• Steve “Silk” Hurley Of S&S Chicago Breaks Down His Top 30 House Remixes

  • Steve “Silk” Hurley’s Top 30 House Remixes

    Steve “Silk” Hurley of S&S Records Inc. (Chicago) is a GRAMMY® Nominated DJ, Producer, Songwriter, Artist and Remixer, but today we wanted to focus on the hundreds of House Remixes he has produced.  Certainly everyone has their favorites, and we would love to continue to hear what yours are, but we thought it would be nice to get a top 30 from the man himself.  So we sat down and talked to “Silk” over the holiday to pick his brain for the Top 30 Silk House Remixes that mean the most to him.

     

    30.

    Loleatta  Holloway – Mama  Dont,  Papa  Wont (Steve “SilkHurley House Mix)

    Salsoul Records – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUlAMi4P9m8

    Everyone associated with the history of Chicago-born House Music knows that one of our inspirations for the creation of House Music  was the love of the legendary disco and post-disco singers like Loleatta Holloway, who also was from Chicago.  My love of passionate, church-influenced vocalists like her set a bar for me of what I thought was a good vocal, and helped me to challenge artists like CeCe Peniston & Chantay Savage in the studio to give the people their all, and leave it all out there with no boundaries.  So having the privilege to remix a Loleatta record some 20 years after she recorded it put me in a time capsule that I didn’t want to escape, while also riding that capsule into the 2000’s!

     

    29.

    Michael Jackson – Jam (Silky Soul 12) – Epic / Sony / BMG Records #4 Billboard Dance Chart

    Silky Soul 12”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNVV7GuXFt8

    Growing up, I was a huge fan of The Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson in particular.  Although this was my 2nd remix done for “The King Of Pop”, it was just as special to me as the first.  Because I was a fan of everyone associated with this song, I wanted to keep as much of the original Teddy Riley production as possible, starting with highlighting the Horn Lines in the song, and adding my own instruments to complement Teddy’s.  Then I wanted to take MJ and Heavy D to a real House Music Party by surrounding them with Piano Lines and signature classic Rhodes Parts on top of House Drums, percussion, and driving baselines…all while keeping the original song structure.  It was a challenge because there was so many great parts to work with.  I’m glad I lost sleep and put in the extra time on this song, because I think that was what helped me get the gig to work in the studio with MJ on his “History” album that came after “Dangerous”.

     

    28.

    Liza  Minelli – Love  Pains (Hurleys House Remix) – Epic / Sony / BMG Records

    TV Performance – Hurleys House Remix (Radio) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Dl15xZ9iW8

    Hurley’s House Remix (Full 12version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI8658PjtbE

    Liza Minelli is one of a few Artists who have won GRAMMY® Awards, Academy Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards.  Her Mom is the Legendary actress, Judy Garland (“Dorothy” on “The Wizard Of Oz” movie.) So I never expected the call for me to put my twist on her song, “Love Pains’’, produced by The Pet Shop Boys.  I knew they wanted to keep that original vibe musically, but make it more relatable for the Club DJ’s to play.  Hence, I beefed up the drums and bass, and added some sample stabs to accomplish that.  What I didn’t know was that they would have me create a radio edit for Liza to use for her TV performances.  This was a really fun project for me because it challenged me to bring House Music to a different party!

     

    27.

    En Vogue – Strange (Silks House Mix) – East-West / Atlantic Records

    #44 Billboard Dance Chart – Silks House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_m0EZbFsoo

    En Vogue is one of my favorite female groups of the 90’s.  The group has won seven MTV Video Music Awards, three Soul Train Awards, two American Music Awards, and received seven Grammy nominations so naturally it was an honor to be commissioned to put together a House remix of “Strange”.  However, I didn’t choose this one based on commercial success.  It was not actually a commercial single, but an album cut that was only promoted to the club DJ’s.

    This remix is special to me because Atlantic allowed me to express myself and go in a totally different direction than that of the original version of  “Strangefrom their Born To SingAlbum, and cater to the real “House Music aficionados.  So with the song title being “Strange”, I didn’t think it would be so strange to insert a weird circus theme into it, along with the House Music track that I put together.

