As I might occasionally mention on this blog, I’m utterly intrigued by the history of house music. This is most particularly because there’s a lot of it, but very little of it has been recorded properly. Even now in the digital age, this remains a problem which needs fixing sooner rather than later.
The earlier back you go, the less information you’ll find. Which is why next to nothing is known about the really early days of house music – I’m talking around 1986 and further back. I know that Jazzy M started the first house music radio show in Europe that year, but not a great deal else.
And part of the reason, from what I’ve learnt, was many people didn’t believe it would last. When house music first came along, it was scorned by many musicians who saw no merit in it. The use of synthesisers and drum machines meant it wasn’t “real” music, in their eyes. And initially, there was a body of opinion which said this was just a fad.
This was something that The Orb’s Alex Paterson found out in either 1986 or 1987 – I haven’t been able to establish exactly when. Whilst he was A&R at E.G. Records in London, he wanted to sign Larry Heard’s publishing. Paterson loved the music Heard was putting out in this period, in particular his work as Fingers Inc with Robert Owens.
Others weren’t so keen. According to an interview with 909 Originals back in 2018, he recalled “When I was in charge of A&R at E.G. Records I tried to sign Larry Heard’s publishing, only to be told that this house music craze would blow out in a year!”.
I wonder whether the person who said that is feeling stupid yet…