Like it or not, house was first and
foremost a direct descendant of disco.
Disco had already produced the first records
to be aimed specifically at DJs with extended
12" versions that included long percussion
breaks for mixing purposes and the early
eighties proved a vital turning point.
Sinnamon's 'Thanks To You', D-Train's 'You're
The One For Me' and The Peech Boys' 'Don't
Make Me Wait', a record that's been continually
sampled over the last decade, took things
in a different direction with their sparse,
synthesized sounds that introduced dub
effects and drop-outs that had never been
But it wasn't just American
music laying the groundwork for house.
European music, spanning English electronic
pop like Depeche Mode and Soft Cell and
the earlier, more disco based sounds of
Giorgio Moroder, Klein & MBO and a
thousand Italian productions were immensely
popular in urban areas like New York and
One of the reasons for their popularity
was two clubs that had simultaneously broken
the barriers of race and sexual preference,
two clubs that were to pass on into dance
music legend - Chicago's Warehouse and
New York's Paradise Garage.
Up until then,
and after, the norm was for Black, Hispanic,
White, straight and gay to segregate themselves,
but with the Warehouse, opened in 1977
and presided over by Frankie Knuckles and
the Garage where Larry Levan spun, the
emphasis was on the music.
By Summer 89 the acid house scene had
grown into the rave scene which was becoming
so big that promoters came up with the
idea of putting on huge events in the countryside
outside London - events that could not
only hold thousands of people but which
could go on all night.
Although the scene
was later to degenerate with an increasingly
narrow musical policy, ludicrously numerous
DJ line-ups and suffer from gangster style
promoters who saw how much money could
be made, at the time it was incredibly
broad. Alongside the regular house movers,
records like Corporation Of One's 'Real
Life', Karlya's 'Let Me Love You For Tonight'
and 808 State's 'Pacific' became the open
air anthems. Several of those anthems came
from a label that had started up in Canada
the year before.
Toronto's Big Shot Records
was the brainchild of producers Andrew
Komis and Nick Fiorucci, and they were
startled when Amy Jackson's 'Let It Loose',
Index's 'Give Me A Sign', Jillian Mendez's
'Get Up' and Dionne's 'Come Get My Lovin'
became huge club records in the UK.
and Disco Classics
acid had slumped into fatuousness with
the adopted logo of acid, the smiley, appearing
on t- shirts racked up in every high street
and the mainstream press (including the
'qualities') scuttling after every whiff
of a half-arsed drug story, they discovered
new beat from Belgium.
The trouble was
that save for one or two genuinely good
records like A Split Second's 'Flesh',
nearly everyone outside Belgium hated new
beat, a sort of sluggish cross between
acid, techno and heavy industrial Euro
music and the media hype dissolved into
a number of red faces.
Then they discovered
garage. 'Garage' as a term had already
long been in use on the house scene to
differentiate the smooth, soulful songs
flowing from New York and New Jersey from
the more energetic, uplifting deep house
out of Chicago.
Dance Music History
Cheeseman of Essence Records for