    Despite not being a priority, or an “Official” single, it did reach #44 on the U.S Billboard Dance chart and was featured on their Remix To Sing compilation, which was a greatest hits of their remixes.

     

    26.

    Shay Jones – Are You Gonna Be There (Hurleys House Mix) – ID Records

    #29 Billboard Dance Chart – Hurleys House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0xqDEK8u5s

    Having my own label (ID Records) always gave me an outlet to reach the underground audience with new ideas that were outside the realm of what I was doing commercially on the Major labels for Michael Jackson and other superstar artists.

    In this song written by the great ID Records songwriting duo of  Eric “E-Smoove” Miller & Jere McAllister, Shay’s voice stands out and shines through…even over the landscape of pianos, strings, and house rhythms that would normally swallow up a singer’s vocals.

    Shay has one of the purest vocal tones I’ve ever heard, so it was always a pleasure working with her in the studio.  On this remix, my intent was to make you feel every lyric that Shay was singing.  I spent hours at the piano trying to come up with a simple chord progression that would stir your soul but still be repetitive enough to be hypnotic.  I wanted to leave room for the song to breath, and for the House Music feeling to shine through.

    This is one of my favorite remixes because the people have told me for years that they “felt it!”

     

    25.

    Paula  Abdul – Vibeology (Hurleys House Mix) – Virgin Records

    #17 Billboard Dance Chart – Hurleys House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxmlqmHwCGM

    Paula was actually one of my favorite artists at the time, so it was exciting getting my hands on her vocals and turning Vibeology into a House Record.

    And what’s ironic is that releasing the Shay Jones “Are You Gonna Be There” on ID Records actually opened up the door for me to use the same style of piano Chord progressions on the Paula Abdul record, which helped made a “Pop Artist” playable by underground DJ’s.

     

    24.

    Simply  Red  – Atlantic Records – Something Got Me Started (Hurleys House Mix)

    #13 Billboard Dance Chart – Hurleys House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RmGrc5Dow4

    When I did this remix, I was familiar with the “Blue Eyed Soul” of Simply Red, and was a fan of them.  However I didn’t know about their worldwide success.  Simply Red have actually sold over 55 million records and 1 billion streams worldwide.

    With the tempo being about 116 BPM, it probably was too slow for most avid House fans, but I really wanted to keep the vibe of the original as much as possible. Despite the slower tempo, it still hit the Billboard Dance Chart at #13, and I didn’t know that my remix got played so heavily internationally… until I started running into people while touring in the UK and hearing them tell me that this was one of my best remixes!

    I appreciate the love that I’ve gotten from House Music Fans all over the world.  Every Country seems to have a different favorite of my remixes that I didn’t even know was being played.  Better late than never I guess!

     

    23.

    Rahsaan Patterson – Where You Are (Silk’s House Remixes) – MCA / Universal Records

    Steve Silk Hurley House Mix   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCvyYAyidsY

    Silks Deep House Edit   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZxxk4W8dTw

    Hurley House Mix w/ Fame Kidson Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq71ndplLZW/

    Rahsaan Patterson is one of the most underrated R&B Artists in the world.  It’s pretty funny that (shame on me) I didn’t know who he was until I decided to jump out on faith and say hello to an  executive in the airport because she was wearing an MCA Records Jacket.  She immediately told me that she had been LOOKING for me to do a remix for her on a new artist that had just released a single called “Where You Are”.

    That airport decision changed my life forever and is always a story that I share with aspiring artists about going with your first mind and “facing your fears of the uncertain” and even approaching a stranger when it’s outside of your comfort zone. This is one of the remix projects that got me one of my GRAMMY® Nominations.  Also Rahsaan and I have collaborated as writers on two of his other albums, as well as on  Ill Go (closing song of the  Love And Basketballmovie), which I produced for Donell Jones.

    My favorite part of the House Mix is the underground vamp from 5:05 to the end.I had so much fun putting a different vibe on top of Rahsaan’s great Ad libs.  It’s been used in several short videos on social media.  I also enjoyed putting together the Deep House Mix, which I have heard several club DJ’s play when I’ve walked in the door in Italy.  Thanks for the love!

     

    22.

