It might be hard for some people to believe, but Grant Nelson wasn’t always making house and garage. He started out his career in the early 90s making breakbeat and hardcore under the Wishdokta alias. But he increasingly grew bored of the sound and started dabbling with house music from around 1993.
Things went well at Nice ’N’ Ripe for the first few years, but bigger things were to come. In 1995, Frankie Knuckles phoned Nelson personally to ask him if he’d do some remixes of “Walkin”, a track Knuckles had done with Adeva and Ricky Dillard’s New Generation Chorale. Nelson subsequently created a vocal mix and even by his standards, quite a hard dub.
After this, Nelson’s remixes were hugely in demand for quite some time. His remix credits during 1996 include Todd Edwards, Thelma Houston, Stephanie Cooke, Jodeci and Rosie Gaines – but one person they categorically do not include is Janet Jackson. Yet a quick glance on YouTube brings up a number of videos purporting to be Nelson’s remix of “The Pleasure Principle”.
Anyone listening to it, however, might be reluctant to believe this remix is the real deal – it has little in common with his other work from the time. Now the man himself is confirming – on his Facebook page, no less – that he has never remixed anything from Janet Jackson. So where did this idea come from?
Well, the answer can be found over on Discogs. A listing claims that a label called Paramax released a limited edition white label in 1996 containing four Janet Jackson remixes. The B side contains Roger Sanchez remixes of “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” – and it’s my understanding these are genuine. For reasons unknown, these were never officially released by AM:PM.
The A side, in the meantime, supposedly showcase the Grant Nelson vocal and dub mixes of “The Pleasure Principle”, a song originally released by Janet Jackson in 1987. Now, AM:PM did release a number of mixes by Danny Tenaglia and Todd Terry of the song in 1996 – but these were not amongst them.
For starters, all of Nelson’s remixes from that era had their own unique names. To go back to his reworks of “Walkin” by Frankie Knuckles and Adeva, the mixes were called “ Grant Nelson’s Divine Gospel Remix” and “Grant Nelson’s Filthy Dub Version”. On the Paramax release, they’re simply called the Grant Nelson Vocal and Grant Nelson Dub.
And as mentioned earlier, they have almost nothing in common with the other work being released by the then 24-year old Nelson back in 1996. So if he didn’t produce these remixes, the only question which surely must be asked is- who did?
A few rumours have circulated online about this question over the years, and all are almost certainly wrong. The most persistent claims involve garage outfit Tuff Jam, who started using this name back in 1995 – but the fact this sounds almost nothing like their music and that they only started becoming really popular in 1997 debunks this idea.
So sadly, this is the one part of the mystery I can’t help you with. But if the mystery remixer is out there and reading this – feel free to send me an email so the world can finally resolve this nearly 26 year old mystery…