| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

The ingredients of a classic house track

It’s July 12, 1979 and the Chicago White
Sox are set to play the Detroit Tigers in the second game of a double header. The baseball park had a capacity of 44,000
people. But that night, 55,000 spectators showed up. This event is remembered not because of the
game, but because of what happened right before it. It was Disco demolition night. The main attraction, the Disco Demolition, spearheaded by morning radio man Steve Dahl and his anti-disco army called the Insane Coho Lips. Ooh. That felt good. Steve Dahl, a disco-hating radio DJ thought it would be hilarious to blow up hundreds of disco records in center field. Much to the dismay of those that approved
this stunt, about 7,000 people bum rushed the field, inciting a riot. Many of the fans are scattering on the field now, where they fight the police. The baseball game never happened. This moment went down in history
as the night disco died. But it didn’t. Within just a few years Chicago’s youngest
music producers and DJs would completely reinvent dance music by playing those disco records
over hard hitting electronic drum machines. In the city that disco died, it was reborn
as House music, and within a decade it would travel the globe. Frankie Knuckles, one of the Godfathers of
House, called it “Disco’s revenge.” In 1989 James Wiltshire was working in a record
store in Manchester, England. One Saturday someone came in and just
want I want the record that goes “Wowwwwww.” The song they wanted to hear was “Ride on
TIme” by Black Box. Obviously in this clubber’s mind, it was
the most important record that they’d ever heard. This happened at the tail end of an underground drug-induced movement in the UK, dubbed the “Second Summer of Love.” Some very clever people suddenly realized
that they could haul a massive sound system out into a field and get 20,000 paying punters
to come and see it. In 1989 “Ride on Time” went from being
an underground house hit to spending six weeks at number one on the pop charts. By the end of the year it was the best selling
single in the UK. “Ride On Time” represents some of the
genre’s biggest influences. From the vocals and piano, to the drums, each
element of the song helps tell the story of how House music came to be. “Ride on Time,” Black Box. Top of the Pop’s 2, BBC 2. Starting first song, now. This is Black Box performing “Ride on Time”
on Top of the Pops, England’s iconic music show. Despite what this performance might have you
believe, this person isn’t actually singing. She’s lip syncing to one of the most widely sampled disco records in house, Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation” Loleatta Holloway was a gospel singer turned
disco diva from Chicago. Her song “Love Sensation” was released
just a few months after Disco demolition. While the track itself fared pretty well,
it’s the acapella, released on the 12-inch single, that Chicago DJs remixed over and
over. They didn’t just do it in clubs – they did
it on the radio. WBMX is a Chicago radio station that was home
to a legendary group of DJs called the Hot Mix 5. “The Hot Mix 5 on WBMX. Chicago’s number one dance party. Here’s another hot mix on 102.7 FM. These DJs played a pivotal role in popularizing
house music. From Ralphi Rosario To Farley “Jackmaster” Funk. Through the 1980s the Hot Mix 5 went from remixing
disco records live on the air to playing original house music tracks that Chicago DJs produced. It’s estimated that a million people in Chicago
tuned into their show every Saturday night. Fans would record these programs on cassettes
and share them around the world. That process is literally how I’m able to
share this recording of Farley Keith remixing Love Sensation live in 1984. There’s always been this association with
big diva vocals and house music. So it’s of no surprise to me that
people went for some of the most powerful vocal samples that had
come from the disco era and started chopping them out and piecing them back together. By some estimates “Love sensation” was
sampled nearly 300 times – while DJs in Chicago likely started that trend, it was “Ride
on Time” that made Loleatta’s voice a house music staple. Even the most diehard instrumental techno
loving vocal hating snobs that I know within that scene still love that vocal. What you’re listening to is the kick drum
of the Roland TR-909, if there’s a defining instrument in house music it’s this drum
machine. It’s a big chunky beige box with proper 80s
livery all over it. You’ve got 16 buttons at the bottom, a series
of controls for all of the actual different drum sounds. The 909 was invented in 1983 by Ikutaro Kakehashi,
the founder of Roland corporation. This man gave us, probably by accident, machines
that caused nothing but a revolution. The 909, or the 9 as lovers of it would like
to call it, is the successor to the 808. You probably know the 808 as the drum machine
