Dance Music may have gone through many different fads over its 35 plus years now, and as it has since established itself as a powerful force within the world of popular Music, there is one element that keeps on coming back round after all the fads have faded into oblivion. The Piano. We simply can't resist a good full on hands in the air riff being smashed into a track. More often than not this was usually courtesy of the Korg M1 Rock Piano preset.
But before that sound existed, the early House Music piano tracks prior to 1988 which was the year of the Korg M1 birth would have been done on either a real piano or an earlier version of a Roland or Kurzweil or even a Yamaha digital Midi piano of some sort. So whilst a million tracks have been produced and released, here are what Waxadisc considers six of the very best riffs to ever grace our dance floors around the globe.
These riffs are all from the early days of House musics humble beginnings, and yet they still remain amongst the very best to ever be recorded.. In no real order here they are.
Marshall Jefferson Move Your Body 1986
"The House Music Anthem"
The very first record producer to use a piano in a House Music track. Here way back in 1986 he created this monster of a tune which still tears the floor up even to this day with its heavy pounding intro that thuds right on through to the classic vocal hook "Gotta Have House Music" perfectly sets the tone for an instant anthem. The riff is a very straight forward affair but has such power it hits you in an instant. This is called the "House Music" anthem for a reason.
STERLING VOID I DONT WANNA GO 1991
A timeless riff is just that and Sterling Void's classic on D.J International from 1991 is one of those riffs. Having been re-sampled during that very same year for the track "Feel Real Good" by the Hardcore act "Manic" and then a short time later by "Outrage" and their all time House classic "Tall & Handsome" This riff just hits you from the very first note. Perfect House music at its best complimented by the great vocal and as the riff continues throughout the track without it ever getting boring. "Timeless"
CE CE ROGERS
A riff that is perhaps sadly more known for the sampled version that was done by Liquid for their rave anthem "Sweet Harmony" in 1991 on XL Records. This classic House master piece still holds its very own 35 years on and has the brilliant vocal of Ce Ce Rogers on top that sets it apart from the rip offs over the years. The riff goes off on its own lead line improvisation half way through which makes it all the more brilliant whilst keeping the shorter notes repeating underneath then back in again with the original riff. A House Music staple if ever there was one.
BETTER DAYS 1989
An instant classic, but again the Sasha remix is more widely known and as brilliant as that version was, this original version from 1989 is the one that is raw and soulful. Famously borrowed by Congress for their hit single "40 Miles"
in 1991, this version however goes straight in for the kill with no messing about as it catches you without a moments thought. His vocal is pure and honest which is what makes a true House record. Very simple and backed up only by a simple beat and some pads. Perfect Soulful House.
SOFT HOUSE COMPANY
WHAT YOU NEED 1990
A perfectly smooth and irresistible piece of music coming direct from the glory days of Italo House. The Soft House Company produced this awesome summer vibe track with some of the classic vocal hooks from First Choices legendary acapella "Let No Man Put Us Under" which has been used a gazillion times since. But the piano riff here has two parts, the first is the intro and the breakdown section and then the main riff throughout the body of the track.
RICH IN PARADISE 1989
Yet another Italo House monster of a track. This one coming direct from the F.P,I Project. They did several mixes of this and this one was the very best.
The vocal mix didn't quite cut it, but this version is as solid as it needs to be. The raw almost loose piano playing gives the riff that full on hands in the air feel and combined with the chord pads it still sounds awesome today alongside the Lyn Collins "Think About" break beat samples. A beast of a riff that has a little solo roll towards the end that plays out perfectly. Italo House at its very best.