Jacques Fred Petrus: the pioneer of Italian disco
Jacques Fred Petrus was one of the most successful Italian disco producers who eventually went on to influence a whole generation of house producers. He is remembered for acts like acts like Macho, Peter Jacques Band, B.B. & Q. Band, High Fashion, and Change.
He was born in Guadeloupe on 22nd February 1948. As a teenager, he would collect R&B and soul records, which would also be very influential in his music career. After graduating from technical school, he moved to Paris in 1967. In the French capital he became a DJ. He also spinned in Spain and eventually, in 1971, he moved to Italy, where he performed in various clubs. In Milan he became an established deejay end began importing music from the United States that he would sell to his DJ fellows who were working in legendary clubs like Nepentha and Charly Max. Soon he realized that he did not want to be a DJ for the rest of his life. In 1973, His next move was the opening of a record shop: Goody Music. At that time, there were only two importers in Italy: Carù in Gallarate and Ronchini in Parma.
Petrus resorted to jumping on the burgeoning disco bandwagon. In 1975, when private radio stations were legalized, he became involved with Radio Milano International, the first official private FM station of the peninsula that was pivotal in promoting, soul, funk and disco and that launched talented DJs like Claudio Cecchetto and Leopardo.
In 1978, Jacques Fred Petrus decided to take his activities to the next level and Goody Music became a record label, too. As a result, he ventured into production s well. Mauro Malavasi, a student from the Music Conservatory of Bologna, became his partner. “I’m a Man”, a cover version of Steve Winwood's classic, is the first produce of the cooperation. Eventually they went on to release other albums like “Fire Night Dance” by Peter Jacques Band, “Music Man” by Revanche, “Just Take My Body” by Rudy, and “The Glow Of Love” by Change. These productions became hits all over the world.
In 1979, Fred launched Little Macho Music, his production label and international publishing company, and relocated his business to New York.
Although he was a great producer, Jacques Fred Petrus was not considered a nice person by his peers. His erratic and arrogant manners did not make a popular person. Besides, in 1986, he was accused of tax evasion by the US government, which forced him to move back to the Caribbean. In 1987, he was murdered under mysterious circumstances in his native island Guadeloupe. Although, the assassin was arrested some months later, the reason for this crime still remains unsolved. Some sources suggested that he was involved with the local mafia, whereas others point out that it was a drug-related murder.