50 Most Influential Dance Records of All Times Muzik Magazine

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  • 50 Most Influential Dance Records of All Times
  • 1) The Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" (EMI 1966)
  • (Revolver L.P.)
  • Every idea ever used in dance music exists in this song. The first track recorded for the epochal Revolver L.P., Tomorrow Never Knows (the title lifted from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) was an acid-soaked masterpiece of prime psychedelia. Distorted guitars, Lennon's treated vocals, endless overdubs and the backwards drum loops all prefigure in some way the idea of sampling technology, while the group's interest in transcendental meditation - letting yourself be transported, disorientated, tripped out lies at the heart of everyone's club experiences. Recorded amazingly, only three years after the saccharine pop of She Loves You, this is untouchable genius.
  • The Chemical Brothers, The Beta Band
  • 2) James Brown "Funky Drummer" (King 1969)
  • (7")
  • Funky Drummer is, on the face of it, a pretty boring record. It's one of those loose funk jams that the Godfather used to make up pretty much as he went along, but somehow managed to sound planned. James must have notice that drummer Clyde Stubblefield was laying down a pretty heavy lick, because he calls for the band to hold back, then counts the drummer off - "one, two, three, four" - and what follows is pure hip hop history. The crispest, funkiest beat ever laid on wax. One of the very first sample time capsules was buried, ready for hip hop's archaeologists to plunder.
  • Hip hop, indie dance
  • 3) Marvin Gaye "What's Going On" (Motown 1970)
  • (L.P.)
  • Before What's Going On the rock world saw soul music - and Motown in particular - as bubblegum pop, a throwaway commodity of no lasting worth. Marvin Gaye's heartfelt concept album, based on his brothers' horrific experiences in Vietnam and finally released against the wishes of label boss Berry Gordy, changed all that. It demonstrated that black music could be as ambitious, as complex and as intelligent as anything else. Soul label bosses realised the world had changed and they had been left behind. The balance of power shifted to the artists, making possible the later careers of Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield, the emergence of songwriter-led soul like Gamble & Huff at Philadelphia, and let's face it, everything in soul, r&b and every other form of black music that we have today.
  • Maxwell, D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill
  • 4) Incredible Bongo Band "Apache" (MGM 1973)
  • (Bongo Rock L.P.)
  • Improbable as it may seem, it's this record, a cover of an old track by Cliff Richard's backing band The Shadows, by a cheesy West Indian percussion and brass combo, that Afrika Bambaataa once described as the "ultimate hip hop record". It all, as is so often the case, revolves around the break. Somewhere in the midst of the clattering pots-and-pans bongo duel, magic happens - a magic that producers in jungle, in hip hop, house, big beat and any sample-based music acknowledges as the lodestone of any good breaks collection. You might not know the original, but you'd know the beat. The real ultimate break and beat.
  • Jungle, hip hop, big beat
  • 5) Augustus Pablo "King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown" (Island 1976)
  • (7")
  • Granted, this was far from the first dub record. The instrumental horns cut on the flip of sixties ska and rocksteady records established the version as a reggae tradition long before Tubby started using his mixing board to change his B-sides, allowing the mix to evolve to showcase the bass or a heavily reverbed drumbeat. Using, in effect, the studio as an instrument in itself. But when Island boss Chris Blackwell heard Tubby's radical dub mix of Jacob Miller's Baby I Love You So, he loved it so much he made it the A-side. This was dub as pop, a collage of abstract sound so finely crafted that the groove, the rhythm and the effects were all you needed. The rastas and punks knew this. So too, now, does every dance producer, everywhere.
  • Daft Punk, Andrew Weatherall
  • 6) Double Exposure "Ten Per Cent" (Salsoul 1976)
  • (12")
