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Skrufff.com’s Top 50 Most Influential Dance Tracks Ever: the details

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Click HERE to access the full results:

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We recently asked fifty of our favourite DJs and regular Skrufff contributors to tell us their top 10 most influential dance tracks of all time: the ones that both inspired and affected them personally and helped shape wider electronic dance culture.

 

The resulting Top 50 (see below) has been calculated by adding up each track’s votes with no weighting given to ranking within each DJ’s top 10 (so a number 1 has the same value as a 10). Where the total numbers of votes are equal we’ve listed tracks in alphabetical order (by artist) reflecting more than a few contributors’ approaches to selecting their key tracks.

 

 

Pedro Winter thinking about his top 10

 

US house star Chris Fortier said his top choice of the KLF’s What Time Is Love was particularly personal because ‘it came out around the time I started to really DJ and figure out the kinds of tracks I wanted to buy and play’, though stressed ‘my list could really be in any order’.

 

Underground British tech-house DJ Louis Osbourne concurred.

 

“Here’s my top 10 in no particular order,” said Louis, “I feel very “Hi-Fidelity” now,’ he chuckled.

 

 

High Fidelity: the Trailer (click for more)

 

Louis’ reference to the Nick Hornby book/ film, in which a record shop worker spends his time compiling- then endlessly debating- increasingly obscure ‘best ever’ lists struck a chord with this poll, specifically its identification of the hobby as a male obsession.

 

Indeed none of the female DJs and producers we contacted decided to take part in the poll, which otherwise drew enthusiastic responses from (male) leading lights of dance culture, including DJ Pierre, Tom Tom Club, Pedro Winter and New Order/ Joy Division bass player Peter Hook.

 

Relative newcomers including Get The Curse’ DJ Olibusta, Romania’s The Model and Nikhil Chinapa and DJ Arjun (Jalebee Cartel) from India also shared their opinions.

 

 

Joy Division's first ever TV appearance (Peter Hook on the right) click for more

 

Click HERE for full details (plus the next 50), of what we reckon’s a definitive list of the most influential dance tracks- ever!  Thanks to all the DJs for taking part.

 

Compiled by Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff ) Each DJ’s individual top 10 will be posted within the next few days.

 

DJs/ producers who voted:

 

Ade Fenton, Alisson Gothz, Ascii Disco, Camilo Rocha, Chris Finke, Chris Fortier, Christian Smith, Christopher Lawrence, Danny Howells, Dave Clarke.

 

DAVE the Drummer, Deepgroove, Diarmaid O’Meara, DJ Ariel, DJ Pierre, Dusty Kid, Edwin Oosterwal, Gary Smith, Gladys Pizarrro (Ex Strictly Rhythm), Graham Gold.

 

Hugh O Bryder, Jagz Kooner, Jalebee Cartel, Jeffrey Disastronaut, Johnny Dynell, Jonty Skrufff, Judge Jules, Lenny Ibizarre, Liquid, Louis Osbourne.

 

Luke Howard, Mark Kavanagh, MOTOR, Nick Muir, Nikhil Chinapa, Olibusta, Pathaan, Patrice Baumel, Pedro Winter, Peter Hook (New Order).

 

Phuturetraxx, Sara Mrs Smith, Secret Cinema, Steve Mac, The model, Timo Maas, Tom Tom Club, Utah Saints, Way Out West (Jody Wisternoff), X Press 2 (Rocky).

 

The Winner is: New Order: Blue Monday (Blue Monday on Wiki: http://bit.ly/wfVnz)

 

“Which track turned me personally onto clubbing/ dance music the most? New Order- Blue Monday.”

 

Judge Jules was one of 15 of our 50 who selected New Order’s multi-million selling disco classic as did Irish DJ (and Daily Star deputy) Mark Kavanagh (‘this record changed my life’) and Audiosushi’s Jeffrey Disastronaut ‘Blue Monday made me realise- even in 1983 – that I could do this for the rest of my life…”

 

Peter Hook, however, admitted he was surprised.

 

“How much was I aware of how special it was when we created it? To be truthful not very much really. It was never one of my favourite songs. I much preferred “Thieves Like Us”,” the New Order/ Joy Division legend told Skrufff.

 

I tell you what, when I was sat there doing it in 1982? I NEVER thought it would get comments like this 29 years later,” he added.

 

 

Underworld's Born Slippy

 

While less than ecstatic about Blue Monday he was considerably more enthused about his own first choice, Underworld’s Born Slippy (or ‘Lager Lager’ as it calls it).

 

“To me this track embodies everything about clubbing from the beat to the lyrics,” said Hooky. “Live fast die young with no thought of tomorrow!”

 

 

 

 

Donna Summer: I Feel Love

The poll’s second stand out choice, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love (which, like Blue Monday attracted twice as many votes as third, fourth and fifth place tracks Planet Rock, Acid Tracks and French Kiss) drew equally enthusiastic responses.

 

“Some record are years ahead of their time, ‘I Feel Love’ was decades ahead,” Horse Meat Disco’s Luke Howard declared.

 

“This track showed you didn’t need a guitar to make exciting music,” Jez and Tim from Utah Saints agreed, “and kick-started bedroom producers around the world!”

 

 


 

The Yorkshire tribute also paid fulsome tribute to Patrick Cowley’s 15 minute epic remix, as did legendary New York underground DJ Johnny Dynell.

 

The Giorgio Moroder original was earth shattering but the 15 minute Patrick Cowley German remix in 1978 took it even further,” he said.

 

British acid house pioneer turned Primal Scream producer Jagz Kooner agreed.

