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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The ingredients of a classic house track

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Its July 12, 1979 and the Chicago White Sox are set to play the Detroit Tigers in

the second game of a double header.

The baseball park had a capacity of 44,000 people.

But that night, 55,000 spectators showed up.

This event is remembered not because of the game, but because of what happened right before it.

It was Disco demolition night.

The main attraction, the Disco Demolition, spearheaded by morning radio man

Steve Dahl and his anti-disco army called the Insane Coho Lips.

Ooh. That felt good.

Steve Dahl, a disco-hating radio DJ thought it would be hilarious to blow up hundreds of

disco records in center field.

Much to the dismay of those that approved this stunt, about 7,000 people

bum rushed the field, inciting a riot.

Many of the fans are scattering on the field now, where they fight the police.

The baseball game never happened.

This moment went down in history as the night disco died.

But it didnt.

Within just a few years Chicagos youngest music producers and DJs would completely reinvent

dance music by playing those disco records over hard hitting electronic drum machines.

In the city that disco died, it was reborn as House music, and within a decade it would

travel the globe.

Frankie Knuckles, one of the Godfathers of House, called itDiscos revenge.”

In 1989 James Wiltshire was working in a record store in Manchester, England.

One Saturday someone came in and just want I want the record that goes


The song they wanted to hear wasRide on TImeby Black Box.

Obviously in this clubbers mind, it was the most important record that they'd ever


This happened at the tail end of an underground drug-induced movement in the UK, dubbed the

Second Summer of Love.”

Some very clever people suddenly realized that they could haul a massive sound system

out into a field and get 20,000 paying punters to come and see it.

In 1989Ride on Timewent from being an underground house hit to spending six weeks

at number one on the pop charts.

By the end of the year it was the best selling single in the UK.

Ride On Timerepresents some of the genres biggest influences.

From the vocals and piano, to the drums, each element of the song helps tell the story of

how House music came to be.

"Ride on Time," Black Box. Top of the Pop's 2, BBC 2. Starting first song, now.

This is Black Box performingRide on Timeon Top of the Pops, Englands iconic music


Despite what this performance might have you believe, this person isnt actually singing.

Shes lip syncing to one of the most widely sampled disco

records in house,

Loleatta HollowaysLove Sensation

Loleatta Holloway was a gospel singer turned disco diva from Chicago.

Her songLove Sensationwas released just a few months after Disco demolition.

While the track itself fared pretty well, its the acapella, released on the 12-inch

single, that Chicago DJs remixed over and over.

They didnt just do it in clubs - they did it on the radio.

WBMX is a Chicago radio station that was home to a legendary group of DJs called the Hot Mix 5.

"The Hot Mix 5 on WBMX. Chicago's number one dance party. Here's another hot mix on 102.7 FM.

These DJs played a pivotal role in popularizing house music.

From Ralphi Rosario

To FarleyJackmasterFunk.

Through the 1980s the Hot Mix 5 went from remixing disco records live on the air to playing original

house music tracks that Chicago DJs produced.

Its estimated that a million people in Chicago tuned into their show every Saturday night.

Fans would record these programs on cassettes and share them around the world.

That process is literally how Im able to share this recording of Farley Keith remixing

Love Sensation live in 1984.

There's always been this association with big diva vocals and house music.

So it's of no surprise to me that people went for some of the most powerful

vocal samples that had come from the disco era and started chopping

them out and piecing them back together.

By some estimatesLove sensationwas sampled nearly 300 times - while DJs in Chicago

likely started that trend, it wasRide on Timethat made Loleattas voice

a house music staple.

Even the most diehard instrumental techno loving vocal hating snobs that I know within

that scene still love that vocal.

What youre listening to is the kick drum of the Roland TR-909, if theres a defining

instrument in house music its this drum machine.

It's a big chunky beige box with proper 80s livery all over it.

You've got 16 buttons at the bottom, a series of controls for all of the actual different

drum sounds.

The 909 was invented in 1983 by Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of Roland corporation.

This man gave us, probably by accident, machines that caused nothing but a revolution.

The 909, or the 9 as lovers of it would like to call it, is the successor to the 808.

You probably know the 808 as the drum machine that powers hip-hop.