  • Disco group Double Exposure make their way into the list by virtue of releasing the first ever commercially available 12-inch single. The extra five inches' width allowed the grooves to sound fatter, louder and cleaner over a big disco sound system, as well as providing the space to deconstruct the song and rebuild it as a dance floor epic. Under remix pioneer Walter Gibbons, the sub-Temptations disco song is taken apart at the seams, then stitched back into a 10 minute-plus series of extended percussion breaks and euphoric, rushing choruses. Dance music had found its home and it was round, black and a foot wide.
  • 12-inch singles
  • 7) Donna Summer "I Feel Love" (Casablanca 1977)
  • (12")
  • The synthesised pulse of I Feel Love lives on in its direct descendants house, trance and techno. At the height of the disco era, I Feel Love saw Donna Summer, songwriter Pete Bellote and producer Giorgio Moroder create a trance-inducing mantra that had more in common with the avant garde classical music of producers such as Steve Reich than the Bee Gees. A metronomic beat, repetitive bassline, and inane lyrics repeated over and over until they take on a transcendentally profound non-meaning, this could fit in well on any Underworld album. The order to trance had been given.
  • Underworld, Paul Van Dyk
  • 8) Kraftwerk "Trans Europe Express" (EMI 1977)
  • (King Klang L.P.)
  • Though Autobahn had already signalled their transition from studious German intellectuals to the unlikeliest of international superstars, Trans Europe Express was the album which transported Kraftwerk's pristine electronics to their first dance floor destinations. Released at the height of the US disco boom, Trans Europe Express filled the coke-fuelled floors of Manhattan, infiltrated the Bronx projects - where Afrika Bambaataa used it to create Planet Rock, inventing electro in the process - and inspired the first wave of Detroit techno producers. Without it, music - and Muzik - would be an altogether poorer proposition.
  • Electro, techno
  • 9) Grandmaster Flash "Adventure On the Wheels of Steel" (Sugarhill 1981)
  • (12")
  • "Y'say, y'say, y'say, good, good, good, good, g-g-g-g-g-g-good times!" With these stuttering words dance music took an exponential evolutionary jump into the future, as Flash tore two copies of Chic's Good Times apart, with Blondie, Queen and a children's Disney story thrown in for good measure. The first scratching ever on record, the first blow struck in the battle to recognise DJs as artists. One small step for Flash, one giant leap for dance music.
  • Turntablism, mix albums
  • 10) Afrika Bambaataa "Planet Rock" (Tommy Boy 1982)
  • (12")
  • Conjuring up images of sci-fi mic warriors battling with light sabre lyrics, Planet Rock took the early Eighties obsession with video games and synthesisers and grafted it onto the sparse, robotic beats of Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express. And to a generation of comprehensive school pupils across Britain, hearing this impossibly futuristic record was like a neon light switching on in their heads, pointing the way to the future. All other music was now obsolete.
  • Electro, techno
  • 11) New Order "Blue Monday" (Factory 1983)
  • (12")
  • Their predecessors Joy Division were all about lugubrious guitars and early Eighties industrial angst. But with Ian Curtis' death, New Order emerged fearlessly espousing the new technology of electronic and sporting a funky edge that seemed unlikely given their dour appearance. Blue Monday was the shockingly brilliant first peak, a defining moment that suddenly proved to an entire generation of die-hard indie rock types that, hey, discos could be cool and synthesisers mighty. Best of all, there was never a radio edit or 7-inch version - hence its status as a the best-selling 12-inch of all time. Without this lot, no Ha?nda, no Madchester.
  • Techno, indie dance
  • 12) Streetsounds Electro "Volumes One - Eight" (Streetsounds Compilations 1983-5)
  • (12")
  • The soundtrack to many a break dance battle in the shopping centres of Britain, the Electro compilations were the only way for a pocket-money financed school kid to keep up to date with the fresh imports flying out of early Eighties New York. Sure, you could pick up a few tracks on pirates like LWR and Solar FM, if you were lucky enough to live in London, but apart from that, zip. Each new volume became as eagerly awaited as the next episode of Grange Hill. Well crucial.
  • Techno, big beat
  • 13) Double D & Steinski "Lesson Three" (Tommy Boy 1985)
  • (12" promo)
