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Dance Tunes Over the Last 40 Years

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Dave Pearce Dave Pearce | 10:21 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I can’t believe I’m nearly halfway through my Thursday night 11pm series on BBC Radio 2 looking back at some of the big dance tunes over the last 40 years.

It’s been enormous fun digging through my old 12” Jazz Funk and Disco collection and finding records scattered around my house that haven’t been out of their record sleeves for over 30 years. Sure it’s been a battle deciding which ones make it into such a short programme and yes, some of those old records have made me a little misty-eyed. Unlike some DJs who have kept their records indexed, colour-coded and computer-logged with military precision I have to hold my hands up to confess I fall into the category of being a bit rubbish at looking after my records, so many ended up in the wrong sleeves, beer stained, scratched, turned into ashtrays or warped through bad storage and so I was secretly quite proud to discover, amidst my chaos, pristine 1979 copies of records like Harry Thumann Underwater and be able to give them a spin.

I’ve greatly enjoyed hearing people’s reminiscences of clubbing over the decades and the DJs they followed, so thanks to everyone who’s been in touch so far.

This week we’ve reached a pivotal moment in dance music history with the arrival of House music from America in the mid to late 80s. Like the early days of disco, the energy and sense of optimism in this new music helped reinvigorate UK nightlife and introduce a new generation to the dance floor.

On last week’s programme Frankie Knuckles, the man credited with inventing House music, told us about the music that had inspired and influenced him. This week we’re joined by Marshall Jefferson another American DJ legend who made and produced early Chicago House classics. So the beat speeds up again after slowing right down in the early 80s and the UK is about to go dance crazy!

If the late 80s were your era I’d love to hear about the clubs you visited and your memories of that time. If you joined us early in the series looking at Disco and Jazz Funk and Soul, find out how those early records influenced and shaped the sound of House music as a new generation of clubbers and DJs invaded the UK’s dance floors.

Over the next few weeks as we head into the Rave era and the early 90s it’s fascinating to see how British producers, artists and DJs reshape this music from America and turn the tables. Soon America loses its crown and the UK is the catalyst for dance music around the world - and I can’t wait to play some of those records for you.


DJ Dave Pearce

DJ Dave Pearce

I'd love to hear from you, you can drop me a line at, follow me on twitter @dj_davepearce or join my facebook group.



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