that powers hip-hop. Kakehashi invented that too. Both used analog synthesis to generate sound,
but the 909 was unique in that its cymbals and hi-hats were samples of real drums. There’s something and especially the open
hi hat that just whips a dance floor into a frenzy straight away. I mean the kick is one thing, but it’s really
that certain “woooosh” and you’re like “Yep that’s that’s a track.” As much as the 909 is really iconic today, back in
1984 it was deemed a commercial failure. Only 10,000 units were actually made. When the producers were wanting to create
this new type of electronic music in Chicago, most of them were broke so they just went to
the pawn shops to see what was available, and the one thing that was nearly always available
was the poor 909 because it just hadn’t sold very well. But it just so happened to have that particular
perfect storm of the massive kick drum. The belting clap, the snare drum that you
can do fantastic little rolls on. And those sloshy four or five cymbals and
hi hats. That punchy sound of the 909 quickly permeated
through Chicago and even Detroit, where bedroom producers were taking inspiration from house
music and developing a genre called techno. You can think of Larry Heard, “Can you feel it.” You can think of Derrick May’s “Strings of Life.” You can hear it in “Jack Your Body” – the first Chicago house music song to reach number one in the UK. All the way to early house hits made in the UK like
Adamski’s “Killer”. If you take away to 909 from that, a lot of
that thumping drive is gone. It’s no surprise then, that in the opening
few bars of Ride on Time – you can hear that 909 kick drum and those crunchy hi hats. And then the pianos started, and then it got
interesting. In the late 1980s different house subgenres
began to form. There was acid house, developed from the song
Acid Trax by Chicago producer Phuture. Its iconic sound came from the squelching
bassline of a TB-303 synthesizer. There was deep-house which leaned heavily
on soulful vocal samples and spacious synthesizers. And then there was Italo-house, which more
than any other offshoot, relied on the upbeat rhythm of a digital piano. “Ride on Time” is a classic Italo-house
track. So much so, there’s a solo piano version
of the song on the 12 -inch single. The Italians really knew how to do this mixture of great big pianos — and you add
that kind of oversung diva element into that and it became a staple. In 1986, three years before “Ride on Time”
– Chicago’s Marshall Jefferson released “Move Your Body” dubbed the house music
Anthem. It’s this song that helped establish how
future house tracks would incorporate piano riffs. The way pianos are used in house music is
very much almost as a powerful rhythmic guitar. Listen to the piano in “Ride on Time”
next to “Move Your Body” and you’ll immediately hear the similarities in rhythm. The musical exchange between Italy and Chicago
might seem like a one way street. Italo-house and “Ride on Time” in particular
would not have existed without the innovations of Chicago artists. And that was met with a lot of controversy
– Loleatta Holloway’s vocal in “Ride on Time” wasn’t properly cleared when the
song was released – nor was she initially credited for it. But if we rewind back to Chicago in the early
1980s right after Disco Demolition, an unlikely genre of music was taking off: Italo-disco. Italian disco had a massive effect on the
early house producers. Because they effectively had this going before house music had really come to the fore and was the new sound in clubs. Just like House, the sound of italo-disco
is driven by drum machines and synthesizers. And it’s this genre that forms the link
between Loleatta Holoway’s disco and house. Take a listen to this WBMX radio show again: That was that Loleatta Holloway acapella you
heard earlier, transitioning seamlessly into “Shame (you were the big sensation)” an
italo-disco record. Go through any Chicago House DJ set in the
1980s and you’ll see them littered with italo-disco records, and that influenced what
those DJs would go on to produce. Take the italo-disco song “Dirty Talk”
– released in 1982. That opening bassline and arpeggiated synth
is mirrored in a lot of early house tracks including the 1986 classic “Your Love”
by Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle. By 1990 House music was a global music genre,
artists from the UK to Australia were filling dance floors with a 909 kick drum. That was almost inevitable. From its inception in Chicago, House music
was always a cross cultural phenomenon. What happened when “Ride On Time” came
forward is that you had the kind of perfect storm of a great big monster club sound with
a vocal that, A, a load of people already knew, and B, sounded powerful. You could almost put it as an actual pivotal
point in house music and say from that point it all just blew wide open.