  • Double D and Steinski's Payoff Mix (aka Lesson One) was the winner in a Tommy Boy mix competition, a cut up that, thanks to copyright laws, was to remain the legendary territory of the History of Hip Hop bootleg. Lesson Two was a James Brown tribute that took the cut 'n' paste technique further still. They are both all time classics. Lesson Three, however was the bomb. The ultimate DJ battle weapon. The definitive display of breaknology. Coldcut, Fatboy Slim and just about everyone to ever wield a break in anger owes their career to this record.
  • Hip hop, big beat, jungle, nu skool breaks
  • 14) Mr Fingers "Can You Feel it" (Trax 1987)
  • (12")
  • Before this record house was not much more than raw jacking trax - after this, house was a feeling. On any 1988 dance floor the combination of its soft fluffy mattress of instrumentation with tearjerking minor chords was enough to have most ravers floating away on a pill-shaped cloud. The soft, E-soaked instrumentation of every house record since that sounded good on a pill came from this.
  • Deep house
  • 15) Phuture "Acid Tracks" (Trax 1987)
  • (12")
  • When Marshall Jefferson, DJ Pierre and Spanky pissed about with a then defunct, cheap bass synthesiser and came up with this burbling, idiotic, weird sound, they thought it sounded like acid rock. Hence the title of the tape they handed to DJ Ron Hardy at The Music Box in Chicago. Within a couple of weeks they had the hottest record in Chicago. Within a year the sound they had created had become the rallying cry of a brand new youth movement - acid house.
  • Acid house, Hardfloor
  • 16) Techno "The House Sound of Detroit" (Ten Compilations 1988)
  • (12")
  • Three years of Chicago house and jack trax ruling the roost and suddenly dance music found a whole new underground. This ground-breaking compilation, compiled by former Northern soul DJ Neil Rushton, was the first time many heard the radical departure that Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins had embarked on, where Eighties electro-pop bumped head-on with a harder, colder, more metallic take on house music. Techno was now an official genre and dance music as we know it had just suffered its first fissure.
  • Techno, Inner City
  • 17) Public Enemy "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" (Def Jam 1989)
  • (L.P.)
  • When most late Eighties rap groups bit James Brown breaks, it was funky enough. When PE bent the Godfather's beats to their will, it was aural terrorism. Sonically it hinted at jungle's mangled breaknoise, lyrically it was political dynamite. Nobody who uses bass and breaks in their music would deny their debt to this.
  • Jungle, big beat
  • 18) A Guy Called Gerald "Voodoo Ray" (Rham 1988)
  • (12")
  • There had been plenty of British house records before this, most notably T-Coy's Carino and Bang the Party's Release Your Body, but this piece of off-kilter Mancunian acid-inspired jiggery pokery showed that not only could we make house better here, we could do it in a considerably weirder way than our American cousins. The tune sounded like it was bashed out on lead pipes, with a girl moaning breathily over the top. It was alien and sexy at the same time. British house had arrived.
  • UK house
  • 19) Rhythim is Rhythim "Strings of Life" (Transmat/Jack Trax 1988)
  • (12")
  • At one point in 1989 it was mandatory at every club you went to to hear Strings of Life not once but two or three times a night. A force for both good and ill in one piano-pumped, major chord blast, Strings of Life defined both the creative high watermark of the original techno producers, and signalled the way forward for the E-powered dynamics of rave.
  • Rave, piano house
  • 20) De La Soul "Three Feet High & Rising" (Tommy Boy 1989)
  • (L.P.)
  • Three was indeed the magic number as this trio turned hip hop on its head in 1988. Before, it was all Glocks, gunshots and gang turf bragging. The along came three psychedelically twisted faux naifs sampling Hall & Oates and The Turtles, running mock game shows through their records and talking openly about the 'Daisy Age'. Not only did they chime perfectly with the rave generation's new-found fondness for one-love hippy happiness, but they turned hip hop around, proving that the flower is sometimes more powerful than the flame-thrower.
  • Jurassic 5, The Pharcyde
  • 21) Lil' Louis "French Kiss" (FFRR 1989)
  • (12")
