House Music History On Retrospective


House Music Documentary

Back in the day, and I mean waaaay back in the day, Chicago had ‘record row’ running along south Michigan Ave.  Mercury, Vee-Jay, Miracle, Chess, primarily blues labels, were flourishing from the 50’s to the 60’s.

As the 70’s came along, the labels either closed shop or were absorbed by bigger labels in NYC.  NYC would take over.

When disco came along, labels would open ‘disco departments’ to sign artists who’d go on to create music that still to this day remain timeless classics.  Artists from Barry White, Donna Summer, producers including Giorgio Moroder, Cerrone, Freddie Perren, Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards (Chic) and others were hugely successful.

It’s ironic that the city the killed disco gave birth to a music style still played and worshiped around the world. House music was born out of the ashes of disco here in Chicago back in the early 80’s.

Chicago’s prominence would again come into the picture with labels pumping out ‘house music’ including DJ International, Hot Mix 5, Barney Records, Jes-Say and more.

The DJ ‘hot mix’ history would start at Disco DAI (WDAI) and when disco died in ’79, it would take two years for the mixes to resurface with dance music on the radio in Chicago.  It would be the legendary 102.7 FM, WBMX that would launch the ‘hot mix’ again.  This time, in early 1981, Program Director Lee Michaels would feature guest DJS ‘in the mix’ on the Saturday Night Live Ain’t No Jive Chicago Dance Party.  Later in the year, he’d create the legendary DJ team The Hot Mix 5.  In 2015, WBMX, the Hot Mix 5 and Lee Michaels were honorary inductees into the U.S Dance Music Hall of Fame.

It wouldn’t take long for Chicago to discover the ‘mixes’ and soon, WBMX was reaching over 1,000,000 listeners each weekend with the club DJ led ‘hot mixes.’

By 1985, WBMX was flying high with ‘hot mixes’ from the Hot Mix 5 who were beginning to break in this new style of music called “house music”. It went from a style of music played by Frankie Knuckles at The Warehouse to a style of music being created by young DJs, producers and those with the desire to make the beats. It should be said that most ‘progressive’ DJ’s from the city to the burbs were all playing that kind of music.

From the clubs to the mix shows (heard by over a million people each week on WBMX), ‘dance music’ was being exposed like never before and ‘house music’ would come into play after 1985.

Clubs from the deep in the city to the suburbs, where ‘disco dee-jays’ still broke new music were playing it hand in hand with their brethren DJs to help spread the sound.

The arguments as to who actually created house music can go on all day. That’s not our purpose here, the purpose is to share awareness with this amazing documentary below.

All the players are here, Marshall Jefferson, Jesse Saunders, Steve Silk Hurley, Jamie Principle, Tyree Cooper, members of the Hot Mix 5 and others including the Godfather of ‘House’, Frankie Knuckles.

If you’ve seen this already, we hope you’ll enjoy it all over again.  If not, it’s a great look back at how it all began from the people who were there in the beginning.

If you wouldn’t mind, share it with others who have a love for old school, house music and the DJS, producers and artists who were there at the beginning to bring it to the world.

Simply use the SHARE icon on this page to share it along on your socials.

Sal Amato


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