RIP Darryl Pandy

Darryl Pandy sang the vocals on one of the first “proper” house record most of us ever bought or heard. It was Farley jackmaster Funk’s “Love Can’t Turn Around”. It was the commercial hit version of the earlier JM Silk track “I Can’t Turn Around” (which itself was a version of an Isaac Hayes track). Sure it was an important track because it was one of the very first house tracks to bust out of the Chicago scene and become an international hit, but for me it was important for a couple of more personal reasons.

It was the first time I did a little academic exegesis about a series of tracks on the radio. More prosaically, and less pseudo-intellectually, it was the song I was playing when an angry caller first asked “Why the fuck are you playing this gay disco shit”. That later became one of my favourite calls on the overnight.

While you can make a strong argument that “disco never really went away”, the truth is that in terms of my “musical-mind share” it was Detroit and Chicago house which really started my continuing fascination with, and appreciation for, the primacy of the beat. And I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in that arc. It’s that four on the floor heartbeat which has continued through vast swathes of popular and (un)popular music since then. And Darryl Pandy’s beautiful, strong voice was there at the start.

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