ON THIS DATE in 1977, fourteen-year-old Theodore Livingston, aka Grand Wizard (sometimes spelled “Wizzard”) Theodore, rubbed a record back and forth during a set at the Sparkle club in the Bronx. Some consider this the birth of scratching.

And some don’t.

“I guess maybe me and Theodore have to sit down some day and figure this out,” Grandmaster Flash told Angus Batey of The Guardian in 2002. “I came up with my style; Theodore was my first student; and before me there was no one. So who taught him how to play? But I’m not gonna argue: I love him and I do credit him for making the style believable.”

Grand Wizard Theodore has said that he accidentally invented scratching at home in the mid-1970s. It happened day when his mother told him to turn his music down. Theodore slapped his hand on a record to make it stop, and liked the sound it made.

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