    Janet  Jackson – Runaway (Silks Housy Mix) – A&M / Universal Records

    #8 Billboard Dance Chart – Silks Housy Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKmQIe7er2U

    You may know her as the multi-platinum, award-winning superstar sister of “The King Of Pop”, but I remember Janet mostly as little “Penny” from the Good Times TV show…until her coming out party with her Jam & Lewis – produced “Control” album.  She hasn’t looked back since…It was a great feeling to get the call to bring some House music to her already packed party!

    I loved the choir voices that Jam & Lewis arranged, and I had to use them.  Plus she had so many catchy lead vocals that I had to go into sample mode! This was a really fun opportunity for me to bring House music flavor to a bona fide Pop Mega Star!

     

    21.

    Maurice feat. Chantay Savage – I Gotta Hold On You (Silk Remixes)

    I.D. Records – #19 Billboard Dance Chart

    Steves Silky Scat Dub https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XCWYWej0p8

    Steve SilkHurleys Vocal Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYFEAACmRNA

    This collaboration of Maurice Joshua and platinum artist Chantay Savage was originally a Hip House record that Mo produced for my label, I.D. Records. It was a signature Mo Underground groove on which he dropped a few fun bars, and had Chantay singing the hook.  After I finished my vocal remix, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was an ad lib track (Jazzy Scat Track with talking) that they recorded as a bonus!  I just had to make a deep dub from that.  Chantay’s performance was stellar and for that reason, enjoyed putting together my the Silky Scat Dub remix the best.

    I remember Masters at Work (Kenny Dope and Louie Vega), Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries and so many others playing the Scat version, and that really made me feel validated that they felt where I was going with that mix!  And what’s really cool about this song is that although it was intended for the Underground, it crossed over to other DJ’s and reached #19 on the Billboard Dance Chart.

     

    20.

    Jestofunk feat. Jocelyn Brown – Special Love (Silks Special House Mix) – IRMA Records

    Silks Special House Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TWjdqs5SvI

    Jocelyn Brown may have more credits in Dance Music than any female singer. Some may only know of her from her hit as a solo artist, “Somebody Else’s Guy”, but her vocals have been featured through every chapter of dance music history, from Disco (Chic, Change, Salsoul Orchestra), to Garage Music (Inner Life’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) to House music (Todd Terry’s “Keep On Jumpin”, Nuyorican Soul’s “It’s Alright, I Feel It”), to Pop /Dance Music (Snap’s “The Power”).  She is Legendary to say the least.

    So to get my filthy hands on her vocals made me feel like a mad scientist.  I really enjoyed this project.

     

    19.

    Karen Ramirez – If We Try (Silks Disco Anthem Edit) – Mercury / Manifesto U.K. / Universal

    Silks Disco Anthem Edit  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3zBtf8pODk 

    Disco is in my blood. Runs through my veins.  It’s what made me want to be a DJ.  This is an example of what I would have done as a disco producer in the late 70’s.

    My goal was to compliment Karen’s great melodies with uplifting chords over a 70’s disco bass line and house drums.  As a producer I go into this disco mode every once in a while.  It reminds me of when I was digging in the crates for old disco to play in my DJ sets at places like The Bismarck with Lil’Louis, the Candy Store with Farley, or Sauer’s with Andre Hatchett and Celeste Alexander.

     

    18.

    Ann  Nesby – LovinIs Really My Game – Interscope Records

    #1 Billboard Dance Chart – Silks House 12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcIwBV7yYTc

    Ann Nesby is not only one of my favorite singers, but one of my favorite people.  She has a heart of gold to go with those golden pipes.

    This was a very fun collaboration that I put together with Ann & Brian Alexander Morgan (SWV’s writer and producer-BAM).  We put together the original version with all the instrumentation by me, vocal arrangements and backgrounds by BAM and Ann, and live strings arranged by Sylvia Morris right here in Chicago. Also I have top shout out Gerry Johnson (Guitar) and Lamar Jones (Bass) for the late night Bass & Guitar session!

    Although I was the original producer, I have to count this as one of my favorite remix projects because I actually took what we recorded and did a “House remix” of it, with dub parts and all.

    Of course no one could ever trump what Brainstorm did with their classic Disco version in the late 70s, but I really enjoyed taking their song and making it an authentic House version that today’s DJ’s could play for their audiences!