Kakehashi invented that too.

Both used analog synthesis to generate sound, but the 909 was unique in that its cymbals

and hi-hats were samples of real drums.

There's something and especially the open hi hat that just whips a dance floor into

a frenzy straight away.

I mean the kick is one thing, but it's really that certainwooooshand you're like

Yep that's that's a track.”

As much as the 909 is really iconic today, back in 1984 it was deemed a commercial failure.

Only 10,000 units were actually made.

When the producers were wanting to create this new type of electronic music in Chicago,

most of them were broke so they just went to the pawn shops to see what was available,

and the one thing that was nearly always available was the poor 909 because it just hadnt

sold very well.

But it just so happened to have that particular perfect storm of the massive kick drum.

The belting clap, the snare drum that you can do fantastic little rolls on.

And those sloshy four or five cymbals and hi hats.

That punchy sound of the 909 quickly permeated through Chicago and even Detroit, where bedroom

producers were taking inspiration from house music and developing a genre called techno.

You can think of Larry Heard, "Can you feel it."

You can think of Derrick Mays "Strings of Life."

You can hear it inJack Your Body” - the first Chicago

house music song to reach number one in the UK.

All the way to early house hits made in the UK like AdamskisKiller”.

If you take away to 909 from that, a lot of that thumping drive is gone.

Its no surprise then, that in the opening few bars of Ride on Time - you can hear that

909 kick drum and those crunchy hi hats.

And then the pianos started, and then it got interesting.

In the late 1980s different house subgenres began to form.

There was acid house, developed from the song Acid Trax by Chicago producer Phuture.

Its iconic sound came from the squelching bassline of a TB-303 synthesizer.

There was deep-house which leaned heavily on soulful vocal samples and spacious synthesizers.

And then there was Italo-house, which more than any other offshoot, relied on the upbeat

rhythm of a digital piano.

Ride on Timeis a classic Italo-house track.

So much so, theres a solo piano version of the song on the 12 -inch single.

The Italians really knew how to do this mixture

of great big pianosand you add that kind of oversung diva element into that and

it became a staple.

In 1986, three years beforeRide on Time” - Chicagos Marshall Jefferson released

Move Your Bodydubbed the house music Anthem.

Its this song that helped establish how future house tracks would incorporate piano


The way pianos are used in house music is very much almost as a powerful rhythmic guitar.

Listen to the piano inRide on Timenext toMove Your Bodyand youll

immediately hear the similarities in rhythm.

The musical exchange between Italy and Chicago might seem like a one way street.

Italo-house andRide on Timein particular would not have existed without the innovations

of Chicago artists.

And that was met with a lot of controversy - Loleatta Holloways vocal inRide on

Timewasnt properly cleared when the song was released - nor was she initially

credited for it.

But if we rewind back to Chicago in the early 1980s right after Disco Demolition, an unlikely

genre of music was taking off: Italo-disco.

Italian disco had a massive effect on the early house producers.

Because they effectively had this going before house music

had really come to the fore and was the new sound in clubs.

Just like House, the sound of italo-disco is driven by drum machines and synthesizers.

And its this genre that forms the link between Loleatta Holoways disco and house.

Take a listen to this WBMX radio show again:

That was that Loleatta Holloway acapella you heard earlier, transitioning seamlessly into

Shame (you were the big sensation)” an italo-disco record.

Go through any Chicago House DJ set in the 1980s and youll see them littered with

italo-disco records, and that influenced what those DJs would go on to produce.

Take the italo-disco songDirty Talk” - released in 1982.

That opening bassline and arpeggiated synth is mirrored in a lot of early house tracks

including the 1986 classicYour Loveby Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle.

By 1990 House music was a global music genre, artists from the UK to Australia were filling

dance floors with a 909 kick drum.

That was almost inevitable.

From its inception in Chicago, House music was always a cross cultural phenomenon.

What happened whenRide On Timecame forward is that you had the kind of perfect

storm of a great big monster club sound with a vocal that, A, a load of people already

knew, and B, sounded powerful.

You could almost put it as an actual pivotal point in house music and say from that point

it all just blew wide open.

The Description of The ingredients of a classic house track