  • In 1989 French Kiss had dance floors writhing like a Roman orgy from school discos in Derby to warehouses in Chicago. 10 years on and the record still fills floors, is possibly the sexiest house record ever written and went a long way towards inventing trance. Listen to any track that uses unrelenting, looped house grooves now and you can trace it back to this. Add the moaning, erotic slowdown which spawned a thousand sex records and you'll realise why Derrick May won't leave home without it.
  • Trance, minimal techno, breakdowns
  • 22) Soul II Soul "Club Classics" (Virgin 1989)
  • (L.P.)
  • 20 years of dodgy Brit-funk and ersatz soul were finally laid to rest as Jazzy B's loose-fit posse of singers, rappers, DJs and backroom producers conjured up an album that, like Blue Lines, perfectly encapsulated a new British street take on an American domain. "Yellow is the colour of sunrays" became the Summer of Love refrain, the concept of 'the collective' was no longer a by-word for 'shambling stoners' and Classics proved it's always better to innovate that imitate.
  • Nu classic soul, UK garage
  • 23) 808 State "Pacific State" (ZTT 1989)
  • (12")
  • This sunrise anthem from 1989 ruled the airwaves, raves and house clubs all summer. Summing up the spirit of acid house, those fluttery birdsong noises still evoke memories of tripping your nuts off in a pair of lime green dungarees, or losing it in a strobe attack. 808 State were hardcore party nutters who invented the ambient intro, bird tweet sound and the whole concept of the 'E tune' overnight. Cue plagiarism from The Orb to Deep Forest and even the dream trance of Robert Miles.
  • Intros, breakdowns
  • 24) Primal Scream "Loaded" (Creation 1990)
  • (12")
  • Along with the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, Primal Scream switched on to the rock 'n' roll hedonism of club culture and in doing so expanded dance music's parameters to include guitars and an altogether different sensibility. Loaded - unquestionably the finest indie dance record ever - was Andrew Weatherall's remix of I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have, looping the Stones-style horns of the song's climax and layering them over the top of a ceiling-punching shuffling beat to create something akin to Sympathy For the Devil for the E generation. Rumour has it Creation boss Alan McGee originally didn't want to release this, proclaiming "Primal Scream are a rock 'n' roll band!" Thankfully, right-thinking prevailed.
  • Indie dance, big beat
  • 25) The KLF "Chill Out" (KLF Communications 199o)
  • (L.P.)
  • Formed by Scottish situationist Jimmy Cauty and former Echo and the Bunnymen manager Bill Drummond, The KLF are known for many things - burning a million quid, zany collaborations with Tammy Wynettte and Gary Glitter, and their book on how to have a number one single - but back in the day, they recorded this masterpiece of soft-focus ambience. Behind a cover depicting a flock of sheep grazing in a field was a trippy mix of pastoral sounds, Elvis samples and, of course, bleating sheep. Inspired by the space cadet noodlings of Pink Floyd but filtered through post-1988 technological advances, Chill Out - and its semi-successor, the Space album - is still the ultimate comedown album.
  • Ambient
  • 26) Massive Attack "Blue Lines" (Virgin 1991)
  • (L.P.)
  • Formed from the ashes of Bristol's Wild Bunch sound system (named after the classic Sam Peckinpah western), which also featured Soul II Soul's Nellee Hooper, Massive Attack's debut album was an instant classic. From the opening, rolling bassline of Safe From Harm with Shara Nelson's luxuriant torch-singer vocals, to the incredible code, Hymn to the Big Wheel, it's a work of rare genius - balancing effortlessly smooth production with Tricky's raw, smoky rapping evinced on the incredible, impassive stoned grooves of Daydreaming and Unfinished Sympathy. Oft imitated, never bettered, Blue Lines paved the way for a slew of imitators and gave rise to trip hop.
  • Mo'Wax, Portishead
  • 27) Joey Beltram "Energy Flash" (R&S 1991)
  • (12")
  • Ask Fabio and Grooverider and they'll soon tell you - if one record sent the 1990 hippy hippy shake ideals of the rave generation towards the dustbin, this was it. An intense wall of sound with a bassline that pulsed pure evil like Darth Vader's heartbeat, the "Ecstacy, ecstacy" chant was sorely ironic. Energy Flash was a foreboding warning of the darkness that lay ahead on the rave scene, as the comedown began and both jungle and techno took on a decidedly nightmarish, darkcore attitude.