     

    17.

    Mellow  Man  Ace – Welcome  To  My  Groove (Silks House Mix) – Capitol Records

    #10 Billboard Dance Chart – Silks House Mix – Official Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWu0oXb6YK4

    This is actually one of my favorite feel good Hip House records of all time. Mellow Man Ace puts you in a great mood over one of the best Disco samples, and I really wanted to make this record work for all the House Music lovers all over the world while still appealing to Ace’s then fast-growing fan base.

    Hip House is one of the 1st cousins of House Music, and I’m glad to have been involved in it’s creation and development. My first record, “Music Is The Key” was also the first Hip House record, although it also contained sung verses as well as the rap verse.  My rap verse told the story of my life as a DJ and how it shielded me from danger in the sometimes cruel streets of Chicago…and how House music at a party made for a peaceful atmosphere, and how it allowed you to escape from your everyday issues.  It still does!

    I just talked to Mellow Man Ace a few months ago and he was raving to me about how he always performs my version of his song in his live performances. That alone makes me feel really good about this song because that’s always my goal with a remix. To preserve the artist’s original intent, while also exposing their work to new audiences worldwide.

     

    16.

    Yolanda Adams – Open My Heart (Steve SilkHurleys House Mix) – Elektra

    #29 Billboard Dance Charts  – Steve SilkHurleys House Mix   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqoM8G3Sm9c

    This record means so much to me for many reasons.   My relationship with Atlantic was strong courtesy of  Merlin Bob from the history of all remixes from Ten City, Roberta Flack, and other Artists that he put me on.  That ended up helping me get the nod to do remixes of one of the best ever Gospel songs, that was actually written by Yolanda and three of my closest industry friends, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and James “Big Jim” Wright, who we recently lost (R. I. H.).

    Big Jim’s stamp was all over this song musically, as I have witnessed him first hand playing chords that move your soul and evoke emotions like none other!  In addition to what that song had melodically and on the production end, the lyrics were so uplifting and it was a great song of reflection. So I tried to stay in the same direction musically, and just gear it to the dance floor.

    Of course I was honored to be able to take this Gospel hit to the dance floor and make it a Gospel House record!

     

    15.

    Was (Not Was) feat.Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne & Kim Basinger Shake Your Head (Hurley’s House Remixes) Chrysalis #4 on the UK Singles Chart

    Hurleys House Remix feat.Madonna & Ozzy Osbourne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HouUHpZCk9o

    Hurleys House Remix feat. Ozzy Osbourne & Kim Basinger  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TCy9icPURgDeeJaying

    The story behind this record is so crazy that I just have to share a piece of it! It also happens to be one of my favorite remixes from the standpoint of the musical direction that I went into.

    Was (Not Was) has always created great underground dance music, and I was familiar with them from my early DeeJaying years. We used to play “Tell Me That I’m Dreaming” in the early 80s, and I was super excited to be able to do a remix on their 1983 album cut called “Shake Your Head”

    The backstory on this tune is that the song was originally recorded with Madonna and Ozzy Osbourne. Then the popular actress Kim Basinger was brought in to re-record the vocals, which were intended to replace Madonna‘s. When they sent me the vocals and all their master parts, I didn’t know the backstory, so I just thought that Kim Basinger sounded like Madonna!

    So when I sent them remix, they loved it but they said I used the wrong vocals. So I had to get the new vocals from them and create the mix over again with Kim’s vocals. But all the extra time put in was worth it, because it ended up being Was (Not Was)’ biggest record, reaching #4 on the UK singles chart.

    Make sure you check out both versions!

     

    14.

    Nicole – Rock The House (Steve SilkHurleys House Remix) – Oceana / Atlantic Records

    #21 Billboard Dance Chart – Hurleys House Of Trix Mix   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jg-MhKB60w

    On this record, Atlantic basically wanted the treatment I gave the Roberta Flack record on an R&B record that they were releasing.  So I found the chord progressions I wanted to use to compliment the R&B vocal, used some similar sounds, gave them a similar arrangement and rode the wave!

     

    13.

