In the Beginning
The origins of house music can be traced back to the early 1980’s in Chicago, Illinois. House rhythms were originally rooted in disco, but the audio was affected by a broad range of styles including blues, jazz, soul, R&B, and funk.
Framing the “House”
The coining of the phrase “house music” is a hotly debated subject amongst musicians and DJ’s. Some say it originated from a club known as”The Warehouse” where longtime resident Producer/DJ Frankie Knuckles played his distinctive brand of dance music until 1982 when the venue closed. Knuckles himself said he first heard the word while passing by a bar on the south side of Chicago which displayed a sign in its window reading”We play house music”. DJ Leonard”Remix” Rroy claims the signal was a reference to the form of soulful music you would play in the home.
Another opinion is that the expression referenced the creation of music in the homes of pioneering DJ’s and dance manufacturers. These early creations would be listed using synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers. Others assert that”house” references the significance of particular tracks with their individual DJ’s, as from the home DJ’s played their very own home records.
The Pioneers of House
The Chicago club scene of the early 80’s was fueled by DJ’s turning various sorts of music including disco, hip hop, funk, pop, and R&B. The advent of relatively inexpensive electronic instruments led to numerous DJ’s producing their particular blend of existing songs by mixing in drum machines and effects.
Considered by many to be the first original house music record,”On & On” by Jesse Saunders premiered in 1984. The record’s success sparked a wave of records from the ancient DJ’s trying their hand in producing music. The audio soon branched off into subgenres of home such as deep house music and acid house.
With assistance from club DJ’s such as Lil Louis, Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, and radio channels like WBMX, house music quickly gained fame in Chicago. At precisely the same time, home started to spread to neighboring DJ’s and producers of Detroit, Michigan. Artists such as Marshall Jefferson helped push house outside of Chicago with his widely popular track”Move Your Body”. From the mid to late 80’s artists like Larry Heard, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Farley Keith, and Steve Hurley, continued to popularize the genre.
Today, home music is more powerful than ever and can be heard in some form throughout nightclubs throughout the world. The genre has continued to branch into subgenres including progressive house, electro house, techno house, breakbeat, and the list goes on. House is not just a type of music, but is a faith supported by dedicated practitioners all over the world.