15 of the Very Best Classic House Anthems.

UPDATE – Although a couple of my posts on this blog have gone viral, I consistently get the most hits from this one page. I just wanted to say thank you for everyone stopping by; whether you are discovering house music for the first time, or re-visiting old memories of vinyl spinning days gone by. You’re welcome to leave a comment below. If you want to learn more about the history of house music, go here. I try my best to update this page, but if a link isn’t working, feel free to comment or email me. Thanks again, and keep the love alive.

Let’s all go back, wayyyy back. Back to a time when you lined up late at night to get into a dark, dingy warehouse. Back to a time when the dancefloor is crowded with smoke, people and sweat, and the dust and dirt are kicked up by people thrown into an uncontrollable frenzy by the deep bass and soulful vocals blasted through the subwoofers.

1. Aly Us – Follow Me

Released in 1992 through NYC’s Strictly Rhythm Label.
Let’s start this set off with something with a standard 4:4 beat and a neat, standard bass line. A very minimal piano riff that comes in… it’s a great introductory house track, the lyrics really encompass what house music is; a vibe of unity, regardless of race, sexuality, and a rejection of conflict or war. It’s pure positivity here with roots of gospel and 100% soul.

2. KC Flightt – Voices (Out Of Reach WONKA REMIX)

Original released in 1991 through RCA Records.
Here’s another classic house track dripping with soul and a slightly tribal vibe. Fantastic to hear to this day, it epitomizes what classic house should sound like.

3. Jinny – Keep Warm

First released through Italian Style Production (an Italian Euro Dance label) in 1991.
Another tune that stays fresh after all these years, with a snappy piano riff. Still remains a great way to warm up the dance floor at the start of the night.

4. South Street Players – (Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind

Original released in 1993 courtesy of Strictly Rhythm.
South Street Players, whose real name is Roland Clark,Β delivers another beautiful classic house tune that’s got all the necessary ingredients – a fresh beat and beautiful soulful vocals.

5. LNR – Work It To The Bone

Original released in 1987 through House Jam Records.
LNR was short for Larry Thompson & Rick Lenoir. A simple bassline and vocal repeats and hypnotizes until you become a slave to the rhythm. This is vintage, guttural garage house.

6. N-Joi – Anthem
Released in the UK through Deconstruction Records in 1990.
N-Joi are comprised of Nigel Champion, Mark Franklin and Samantha Sprackling AKA Saffron.
Another classic tune. Beautiful vocals make this a beautiful track with snappy, determined piano chords. The featured vocals in the tune are sampled from Gwen Guthrie’s Peanut Butter, Back To Life by Soul to Soul, and I Found Love by Darlene Davis.

7. Ladycop – To Be Real
Original released in 1991 with London’s Ffrreedom outfit and NYC based Ultra Records.
A re-mix cover of Cheryl Lyn‘s disco hit, this simply remains a big, rough tune. Guaranteed to rock the dance floor. Or your living room. Or your chair in your cubicle at work.

8. Inner City – Good Life
Released worldwide in 1988 through 10 Records, a Virgin outfit.
Inner City formed in 1988, and were comprised of Shanna Jackson, a.k.a. Paris Grey and a guy called Kevin SaundersonΒ – one of the three guys that brought us Detroit Techno.
This track has a kind of child-like innocence to it, and it’s just so positive and infectious, that’s it’s impossible not to love.
“Let me take you to a place I know you want to go – It’s the good life!”

9. Hardrive – Deep Inside
First released through Strictly Rhythm in 1993.
Hardrive’s real name is Luis Fernando Vager, and he also goes by Louie Vega. Did your head just explode? I know mine did when I first found that out. This track remains one of my favourites, it’s dark, it’s intense and sweaty – everything a classic house track should be.

10. Fingers Inc. – Can You Feel It
Originally released in 1988 through UK labels Jack Trax and Desire Records.
Fingers Inc. are comprised of Larry Heard, Robert Owens and Ron Wilson.Original instrumental version of this song was previously released on Mr. Fingers’ 3 track EP, 2 years previous to this track’s release.If I were to try to explain what house music was to an alien species, my 8 year old Niece, or my grandmother, this is the song I would play.

11. Royal House – Can You Party
Released in 1988 through Champion in the UK and NYC hip hop label Idlers.
This is slightly on the Acid House tip. And completely blew my mind when I first heard it. Lots of crazy samples going on in here. The song pulls no punches as it starts with sirens announcing it’s arrival…”Can you Feel it?” “AHH EEEE YEAHHH”

12. Jungle Brothers – I’ll House You
Released through Idlers Records in 1988.
Jungle Brothers were comprised of Nathaniel Hall, Michael Small, and Sammy Burwell. Another definitive house track. If you don’t know the lyrics to this track, you missed out on the early nineties, and most likely lived in a cave. Not a hut. “You in my hut now. My hut.”