  • Dark jungle, Euro techno
  • 28) Leftfield "Not Forgotten (Hard Hands mix)" (Outer Rhythm 1991)
  • (12")
  • When Paul Daley took the master tapes of Neil Barnes' trippy house favourite Not Forgotten and added a new intro, funky percussion and breakdowns, he wasn't just forging Leftfield's production partnership, he was changing the whole direction of house music. With its combination of heavy dubby bassline, tribal percussion and chugging instrumental rhythm, it was the polar opposite of the euphoric Italian house of the time. Progressive house was born, and everything played by Tall Paul, Judge Jules, Sasha, Digweed et al owes this record big time.
  • UK house
  • 29) Lennie De Ice "We Are I.E." (Reel 2 Real 1991)
  • (12")
  • In the early Nineties, hardcore meant helium vocals, silly samples and breakbeats of furious velocity alongside heroic doses of dodgy E. Harder, faster, nuttier: fuckin' ARDKOR!! In short, a blind alley (Bonkers fans please note: hate mail to the usual address). We Are I.E. offered an escape route by fusing hardcore's raw white noise energy with the pungent skank of the reggae sound system, a potent recipe soon to be top of every junglist's menu - it's widely regarded to be the first jungle record proper. As Bryan Gee noted in Muzik's April 1999 issue, this was the anthem and the recent remixes on Distinctive resolutely failed to improve on the original formula.
  • Jungle
  • 30) The Prodigy "Charly" (XL 1991)
  • (12")
  • Looked at one way, Charly was influential for all the wrong reasons. It spawned a host of TV-sampling novelty records, which made rave a dirty word. On the other hand, Charly's accessibility and chart success hooked thousands of new converts to dance music. Take away the "Charly says" vocal sample (nicked from a seventies road safety cartoon) and it's a surprisingly heavy record - the drums from Meat Beat Manifesto's Radio Babylon tussling with fierce bass frequencies make for a pioneering breakbeat track. Big beat and nu skool breaks both owe a debt to precocious Essex b-boy Liam Howlett and his cartoon cat.
  • Jungle, rave, nu skool breaks
  • 31) The Future Sound of London "Papua New Guinea" (Jumpin' & Pumpin' 1991)
  • (12")
  • FSOL's Brian Dougans and Gary Cobain sourced an ethereal vocal sample from Australian miserablists Dead Can Dance and placed it over an elbow-deep bassline and a Funky Drummer break to create Papua New Guinea: probably the only time the duo's music has lived up to their rather pompous name. An appearance on Top of the Pops proved once and for all that there was more to dance music than mindless hedonists pillaging the countryside and the track's elegant, innovative mix of dub, techno and ambient has exerted an enduring influence on everything from progressive house to the current nu skool breaks scene.
  • Electronic listening
  • 32) The Aphex Twin "Digeridoo" (R&S 1992)
  • (12")
  • The finest one-note bassline in living memory, blistering hardcore uproar drum programming and pure analogue future shock for everyone who heard it. Richard D. James couldn't find equipment to match the sounds in his head, so he built his own. Digeridoo pioneered a fiercely individual, uncompromising approach to making music and provided a wake-up call for a legion of bedroom producers, many of whom signed to James' equally idiosyncratic Rephlex label and coined a new genre they call 'Braindance'.
  • Gabba, illbient
  • 33) Gat Decor "Passion" (Effective 1992)
  • (12")
  • Unquestionably the record which launched progressive house as a force to be reckoned with. While all around were lame pop-rave pastiches, stomping techno and sing-song house, Gat Decor put the pulsing hypno-groove instrumental back onto the dance floor with a bassline that jerked like a Cobra on acid and a devastating use of spatial atmospherics. It was trancey, happy, housey, slinky and underground.
  • Progressive house
  • 34) Jam & Spoon "Stella" (R&S 1992)
  • (12")
  • One of the most seductive records of all time, Stella was probably the record that first put Frankfurt on the map as the epicentre of the first wave of trance music. Rather than going for the hips, it went straight for the cosmic parts of your head, with gushing sexual sighs and a transcendental sound. It took the concept of the build-up to new highs, working dance floors into a truly tranced-out state of mind. Eye Q built a career on trying to better it.
