House Music in Chicago

Opening night at the Power House in October 1986 featuring Frankie Knuckles and J.M. Silk.

0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars, black.

1:02Copy video clip URL Title: House Music in Chicago. October 25, 1986. Opening night Power House nightclub Chicago.

1:23Copy video clip URL Simon Low, RCA Records: “I think tonight could represent Chicago recognizing the phenomenon that is truly theirs and starting to do something for themselves about it. We’ve got out here a club which could stand up against any of the night clubs in New York.”

1:42Copy video clip URL Club patron: “I would say tonight is a brand new beginning for house music.”

1:46Copy video clip URL Erasmo, DJ assistant: “It’s a new beginning. A new, fresh beginning.”

1:50Copy video clip URL Footage of the crowd outside the club lined up to get in.

2:11Copy video clip URL The camera moves inside and captures the crowd dancing.

2:55Copy video clip URL Frankie Knuckles, house DJ, talks about the history of house music in Chicago and his time at the Warehouse. “I was allowed to get away with anything I wanted to when it came to putting music on for them, and people accepted that.”

3:30Copy video clip URL Beth McKabe, house music promoter: “It originally was more like a basement tapes type of a thing, done on four tracks and put together real quickly, and it’s evolved more into 24 track recording. They gave an outlet for musicians who’d never had an outlet to put their stuff on the air–now they’re putting it in the clubs. And a lot of it hits the clubs before it hits the radio market.”

3:56Copy video clip URL James Delaney, house music fan: “House music is a style of music that was created in a disco club–the Warehouse–in the mid to late ’70s, and it’s a style of music that Frankie Knuckles created.”

4:11Copy video clip URL Low: “House music to me represents yet another form of black music which has broken from the street into people’s homes. House music is intrinsically a Chicago phenomenon, you can hear it. All this music people are playing tonight has come out of Chicago.”

4:29Copy video clip URL Club patron: “I would say house music is refined disco and, I would say, the beginning of the ’90s with a new sound of disco–from the old sound, which is very orchestrated, to the new sound, which is basically a one-man operation. I think that’s what house music really is. What a great groove, though.”

4:55Copy video clip URL Knuckles spins for the dancing crowd.

5:18Copy video clip URL Knuckles is asked how hot house music is now. “On a scale of 1 to 10? It’s a 12.”

5:25Copy video clip URL McKabe: “It’s hot, it’s real hot. Especially in England…. It’s like a stream of Chicago artists going from here to England on a constant basis.”

5:50Copy video clip URL Low: “It’s that good, and it’s that exciting. And that, to me, represents house music: this excitement.”

5:59Copy video clip URL Fan: “House music is a new trend in Chicago. It sort of reminds me of the Motown era–a small record label, a small sound coming from one particular place, and evolving into the whole United States.”

6:12Copy video clip URL Low: “It’s in the roots of soul music, it’s in the roots of Chicago. It’s really up to the artist to develop out of the excitement which is called ‘house’ and to develop their songs into the demands of the marketplace, which at the end of the day–let’s be honest–are truly commercial.”

6:38Copy video clip URL J.M. Silk performs “Jack Your Body” live on stage.

9:11Copy video clip URL Keith Nunnally of J.M. Silk: “Most house records convey a strong message. It’s about, of course, street–all about what’s happening in the street, just like rap music, only it has its own style. With a lot of our songs, we try to to give positive images, positive views on life in general.” Steve “Silk” Hurley: “Or a situation that might have come up that maybe everybody can relate to.”

9:41Copy video clip URL J.M. Silk performs “Shadows of Your Love.”

13:03Copy video clip URL End of tape.


1 Comment

  1. Amazing footage . . .captured so many great realities of our era! Thanks to Voices of Sun-Times for highlighting the existence of this archive. . .simply priceless.

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