House Music: My Favorite Songs and Artists

House music is a form of electronic dance music. It originated in what one might call post-disco America. House is a relative of disco music. Some may say that extension London evolved from disco music. It was also influenced by soul and funk. Frankie Knuckles was one of the founding fathers of house. He was a DJ at a club in Chicago known as The Warehouse. Some people say that house music takes its name from The Warehouse where primitive house began.

Frankie Knuckles would mix disco, Philly soul, European pop, synthesized drum beats, and sound effects to make his music. Later artists would use synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, mixers, electronic drum machines, vocals, and other effects to make the first original house records. A genre of music known as garage house also became popular around the same time in New York City. Larry Levan was a DJ at the Paradise Garage from which garage house gets it name.

I had a friend named Mark who introduced me to house during my college days in the late 1980s. Mark was from the Chicago area so it’s no surprise that he was familiar with the genre. He used to play a lot of house and other dance music. He made me a few a mix tapes, some of which were recordings of WBMX and WGCI radio programs. I had never heard anything quite like Chicago house music before.

Some of house music’s popular songs contained the word jack. Jacking was the word used by Chicago club-goers to describe the frenzied body of a dancer when dancing to the Chicago house sound. Larry Heard uses the word jack in the opening of his song “Can You Feel It?” He says, “In the beginning, there was Jack, and Jack had a groove. And, from this groove came the groove of all grooves. And, while one day viciously throwing down on his box, Jack boldly declared, “Let there be HOUSE!” and house music was born.”

An interesting genre related to house is hip-house. Hip-house is a blend of hip-hop and house components. Hip-house was extremely popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. House continues to have a presence in contemporary times. My favorite is Chicago house from the 1980s. Trax Records and DJ International Records pressed many of the Chicago extension London songs onto vinyl. Some of thesesongs can be hear at online video websites. Compact discs can be find online and even some classic vinyl records are for sale as well.

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