 

“It’s the art of the remix defined- in 1978,” he enthused, “Built from one of the greatest tunes ever made and turned into an epic 15 minute version with more cool synth riffs and arpeggiators than pretty much any tune that has been put together since. Still gets me every time.

 

 

A Guy Called Gerald

 

Best of the rest

 

John Digweed (and Bedrock’s) esteemed producer Nick Muir singled out A Guy Called Gerald’s Voodoo Ray as his ultimate inspirational choice, declaring “I put this track first because it’s not just a piece of music, it’s a state of mind.’

 

“All the tracks I selected were ‘game changers’ as far as I was concerned; tracks which came to my attention at certain times along the way and affected me profoundly.”

 

Nick also singled out X Press 2′s early 90s classic London Xpress for special attention, in particular for its raw dance floor power.

 

“I can remember standing at the back of Bagleys in about 1992, somewhat the worse for wear screaming ‘CLASSIC!’ at the top of my lungs when London Xpress came on,” he recalled.

 

“At the time that track just nailed it. Simple, unpretentious, right in the money. UK house at its finest.”

 

 

Planet Rock


X Press 2 producer Rocky instead cited Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock as his ‘year zero for dance music’ (aged 12) also choosing DJ Pierre’s Acid Tracks for providing his own acid house epiphany.

 

‘It was the record that gave birth to an entire musical culture. It’s arguable that there were ‘acid’ records before this, but this was the one that signalled the start of something huge,” he said.

 

 

Planet Rock on Wiki; http://bit.ly/6UPOc

 

godfather of soul James Brown (click for more)

 

 

James Brown

 

Though picking up relatively few votes from our 50, ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown received superlative praise from a number, including leading Brazilian journalist (and DJ) Camilo Rocha, who picked out Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag as his number one choice.

 

“James Brown’s track represents a major shift in the story of rhythm. It launched the funk rhythm, with the accent on the first beat of the bar, as opposed to the dominant pattern of soul and rock which emphasized the second beat,” said Camilo.

 

“Everything that came after, disco, house, techno, electro derives from the rhythm structure pioneered on this 1965 single,” he said.

 

 

Johnny Dynell (who also picked ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’) was more succinct.

 

“Without James Brown’s repetitive funk rhythms there would be no Disco and with no Disco there would be no House and with no House there would be nothing,” said Johnny, “I would be out of a job.”

 

British house DJ Danny Howells instead singled out Brown’s ‘Let Yourself Go/There Was A Time/I Feel All Right (Live at the Apollo Vol 2)’ explaining ‘My mum used to play this non-stop when I was four of five years old, and I suppose it was my first introduction to sheer hypnosis in music.’

 

“It’s a medley that runs to about 20 minutes or so, and it just sinks deeper and deeper into a trance, with James Brown engaging the crowd in a call and response chant of “hey hey, I feel alright.” and so on,” said Danny.

 

“And he’s controlling his band, getting them to create drum and brass stabs with callouts of “two times”, “three times” etc. This is where you can hear where Prince got so many of his live ideas from,” he said.

 

 

Kraftwerk

 

Kraftwerk

 

Brasil-based Swedish techno guru Christian Smith is one of many to include Kraftwerk though with votes splitting for a number of tracks, the Teutonic icons rock up in the 9 and 10 spots (with Numbers and Trans Europe Express.

 

“It’s impossible to narrow this down to one song, but if I would have to choose one track it would be Kraftwerk’s Numbers,” Christian told Skrufff.

 

“I was 9 yeas old when this was released and I still remember hearing it for the first time! Total future! Even today it sounds like nothing else out there,” he enthused.

 

Acid techno guru Henry ‘D.A.V.E. The Drummer’ Cullen (also coincidentally still a big star in Brazil) was similarly smitten at a young age.

 

“Kraftwerk’s Computer World was one of the first albums I ever owned, and I listened to it constantly on cassette,” he recalled.

 

“I was completely in love with the electronic voices and synth sequences, everything really, and it was so different to the crap disco and post punk shit that was in the charts at the time. I’m talking about the early 80 and boy there was some crap in the charts at that time,” Henry continued, “Ottowan (D.I.S.C.O.), Abba, you name it. As a 12 year old I hated it all,” he laughed.

 

Kraftwerk on wiki: http://bit.ly/21K7Ah


 

 

 

Techno, Techno, Techno, Techno

 

 

While Joey Beltram’s Energy Flash performed highly (‘Energy Flash  was quite simply, the single most important record of all time. It not only changed my musical tastes, it changed my life’, said Ade Fenton), numerous other techno classics split the vote.

 

“If I had to explain to an alien “what techno is on earth” I’ll make him listening to that track!‘ Dusty Kid said about PLastikman’s seminal early 90s remake of System 7’s Alpha Wave while Dutch star Secret Cinema chose Stakker’s Humanoid.

“It was my first experience with Acid in a club,” Jereon told Skrufff, “I heard that track 3 times a night and it still kept me going on the dancefloor with full on Strobe-lights…..unbeatable.

 

Patrice Baumel

 

Fellow Amsterdam based German producer Patrice Baumel singled out (though didn’t include) Jam and Spoon’s Follow Me because ‘at my local discotheque that was as techno as it got and my regular highlight of the night’. For his most influential track, however, he went for Emmanuel Top’s mighty Acid Phase.

“Hearing that record played out was the first time I “got” slower techno.” Patrice explained, “Before that I just couldn’t understand why DJs would even bother dipping below 160bpm.”

 

Compiled by Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff ) Each DJ’s individual top 10 will be posted within the next few days.

 

 

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