    Steve SilkHurley feat. Sharon Pass – The Word Is Love (Silks Anthem Of Life)

    Silk Entertainment Records / S&S Records – GRAMMY® NOMINATED REMIX

    #15 Italian National Chart – #25 U.K. National Chart

    Silks Anthem Of Life – OFFICIAL VIDEO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOR5mQL32fw

    Sharon Pass definitely paid her dues as a demo and background singer for our ID Records camp, for artists like CeCe Peniston, Donell Rush, Jamie Principle, & M. Doc, just to name a few.

    So it was only right that she was able to shine front stage on my single called “The Word Is Love.”  Sharon has one of the best tones and vocal range that I’ve ever heard, and it really shines on this record. And of course with me being the character that I am, I had to put some fun into the record with the “Oom-Dah” background vocal bits.

    What most people don’t know is that this Anthem Of Life Mix was actually the 3rd remixed version that I did before finally having something that I really felt good about. I actually struggled for a few weeks, trying to beat the dead horse, which was the first house version that I came up with.

    Then I finally just laid down one remix that I settled on being called the original mix, and I was able to start from scratch with the Anthem remix. I liked the drums and analog synths of the original so I kept them. But I wanted to go in a more disco direction with the rhythm .  I wanted to take people back to the late 70’s feeling with a real disco bass line.  Maybe this was because I knew that Sharon’s voice could stand up to any instrumentation that I may put on the record, in the same way that singers like Loleatta Holloway and Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown did in the disco and post-disco days.

    I released this record on my Silk Entertainment label and we sold tens of thousands of vinyl records independently. That created such a buzz internationally that Simon Dunmore (now owner of Defected Records) licensed the single to A&M in the UK, and we also placed it on several other European labels. All of this helped take the song to heights internationally that I hadn’t reached (on my own Artist singles) since “Jack Your Body”.

     

    12.

    Pointer  Sisters – Insanity (Hurleys House Remixes) – Motown Records –#11 Billboard Dance Chart

     Hurleys House Mix (Live Band) on Arsenio Hall Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLdxo5I4Wvg

    Hurleys House Of Trix Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VIihhrtMDQ

    Hurleys House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVlbU9gqQ1I 

    Hurleys House Mix Live on Showtime At The Apollo  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Uh8rso7Ypw

     

    The Pointer Sisters are a legendary R&B and pop group that I grew up listening to. So it was definitely exciting to work on this tune.

    The first thing I did was sample all of the vocal parts that I thought could be used as dubs, such as “outta my mind” .  Then I figured out what chords would complement the melody of the song and I played those chords as organ parts and piano parts. Then I added the baselines and drums and started arranging it into a song first and then into Dubs…then I edited it into several different versions. Sounds pretty easy, huh?  Nope! It took me several days to be happy with it!

    However in the end it was all worth it because this remix hit the Billboard Dance Charts, and also the Pointer Sisters always performed my version of the song on TV appearances.

     

    11.

    Clubland  – Hold  On  Tighter (Silks House Mix – Official Music Video ) – Great  Jones / Island  – 

    #1 Billboard Dance Chart – Silks House Mix – Official Music Video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR4o0VSKjDs

    It always feels great when the artist and label embrace the remix you’ve created and utilize it as the main version, even though it was not what they envisioned when it was created. I am always humbled by that… this is why this is in my top 30, at number 11.

    Just as I did on the Jomanda record, I simplified the hook and kept it simple.  That became my formula that seemed to work for everyone.

     

    10.

    D.S. K. – What  Would  We  Do (Hurleys House Mixes) – London Records – #5 Billboard Dance Chart

    What  Would  We  Do (Hurleys House Mix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVeAh6dxA_w

    Hurleys Extended Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr_WSgSECpE

    This song right here is on my list, purely because as a DJ, it is one of my favorite remix projects that I created, which I really like to play in my DJ sets.

    The Extended mix was more of a “DJ Tool” kind of mix, that could create extra energy while staying in the musical realm of the Original DSK Version.  But I really liked the House Mix the best of the 2.

    This was just a really fun song from a lyrical and melodic standpoint, so on the House Mix, I tried to make the music match that. I wanted to give people that “happy and uplifting feeling”when they heard this song, so the chords that I chose to play were with the intention of making you “feel good”.

    I hope I did.

     

    9.

