LADbible x ALL4 Presents We Built This House: How House Music Became A Defining Genre

We Built This House is the world's first music documentary series made originally for Instagram Stories. It charts the rise of house, the iconic tunes to which the genre gave birth and the ultimate raves through history. Inspired by All 4's music documentary I Was There When, all three episodes can be viewed here.

Chicago was the birthplace of the electronic genre of house. It first emerged in roughly 1984, but was confined to the clubs where gay people and African Americans would go to party.

The genre was influenced by the disco scene of the late 1970s, where songs were being produced with synthesizers and electronic drum machines. The name originates from a Chicago club opened in 1977 called the Warehouse.

The man dubbed the 'Godfather of House', Frankie Knuckles, was invited to play at the Warehouse where he began experimenting with different styles. He incorporated disco classics, indie-label soul, the occasional rock track and European synth-disco into his set. The crowd loved it.

What's believed to be the first official house music song was produced by Jesse Saunders in 1984 called 'On and On'. That track spurred producers from across Chicago to get in on the scene. Marshall Jefferson, another pioneer in house music, was the first to incorporate piano in the hit 'Move Your Body'. He was influenced by the music blaring out of the speakers at the Chicago club, the Music Box.

He once said: "I hated dance music, because I couldn't dance. I thought dance music was kind of wimpy, until I heard it at like Music Box volume."

Offshoots of the genre began to emerge, including acid-house and deep-house. Phuture was one of the groups who pioneered acid house, producing songs that were more than 10 minutes in length. They'd have deep basslines and squelching sounds created by using a synthesizer-sequencer.

House eventually made its way on to the Detroit, New York and Baltimore music scenes before Knuckles, Jefferson, Fingers Inc. and Adonis brought the style to the UK. But British house music differed from the Chicago vibe. Producers incorporated more rap and samples in their tracks.

Once the genre hit the UK, it spread like wildfire and, again, produced a variety of different sub-genres. But house also made its way to a Ibiza. The Balearic beat grew from the humble clubs such as Amnesia, influencing the likes of Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling. These DJs brought that sound to mix it with the already growing genre in the UK. The Hacienda Club in Manchester was a massive hub for house and acid music and drew big crowds for its Ibiza-themed dance nights in the late '80s. Drug use became a problem at the club and it was involved in the UK's first ever ecstasy-related death.

House music hadn't had much mainstream promotion until the 1990s with the arrival of groups like Daft Punk. Berlin's Love Parade festival also helped to elevate the genre after it started as a political demonstration but over the years grew into a massive electronic music festival, focusing on house. Starting in 1989, it began pulling in hundreds of thousands of attendees before it was shut down in 2010 after a crowd crush killed 21 people and injured more than 500.

By then, house had worked its way into the mainstream charts thanks to Deadmau5, Calvin Harris and David Guetta. You now have massive house festivals that are world renowned, such as Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida.

While their tracks sound remarkably different from the old-school songs from the mid-80s, the concept is still the same. These newer producers just have better technology and resources at their disposal.

House is an evolution and the music will continue to grow and develop as the passion flows.

Watch All 4's I Was There When episodes, in full, here: ALL4.COM/HOUSE


Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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