For as long as I can remember, music has been a significant part of my life. Growing up in a home where the radio was always on or my mother’s vinyl collection of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Motown and disco hits were playing. From birth I was exposed to a wide range of genres like disco, funk, rock and roll, and pop. This early exposure to such diverse musical styles instilled in me an eclectically deep love for music that continues to drive my passions.
Whilst I have had many “wow” moments discovering new music, such as with The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and Talking Heads, none had an impact on me quite like Richie Rich’s Salsa House. It was a sound that punched me in the ears, making me instantly realise this was something new and exciting, making me shout, “WTF is that?!”
My school years were spent at a boarding school, the majority of the year was spent at school with occasional breaks for holidays such as summer, Easter, and Christmas. The student body was diverse, with pupils hailing from across Europe, resulting in a fusion of styles in clothing, personalities, and cultural differences, as well as the music we listened to. It was common for students to return after a break sporting the latest fashions, jamming to the newest sounds or using the latest slang words learned on the streets. The boys from London were particularly influential in setting the trends due to their early access to the latest styles hitting the UK.
After one summer break, a pupil from London named Patrick retuned to school with a giant Ghetto Blaster – the kind you only ever saw in breakin’ videos at the time. He walked around school with this giant thing on his shoulder, scaring the very conservative teachers with some guy called Big Daddy Kane blasting. This was my first real introduction to Hip Hop and something called Red Seal, but we wont go there!
Patrick was the go to guy when it came to new fashions, trainers, hair styles and of course music. Returning from the 89 summer break, filled with that back to school sadness, I was hit with a sound coming out of Patrick’s room, echoing down the wooden corridors of our 300 year old mansion building. To this very day, it has been the only sound that has stopped me in my tracks, giving me an excited “WTF is that!” moment. This was my introduction to the UK acid house and underground scene, and something called LSD, but we wont go there either!
Salsa House hit me like no other sound; it was so unlike anything I had ever heard before. Where all my usual music had themes that crossed over, borrowing from one another a funk groove, a melody, or a beat, this was something else. A totally new sound, rich, sharp, and successfully intent on grabbing my attention.
A true classic that stands proudly tall among the thousands that could be chosen as an iconic gem of a genre, an era and a culture. It’s a track I will always hold close and vividly remember, always, for it was the introduction to a wider scene, a cultural moment that I stumbled into.
Written by: HMR
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