    Inner  City – Good  Life – Virgin Records – #1 Billboard Dance Chart  

    Steve SilkHurley Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrvdIjCFahQ&list=RDwrvdIjCFahQ%23t%3D7

    Detroit techno is a very close cousin of Chicago‘s house music. We are all tied at the hip, because we all got our start at around the same time. As a matter of fact, Derrick May (Mayday) and  and Kevin Saunderson used to come to Chicago and I actually used to run into Derrick at Importes , Etc.,  which was our favorite 12 inch record store at the time. So our influences are similar and different all at the same time which makes for a cool combo on this remix that I put together.

    Chicago Native Paris Grey was the lead singer, and Kevin Saunderson was the producer of this great group known as Inner City.  Paris did a few house records before she hooked up with Kevin so she has roots in both house music and techno, which is great!

    If you really know me, you know me for the mad scientist that I truly am.  LOL.  On this remix, I was able to try out another new trick that I used to do on the turntables back in the day. Stopping the music on beat by turning the turntable off or hitting the stop button, and then bringing in the other turntable on beat was something that I did as a DJ trick. For the first time in the studio, I experimented with doing what I called called “stop edits”.  In the studio it wasn’t as simple as just turning off the power on the turntable. I actually had to stop the 24 track machine, sometimes with effects, to create a stopping sound. But I had to edit that stopping sound in by recording it to a reel to reel, and using a razor blade and splicing tape on a splicing block, edit that “Stop” in wherever I saw fit…and I had to make a come back in on beat. Because I had been editing for a while, this wasn’t too difficult, but it was a little time-consuming. But I felt like it was worth it to try some of these stop edits on this song. The stop edits later became a plug-in that top producers use in the studio in Pro-Tools, called Vari-Fi.  I used stop edits on Ten City’s “Right Back To You”, and edited in some backwards tape rewinds as well.  I like living on the edge!

    Once again, I was humbled to remix a record that was already great, and to serve in the role of putting the icing on the cake.  I was happy to hear later the that a lot of DJs played my version because I had catered the arrangement to them…so it would flow well in their DJ Sets.  Mission accomplished!

     

    8.

    CeCe  Peniston – Searchin’ (Silk In The House Mix) – A&M / Universal Records

    Silk In The House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGRVN5RqPmo

    This song was originally sung by the great Sharon Pass (“The Word Is Love”) as a song demo for possible placement on CeCe’s 2nd Album. Thanks in part to the great vocal performance by Sharon, this song got placed on CeCe’s album.  We actually kept Sharon’s background vocals, and mixed them with CeCe’s because they sounded “oh so sweet” together!

    I have to confess that my fellow Chicago house music producer Cajmere’s “Percolator” was playing in the back of my mind when I was doing this house remix of the R&B song that I produced.  Cajmere was one of Chi-Town’s next wave of house music producers that was blowing up the clubs at the time.

    I normally would go in a more orchestrated, piano-driven, classic, musical direction for a CeCe song, but her vocals were so hot that I was able to go with the new school energy.   I was able to embrace this next generation of Chicago house music producers, and pay them homage on a record from a major artist like CeCe!

     

     7.

    Black  Box – Deconstruction / RCA Records – I Dont Know Anybody Else (Hurleys House Mix) 

    Hurleys House Mix – Live on BBC Radio1 Pete Tong Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkk9rE2yOAY

    Hurleys House Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEryl6-ORwM&list=RDqEryl6-ORwM&start_radio=1

    Once again, I want to express how humbling it is to be able to finally work with the artists that influenced us kids from Chicago to create a genre called House Music.  I remember playing songs by the weather girls such as “Just Us”  and Sylvester’s Dance (Disco Heat), and thinking to myself, this just makes me feel good!  Of course the music always has to be right to make me feel that way, but what I found out later was that more than anything, it was the golden pipes of Martha Wash that were really giving me those goosebumps…

    Martha was also the uncredited voice behind  C&C music factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”, and of course Black Box’s hit, “Everybody, Everybody”.  But we all knew THAT VOICE!

    So getting the assignment to follow up that hit single with a remix on I “Don’t Know Anybody Else” made me like a kid in a candy store.  I liked the fact that I could be aggressive with my sounds and her voice was still able to cut through.

     

    6.

