Steve "Silk" Hurley

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Steve "Silk" Hurley
Steve "Silk" Hurley.jpg
Background information
Birth nameSteven W. Hurley
Also known as
  • Steve Hurley
  • J. M. Silk
  • Jack Master Silk
  • Voices of Life
  • The Voices of Life
Born (1962-11-09) November 9, 1962 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • DJ
  • record producer
  • remixer
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active1983–present
Associated acts
  • Silk & The Soul Crew
  • In Da Soul
  • The Reunion Project
WebsiteSteve "Silk" Hurley

Steve W. "Silk" Hurley (born November 9, 1962), also known as J. M. Silk (for "Jack Master Silk"), is an American club DJ, pioneering house music producer, songwriter, and four-time Grammy Award nominee; two times as Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical (in 1999 and 2000),[1][2] and twice for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical (in 2002 and 2003).[3][4]

From 1985 to 1988, he scored four top-10 singles on the US Dance chart, including the number-one hit "I Can't Turn Around", all released in collaboration with Keith Nunnally as J. M. Silk. With "Jack Your Body" (number 25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play),[5] he topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1987 as a solo artist,[6] while one of his later compositions, "Work it Out" from 1989, brought him his fifth top-10 record on US Dance (at number three). To date, Hurley's last charting single "The Word Is Love (Say the Word)", also known as "Silk's Anthem of Life" by The Voices of Life, peaked in 1997 at number 26 in the UK.

Early life[edit]

Hurley studied engineering at Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy (originally named Lindblom Technical High School)[7] in Chicago, Illinois, and later at junior college but dropped out by 1981 to concentrate on his music career full-time.[8]


Hurley gained worldwide fame as a DJ on the Saturday Night Live Ain't No Jive Dance Party on WBMX in Chicago in the mid 1980s. Hurley's mixing style is different than the usual radio or club house DJ (such as Tony Humphries on WRKS in the early 1990s), since his style of mixing incorporates not only beatmatching, but advanced techniques only done by hip hop DJ's or turntablists such as scratching, beat juggling, cutting, needle dropping and back spinning. He released songs under the stage name of Steve "Silk" Hurley and, with vocalist Keith Nunnally, had many hits on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart as J. M. Silk, including "I Can't Turn Around," which hit number one in 1986.[citation needed]

His song "Jack Your Body" was also a hit on the UK Singles Chart, reaching number one for two weeks in January and February 1987.[9] This was the UK's first house music chart topper, achieving the number one spot with the distinction of never having been played on BBC Radio 1 other than on chart shows – club exposure alone was enough to guarantee success. However, the song broke the chart rules, since the 12-inch format exceeded the then-current twenty-five-minute time limit.[citation needed] In spite of "Jack Your Body"'s success, Hurley has had no further singles (under his own name) reach the UK charts, thus condemning him to one-hit wonder status.[9] In 1988, he released an album titled Work It Out Compilation on Atlantic Records.

Hurley also worked as a prominent remixer, re-working tracks for Madonna ("Take a Bow"); Michael Jackson ("Jam", "Remember the Time"); Debbie Gibson ("We Could Be Together"); Jennifer Lopez ("Ain't It Funny"); The Pointer Sisters ("Insanity"); Bananarama ("Tripping on Your Love"); Brandy ("What About Us?"); En Vogue ("Strange"); CeCe Peniston ("We Got a Love Thang", "Keep On Walkin'", "I'm in the Mood", "Searchin'", "I'm Not Over You", "Nobody Else", "He Loves Me 2" and "My Boo"); Dannii Minogue ("Baby Love"); New Order ("Fine Time"); Taylor Dayne ("I'll Wait"); Diana Ross ("You're Gonna Love It"); Crystal Waters ("Makin' Happy"); Prince & the New Power Generation ("Gett Off"); Black Box ("Fantasy," "I Don't Know Anybody Else"); Simply Red ("Something Got Me Started"); Lisa Stansfield ("The Real Thing"); and the Party, which was a band composed of five Mickey Mouse Club cast members ("Free"). One of Hurley's notable early remixes was a transformation of Roberta Flack's "Uh-Uh, Ooh-Ooh, Look Out (Here It Comes)" that took the soft ballad into the house music realm by removing all but the vocal from the track and substituting a minimalist set of house-styled percussion tracks.

In addition to remixing songs, Hurley has also worked as a record producer. Among the noteworthy dance-pop crossover hits for which Hurley is credited as the producer are Jomanda's "Got a Love for You" (No. 40 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, No. 66 Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs), Kym Sims's "Too Blind to See It" (No. 38 Billboard Hot 100, No. 5 Billboard Dance), CeCe Peniston's "We Got a Love Thang" (No. 20 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Billboard Dance, No. 38 Billboard R&B), "Keep On Walkin' (No. 15 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Billboard Dance, No. 3 Billboard R&B), "I'm in the Mood" (No. 32 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Billboard Dance, No. 7 Billboard R&B), "I'm Not Over You" (No. 41 Billboard Hot 100, No. 2 Billboard Dance, No. 10 Billboard R&B) and "He Loves Me 2" (No. 24 Billboard Dance), and Clubland's "Hold On (Tighter to Love)" (No. 79 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Billboard Dance).

Hurley was nominated for a Grammy Award as Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical in 1998 and 1999,[1][2] and for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical in 2002 and 2003.[3][4]

Hurley's remixes can be heard on The Tom Joyner Morning Show every Tuesday and Thursday morning during the last half of the second hour of the nationally syndicated morning show which originates from Dallas, Texas.


