Born in Chicago 1959, Marshall Jefferson is a main figure of the Chicago
House scene and producer of some of the House early anthems, like "Move
Your Body", "7 Ways To Jack", and "Open Your Eyes".
One of the original innovators in Chicago house, Marshall Jefferson had a hand in several of the music's most influential early tracks. As a solo act, he recorded 1986's "Move Your Body" sub-titled and unanimously acclaimed "The House Music Anthem." Jefferson also helped record Phuture's "Acid Tracks", the first and best acid-house single. Later, amidst a wave of acid-inspired records, he grew tired of the sound and moved into a more spiritual form of music later termed deep house; along with Larry Heard, he became one of its best producers.
Jefferson was born in Chicago in 1959, the son of a police officer and
a school teacher. Heavily into hard rock like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple
during the 1970s, he attended university to study accounting, but left
after three years to take a job in the post office.
During the two-year period from 1985 to 1986, Marshall Jefferson released half-a-dozen of the biggest club hits in Chicago. His first release, "Go Wild Rhythm Trax," appeared on Virgo Records in 1985. Later that year he produced his friend Sleazy D's "I've Lost Control," and the track became a big club hit. "Move Your Body," another recording first introduced by Hardy, was given a full release on Trax Records in 1986; the single immediately dropped a bomb on Chicago crowds, who soon began acknowledging the track as house music's defining moment.
Less than one year after "Move Your Body" however, Chicago
was forced to react to another important milestone, the onset of acid-house.
The trio known as Phuture (DJ Pierre, Spanky and Herb J) had recently
recorded some material using the acid squelch of Roland's TB-303synthesizer,
and with Marshall Jefferson's help, they entered the studio to record
a full version.
Given the lack of variety in the scene, Jefferson quickly tired of acid house. Instead of continuing with acid, he recorded an atmospheric slice of house inspired by the original vibe he had experienced at the Music Box back in the early '80s. The track, "Open Your Eyes," took its place alongside contemporary productions by Larry Heard, signalled a new feeling in house music, named deep house for its level of emotion an organic beauty.
Unlike many Chicago house producers, Jefferson managed to make a good
living during the late '80s and early '90s, when house music went global
almost overnight and the bottom dropped out of Chicago's fraternal club
scene. Several Marshall Jefferson productions not recorded under his own
name, such as Hercules "Lost in the Groove," Jungle Wonz's "The
Jungle" and Kevin Irvine's "Ride the Rhythm" all became
sizeable club hits.
Critical in the evolution of Chicago style house music, Marshall Jefferson wrote the house music anthem--not only was it proclaimed as such universally, it was also the subtitle of "Move Your Body", one of his earliest tracks in 1986. His work has gone through different periods, including one where it was heavily acid-music influenced, later moving into more spiritually oriented music called "deep house". As a child, he was passionate about hard rock. As a young adult, he went to study accounting at university but soon quit to work in the post office. Later, he was exposed to house-style music in the Music Box club in Chicago.
Referred to as the 'godfather of house' (though frankie knuckles may argue this - lets not bicker), chicago boy Marshall Jefferson has been there since the very beginning. initially inspired by soft rock (weren't we all?), he began to discover the groove courtesy of the renowned music box club in chicago. This was a time when what we call house music today was a localised thing, centred around new york and chi-town, a combination of the last days of disco, the rawness of electro and the constant funk factor. A few records existed, prototypes even, that remain today as blueprints for the house sound, phuture's 'acid trax' being one, and our own young jefferson's contribution, the prophetically titled 'house music anthem - move your body' on the seminal (an overused word, but apt in this case) trax records. And, yes, it still sounds fresh today Jefferson then began to work with byron stingly and ten city as both producer and writer, coming up with hits like 'devotion' and the absolute CLASSIC 'thats the way love is'. (still brings a tear to even the most technofied heart.) This brought him from the underground into the charts and back again, Jefferson managing to keep his feet in both camps without offending anyone.
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