Dance music

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Roots of Club Dance Music


In the late 1960s King Tubby took some reggae tracks and removed the vocal part and overdubbed some effects onto the instrumental track. This is why it’s called ‘dub’ 

King Tubby was Bob Marley’s producer.

The style developed in the early 1970s when King Tubby and Lee Perry (and some others) would record instrumentalists and vocalist in one session and release the song as a single. On the B side they would put a dub remix of the track. In this way they were able to show their skills, but also they saved money on recording costs.

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DJ Grand Wizard Theodore is supposed to have discovered scratching in 1975. Scratching is a technique where a record is spun by hand creating a scratching sound. As the technique developed DJs were able to use the record deck as an instrument and the DJ would then improvise over the beats.

The earliest rap music took place at outside parties where DJs would play their beats – they would demonstrate their scratching skills and toasting/MCing over the top.

The first recognised rap single was “Rappers Delight” which was released in 1979 by The Sugar Hill Gang. It was a cleaned up version of the street music suitable for public release.

Chicago House

In Chicago in the mid-1980s DJs pioneered a sound that was to become known as ‘house’ -it was named after the club where it was first played – the Warehouse. The DJs would take existing tracks and remix them, or cut them up, and mix them together with other tracks. This was because they didn’t have enough new material to play

Music played in the Warehouse ranged from disco and soul through to euro synth-based pop. Sometimes the DJs would bring in a drum machine to exaggerate the four-to–the-floor bass drum beat that was characteristic of house music

Four-to–the-floor is a strong reinforcement of a 4/4 beat by a bass drum


As Chicago house music was gradually dying down another scene was starting in New York. In a club called the Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan pioneered a new style which was more tuneful than house. It took its influences more from soul and R’n’B. This style also took its name from the club where it was first played becoming known as garage

In the UK the Ministry of Sound in London was heavily influenced by the garage sound.

By this stage Moby was based in New York and was gradually becoming more and more involved in the hip-hop and dance music scene