  • Trance
  • 35) Hardfloor "Hardtrance Acperience" (Harthouse 1992)
  • (12")
  • When this came out Harthouse was the most exciting underground trance label in the world and you'd buy everything on it. The squealing 303 lines in this had never been heard at such a pitch before, taking the acid house sound, cranking it up a notch or 10 and launching the new sound of trance. Josh Wink's success with Higher State of Consciousness and Misjah & Tim's Access are just two of hundreds of tunes that milked the Hardfloor formula dry.
  • Acid trance
  • 36) DJ Shadow "In/Flux" (Mo'Wax 1993)
  • (12")
  • Whether he likes it or not, Shadow invented the trip hop genre in 1994 and then wrote its anthem. Caned by everyone from Weatherall to Peshay this is one of those records you had to have the first time you heard it. The long, loping hip hop beats crammed with hundreds of samples proved Shadow's expertise at digging in the crates and influenced everyone from Leftfield to Mr Scruff.
  • UNKLE, Air
  • 37) L.T.J. Bukem "Music" (Good Looking 1993)
  • (12")
  • Like a small glowstick of light in a vast dungeon of darkness, Music was the first ever truly 'ambient jungle' record. At the time, the rave scene had splintered and jungle was dominated by gunshot breakbeats, ragga patois and horror-core strings. You weren't dancing if you weren't shitting your pants. Music was brave beyond belief, introducing great soothing washes of sound to envelop the listener, a warm cocoon of aural soak that pointed the way out of the darkside.
  • Speed, Logical Progression
  • 38) Marmion "Sch?erg" (Superstation 1994)
  • (12")
  • Taking its name from the Austrian classical composer Arnold Schoenberg who invented 12-tone serialism, or, for want of a better phrase, 'atonal' music which didn't bother with a good tune your mum could whistle. Which doesn't really have much to do with Marmion's take on his philosophy, a blast of unstoppable major chord euphoria that did for new German trance what Strings of Life did for techno. And it still rocks today.
  • Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten
  • 39) Dave Clarke "Red 2" (Bush 1994)
  • (12")
  • It may have taken its influences directly from 1991 Kevin Saunderson productions, like Inside Out and Funk, Funk, Funk, but no record quite catalysed nineties techno like Red 2. Trebly frequencies, back-winding drums and an overlap of filtered effects led to legions of imitators all trying to emulate the Red 2 sound. Arguably the last monster techno hit of the Nineties, it cropped up everywhere from Berlin's Basic Channel to Detroit's minimal nationalists.
  • The Advent
  • 40) Dust Brothers "Chemical Beats" (Junior Boy's Own 1994)
  • (12")
  • With club culture becoming dominated by increasingly turgid house music and ridiculous dress codes, the arrival of the (soon-to-be) Chemical Brothers and the Heavenly Social in August 1994 blew it all apart. Exploding with a spirited attitude embracing everything from punk to funk to mad old school acid, the Chemicals proved a force to be reckoned with. Chemical Beats - taken from their second 12-inch, the 14th Century Sky E.P. - was an astonishing debut of hard slamming beats, a colossal drop bassline and what seemed like hip hop breaks on steroids. No one had ever heard anything like it before, and the record irrevocably changed the face of club culture.
  • Big beat
  • 41) Goldie "Inner City Life" (FFRR 1994)
  • (12")
  • Not the first jungle record by any means, Inner City Life was, however, the first drum 'n' bass track to cross over to the mainstream. Where previous jungle had been hard, fast and underground, Goldie used Diane Charlemagne's sublime vocals to push a more 'intelligent' sound. Every drum 'n' bass act that followed owes Goldie, even if only because he opened the door to a whole new world. Miraculously, the song actually had a serious message too.
  • Drum 'n' bass albums, Bond films
  • 42) Robert Hood "Minimal Nation" (M-Plant 1993)
  • (12")
  • The name says it all really. Of course now Jeff Mills is all you hear, but if any one record provided the manifesto for Millsian techno, this was it. A double pack of harsh, metallic interlocking grooves that were fierce, pounding and uncompromising, Hood turned down the lights and ushered techno away from its jazzier hi-tech sound of yore. The blueprint for a generation of techno that still echoes across dance floors everywhere.
