1988 was the ultimate coming together. Music. People. Minds. Cultures. Harmony. Drugs. It was the start of a movement that united the world and 30 years on still stands strong. Here is a small but diverse selection of records that broke down the barriers and paved the way for the dance scene we all enjoy today.
CECE ROGERS - SOMEDAY
"Someday we'll live as one family, in sweet harmony..."
CeCe Rodgers: "Seeing massive amounts of people who were different from me literally crying while dancing to a house song was pretty decadent. The lyrics of 'Someday' became bigger then I could ever dream." [via: Skrufff]
THRASHING DOVES - JESUS ON THE PAYROLL
Fun Fact: Bruce Forest remixed 'Jesus on the Payroll' using David Cole on piano. The band completed this special "Street Mix", which Paul Oakenfold gives credit for starting the Balearic movement in the '90s. The piano riff was sampled for Bocca Juniors - Raise (63 Steps to Heaven).
FRANKIE KNUCKLES - YOUR LOVE
Frankie Knuckles: "I got my first drum machine from Derrick May... it was a Roland TR-909. The first time I used it, I used it on a version of 'Your Love' that I did with Jamie Principle. And I would use it live in the club. I would program different patterns into it throughout the week, and then use it throughout the course of a night, running it live, depending on the song and playing it underneath, or using it to segue between some things." [via: Red Bull]
WILLIAM PITT - CITY LIGHTS
Fun Fact: 'City Lights' was Pitt's debut single and became a hit in France in 1987. Following that, the song became a hit in many European countries, including Spain, where is was number 1 in the charts for a brief period of time.
MARSHALL JEFFERSON - MOVE YOUR BODY
Marshall Jefferson: "After Frankie Knuckles got a copy of it, it seemed the flood gates opened. I had to give Lil Louis and Fast Eddie copies, because Eddie lived 2 doors down from me on my block and Lil Louis lived on the next block. Mike Dunn, Tyree Cooper, and Hugo Hutchinson already had copies. Pretty soon it seemed like every DJ in Chicago had copies… some really bad and some passable, but crowds freaked every time it came on." [via: Test Pressing]
LARRY HEARD AKA MR. FINGERS - CAN YOU FEEL IT?
Larry Heard: "Even back in the day on tracks like 'Can You Feel It', people always asked about the bassline and chords, which is a Roland Jupiter 6, but its not like a stock sound, a lot of those tracks like 'Washing Machine' weren’t built on available patches, it was more a case of experimenting and turning the knobs when everything was running to find that specific sound or create that kind of acid effect." [via: Red Bull]
JOE SMOOTH - PROMISED LAND
Joe Smooth: "I studied my favorite hits from Motown and was determined to write a classic song with the same type of spirit in our house style. That's how 'Promised Land' happened..."
BRANDON COOKE FEAT. ROXANNE SHANTÉ - SHARP AS A KNIFE (ACID ATTACK)
Fun fact: Her first single was released at age 14, igniting both the career of rap’s first female star and hip-hop’s first recorded beef. Shanté‘s success marked a turning point in the early days of hip-hop - the first time a woman forced the male-dominated genre to listen up and pay respect, all while moving hip-hop further toward the mainstream. A Netflix biopic came out in 2018 about her life Roxanne, Roxanne, which was co-produced by Pharrell Williams.
CARLY SIMON - WHY
Fun Fact: 7 years after its original release, 'Why' resurfaced during The Second Summer of Love and cemented its status as a Balearic classic. The track was written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of The CHIC Organization.
T-COY - CARIÑO
Fun Fact: Back in 1987 Haçienda DJ Mike Pickering, together with ACR's Simon Topping and Ritchie Close issued one of Manchester's earliest House tracks, 'Cariño' by T-Coy on Deconstruction. T-Coy was allegedly stood for 'Take Care Of Yourself'.
ART OF NOISE - MOMENTS IN LOVE
Fun Fact: San Antonio played a crucial role in defining the Balearic sound through José Padilla's lengthy sets at Café del Mar in the late eighties and early nineties, which climaxed as sunset with etheral melodies like 'Moments in Love' by Art of Noise. [via: Matthew Collin]
FALLOUT - THE MORNING AFTER
Fun Fact: The inspiration for the "Morning After" title came from Tommy Musto & Lenny Didesiderio playing rooftop after parties at the weekends, when they would go from midnight till mid-afternoon the next day. Their artist name "Fallout" was influenced by their state of mind, body and soul at these sessions. The 'Sunrise Mix' went on to become a UK rave anthem.
MAURICE - THIS IS ACID (A NEW DANCE CRAZE)
Fun Fact: Joshua's most famous production work was with Kim English and Destiny's Child. His partnership with the group's leader Beyoncé was compared to the partnership of Mariah Carey and David Morales. His remix of 'Crazy in Love' (Beyoncé feat. Jay Z), known as 'Krazy in Luv' (Maurice's Nu Soul Mix), won the award Best Remixed Recording at the GRAMMYs in 2004.
ELECTRIBE 101 - TALKING WITH MYSELF
Billie Ray Martin: "One of the first house music nights, if not the first, was at Heaven. I had been told there was something called acid house and that it was the new thing. There were about 50 people there that night in the whole place, all doing weird robotic dances, it looked so exciting. And the sound? My ears grew larger each second of it and my body wanted to move to this. My soul opened. It was like 'this is what I've been waiting for all along.' It was incredible, it spread like wildfire." [via: i-D]
BANG THE PARTY - BANG BANG, YOU'RE MINE
Fun Fact: A part of the mid-'80s London soul scene with Jazzie B, Kid Batchelor started working on house music in 1987 during his DJ sets at the legendary Hedonism club nights. He recorded with Keith Franklin (KCC) as Bang the Party in the late 80s, releasing some of the first quality British house records, including the classic 'Bang Bang, You're Mine'.