Jul 7, 2019, 3:07 pm Reply

The House music episode is here! There are so many fantastic resources on the internet for deep dives on the history of House. Top among them are the oral histories that Red Bull Music Academy has collected over the years. Links to those are in the description! Thanks for watching, and be sure to check out the Video Lab if you want to help me make more Earworm vids: http://bit.ly/vox-video-membership

— Estelle


Sep 9, 2019, 8:53 am Reply

What about where the term "house music" origin is. Any mention of the bay area and the contribution it had on house music. Home base? Electro house, disco house, progressive house, jackin house, bmore, deep house or my favorite ELECTRO SWING. In 1998 was the first time I went to a rave and saw run dmc, Armand van Helen, Donald glaude and dj Dan do a 2×4 session, African bambadda, jeno, spun, tony, and those are the people I saw and too many to name. That was a special time. Wish I could go back to that first Home base rave it was a coolworld Halloween party. And that doesn't include who I was on a billing with….. Yeah you need to redo this video left too many things out. Like how cassius, daft punk, the song house music, a lot. Please thank you

Paul Huryk

Sep 9, 2019, 10:18 am Reply

Parallel to house music, post disco music came out of the ashes of disco. That later morphed into proper dance music, including freestyle and other local generes. House also morphed into hip house about the time of the black box song.


Sep 9, 2019, 11:12 am Reply

….and here come the white people who love EDM to claim that black people didn't create house. They are nothing if not consistent.

Pragma X

Sep 9, 2019, 4:40 pm Reply

jack you body i thing was an tr 808 lol

Zoe Quezada

Sep 9, 2019, 12:20 am Reply

"Let's talk about Chicago's impact without actually talking to anyone from Chicago!"


Sep 9, 2019, 6:53 pm Reply

Did kraftwerk have any influence on techno? They were ahead of their time imo

ironman tooltime

Sep 9, 2019, 8:07 pm Reply

Too short! C'mon! 😞


Sep 9, 2019, 11:45 pm Reply

House may have been born in Chicago, but it was made in Europe.


Sep 9, 2019, 4:10 am Reply

Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations" was this.


Sep 9, 2019, 9:15 am Reply

This series is so good.

Mayito Brito – Rookie Gaming

Sep 9, 2019, 1:01 pm Reply

Disco Demolition happened in 1979. And House Music was created in early 1980.

Edit: I used TR-909 and TR-808 for my music!
Another Fact, Daft Punk members Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo used The two TR-909 and the TR-808 in Alive 1997.


Sep 9, 2019, 2:37 pm Reply

So this is how C&C Music Factory started


Sep 9, 2019, 12:02 am Reply

9:39 That's definitely sue-able.

Jaap Soorsma

Sep 9, 2019, 8:11 pm Reply

I checked it first because i knew there was one thing missing. My great neighboring country Belgium was also one of the places
that made the beginning of house then called New Beat especially for Europe.
And even today they are at the very top of music

James Guy

Sep 9, 2019, 6:28 pm Reply

Let me hear ya say
Oi ! Oi! 🎧. 🎶 💚 🧡 💛 💜 ❤️

Love it or H8 it
But Don’t Slate it 🖇💊 x x x


Sep 9, 2019, 9:41 am Reply

Very cleverly whitewashed I'll give you that…smh.