  • Minimal techno
  • 43) Basic Channel "Phylyps Trak II" (Basic Channel 1995)
  • (12")
  • Basic Channel had spent two years building their reputation with records that fused the rough textures of minimalist techno with the sonic depth of dub reggae. Like all their previous records, this barely changes from beginning to end, but its pulsing groove became a landmark deep house record. It proved so irresistible that even Masters At Work couldn't help themselves and nicked it for their Baaba Maal remixes.
  • Paper Music, Deep Dish
  • 44) DJ Trace "Mutant Revisited" (SOUR 1995)
  • (12")
  • Just when jungle was heading up a blind jazz alley, in came Trace to blow the scene wide open. Ironically, this started life as a remix of T-Power's starry, jazzy, trip-hoppy original and ended up inspiring a generation of Ed Rushes and Opticals. It was that incredible, burping backward bassline which did it, along with a tearing break and an uncompromising desire to scare its listeners witless. Jungle was pant-shreddingly challenging once again.
  • Doc Scott, Optical, Grooverider
  • 45) Fatboy Slim "Everybody Needs a 303" (Skint 1995)
  • (12")
  • Looking at him now no one would guess that after Beats International folded, Norman Cook didn't have a clue what he wanted to do. A couple of trips to The Social to see The Chemical Brothers and the Fatboy was born. When big beat was still a tag to be proud of, Norm laid the most massive funky bass break under a Hardfloor style acid line which both revived and killed the 303 sound forever. What it also did was create a blueprint for nearly every other big beat record ever and showed the acid line wasn't just a trance thing.
  • Rockafeller Skank, Zoe Ball
  • 46) D'Angelo "Brown Sugar" (Chrysalis 1995)
  • (12")
  • When American r&b was dominated by the crunching drum programs of Teddy Riley and his acolytes, D'Angelo brought love, sex and romance back to the fold, with this nod to the halcyon days of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin. Followed swiftly by the swoonsome soul of Erykah Badu and Maxwell, Britain's Trevor Nelson dubbed the sound nu classic soul. Standing up for live instruments in harmony with computers, thoughtful lyricism and understated style, this showed a sophisticated way forward.
  • Lauryn Hill, Cherokee
  • 47) Misjah & Time "Access" (X-Trax 1995)
  • (12")
  • Where Hardfloor's Hardtrance Acperience left off, this harder Dutch duo took up the running with another acid anthem, this time one that went harder and faster than ever before. Huge in England with DJs like Coxy and Jules, Access killed off handbag and piano lines in many clubs and turned the British on to the harder European sound now heard in places like Gatecrasher.
  • Acid trance
  • 48) Double 99 "Rip Groove" (Northwestside 1997)
  • (12")
  • Taking their influence from Van Helden's exceptional mix of Tori Amos' Professional Widow, Tim and Omar RIP stole his bassline concept, whacked a massive one under their two-step beats and broke speed garage to the masses. This spinback anthem boomed out all over the place, from London's Twice As Nice to John Kelly playing two copies back to back wherever he went and for six months after every single major label A&R man just had to have a speedgarage mix.
  • Speed garage
  • 49) Tina Moore "Never Gonna Let You Go" (Delirious 1997)
  • (12")
  • When it was first released, this saccharine sweet r&b tune barely set the world alight. It was only a year later, when white label remixes were all over London's underground garage scene, that it took off. Its off kilter rhythms, deep booming bass and sickly lyrics brought the girls back onto the dance floor and took the underground off into the two step groove that rules today.
  • Two-step, MJ Cole
  • 50) Stardust "Music Sounds Better With You" (Roul?strong> 1998)
  • (12")
  • When the first dub plates of this dropped at the 1998 Miami Music Conference, A&R bods, clubbers and DJs alike all clambered into the booth like piranhas to see what it was. The first house track for ages to really get everyone chanting along, Stardust opened the floodgates for a hundred feel good house tunes, Daddy's Favourite's I Feel Good Things For You and Phats & Small's Turn Around being just two. A rare record that united everyone from Grooverider and Juan Atkins to Squarepusher in one big group hug sing-a-long.
  • Filter disco
Author Comments: 