    Crystal  Waters – Makin’  Happy Hurleys (Happy House Mix) – Mercury  Records

    #1 Billboard Dance Chart – Hurleys Happy House Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJAQ1Ogng_s

    Anyone who is familiar with Crystal Waters would say that lyrically, she is the ultimate story teller.  In addition to that, she creates some of the catchiest melodies known to man.  Sometimes she even sings them the way a DJ would scratch them in.  All of this said, she is a genius artist and has been a consistent representative of house music for so many years.

    So It was definitely on my wishlist to remix Crystal’s 2nd single, the follow up to the platinum mega-hit House Record, “Gypsy Woman”.  But who knew that my version would end up being the radio version and video version after the Basement Boys put together such a great production?  I am always humbled when a label, artist, producer and management believe in my work enough to let me carry the baton in the last lap and put icing on the cake for them. But I guess you could say that is really my purpose as a remixer!  That tradition goes back to the great remixers that came before me, like Francois Kevorkian remixing Yazoo’s “Situation” and D-Train’s “Keep On”, or Shep Pettibone’s versions of “Let No Man Put Asunder” and Aurra’s “Checkin You Out”.

    Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good grand piano. But this is one of the first projects where I didn’t have to actually play the piano but just edit it and put it where I saw fit.  The legendary Basement Boys produced this track, and their pianos were on point, so I kept them and added several bass line parts that would really enhance what they were doing with the baby grand.  So basically, I became the Basement Boys’ Bass player for a day!  Then I added my signature organs, drums and horns, and it all fit like a glove.

    Crystal had so many catchy vocal parts for me to work with (Example: “she screams ah-oooh-uh”)…so finding something to sample and repeat was easy, and this became one of the most enjoyable remix sessions I’ve ever been in.  Once I finished the final version,  I was so excited that I was searching for a club full of house heads to play it for that night!

     

    5.

    Ten  City – Atlantic  – Thats  The  Way  Love  Is – #1 Billboard Dance Chart

    Hurleys House Mix  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lixYVdngvgQ

    Byron Stingily has been a friend of mine since I first started doing house music. What’s funny is, he is the same humble person now that he was when I met him at Barneys One stop where he was working and I was having my record label releases distributed.  He gave me a 12 inch of his record called “Fixit Man”, and later “Devotion”. I played his records all the time on my radio mix show when I was with the Hot Mix Five, and he always made me feel like he really appreciated it.

    I guess he really did appreciate the support, because he came to me first to remix his records when he was signed to Atlantic records as the lead singer of the 1st ever House Music Band, Ten City.

    I really have to say that I cut my teeth remixing on Ten City’s records. There was always a lot of good material to work with so I had to learn the art of expressing myself while keeping the original vision of the producer, artist, and label.

    This remix was one of my favorites because I was able to implement the latest trend in house music, which was acid house. I wanted to to pay homage to our next generation of house music producers that were doing something that was on the cutting edge, while also keeping the integrity of such a great production by Marshall Jefferson and vocal performance by Byron and the others in Ten City (Lil’ Byron & “Guitar Herb”).

    When I started sampling Byron’s vocals (for instance the “love…love,love” part), I was a little nervous that the deep house constituency may not appreciate it but I jumped out on the edge and rolled with it because it felt good to me. Good thing I did!

     

    4.

    Prince – Get Off (Hurleys Remixes) – Paisley Park Records – #1 Billboard Dance Chart

    Gett Off (Hurleys Houstyle) (Official Music Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bi-xdXFsqk

    Gett Off (Hurleys House Mix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjxXaXRmW6c

    When I got the opportunity to remix one of my favorite artists of all time, Prince, I put in the extra time. I knew they wanted me to do a house version, but I wanted to also do a dancier R&B version, which I thought would help get even more support from radio.

    They actually ended up calling that version the house style remix. It got a lot of support, and Prince decided that he wanted it used as an official video version.

    That was cool, but I really really enjoyed doing the house version (Flutestrumental on credits), which at about 115 BPM was more of a sexy vibe rather than a super energetic version. Rosie Gaines “sang her face off” on this song and I loved utilizing her vocals along with Prince’s. “Gett Off” was Prince’s seventh and final song to reach number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.

     

    3.