The Festa

Sep 9, 2019, 3:40 pm Reply

Pretty sure that's an tr808 used in Jack ur Body.


Sep 9, 2019, 4:06 pm Reply

we need a video on city pop next

Jahha H

Sep 9, 2019, 10:17 pm Reply

Wow… didn't know that. 🤔👍🏿

Tyler McNeil

Sep 9, 2019, 4:41 am Reply

Italo House is my fav


Sep 9, 2019, 11:28 am Reply

Black dude makes a simple beat on a machine made by japanese and sold or stolen from white people and you have a Vox video

Tom Smith

Sep 9, 2019, 11:36 am Reply

Disco: we are finished

Uk house: hold my can of warm red stripe I got this

Chris Jones

Sep 9, 2019, 7:26 am Reply

The worst part of this video is the Red Bull guy holding a can of red bull in his peice. That's a jobsworth right there.

Jakefakecake 97

Sep 9, 2019, 1:44 pm Reply

What’s song at 4:28

Rodrick Colbert

Sep 9, 2019, 4:29 pm Reply

Gee, YouTube videos like this is the reason why I rarely watch TV anymore!


Sep 9, 2019, 6:06 pm Reply

What’s the track at the end 12:45?

dante’s den

Sep 9, 2019, 10:10 pm Reply

i'm surprised the haters did not pull the same stunt for rap music

Laura P5

Sep 9, 2019, 2:37 pm Reply

Yesss I still have my tape recordings from wbmx! Good vid!


Sep 9, 2019, 9:32 pm Reply

I used to knock the 80s until I realized that it was the most important time in music


Oct 10, 2019, 10:16 pm Reply

Is this Rob Brydon announcing the song on Top of the Pops?

Amine Iajouri

Oct 10, 2019, 2:12 pm Reply

anybody knows the song that starts at 1:48 ?

Samim R

Oct 10, 2019, 4:33 pm Reply

Now do a vid on techno!

Cornelius White

Oct 10, 2019, 5:20 pm Reply

I find it strange that there's no mention of the time before this (1981 through 1986) where the combination of New York's Loft (David Mancuso) and Larry Levan (Garage) is not mentioned when discussing the history of house and REMIXES for artists e.g. Colonel Abrams, Gwen Guthrie and Jocelyn Brown. The way this video is presented, it's as if it was just Chicago and Italy, and that's not true. They were proponents, but you can't exclude New York.


Oct 10, 2019, 8:11 am Reply

Uh, Vox. On that map at T 01:35. That's Liverpool, not Manchester.

M J Smith

Oct 10, 2019, 1:11 pm Reply

House music is from NYC and so is Frankie Knuckles

Saturday Night Fever With Daniel Alexandre

Oct 10, 2019, 9:29 am Reply

great video

Jason Hardy

Oct 10, 2019, 9:45 pm Reply

America gave us Hip Hop and House music, salute and I thankyou!

anon. aki

Oct 10, 2019, 8:26 pm Reply

House Music All Night Long…


Oct 10, 2019, 8:10 pm Reply

They still play Percolator during timeouts at Bulls games


Oct 10, 2019, 11:40 pm Reply

The development of all this great music from way back; Jazz & Swing > Soul > Funk & Disco > House. Some of the best genres ever.

patrick wayne

Oct 10, 2019, 11:23 pm Reply

whats with the weird focus on an Italian dance record that not even House???


Oct 10, 2019, 11:31 pm Reply

you should talk about deathgrips and the junglist time line, (jungle, breakbeat, dnb,neurofunk, breakcore, etc)


Oct 10, 2019, 11:31 pm Reply

you should talk about deathgrips and the junglist time line, (jungle, breakbeat, dnb,neurofunk, breakcore, etc)

Aaron McGee

Oct 10, 2019, 12:07 am Reply

Finally, an interesting recommendation!


