With the never ending amount of buzz for house music in the states and EDM in general, and the mass amount of people coming into the genre, I was left wondering, how many of these people actually knew the roots of this music? Where did this all evolve from?
As a crash course in the history of house music, the gist of it is that it was originally taken from disco in the 70's and emerged as a genre in Chicago. Originally seen as a genre of music for the minorities of the population, and frowned upon by everyone else, house music was established as a genre by DJ Frankie Knuckles who was seen as the 'godfather' of house music, in a place called the warehouse (hence the name of the genre), which at the time at around 1983 was the only place that played that kind of music. They owned a record shop and people would start asking him for the new 'house' music, referring to the music which was played at the club and was coined that term ever since. It slowly started to appeal to the mass due to a number of reasons which are too long to go into, but there were a few songs, some beingt hits in Europe, which revolutionized where electronic music in general was going. So for this post, if you ever wondered to where the likes of Armin, Avicii, Tiesto and a bunch of other heavyweight names drew their inspiration from and how the base of their music is formed, then look no further! Here are what I think to be the 5 most revolutionary songs in electronic music that propelled it to be the genre that we know today.
1. Rhythm Is Rhythm - Strings Of Life (Original Mix)
Released in 1987, Derrick May, the frontman of Rhythm is Rhythm created the basis and formula of the electronic music today, without this track, there would be no piano sampling, strings and sounds that you can hear in this track in a conventional house song. May set the tone for what he thought was the future of music, and has one of the most sampled string sections up to now. Before this track, there was just the basic kick-drum 4 on the floor beat, which was great, but lacked what he called 'soul', and this was the result! It's also one of the most replicated sounds until today.
2. New Order - Blue Monday Released in 1983. One of the genres that has also been booming in electronic music is that of the indie- electro, and indie bands that have taken a more electronic approach than one usually would. Kraftwerk, a German band in the early 80's were actually the people who created the blueprint for this, but it was New Order, an originally indie band from Manchester, that brought the sound to an international level. Without these guys, there would be no Chromeo, or Duck Sauce and whoever else along those lines that you can think of.
3. Inner City - Good Life
The basis of Detroit techno. Some of the biggest labels you could think of, such as Hed Kandi and vocalists such as Moony and Bonnie Bailey to name a few all base their sound to this song. This was the first ever 'soulful' house song with a vocal that hit the mainstream, from this song branched numerous genres that are still so famous today. Inner City were seen to be pioneers of the electronic music scene, and were bringing the music in a forward way.
4. Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden Remix)
The club remix was born from Armand Van Helden's remix of Professional Widow by Tori Amos, this created the platform of many of the type of remixes that we hear today, taking a track that you would never really hear in a club, and turning it into an absolute club banger. Armand's remix of this track was the first of it's kind, and caused many other labels and producers to follow suit.
5. Joey Beltram - Energy Flash (Original Mix)
Joey Beltram came out with Energy Flash, and set the tone for the darker tracks that were to come in the next few years. You can see that this song has all the undertones of what deep house, dark techno, and all other genres similar to this one. This was the track that showed people the darker and harder hitting side of electronic music. Creating foundations for many of the tracks we herar today.
Special mention would also have to go to Daft Punk's 1997 Album 'Homework', which inspired a huge number of DJ's to make some of the music that we all listen to today. Not just in the electronic side of things, but genre's such as R&B and Hip-Hop as well.