JUNGLE BROTHERS - I'LL HOUSE YOU
Todd Terry: "It was definitely one of the tracks that fused the hip-hop and house crowds together. What helped was that I was brewing with my other tracks that did this, such as 'Back To The Beat' and 'Can You Party', but 'I'll House You' took it to another level." [via: DJ Mag]
TEN CITY - RIGHT BACK AT YOU
Fun Fact: Formerly known as Ragtyme, Ten City was comprised vocalist Byron Stingily, guitarist Herb Lawson and keyboardist Byron Burke and were augmented by producer Marshall Jefferson.
RHYTHIM IS RHYTHIM - STRINGS OF LIFE
Derrick May: "I didn’t understand what I had done with 'Strings of Life.' I remember doing it and, finally when it was finished, I didn’t listen to it for a few minutes. When I hit the sequencer and it played, it was like a carnival. I felt like I was in the circus. I remember before I actually added the orchestration to it, it had a carnival sound on top of it, like a real playschool sound. It was reminding me of my childhood. Then I finally added the orchestration to it and it scared me." [via: Red Bull]
REESE & SANTONIO - THE SOUND
Fun Fact: In the mid 1980’s Derrick May would drive from Detroit to the Music Box in Chicago, taking along records and friends, including Alton Miller, George Baker and Anthony Pearson (AKA Chez Damier). May brought Kevin Saunderson to the Music Box too. The experience inspired the music that Saunderson created with Santonio Echols. [via: Red Bull]
CHARLES B. & ADONIS - LACK OF LOVE
Fun Fact: Charles B. is known as The Grave Digger due to his spiritual and religious background, plus his ability to sing in descantes. He wrote his songs by singing them to musical accomplices such as Adonis.
A GUY CALLED GERALD - VOODOO RAY
A Guy Called Gerald: "I was never really into what was popular. So when I found acid house it would have been on a show on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, a guy called Stu Allen would play some acid between the funk and soul. I came to realise that the machines they were using to make this music were the same ones that I'd acquired. On the show, one of the things he'd did was a demo section. So I sent in an acid demo and it got played. That's how I did 'Voodoo Ray' in the end." [via: THUMP]
LIL LOUIS - FRENCH KISS
Lil Louis: After spending two weeks at #1 on the US dance chart in 1989, the track crossed over and ended up being a big success throughout Europe, reaching #2 in the UK Singles Chart and in Germany, and number one in the Netherlands.
RALPHI ROSARIO - YOU USED TO HOLD ME
Ralphi Rosario: "Everyone was doing sample tracks at that time – jack this, jack that, pound the 909; etc. Here I was, 23 or 24 years old, and we did this serious song." [via: 5Chicago]
STEVE 'SILK' HURLEY - JACK YOUR BODY
Steve 'Silk' Hurley: “What’s funny is that I made 'Jack Your Body' purely to amuse my friends... Listen to the voices I’m using on it: I’m imitating James Brown, Mr T on the A–Team, Richard Pryor. ’Huerggh!’ I didn’t expect it to go beyond the Chicago clubs, let alone become a No 1.” [via: The Guardian]
RAZE - BREAK 4 LOVE
Fun Fact: This track features on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, on the in-game radio station SF-UR, which is considered to be one of the biggest video games of all-time.
LOLA - WAX THE VAN
Fun Fact: Lola is soul singer Lola Blank, with assistance from Arthur Russell and her husband Bob Blank (Aural Exciters). This was one of only three tracks released under the Lola name, along with 'I Need More' and 'Work It'.
PIERRE'S PFANTASY CLUB - DREAM GIRL (RALPHI ROSARIO MIX)
DJ Pierre: "Acid House didn’t blow up in Chicago. It influenced a bunch of other important acid house tracks from Armando, Tyree, Adonis… But we didn’t see the revolution until an interviewer from the UK tracked me down in Chicago and said “Man… This is the biggest thing in the UK! In fact, the Queen is banning the music there.” In those days we didn’t have the internet at our finger tips so it was tough to know that Trax records was illegally shipping out record abroad." [via: Hardlife]
CULTURAL VIBE - MA FOOM BEY (LOVE CHANT VERSION)
ADONIS - NO WAY BACK
Fun Fact: According to some estimates, the single sold over 100,000 copies, making it a smash hit for the iconic TRAX label and one of the most the most well-known acid records of all-time.
RICHIE HAVENS - GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS
Fun Fact: The song was first recorded by Lamont Dozier and was written for the African-American market and touches on the matters of self-identity, family, and soul fulfillment. This Richie Havens cover version incorporated disco influences and appears on a recent Glitterbox compilation… still hitting the dancefloors hard around the world.
KRAZE - THE PARTY
Fun Fact: Craig Kallman recorded 'The Party' in his bedroom studio, and it went on to sell 250k units worldwide. Kallman is also known for founding Big Beat Records in 1987 at the age of 22, which has since relaunched as a dance-focused label under Atlantic Records.
SOUL II SOUL - FAIRPLAY
Jazzie B: "We had made “Fairplay” when we were in the Africa Centre. Rose voiced the tune, she was one of our main followers, and she was a dancer – she still is. One night she just picked up the mic and started to sing. Just heard her sing and that was it. Sorted it out from there."
Rose Windross: "It's a feel good vibe rather than being a song and that's why I think it connects with a lot of people. People that I've met have shown me plenty of love regarding 'Fairplay' and I believe it's because of that vibe of the tracks."