Can You Feel It (Larry Heard song)

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"Can You Feel It"
Can You Feel It (Larry Heard song).jpg
Single by Mr. Fingers
from the album Washing Machine EP and Another Side
B-side"Beyond the Clouds"
RecordedChicago, Illinois, United States
LabelTrax TX127
Songwriter(s)Larry Heard
Producer(s)Larry Heard
Audio sample
30 second sample of "Can You Feel It"

"Can You Feel It" is a 1986 house record released by Larry Heard (also known as Mr. Fingers). It is one of the first deep house records.[2] Its seminal impact on deep house has been compared to that of Derrick May's "Strings of Life" (1987) on Detroit techno.[3]


The track was produced using Roland's Juno-60 polyphonic synthesizer and TR-909 drum machine. The Juno-60 produced the six-note bassline, while the TR-909 produced the drumline. Striking pads were also used.[4][5]

Original release[edit]

"Can You Feel It" was originally released as an instrumental on Mr. Fingers' Washing Machine EP in 1986 on Trax Records.[6] It became popular in both the Chicago club scene & the early UK House club scene which was taking off in London & The Midlands. The track was often mixed with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.[citation needed] The song later appeared on the 1988 Fingers Inc. album Another Side.


In 1987, Rhythm Control released a track called "My House,"[7] which contained spoken word vocals from Chuck Roberts discussing the feeling and meaning of house music. In 1988, the speech from the a cappella version of "My House" was later used in a remix of "Can You Feel It" and overlaid over Heard's original instrumental (with samples from The Jacksons' "Opening/Can You Feel It" off their 1981 The Jacksons Live! album used in the introduction). This speech version of the track was a bootleg and was dismissed by Heard, who has always been vocal in his disapproval of sampling the work of other artists without their permission. Regardless, this quickly became the most well-known version of "Can You Feel It". Both the instrumental and vocal versions have appeared on numerous house music compilations.

A rarer alternate mix was also made with soul vocals from Fingers Inc. vocalist Robert Owens.[8]

Impact and legacy[edit]

Mixmag ranked the song number 19 in its 100 Greatest Dance Singles Of All Time list in 1996, adding:

"The blueprint for every dreamy deep house instrumental that followed, the magic Mr Fingers comes from the slow, somnambulant pace, the simple emotive synth chords and the shiver of joy every time you hear the hi-hats rush shimmeringly over the top. No 1988 house session really seemed complete without the British version that layered Martin Luther King over Larry Heard's instruments at the end of the night."[9]

Slant Magazine ranked the song at number 51 in its list of the 100 Greatest Dance Songs in 2006.[10]

The Guardian featured the song as part of its A history of modern music: Dance in 2011.[11]

Time Out`s 2015 list of The 20 Best House Tracks Ever included "Can You Feel It" as #5, adding:

"To those who regard electronic music as being devoid of emotion, we give you this staggering 1986 masterpiece from the saintly Larry Heard (under his Mr Fingers alias). The ultimate break-of-dawn anthem, the combination of butt-shaking low-end acid bass and bleary eyed synths make this more vivid than an acid flashback."[12]

In popular culture[edit]

The vocal remix was featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the radio station SF-UR.


  1. ^ "Rave Anthems: The Best Old Skool Rave and Warehouse Classics - Various Artists - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. ^ Iqbal, Mohson (31 January 2008). "Larry Heard: Soul survivor". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Various Artists - The Kings of House, Compiled and Mixed by Masters at Work". In the Mix. 12 August 2005. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  4. ^ The Mr. Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’ Bass Line, Synthtopia
  5. ^ Nine Great Tracks That Use the Roland TR-909, Complex
  6. ^ "Washing Machine" at Discogs (list of releases)
  7. ^ "My House" at Discogs (list of releases)
  8. ^ "Can You Feel It" at Discogs (list of releases)
  9. ^ "The 100 Greatest Dance Singles of All Time". Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  10. ^ "The 100 Greatest Dance Songs - Feature - Slant Magazine". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  11. ^ "A history of modern music: Dance". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  12. ^ "20 best house tracks ever". Retrieved 2017-09-01.