Welcome back house

This post came together over a chance reminder of the London House single ‘Roadblock’ by Stock Aitken Waterman – SAW. It was single that at the time, came and went again, as much new music does, yet one reckons it to be one SAW’s standout contributions to music if compared the rest of their prolific yet unremarkable output.

Stock Aitken Waterman, sometimes known as SAW, is one of prolific hit factories of the mid 1980s to early 1990s, from wiki – are considered to be one of the most successful songwriting and producing partnerships of all time, scoring more than 100 UK top 40 hits, selling 40 million records and earning an alleged £60 million (about $103.78 million) with their music style was labeled “Eurobeat” in Europe with acts that include Dead or Alive, Mel & Kim, Bananaramma, Rick Asterly and Kylie Minogue.

Way back at the beginnings of the last big financial crisis in September 1987 came a sound that was truly like no other. House was a sound from the warehouse club scene in Chicago in the early eighties. Driven by DJ’s this mostly electronic sound mashed hip hop raps, electronic glimpses, soul and funk samples and electronic the signature four to the floor beat.

Roadblock also happened to be at the centre of an ugly sampling legal case with London House project MARRS and their hit ‘Pump up the volume’. ‘Pump up the volume’ features over 200 samples, one being a seven second sound grab from ‘Roadblock’. The whole legal case for sound sampling in music was still being defined by artists and the legal system. At the time of release, MARRS failed to seek a sample clearance from SAW during production, and as a consequence the idea of intellectual property and authorship were hotly debated.

It was an eye and ear opening time to be immersed in music. The whole experience was being assaulted from all quarters. Rap, sampling, video art, large scale dance parties, live performance, lighting effects, along with DJs and multiple DJs transformed the concept of a live music performance.

Roadblock hit the sound waves from nowhere. Like all of the house sound, this single was not common place on the radio, more over in the night clubs and dance parties.

While some quarters were rightly lost in the sounds of Manchesters’s New Order, one’s attention was drawn to the tastes of Tim Richie, (once a DJ at Club Kakadu on Sydney’s Oxford Street in the late eighties, now presenter on the ABC’s Radio National). Hip Hop, House, and Techno was a regular fix on Richie’s decks and Roadblock could have been proceeded by ‘Paid in Full’ by Eric B and Rakim and followed up ‘Theme from S’express’ by S’express, or ‘Good Life’ by Inner City later in the set.

We dug up ‘Your Love’ by Jamie Principle is one of the earliest examples of the Chicago born House style of music. It is at this point, that we also have to pay homage to producer Giorgio Moroder, as well to groups like Kraftwerk, who developed an electronic sound that was alluring to wandering ears.

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