[4] Levine is openly gay.[5] He suffered a major stroke in July 2014, leaving him with severely limited movement on the left side of his body.[6][7]


Disc jockey[edit]

Levine began collecting Motown records from the age of 13, building a collection from UK record shops and those his family visited on holidays to Miami and New Orleans.[4] He later became an avid collector of soul, R&B, and Northern soul.[2][4] After his parents emigrated to the Caribbean in 1979, Levine sold most of his records to fund a house purchase in London.[2]

Having attended some early Northern soul all-nighters at "The Twisted Wheel" nightclub in Manchester with DJ Stuart Bremner,[2][4] on leaving school in 1971 he became a disc jockey at the Blackpool Mecca.[8][2][4] Levine joined other DJs in travelling to Stoke on Trent to join the Northern soul all-nighter "Torch", which was quickly shut down but was the fore runner of the Wigan Casino events, which Levine opened.[4] Working with fellow DJ Colin Curtis, the pair was responsible for guiding the Northern Soul scene away from its oldies-only policy and towards modern soul and disco.[2][4] This resulted in BBC Radio 1's DJ John Peel travelling to Blackpool to interview Levine.[2]

In 1979, Levine began advising London's gay disco Heaven on its set-up,[2] and became the club's first resident DJ,[8] remaining through most of the 1980s. He finally left in 1989. [2][5] Levine was also one of the first DJs to mix records in the UK.[9]


In 1974, Levine assisted Dave McAleer with in compiling Solid Soul Sensations, which was released on the British Disco Demand label and reached No. 30 on the UK Albums Chart.[10] With the proceeds, he travelled to New York City and co-produced Reaching for the Best with girl group the Exciters, which reached No. 31 on the UK Singles Chart selling 80,000 records.[2] This allowed Levine to then travel to Chicago, where he signed postman L.J. Johnson, Barbara Pennington (who both after appearing on Top of the Pops reached the UK Singles Chart), as well as Evelyn Thomas. Although Thomas's 1976 record "Weak Spot" was not a big success reaching No. 26 in the UK, Levine later co-produced Thomas's 1984 hit record "High Energy".

Hi-NRG and pop[edit]

In 1983, the London-based record shop Record Shack offered Levine £2,000 to set up a new joint-venture record label, Record Shack Records.[2] Through friend Jean-Philippe Iliesco,[11] he used his Trident Studios, and formed a songwriting partnership with Fiachra Trench.

The first record from the label was "So Many Men, So Little Time" by Miquel Brown,[12] which sold two million copies and got to number 2 on the American Dance Club Songs chart.[2] This was quickly followed by "High Energy" by Evelyn Thomas.[13][14] The partnership with Record Shack ended in 1985.

After his return to the UK following the financial failure of Motorcity Records,[2] Levine wrote and produced hi-NRG-derived singles for various bands, including Take That (he co-produced three tracks on their debut album and co-wrote one), and the Pasadenas.[2] During the 1980s and 1990s, he co-wrote and/or mixed a number of dance-pop hits for a variety of artists, including Pet Shop Boys, Bucks Fizz, Erasure, Kim Wilde, Bronski Beat, Amanda Lear, Bananarama, Tiffany, Dollar, and Hazell Dean.[2] He has also co-written and co-produced the theme music for the 2004 Donna Summer television special "Discomania".


Levine founded bands, including Seventh Avenue, which featured two members of Big Fun; Optimystic; and Bad Boys Inc. In 2010, Levine formed a new boy band called Inju5tice. After the commercial failure of debut "A Long Long Way from Home", the group and Levine split, and the group relaunched itself as ELi'Prime.[citation needed]

Record labels[edit]

In 1987, Levine began recording some former artists from Motown. After a reunion of 60 Motown stars, including Edwin Starr and Levi Stubbs on top of a hotel opposite the original Hitsville USA building,[2] Motorcity Records was launched as a record label.[2] Initially distributed by PRT, then Pacific, Charly and finally Total/BMG, by the time that the label ended in the 1990s due to severe financial losses,[2] 850 songs had been recorded by 108 artists.