    Roberta Flack – Uh Uh Ooh Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes) – Atlantic Records – #1 Billboard Dance Chart 

    When the masters arrived at our studio for this Quincy Jones production, I was surprised to see that there were two 32 track digital tapes which we could not play at our studio.

    I had to go to a digital studio in Milwaukee to mix the record. It was pretty intimidating, because there were over 48 tracks of great music from the top musicians in the world, such as Greg Phillinganes, the horns of Jerry Hey, and several others.  Although I learned a lot by having access to a Quincy Jones production up close and personal, it took me 3 days to put together an R&B mix that was reflective of my style.  And something was  still missing. I decided to bounce out the vocals to an a-cappella and take the files back to my studio.

    It only took me 7 hours to come up with something that I was super happy with.  A house mix. But I actually did something that I usually didn’t do. I created an entirely new music bed for the a cappella. Traditionally a remix involved changing a few levels, adding percussive elements, adding some musical parts, and extending some breakdowns.  But this time I did a new track completely. This became my method of remixing from that point on.

    I went in a totally different direction with this remix, so I guess the label didn’t think my version should be on the A side.   So they put it on the B side. However when the DJs got the promo copies, everyone flipped it over and played my version.   Although it was created as an R&B ballad,  it  reached#1 on the Billboard Dance charts, and ended up on Roberta Flack’s Greatest Hits, so I felt pretty vindicated in the end!

     

    2.

    Jomanda – Got  A  Love  For  You – Big  Beat / Atlantic Records – #1 Billboard Dance Chart

    Hurleys House Mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL0eIMXbLRw&feature=youtu.be

    Around 1988, I started the more regular practice of replacing the entire track when remixing. But this time I went into uncharted territory and changed the vocal hook into something totally different.  I really liked the verses of the song, but I thought the hook could be simpler. The best part of the hook said “got a love for you”, with nice harmonies, but only one time,  so I just repeated it 4 times on the Chorus, and put the best Ad libs between each one.   I kept it as simple as that. Then I added some musical elements, including a horn line that I became known for.

    There was an ad lib lead vocal that I really liked, that said “Ooooh”… so I sampled it, pitch bent it, and turned it into a vocal intro section that I put after the horn break. So I basically grabbed the best of what I liked about the song and rearranged it the way I felt it would work best.

    Luckily for me, the label loved my version enough to get behind it and promote it to radio.  So it not only went to #1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, but also appeared on the R&B and Pop Charts and became Big Beat’s biggest record at the time.  It attracted the attention of Doug Morris, the Co-Chairman of Atlantic Records at the time.  Atlantic acquired Big Beat and made Kallman the Vice President of A&R while he still operated Big Beat.

    “Got A Love For You” was ranked #72 on The 100 Greatest Dance Songs list by Slant Magazine.

     

    1.

    Michael Jackson – Remember The Time (Silky Soul 7) – Epic / Sony / BMG Records – #2 Billboard Dance Chart

    Silky Soul 7” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCS-ZKfGtvM

    “Remember The Time” was the 1st single from Michael Jackson’s comeback album, “Dangerous”. This was my favorite song from the  album, from my favorite artist of all time,  “The King Of Pop”…produced by my favorite producer at the time, Teddy Riley.  So this being my number one was a “no-brainer”.  But it wasn’t just for those selfish reasons.  This remix was a result of the blood sweat and tears that I shed in learning how to become a music producer in the 10 years prior.  I finally was asked to “just do what you do”,  even for the immortal MJ.  I remember listening to his a-capella tracks in awe for hours, and being grateful for the opportunity to sit at my keyboard and play along with his vocals, as though he were right there in the room with me.  It was spine-tingling.

    I really wanted to come up with music that complimented the lyrics and melodies he was singing, but I also wanted to use this song to further expose House Music to the masses.  Therefore I had to also implement the energy of the House sound while keeping the song element of this already classic tune.  A month later, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my version being played in regular rotation on stations like WGCI, (which was Chicago’s biggest station), and to see the Official Music Video feature my remix in addition to the original version… And a year later, who knew that I actually would be in the studio with him working on tracks for his “History” album?

    I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to just work hard at what I love to do, and for that to become enough for me to have a career in music and entertainment, without ever having to look back.