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Patrick Cowley
Birth name Patrick Joseph Cowley
Born 19 October 1950(1950-10-19)
Origin Buffalo, New York
Died 12 November 1982 (aged 32)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Genres Electronic, experimental music
Instruments Multiple instruments
Years active 1976–1982
Labels Megatone, Fusion Records, Macro
Associated acts Paul Parker, Frank Loverde, Sylvester

Patrick Joseph Cowley (October 19, 1950 - November 12, 1982) was a disco and Hi-NRG dance music composer and recording artist. He recorded in a style that has drawn comparisons to that of Giorgio Moroder and is often credited with pioneering electronic dance music.


Early life

Patrick Cowley was born in Buffalo, New York on October 19, 1950 to Ellen and Kenneth Cowley. Cowley's family originated in the Horseheads and Corning areas of New York and lived in Rochester. 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 where he studied music, specifically the use of synthesizers.

Musical career

Cowley met San Francisco-based musician Sylvester in the late 1970s. Sylvester had asked Cowley to join his studio band after hearing some of his early synthesizer recordings.

Cowley's own hits included "Menergy" in 1981, a frank celebration of the gay club sex scene, and "Megatron Man", which hit #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1982. That same year, Patrick Cowley became the DJ 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 also reached #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 1982. A collaboration with Sylvester, "Do You Wanna Funk", 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. His final album, Mind Warp, 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. Cowley only released three solo albums, but groups including the Pet Shop Boys and New Order cite Cowley's style as a major influence.[1]

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.

In 2009 a previously unreleased album by Cowley and Indoor Life vocalist Jorge Socarras, recorded 1976, appeared and proved the continued interest in his music.


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 was discharged from the hospital (in 1982) after doctors could do nothing more for him.

After discharge, Cowley went on to complete two albums, his own Mind Warp and Sylvester's All I Need, which was later retitled Do Ya Wanna Funk after its chart-topping hit. By the time of Mind Warp's release, Cowley largely used a wheelchair and was unable to attend the launch event held at the Galleria Art Center in San Francisco. Subsequently Cowley began receiving in-home nursing care[1] and died at his home, in San Francisco, on November 12, 1982. He was 32 years old, an early victim of AIDS (which was then still known as GRID). A couple of tracks were also completed for a planned Sarah Dash album that year, which was cut short by Cowley's death.



  • Menergy (1981)
  • Megatron Man (1981)
  • Mind Warp (1982)
  • Catholic (2009 - recorded 1976)

Notable collaborations

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  • "Right On Target" by Paul Parker (1982)
  • "Die Hard Lover" by Frank Loverde (1982)
  • "Do You Wanna Funk" by Sylvester (1982)
  • "Tech-no-logical world" by Paul Parker (1982)

See also


  1. ^ Patrick Cowley biography Retrieved 16 July 2009.

External links

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