This list is based from Muzik Magazine greatest dance records to Influence Dance Music

No Velvet Undergound who actually inspiried Kraftwerk? No Silver Apples who were one of the main inspirations for Krautrock?

That magazine should really do their research...

I think the Velvet Underground are highly influential also. Lets be realistic they have nothing do with Modern Dance music. I agree with their choice of "Tomorrow Never Knows'

"Tomorrow Never Knows". You have electronic music, musique concrete effects, backward and forward music, and odd syncopation.

Well not directly with modern dance music but they heavly influenced Kraftwerk who were the main inspirations for techno.

I personally don't beleive that "Tomorrow Never Knows" is the most influential record but that depends are the dance music you listen to. That song is a watered done version of what was happening with modern composers such as Stockhausen who in my humble opinion had the biggest influence on electronic music. If you want to single out a specific track, then it's properly "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk.

Stockhausen is only part of the influence of "Tomorrow Never Knows". So expecting it to be Stockhausen or what Modern composers were doing misses the point entirely. There is whole a lot more going on the backward and forward music, the repeated odd syncopated beat, the vocals distorted, electronic music and drone.

It's the same old anti Beatles nonsense.

There's backward and forward music going on but as far as I'm aware, that dosn't have too much to do with dance music. Also saying there's forward music in it is a rather idiiotict statement because as far as I'm aware, there was forward playing music before TMK.

And I'm not anti-beatles. To make a statement like that without doing your research is pretty ignorant.

I have a hard time understanding you. It's basic the Beatles were mixing backward tape in this case guitars, samples with music that is non backwards or forward music. The Beatles did not invent this concept but in Rock Music they put it on the forefront. The effect is common in all sorts of Dance Music and Rock Music.

They possibly don't believe TNK is the most influential either. The list is in chronological order. Yeah I'd have Trans Europe Express fairly high up there. Good to see Acid Tracks in there, the cause of the acid movement. However, I'm surprised that Mentasm isn't in there. Especially as Energy Flash is. It was the reason for the hoover or mentasm sound being used in so many rave and unfortunately hard dance tracks.

The list is in chronological order. It does not state that "Tomorrow Never Knows" is the most influential. I do think it has been influential on various types of psychedelic dance records and even some Hip-hop records.

I think the song has been a bigger influence on Rock Music like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, and Hendrix.

"I Feel Love" ought to be ranked higher. Honestly I might put that at #1. When it was released there was NOTHING that sounded like it. "Trans-Europe" definitely should be top 5 as well, as should Grandmaster Flash. Kind of surpised they didn't single out Kraftwerk's "Numbers" - it was never a single, but the house beat there is used in pretty much every rap and electro song today.

I thank Karma Police for posting this list. I have seen this list before. "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a proto-type for what comes in future music. I mean how can someone not respect the fact this song uses drum loops, pre-recorded samples and the heavy repeated drum and bass sound. What is that some Beatles haters don't get?