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History of Hard House

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The publicity and the knowledge that these events could make significant amounts of money led more professionally criminal groups to take an interest in raves. The police became more active in preventing or closing down raves. As the second "Summer of Love" arrived in 1989 the police became even more oppressive, culminating in a 1990 Act of Parliament. This was counter-productive, it both forced raves back underground and increased the criminal presence in organising raves. But the music continued, one of the longest lasting and influential groups grew out of the rave scene, named Orbital after the M25 motorway. Their British hit "Chime" was snapped up by Pete Tong's FFRR label. By the end of 1989 House was mainstream music in Britain, it charted regularly with "Ride on Time" from Black Box being at number one for six weeks.

After the "Summer of Love": early 1990s to mid 1990s

In Britain, further experiments in the genre boosted its appeal (and gave the opportunity for new names to be made up).

House and rave clubs like Lakota, Miss Moneypenny's and the original C.R.E.A.M. began to emerge across Britain, hosting regular events for people who would otherwise have had no place to enjoy the mutating house and dance scene.

The idea of 'chilling out' was born in Britain with ambient house albums like the KLF's Chill Out. A new indie dance scene was being forged by bands like the Happy Mondays, The Shamen, Meat Beat Manifesto, Renegade Soundwave, EMF, The Grid and The Beloved. Two distinctive tracks from this era were the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" (with a distinctive vocal sample from Ricky Lee Jones) and the Happy Mondays' "Wrote for Luck" ("WFL") which was transformed into a dance hit by Paul Oakenfold.

The rise of the UK "superclub"

During this time many individuals and particularly corporations realized that house music could be extremely lucrative and much of the 1990s saw the rise of sponsorship deals and other industry practices common in other genres.

To develop successful hit singles, some argued that the record industry developed "handbag house": throwaway pop songs with a retro disco beat. Underground house DJs were reluctant to play this style, so a new generation of DJs were created from record company staff, and new clubs like Miss Moneypenny's, Liverpool's Cream (as oposed to the original underground night, C.R.E.A.M.) and the Ministry of Sound were opened to provide a venue for more commercial sounds.

By 1996 Pete Tong had a major role in the playlist of BBC Radio 1, and every record he released seemed to be guaranteed airplay. Major record companies began to open "superclubs" promoting their own acts, forcing many independent clubs and labels out of business. These superclubs entered into sponsorship deals initially with fast food, soft drinks, and clothing companies and later with banks and insurance brokers. Flyers in clubs in Ibiza often sported many corporate logos.

Many UK clubs were playing much the same music as the commercial dance shows, as were many bars, supermarkets, and television advertisements. Dance music was perceived by many young people as being increasingly outmoded. Many older DJs seemed to be playing year after year, leading to the term "Dad house". House music became racially segregated, in contrast to its inclusive beginnings; some major UK clubs were reportedly refusing to book black DJs. MDMA became less popular than cocaine but created an entirely different atmosphere. Ketamine and GHB also appeared on the club scene during this time.

As of 2003, a new generation of DJs and promoters were emerging, determined to kickstart a more underground scene and there were signs of a renaissance in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and other racially-mixed cities, as well as in Canada, Scandinavia, Scotland and Germany. The key to house music was re-invention. A willingness to steal or develop new styles and a low cost of entry encouraged innovation.

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