Oct 10, 2019, 8:14 am Reply

Italo Disco!

Bla Bla Bla

Oct 10, 2019, 12:28 am Reply

I started dancing run on time when I was like 16 in Napols, 30 years on, the house music culture there is still much appreciated


Nov 11, 2019, 3:21 am Reply

Amazing. Absolutely love it

Elias D

Nov 11, 2019, 2:41 pm Reply

I saw this in a musuem in Chicago talking about all of the event that happened at the baseball game. Pretty neat stuff

Connor Herron

Nov 11, 2019, 6:37 pm Reply

4:27 Wait a second! Is that what's being sampled on Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations"?

shane robert cooper ramirez

Nov 11, 2019, 9:13 pm Reply

Omg I've hear this song before

Derek Uhm

Nov 11, 2019, 11:12 am Reply

it's sad when people can't create and instead decide to destroy things


Nov 11, 2019, 1:31 am Reply

I love big diva vocals 💝💞

Gustavo Adolfo

Nov 11, 2019, 2:09 am Reply

Make a video on house music and only bring white “experts”

Josie Waterfall

Nov 11, 2019, 11:31 pm Reply

So…in other words, this enlightening doc is trying to take house invention from African Americans from Chicago and give it to the Italians as the creators of house music??…riiiighhttt.

John P

Nov 11, 2019, 10:12 am Reply

Disco forever

John P

Nov 11, 2019, 10:17 am Reply


Bolek Kielak

Nov 11, 2019, 10:16 am Reply

Estelle, I love your videos! Keep on producing this excellent content! ❤️

Kasper Soldal Nielsen

Nov 11, 2019, 3:51 am Reply

Disco Demolition pretty quickly turned into a massive white supremacist riot. Disco was largely associated with the black community, so it's not surprising that lots of people were there out of more than a difference in musical taste.


Nov 11, 2019, 2:40 am Reply

TR-909 :
Profiting by not profiting

youssef boudaya

Nov 11, 2019, 3:10 pm Reply

now this is so interesting !!! you should one episode about techno and trance

Pablo Domingo

Dec 12, 2019, 12:18 am Reply

And french?

Michelle Esposito

Dec 12, 2019, 3:33 pm Reply

Why were Americans this passionate about burning records?

Mr Costa

Dec 12, 2019, 8:49 am Reply



Dec 12, 2019, 9:11 pm Reply

“Ok James here’s a metal chair for you to sit on, in front of a huge comfy sofa… no you can’t sit on the sofa”

Issie wizzie

Dec 12, 2019, 3:11 pm Reply

I hated the 909 and house music …. I was 19 at the time there was a big change between the early 80s and late 80s


Dec 12, 2019, 1:40 am Reply

How are you going to claim Italo House has italian when it was already done by Jefferson and other house producers?

Freddy Master

Dec 12, 2019, 12:52 am Reply

I remember house music days Farley Funkin Keith or Farley Jack Master Funk " Funking with the drums" , " Aw Shucks", JM Silk, Jack Your Body. Todd Terry Bango, Traxx Records, DJ International, later on UNderground Counstruction. All using 909 and 808 and later on the Roland TB 303 synthesizer for Acid Thunder Tracks. Love Chicago House, techno, and Italo music.

Kevin Mills

Dec 12, 2019, 3:24 am Reply

Weak video

20th Century Fox Youtube 2 weeks ago 4 weeks ago

Dec 12, 2019, 6:06 am Reply

what is the name of track at 11:02 please?


Dec 12, 2019, 10:28 pm Reply

I like House.


Dec 12, 2019, 11:25 am Reply

You gotta love house music !!!!!!

Pedro Otero

Dec 12, 2019, 1:26 am Reply

7:40 I hear more 808 than 909 in that track though

Rich Sunhill

Dec 12, 2019, 12:52 pm Reply

very informative. thank you

Strawberry Jam

Dec 12, 2019, 3:36 pm Reply

the tr 909 sound will always be madonna for me

Aaron Skinner

Dec 12, 2019, 9:08 am Reply

WHATTTT Duke Dumond's Won't Look Back is a remix of Ride on Time!?!? I love music.


