Chicago deep house

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Chicago deep house is a name given to a subgenre of house music coined in the mid- to late 1980s. Whereas house music in a general sense, refers to an original type of music created in Chicago in the 1980s by the likes of Marshall Jefferson, Chip E., and Lil Louis, Chicago deep house music has its roots in the disco scene of the late 1970s.

In the early 80s, DJs like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles usually would incorporate disco cuts such as First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder" or "Doctor Love", or Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, "Don't Leave Me This Way" into their sets. Since at the time, these songs weren't too old, the crowd could connect with them and accept them. As time progressed, and disco music fell more and more out of the mainstream, the various house clubs of Chicago like Medusa's and the Riviera on its north side as well as the Warehouse and Music Box downtown, kept spinning those records, keeping the music in the clubgoer's consciousness.

The name "Deep House"[edit]

Since these songs were being played and kept "alive", in the house music clubs of Chicago, the term "Chicago Deep House" was given to that style of music. The rationale behind Deep meaning that the more obscure the song, the "deeper" the DJ had to dig into his/her record collection to find that particular song.

"Deep House" were tracks that were not played on any of the radio stations house mixes in Chicago and you only heard these "Deep House" tracks in the clubs. There were also a lot of 'house' tracks that were played exclusively in Chicago only and the only way one could hear those tracks was to be in Chicago at anyone of those clubs. Also, DJ's such as Ron Hardy or Frankie Knuckles could re-edit a track to make it deeper than the original. For example, when Ron Hardy did the re-edit for Nightlife's Unlimited, "Peaches & Prune" that track (the re-edit) became a "Deep House" Chicago style house track. You only heard Ron Hardy's version at the Muzic Box and you could not hear or find the re-edit outside of Chicago during those times.

The next generation[edit]

From the late-80s into the 90s, after star DJs like Hardy (death) and Knuckles (relocation), and clubs (Music Box, Warehouse, edge of the lookingglass) left the scene, others stepped up to take their place. DJs such as Mike Dunn (house music DJ), DJ Phatmike, and a DJ collective known as the Hot Mix 5, resident or "house" DJs for Chicago local radio station WBMX, carried on the torch and actually made it fashionable to like Disco once again. Songs like "As" by Stevie Wonder along with hard to find classics like "Deputy of Love" by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band kept people on the dance floor. Newer venues like the Bop Shop, and the PropHouse were, for a time, exclusively house.


Even though Chicago Deep House is still popular in certain circles, it no longer is played exclusively in most clubs. The people that grew up "househeads" are getting older and the generation behind them did not necessarily grow up listening to it, so they generally don't have the same connection to it. But with the number of native Chicagoans living elsewhere, the term Deep House is now more widely known than before. With clubs popping up in other cities that before didn't have them, and the various "Old School" theme nights in most places, Deep House is enjoying a renaissance.

Example list of Deep House tracks[edit]

  • I'm A Big Phreek (R.U.1.2)- Phreek
  • One More Try - Ashford & Simpson
  • Keep on Jumpin' - Musique
  • Let's Get Together - Pam Todd & The Love Exchange
  • I Wanna Be With You - Coffee
  • Coming on Strong - Caroline Crawford
  • Come Inside My Love - Bonnie Oliver
  • Get Another Love- Chantel Curtis
  • Funkynova - Wood Brass & Steel
  • Come On Dance, Dance - Saturday Night Band
  • You're Just the Right Size- Salsoul Orchestra
  • Boogie Down usa - People's Choice
  • Ecstacy... - Barry White
  • Baby I'm Scared Of You - Womack and Womack
  • We Got The Funk - Positive Force
  • You Saved My Day - Cheryl Lynn
  • Cherchez La Femme - Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band
  • Was That All It Was - Jean Carne
  • The Real Thing - Sergio Mendez