Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley – Jack Your Body
One of the hundreds of glorious anecdotes that fill the pages of Bob Stanley’s ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ relates that veteran DJ Peter Powell retired from Radio 1 on hearing that Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s ‘Jack Your Body’ had reached number 1. With records like this topping the charts, Powell concluded that he no longer understood pop music, and graciously hung up his headphones. Powell’s crestfallen response to this track must have been something akin to Cartman ‘blowing a funny fuse’ upon meeting a couple with asses for faces and realising he may never find anything funny again.
As Stanley notes, the success of this record took everyone by surprise, and not just the unitiated. Even for pioneers of the early house scene and even today, it seems a strange number to have knocked Jackie Wilson off the top, back in a time when the charts still mattered. Producers like Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle were putting out more exciting records that were having more of an impact on sweaty US dancefloors. But Jack Your Body broke new ground, ushering in an era of artistic anonymity, where people you’d never heard of and might not hear of again could top the charts. Punk may have introduced the DIY era, but for most of their short career the Sex Pistols weren’t able to get near a venue due to the political manoevrings of their manager and it didn’t take long before the Clash were recording triple albums and touring American arenas. The gulf between performer and audience was as vast as it always had been. With acid house it didn’t even matter who the performer was. And when it achieved mainstream success, it felt like a triumph for the whole scene rather than the artist.
Some readers may be old enough to remember Now That’s What I Call Music 11, which appeared a year after Hurley’s hit and contained a whole side of Acid House, albeit in its more commercially viable form. (Flip the vinyl and you got Kylie’s I Should Be So Lucky
and Morris Minor and the Majors – don’t ask). Artists like Coldcut, Krush and, erm, Jack ‘n’ Chill adorned the sleeve and no one really knew who the fuck any of these people were. Top of the Pops producers had a headache. What could you broadcast when these records gatecrashed the top 40? At the beginning at least, there weren’t any videos and the idea of pretending to play the tune live on stage seemed ridiculous even for Top of the Pops. A black and white photo of Hurley accompanied the track for two and a half minutes when it was broadcast on Channel 4’s Chart Show
. And yet, according to Bob Stanley, “the modern pop era starts here