Dec 12, 2019, 4:41 am Reply

Easily one of my favorite series running on YouTube. I love house music and have never known about any of this in such detail. Thank you


Dec 12, 2019, 4:35 pm Reply

low-key sounds like future funk


Dec 12, 2019, 7:00 am Reply

I dont understand quite the difference between disco and house, I mean, let's take any song like "Lipps Inc — Funkytown", it might be disco or house, or other. but the line is not too clear.
7:24 I am sure that there is a too similar track in the electribe 2.

Donnie Darkko

Dec 12, 2019, 6:55 pm Reply

Revolution 909

Simon Bolz

Dec 12, 2019, 6:57 pm Reply

Super interesting, thank you!


Dec 12, 2019, 3:07 pm Reply

@vox what happened to interviewing the pioneers of this genre? At least one should have been included in this video! What's up with that? It would have been perfect to include some Afro perspective in this. It seems our community are always left out.


Dec 12, 2019, 8:18 am Reply

Nothing worse than people who talk about music production and can't tell a 909 from an 808. This piece is a failure.


Dec 12, 2019, 11:35 am Reply

So House, Techno started in America (oh yeah, i forgot that Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre was Blues and gospel producers)

Pickles Montgomery

Dec 12, 2019, 9:01 am Reply

Truly; deeply appreciate what you're doing here. Thank you for you!

Buried Guy

Dec 12, 2019, 1:08 pm Reply

Pour moi, le sample vocal de Loleatta sera toujours Cevin Fischer avec You got me (burning up)


Dec 12, 2019, 9:58 pm Reply

Vox … explaining House 30+ yrs after the fact. A little late on the uptake, wouldn't you say?!

Anton Medvedev

Jan 1, 2020, 12:29 pm Reply

I would never have dared demolish and smash my disco records, not for a million bucks, never!!! I treasure each and every one of them, they are history, they made history!!!


Jan 1, 2020, 3:50 pm Reply

As a Chicagoan DJ-producer who wittnessed the birth of House Music growing up in the 80s, This is an uncanny accurate historical piece based on sheer facts. Good Job.

Alessandro Signorini

Jan 1, 2020, 3:25 am Reply


About the disco era, something went wrong when Lapti Nek had to be mastered to the disco club mix
Have you checked about StarWars return of the jedi lost tracks?
Max Rebo band

IAMtheGreatIAM AquariusSunGeminiMoon

Jan 1, 2020, 3:53 pm Reply

Music is the life recorded sound vibration frequency energy of our lives


Jan 1, 2020, 11:12 pm Reply

lol its time for da perculator..

KJ Carson

Jan 1, 2020, 8:14 am Reply

👩🏿‍🦲👩🏾 We are UNSTOPPABLE! Throw lemons at us and the resulting lemonade will be the sweetest, most delicious you’ve ever tasted.


Jan 1, 2020, 8:23 pm Reply

“It’s all about that HOUSE MUSIC…”


Jan 1, 2020, 11:14 pm Reply

Great insight into the genre of music I fell in love with.


Jan 1, 2020, 7:18 pm Reply

dope info and well put together. as a house music producer and dj this gave me life. grateful

Kenneth Kourt

Jan 1, 2020, 12:29 pm Reply

Who TF calls the TR-909 "the 9"?

Hat Guy

Jan 1, 2020, 4:25 am Reply

And now house is dead

sameera kariyawasam

Jan 1, 2020, 11:01 pm Reply

sweet revenge,,,,,Disco

Justin Time

Jan 1, 2020, 1:55 am Reply

My favorite house song is “Queenie” vocal mix by Ethyl Meatplow remixed by MK.

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