Ian Levine formed Centre City Records in 2007 especially to record a series of albums of tailor-made Northern Soul music, and released 9 albums of 24 tracks each between 2007 and 2012.[15]

Doctor Who[edit]

Levine is well known as a fan of the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who.[3] Levine was, in part, responsible for the return of a number of missing episodes of the show to the BBC's archives. He also retained many off-air recordings. Levine was consulted by members of the production team about continuity for a while during the mid-1980s.[16][17]

In 1985, when the BBC announced that the series would be placed on an eighteen-month hiatus, and the show's cancellation was widely rumoured, Levine was heavily involved with the media protest covertly organised by series producer John Nathan-Turner. He appeared on the ITN's News at One[18] arguing against the decision, and together with the series' production manager Gary Downie gathered a group of actors from the series to record "Doctor in Distress".[19] The single was universally panned.[20]

Levine also organised a private project to recreate the incomplete 1979 Doctor Who story Shada with animation and newly recorded dialogue from many surviving cast members. Levine had hoped that the project would be released on DVD, but the commissioning editor of the Doctor Who DVD range did not use Levine's animation on the DVD release of the story.[21][22] The completed Levine version appeared on torrent sites almost two years later, on 12 October 2013.

Levine has been responsible for producing a number of extras on the Doctor Who DVD releases: the documentaries Over the Edge and Inside the Spaceship were included on the 3-disc set The Beginning, while Genesis of a Classic appeared on the release for Genesis of the Daleks. He also co-wrote the theme music for K-9 and Company, a pilot for a proposed Doctor Who spin-off series featuring the robotic dog and Sarah Jane Smith.

In October 2017, Levine claimed he had quit Doctor Who fandom in response to harsh criticism from other Who fans.[23] This criticism was due to Levine's extremely negative reaction to the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, with many criticizing his comments as vile and sexist. [24] [25]After Jodie Whittaker left, Ian came back to Doctor Who full-time, forming his own Facebook group Ian Levine's Doctor Who Group with over 2000 members.[26]

American comic books[edit]

Levine owned the only complete set of DC Comics in the world, completed in 2004,[27] with at least one copy of each DC comic book sold at retail from 1935 to 2015. His collection was photographed in D.C.'s own official history book. [28]He later sold the collection. From November 2023, the entire collection is being auctioned off by PBA Galleries,[29] Berkley, California[1][30] [31][32]


Levine started working on his family tree[citation needed] after his grandmother Golda Cooklin died on February 18, 1995. In July 1996, they organised a Cooklin Reunion in London for 400 people, covered on the BBC Evening News. They discoved that Cooklin was an anglicised version of Kuklya, from Latvia.[33] In July 2017, they organised a huge Kuklya Reunion in Watford for 500 people from all over the world which was covered in a five-minute piece on the BBC One's The One Show[34][35] and a two-page centre spread of the Sunday Mirror.[36][37] In October 2018, a group of 100 family members gathered in Rezekne in Latvia to lay a memorial stone to the family, many of whom were killed in the Holocaust.[38] In September 2019, there was another reunion in Haifa in Israel, for 150 family members.[39][40] In 2016, Levine made a four disc, eighteen hour documentary on DVD called The Cooklins Anthology, distributing one thousand copies for the entire family. In February 2017, Levine wrote and created a 608-page book, The Kukla Chronicles, again distributing one thousand copies for the entire family. Levine is distantly related to Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, and Bob Dylan, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Ephraim Mirvis, the celebrated writer Saul Bellow and the film director Harold Ramis. He further published a hardback book on his family tree, Kuklya Encyclopedia (2018 full-colour pages, endorsed by Chief Rabbi Mirvis), accompanied by the Kuklya Family Tree (1086 p.), and a 1154 p. fictional-based-on-fact novel Kukla, all three books covered in Manchester Jewish Telegraph.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]


