How Jack Your Body began house music’s squelching electronic revolution


From The Guardian UK.

January 1987’s pop charts began cosily enough. A 1957 rock’n’roll staple was No 1 (Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite). Elkie Brooks and the Housemartins sat in the top 10. Then, like a future shock, came Jack Your Body: a track built on a scruffy, electronic beat, a squelching, pulsing bassline, and the voice of a man breathing heavily, squealing, and then stuttering its title like a mantra.

Two weeks after entering the charts, it knocked Reet Petite off No 1, then held George Michael and Aretha Franklin’s I Knew You Were Waiting For Me off the top a week later. It did so without being played on Radio 1, and without the artist behind it, Steve “Silk” Hurley, appearing on British TV and radio (when it reached No 1, the only video Top of the Pops could show was one of those compilation clips of old footage of dance crazes, with some half-hearted animations dropped in). Thirty years on, it remains the most mysterious early success for a sound that would overwhelm the UK a year later – house music – and holds within it the tale of an artist who missed his moment as the biggest star in the country, and another about the burgeoning power of the British club scene.


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