Yesterday I was surfing Twitter on my lunch break when some very sad news came across my feed. Robert Raiford, known to many as “Hollywood” Raiford, has passed away. Mr. Raiford was the owner and DJ of Raiford’s Hollywood Disco at Vance and Mulberry from 1975 to 2007. Since 2009 he has been the co-owner and DJ of Paula & Raiford’s Disco on Second Street.
When I first stepped into Mr. Raiford’s club in September 1997, I found myself entering a new world – a world of white leather couches, handprints on the wall, dance floors that lit up, fog machines, quart bottles of Bud Light. Then I saw the man himself up on his stage, in his gold suit, shaking his maracas, hitting the fog machine button, saying “Let’s get some atmosphere up in here!” and “We’re going to make you feel more than welcome!” I had never seen anything like it. Best nightclub in the world, hands down. Thank you, Mr. Raiford. Your creation brought much happiness to my life. There are thousands of people out there who I’m sure would say the same thing.
My condolences and prayers to the entire Raiford family, and particularly to my friends Paula, Keshia, and Corey. Downtown Memphis would not have been the same had Hollywood not built his business here.
Back at lunchtime with a news post.