Music of Life
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Music of Life is a British independent dance music label formed in 1986 by two influential DJ remixers, Froggy and Simon Harris, managed and administered by Chris France. Following several successful productions, one of which reached No3 in the UK pop music charts (The Real Thing's 'You to me are Everything') Harris and Froggy decided to launch their own label, they were offered a label deal by Morgan Khan (Streetwave) and the first release was a remix by the duo of Cerrone's 'Supernature' (his 'Music of Life song was the inspiration for the label name). Within a few months Froggy left the label and Streetwave went out of business. Harris being active in remixing and production for many other artists and labels financed the label with his remix income. After the demise of Streetwave Harris and France decided to re-launch as a British hip-hop (usually UK Hip Hop,) music label. Music of Life opened an office in London's Soho at 22 Hanway Street, Chris France and his sister Michelle spent their days in the busy Soho office whilst Simon could usually be found in his home studio 'The Bunker' producing many of the Music of Life releases.
At first the label licensed new rap music from US production company Powerplay for the first compilation album 'Def Beats 1' but as an addition to the US material Harris produced an extra track, under his own 'Music of Life Productions' recorded in London by the label's A&R man Derek Boland. 'Rock the Beat' by Derek B created a demand for British hip-hop and the demo tapes started to arrive, Music of Life signed the best artists instead of licensing more US material and Harris would produce many new songs featuring artists including M.C Duke, The Demon Boyz (Million Dan), Thrashpack, Asher D and Daddy Freddy, CJ Macintosh & Einstein, She Rockers (Betty Boo), Hijack and many more.
Many of these recordings broke ground and are still considered to be highly innovative, the first reggae/hip-hop combination (Asher D & Daddy Freddy's 'Ragamuffin Hip Hop) and Derek B's album would be licensed to US label 'Profile' (Run DMC), Hijack would be signed to Ice-T's Rhyme syndicate label and many more. Music Week wrote that Music of Life was "the most successful hip hop label in the UK right now", in 1988. Record Mirror identified Music of Life as one of the few hip hop labels "to believe in home grown talent". In 1989, Studio Week magazine called Music of Life "the foremost rap label in this country at the moment."
So far the Music of Life catalog of recordings and copyrights under Music of Life Productions and released on many labels worldwide including Music of Life have exceeded 2000 titles and include music videos and documentary TV shows ('Kings of Rap' - MTV).
Music of Life is one of the UK's longest running independent dance music labels (1986–present day) and the catalog has been licensed and released in over 70 countries with many chart hits including the UK, Germany, Japan, France and the USA (Harris's 'Bass' how low can you go? was a No1 Billboard US chart hit) and many Grammy award winning artists (Luthor Vandross, REM, Beastie Boys, Beck) have licensed from the Music of Life catalog.
Sister label 'Living Beat' was launched in 1989 and would release many dance music, house and pop recordings with chart success including 'Supermarioland' reaching No6 in the UK pop charts with Harris's AKA 'Ambassadors of Funk' in association with Nintendo, Samantha Fox's Song for Europe entry 'Go for the Heart' and was instrumental in helping Prince achieve his first UK No1 pop single 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World'.
Harris also produced the world's best selling series of 'Breakbeat' albums used by DJs and producers, 'Beats Breaks and Scratches' in 12 volumes and worked with top artists Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), Paul Oakenfold, Afrika Bambaataa and George Clinton to produce and release similar albums that are part of the Music of Life catalog. Music of Life is now a registered trademark.
In 2013 Music Of Life was sold to Marathon Media International and will continue to work with Simon Harris introducing new acts and making more of the back catalogue classics available on iTunes and other download sites.
The Music of Life catalog includes songs from:
- M.C. Duke & D.J. Leader 1
- She Rockers (featuring *Betty Boo)
- Daddy Freddy
- Asher D
- Tenor Fly
- Nitty Gritty
- Derek B
- 3 Knights
- DJ Daddy
- Leslie Lyrics
- Norman Cook
- Paul Oakenfold
- George Clinton
- Simon Harris (label founder)
- Ambassadors of Funk
- Afrika Bambaataa
- Demon Boyz
- Professor Griff
- Clyde Stubblefield
- Killa Instinct
- S.L. Troopers
- First Frontal Assault
- Kobalt 60
- Overlord X
- Les Dawtin, KARNAGE (17 July 2008). "Music of Life, the first UK Hip Hop label". ukhh.com. Retrieved 2001-02-26.
- Goodyer, Tim (1 September 1989). "The Bass has arrived". Music Technology: 42.
- Youngs, Ian (21 November 2005). "BBC News website: Is UK on Verge of Brithop boom". Retrieved 1 November 2006.
- Schramm, Paul (27 August 1988). "Music of Life special: Part Four: Simon Harris". Music Week: 27.
- "British Rapper Derek B Dies at 44=Sean Michaels". The Guardian. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- Dine, Simon (27 July 1987). "Kings of UK Rap". Music Week: 35.
- Hesmondhalgh, David and Caspar Melville. "Urban Breakbeat Culture: Repercussions of Hip-Hop in the United Kingdom." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, 86-110. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
- Schramm, Paul (27 August 1988). "Music of Life special: Part One: Music of Life – the Label". Music Week: 22.
- McCoulson, Paul (24 December 1988). "Christmas Rapping". Record Mirror: 11.
- Jeffries, Tim (4 January 1989). "Hot labels and remixers". Studio Week: 6.
- Music of Life Official Website
- British Hip Hop reference
- Simon Harris Blog site
- Music of Life on Discogs
- Heroes of UK Hip Hop's Music of Life links page
- Music of Life's new Facebook group
- Derek B's Obituary in The Guardian
- Music of Life on LastFM
- Music of Life on rateyourmusic.com
- When in Time's Music of Life Timeline page
- Music of Life on the MOG Music Network
- Music of Life at the 2010 IMPALA awards
- Simon Harris and Music of Life on Harrismix.com
- Cold Rock The Spot
- Italia Network
- Old British Hip-Hop
- Daddy Freddy on PauzeRadio
- MC Duke Blues and Soul
- infivestudios history of British Hip Hop page
- Groove Collector
- BBC Music
- Music of Life and the importance of British Hip Hop
- Music of Life Discoscratch
- ranker.com Music of Life page
- MC Duke on Britcore