  1. ^ a b Levine, Ian (7 February 2007). "Ian Levine CV". Ian Levine's MySpace blog. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Ian Levine". DMC World Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b Turbervill, Huw (10 October 2013). "Doctor Who: the missing episodes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Bill Brewster (2 February 1999). "Ian Levine". DJ History. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b Tom Bower (2012). Sweet Revenge: Updated Edition. Random House. ISBN 9780345533944.
  6. ^ @IanLevine (5 September 2014). "Tomorrow is my gig in Hammersmith, Cutting Edge, which I need all my true friends to support while I'm in hospital recovering from my stroke" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 November 2014 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "UK songwriter and producer Ian Levine ailing". SoulTracks. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b Nowell, David (1 May 2012). "Selected Pages". The Story of Northern Soul: A Definitive History of the Dance Scene that Refuses to Die. Pavilion Books. ISBN 9781907554728.
  9. ^ Brewster, Bill (2014). Last Night a Dj Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. Grove Press. p. 212. ISBN 9780802146106.
  10. ^ "Solid Soul Sensations". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  11. ^ Famous of the 1981 remix of Burundi Black and Space's 1977 smash hit Magic Fly.
  12. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (2002). She bop II the definitive history of women in rock, pop and soul. New York: Continuum. p. 280. ISBN 9780826435293.
  13. ^ "Evelyn Thomas High Energy". allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  14. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (2002). She bop II the definitive history of women in rock, pop and soul. New York: Continuum. p. 280. ISBN 9780826435293.
  15. ^ "Centre City Records". Discogs.
  16. ^ Bailey, David (1 April 2009). "The Fact of Fiction: Logopolis". Doctor Who Magazine. Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics (406): 57.
  17. ^ Wood, Tat (2013). About Time 7: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who (2005–2006, Series 1 & 2). Des Moines, Iowa: Mad Norwegian Press. p. 396. ISBN 978-193523415-9.
  18. ^ A clip appears on Trials and Tribulations DVD documentary
  19. ^ "Who cares?". 45cat.com. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  20. ^ McGurk, Stuart (22 October 2005). "Shows of support". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  21. ^ Southall, J. T. (12 September 2011). "Doctor Who and the Shada Man". Starburst. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  22. ^ Southall, J. T. (26 October 2011). "TV News: DOCTOR WHO – SHADA Update". Starburst. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  23. ^ Levine, Ian [@ianlevine] (10 October 2017). "My 54 year love affair with Doctor Who reduced to this" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 May 2019 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Johnston, Rich (16 July 2017). "Ian Levine's Anti-Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who Tweets Turned Into Hi-NRG Song". Bleeding Cool.
  25. ^ "Ian Levine, Doctor Who's Resident C*nt, Is Quitting the Doctor Who Community". Digital Spy. 17 July 2017.
  26. ^ Facebook post[user-generated source]
  27. ^ "PBA galleries auctioneers new collection 40000+ Every DC". 30 May 2023.
  28. ^ "75 Years of DC Comics. The Art of Modern Mythmaking by Levitz, Paul: Very Good Hardcover (2017) | Vibes & Scribes".
  29. ^ "Home - PBA Galleries".
  30. ^ Flynn, Daniel J. (16 May 2012). "Lost in Time". The American Conservative. Washington, DC. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  31. ^ Zurzolo, Vincent (9 August 2005). "DC Completist Ian Levine Interview all the way from the UK!". Comic Zone. World Talk Radio. Archived from the original on 9 November 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  32. ^ Levine, Ian (15 July 2005). "The DC Collection Is COMPLETE". Collectors Society Message Board. Retrieved 25 November 2006.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ "Dec 2018 Courier 11-12.pdf". Google Docs.
  34. ^ "THE KUKLA FAMILY REUNION - HIGH DEFINITION VERSION". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  35. ^ @IanLevine (23 August 2017). "CONFIRMED DATEThe BBC One Show, with a big piece all about our Kukla Family Reunion, now DEFINITELY goes out next…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  36. ^ Panther, Lewis; Harpin, Lee (5 August 2017). "Holocaust survivor's 22 years tracking down 3,000 relatives across 15 countries". mirror.
  37. ^ "Ian Levine - Rediff Pages : 481391". pages.rediff.com.
  38. ^ "Kuklya memorial unvailing ceremony 2018". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  39. ^ "Keeping It in the (Big) Family - 500 Attend Event" – via PressReader.
  40. ^ "Israeli grandfather who thought family perished in Holocaust discovers 500 new relatives". Haaretz.
  41. ^ "Levine Web Site - MyHeritage". ANCESTRY.COM
  42. ^ "Facebook Groups". Facebook.com.
  43. ^ "Facebook Groups". Facebook.com.
  44. ^ @IanLevine (28 July 2017). "The Kukla Chronicles - 608 pages with over five thousand photos is now finally available for all the family" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  45. ^ "We are the Kukla family from Rezhitsa in Latvia, later spreading... - manadiskusija.online". manadiskusija.online.
  46. ^ "The Kukla/Cooklin Reunion 2017". Facebook.
  47. ^ "Results for 'su:Kukla family Pictorial works.' [WorldCat.org]". Worldcat.org.
  48. ^ "Facebook Groups". Facebook.com.


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