|What Came After Disco?: House |
And what is House? House Music is the raw, stripped-down sound of dance music that developed in the underground clubs (the ones that didn't play what was on Top 40 radio) in mid-to-late 80's Chicago. Now-famous DJs like Frankie Knuckles took the most rhythmic elements of their favorite disco records (the great drum breaks in the middle) and looped them in the studio into full-length songs that were skeletal, yet intense dance tracks. Frankie's club was called the Warehouse, and soon clubbers began referring to the music they heard there as "House Music" (and the style of dancing as "jacking").
Vocals on these tracks were at a minimum at first, but as the sound developed, a handful of great House anthems rose from the scene to become massive pop hits in the UK and Europe . Songs like "Love Can't Turn Around" by Farley "Jackmaster Funk" presents Darryl Pandy, "You Used to Hold Me" by Ralphi Rosario featuring Xaviera Gold and "Move Your Body" by Marshall Jefferson had a huge impact on the European pop music scene and culture. Overseas producers whole-heartedly embraced the sound and then sold it back to Americans in polished commercial late-80s/early 90s hits by Black Box ("Everybody Everybody"), Samantha Fox ("I Wanna Have Some Fun"), the Pet Shop Boys ("Always On My Mind"), Stevie V ("Dirty Cash") Lisa Stansfield ("People Hold On").
Meanwhile, here in America , the sound remained underground, until House Music's biggest champion, Madonna, came along. It was she who, always with an ear to the underground clubs, took the sound together with her producer Shep Pettibone and brought it to mainstream dancefloors and Top 40 radio, most memorably with the song, "Vogue." Others like Natalie Cole ("Pink Cadillac"), Whitney Houston ("I'm Every Woman"), CeCe Peniston ("Finally") and Crystal Waters ("Gypsy Woman [She's Homeless]") followed.
Those who think they don't know what House Music is will surely recognize chart topping House Music-style dance remixes released by pop stars like Janet Jackson ("Together Again"), Mariah Carey ("Dreamlover"), and Everything But The Girl ("Missing"). It was the very same House Music pioneer, Frankie Knuckles, who, ten years after releasing his first House record, became the first producer to receive a Grammy Award for Remixer Of The Year, in 1997. Over the years, House Music's pumping four-on-the-floor beat has become the dominant sound on dancefloors the world over and in Europe it remains so, where it is also House, not hip hop, that continues to rule the airwaves.
Chicago 's Trax Records is the godfather of all House Music labels. (The label is based in a huge warehouse that is a beehive of label offices, studios and home to numerous House Music producers.) It was on Trax that the first House records were pressed and it was the influence of these very records that changed the course of dance music history, making House Music the next big dance sound of the 20 th century. While Disco died over twenty years ago (due to major labels turning it
into an overblown, oversold soulless fad), House Music is still going strong.
In June 2004, Chicago 's Trax Records will release Trax Records: The 20 th Anniversary Collection . It is a three CD set mixed by 2003 Remixer of the Year Grammy Winner Maurice Joshua and renowned international DJ Paul Johnson. The set, from this "Motown of House," contains two mixed CDs, one unmixed CD (for DJs), liner notes by respected music journalist Brian Chin and lots of great photos of some of the key figures in House Music history, not the least of which are Trax CEO, Larry Sherman and president (and artist), the outrageous Screamin' Rachael. A companion set, Trax Records: The Next Generation , will be released simultaneously, and contains all new material from well known Trax producers as well as newcomers to the scene.
TRAX RECORDS ALL RELEASES:
Trax Classix: Frankie Knuckles Presents: His Greatest Hits on Trax Records
Screamin' Rachael Extacy
Rarties & B-Sides
20th Anniversary Collection
Trax Records is the godfather of all House Music record labels. It is legendary. Truly.
Official Trax Records website: www.traxhouse.com