Steve Hurley vs Farley Keith[edit]

In 1986, WBMX DJ and house music producer Farley Keith had stunned the Chicago community when he hit the top-10 of the UK Singles Chart with "Love Can't Turn Around," released under the alias Farley "Jackmaster" Funk. Hurley claimed the track was a blatant theft of one of his own productions, and the two stopped speaking to each other.[8] At that time, Farley Keith shared an apartment with Hurley, who came up with a cover of an Isaac Hayes' disco record, called "I Can't Turn Around", from 1975. Before Hurley could arrange to have the record licensed for overseas distribution, Keith produced his own version of the song, keeping much of Hurley's instrumental arrangement, dropping the rest of Hayes' original lyric, while Vince Lawrence supplied new words. The final result officially became the first ever Chicago house record to reach the music charts.[10] Ironically, Hurley's version topped the US Dance chart, and the producer later got his satisfaction by trumping Keith's success with the number one hit "Jack Your Body".

According to one source, Hurley also originally planned to name himself "Jackmaster Silk", until one week before he was able to release a radio promo tape under that alias, Farley Keith named himself "Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk".[11]



Year Title Artist(s)
1987 Hold on to Your Dream
  • Release date: 1987
  • Record label: RCA Records
  • Formats: LP, CS
J. M. Silk
1989 Work it out Compilation Steve "Silk" Hurley


Year Title Alias Peak chart positions Album
IT[12] UK US Dance Hot Dance Singles Sales
1985 "Music Is the Key" J. M. Silk 9 18 The House Sound of Chicago
1986 "Shadows of Your Love" J. M. Silk featuring Steve "Silk" Hurley 3 40 Hold on to Your Dream
"I Can't Turn Around" (by Isaac Hayes) J. M. Silk 62 1 9
"Jack Your Body" Steve "Silk" Hurley 1 25 37
1987 "Let the Music Take Control" J. M. Silk 47 2 8
"She's So Far Away" J. M. Silk 80
"Heart of Passion" J. M. Silk
"Cry of the Lonely" J. M. Silk 50
1988 "All in Vain" J. M. Silk Jack Trax: The Fifth Album
"It's Percussion" Steve "Silk" Hurley featuring M-Doc
1989 "Work It Out" Steve "Silk" Hurley featuring M-Doc 3 17 Work It Out Compilation
"Chain of Fools" Steve "Silk" Hurley featuring Risse
"Cold World" Steve "Silk" Hurley featuring Jamie Principle 22 36
1991 "Seasons of Love"[A] Keith Nunnally
1992 "Melody" Steve "Silk" Hurley
1997 "The Word Is Love (Say the Word)" The Voices of Life featuring Sharon Pass 15 26
2000 "Dubs from the Dungeon Vol.1" Steve "Silk" Hurley
2002 "Don't Give Up" The Voices of Life featuring Gordon Chambers non-album single
2003 "Stop Playin'" vs. 2 Live Crew
"Runnin' Away" The Voices of Life featuring Sharon Pass
2014 "Classic" Steve "Silk" Hurley featuring Javante
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that region.
  • A ^ Steve Hurley was credited as one of backing vocalists on the Keith Nunnally's debut solo single. The other names were Sharon Pass, Kym Sims and Manny Mohr.

Music awards and nominations[edit]

Award Nominations Wins

ASCAP Awards

3 3

Grammy Awards

4 0
ASCAP Award[12]
Grammy Award[12]
Year Nominated work(s) Award Result
1999 "If You Could Read My Mind (Silk's Uplifting Vocal)" by Stars on 54
"If You Could Read My Mind (Silk's House on 54 Mix)" by Stars on 54
"Nobody Else (Silk's House Revival)" by CeCe Peniston
"Special Love (Silk's Special House Mix)" by Jestofunk feat. Jocelyn Brown
"Where You Are (Silk's Old Skool Mix)" by Rashaan Patterson
"The Word Is Love (Silk's Anthem 7)" by The Voices of Life
Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical[1][2] Nominated
2000 "Go Down Moses (Silk's Spiritual Anthem)" by Kelly G feat. Sharon Pass
"He Loves Me 2 (Silk's 12" Mix)" by CeCe Peniston
"Higher (Silk's Journey to Heaven Mix)" by Vernessa Mitchell
"Jack Your Body 2000 (Silk's Y2K Mix)" by Steve "Silk" Hurley
"Rollercoaster (Silk's Uplifting Extended Mix)" by B*Witched
"Yeah Get Down (Silk's Disco Dub of Life)" by Maurice Joshua presents The Reunion Project
2002 "Soul Shakedown (Silk's Downunder Mix)" by Bob Marley Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical[3][4] Nominated
2003 "What About Us? (SilkMix.Com Mix)" by Brandy Nominated
Other Awards[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "41st Grammy Award Nominations, 1999". Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "42nd Grammy Award Nominations, 2000". Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "44th Grammy Award Nominations, 2002". Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "45th Grammy Award Nominations, 2003". Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  5. ^ "Steve "Silk" Hurley Chart History". Billboard.
  6. ^ "STEVE 'SILK' HURLEY | Official Charts Company".
  7. ^ "5 Magazine : Steve "Silk" Hurley: Smooth As Ever". January 9, 2008. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "'Steve "Silk" Hurley, Bio". AllMusic. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 263. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ "Love Can't Turn Around by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk – Songfacts".
  11. ^ "As a DJ, Steve Hurley was known around 1983-1984 as Steve 'Silk' Hurley. Starting his producer career, he thought about changing his name to the Chicago House styled Jackmaster Silk alias. But Farley Keith Williams, at that time Steve's roommate, changed his name from Farley "Funkin" Keith to Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk a week before Steve was able to launch a radio promo tape as Jackmaster Silk." Discogs: J. M. Silk, accessed on March 14, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d "'Steve "Silk" Hurley's Biography'" (PDF). Retrieved December 12, 2010.

External links[edit]