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House History

The sound of House began its life in a warehouse in Chicago that had been made into a club. The style of music played there by various DJs had a distinctive sound to it that became known as 'House', the house music (as in house wine) and an abbreviation of warehouse.

Or that's how the story has evolved anyway.

Another very interesting story comes from a Chicago DJ who knocked about with the likes of Frankie Knuckles, Chip E, Farly Jackmaster and other members of the 'founder' crowd.

The music Frankie was known to play in the early days was Rice and Beans (RnB) along with other beats, he was a very good DJ and he spiced up old Soul, RnB and Disco tunes. In 1981 he was passing a club on the South side of Chicago called The Bitter Inn and saw a sign in the window, 'We Play House Music', he mentioned this as an off the cuff comment in an interview. Passing the club and wondering what this sound was he went on his way to The Wharehouse where he was resident DJ, and used the name for his music.

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A DJ called Leonard was practicing in his bedroom, his mum heard him and sugested he went down to the basement of their house to look at some records she knew were there. This he did, liked a few and practiced playing them over other beats etc and took them along to a club he was playing at. He wanted a name for this sound that would set him apart from other DJs, he'd found these old records at his house and made a sign to put in the club window, promoting a House Music DJ. How fortunate for Frankie Knuckles!

Mr. Knuckles was doing the same sort of thing with with the same sort of music and became recognised as the pioneer, sure, he was a good DJ but not quite as origional as legend would have it.

The Wright Brothers didn't invent the aeroplane, they copied the idea. Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb and electricity, he copied the idea and patented it. The origional inventer died penniless in 1944. Soul 2 Soul copied their famous influential drumbeat. Micheal Jackson copied the Moonwalk. Origionality is very difficult, it's easier to take an established idea and build on it.

The sound of House Music that we in the UK know started in 1986 with Jack Your Body, Steve Silk Hurley and Pump Up the Volume from Marrs. This ignited the massive explosion that mushroomed in 1988 with warehouse parties, illegal raves and the arrival of Ecstasy.

In the USA Garage grew along with House by the same sort of means, the venue in question here was a converted car park, 'The Paradise Garage', but its arrival in the UK was preceded by House.

'...In October 1971Malcolm McLaren and his art-school friend Patrick Casey opened a small stall in the back room of a shop called Paradise Garage at 430 King's Road in London's Chelsea district...'

Interesting, they sold '50's records from this back room development and this shop is still in the mix, now owned by Vivienne Westwood (Malcolms girlfriend at the time). Paradise Garage was owned by Trevor Myles and sold retro American clothing; everything that's anything has roots in England.

These two sounds progressed quickly into the 90's Hard House, Techno, Trance and more evolved, combining with other styles to make new styles, and towards the end of the decade funky House arrived on the shelves, House beat with a disco/funk bassline.

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Music video by Massive Attack performing Unfinished Sympathy.

From 1991 this song was massively influential in every way it could be; the drumbeat, the rythm, the backing, the video, and what a great origional tune! Although the band dropped the 'Attack' from their name when this was about, Gulf war and various other political issues of the time, just 'Massive' seemed more apropriate. How fitting for this tune.

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