13. Raze – Break For Love
Original dropped in 1987 through New Jersey’s Grove Street Records.
Raze was comprised of New York multi-instrumentalist Vaughan Mason along with soul singer Keith Thompson. This was the first House track I ever heard. It was late night on a school night on a college radio station, I had my radio on with my headphones, and it changed me forever. Still remains one of my favourite tracks of all time. It’s elegant in it’s simplicity – there isn’t anything in there that shouldn’t be. There’s an intimacy in the vocals that’s hard to find elsewhere. The reason I love this song is why I love classic house. It’s raw emotion, stripped pretty bare, generally there’s a bass line, some piano or synth and some vocals – it’s pure, not overproduced the way most other music is.

14. Robert Owens- I’ll Be Your Friend (Original Def Mix)
Original released in 1991 through RCA in the US and Perfecto in the UK.
Another favourite, often played at the end of the night, and for a good reason. Robert Owens was one of the founding members of Fingers Inc., and was a part of the so-called Golden era of late 80s Chicago House. This track hypnotizes with good vibes.

15. Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie – Tears
First pressed in 1989 through FFRR (London Records) in the US.
We’ll close this set with Frankie Knuckles’ (one of the founders of house music), all time classic Tears. It’s one of the largest and best known House music songs of all time.

BONUS TRACKS – Joe Smooth – Promised Land
Since y’all won’t clear the dance floor and nobody’s ready to go home yet. (And who would? The sun’s coming up kids) Another huge classic house tune filled with hope and good vibes.

Masters at Work Feat. India – I Can’t Get No Sleep
This tune is from 1993 and features a classic bassline, hypnotizing horn loop and blistering vocals supplied by India make this an absolute classic. Video features old school voguing dance styles.

Candi Staton – You Got the Love

Although technically speaking this was more of an early rave anthem, the lyrics are just so soulful, and this is an absolute favourite of mine that I couldn’t quite squeeze into my Techno anthem list, so I hope you’ll all forgive me. It really seems like a fitting song to close the set. (UPDATE) As one of DG’s readers has reminded me, this track samples heavily from an earlier tune from Jamie Principle called Your Love, which is 100% pure Chicago classic House goodness, first pressed in 1984, and made available to the public in ’86. Listen to that one over here.

You may also want to check out:
10 of the Very Best Classic Techno Anthems from 1991 at 23 Hop.
15 of the Very Best Classic Summer Jams

120 thoughts on “15 of the Very Best Classic House Anthems.

    1. Hi Colm. I was wondering if you can help me out. I’m looking for a song but can’t seem to find it. The song came out in the late 80’s & it’s either house or bass music. I would put it in the same music category as Breezy Beat Mc. Some of the lyrics I remember in the song are, “Come on girl let’s work it out” & It’s slamming & I’m Jamming to find a girl to be ramming”. Also in the middle of the song he starts rapping for a little bit in Spanish & says, “Aguanta tu nena y no la dejes ir si la dejas te seguro que la coja para mi”. Then he continues the song in English. I hope you know this song or can find it through your contacts, friends & family. Thanks in advance for your help & I await your response. -George-

      1. If anyone knows the name of this 80’s house or bass song that a posted in my previous post please let me know. I appreciate it. You can email me at: gfshooping@yahoo.com Thanks everyone & have a great night. -George-

      2. Hi George, Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry to say I don’t recognize this tune. Given that there some Spanish lyrics, I would try searching Latin House/Latin classic House communities and forums. Maybe someone can help you there. Good luck!

    2. I’m 50 this year and still remember like it was yesterday when I first heard Marshal Jeffesons move your body……I got me into producing my own tunes and I have been producing ever since. Never made a penny ….never wanted a penny …..I just love house …..I have been on the road for 18 years with my job and I’m never without my MacBook and midi controllers……long live house and when I do say goodbye to the world …….it will be to the master himself Frankie Knuckles…….RIP……..to all the younger generations on this site ….keep the faith strong and remember……it’s the simple things in life ……..like a 4 2 The floor

      1. Thank you for telling your story Darren. Great to hear you are still producing the music that you remain so passionate about. Sometimes life isn’t just about making bank. There are other, more important things out there for some. Peace & Long Live House!

  1. You just summarized the music of my late teens/early 20s in 18 songs. Nailed it…I’m blown away.
    I want to go dancing! if only someplace would play this stuff again, just one night…

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Sarah. There are thankfully some old school events around the world that recapture the classic house vibe. In Toronto where I’m from i just attended a classic house and techno party last weekend. So the scene still exists at least in major cities. You just have to dig for the underground. Good luck and keep the classic house spirit alive. πŸ˜‰

      1. I’m in TO too! Which party? I get to Revival’s I House nights but that’s the only night I know of…I’m so outta the loop. πŸ™‚

      2. I was at the Sykosis reunion party. There is an upcoming Twilight Zone reunion Oct.6. They are usually very good. The Zone was one of the first clubs to spin House, outside of Chicago and New York. Check out their facebook page below. Another good page is The Communic8r, there is an emphasis on the techno scene, but if there is a party posted, there is usually a house room for the classics! πŸ˜‰
        http://www.facebook.com/groups/2262961938/?ref=ts
        http://www.facebook.com/23hop?ref=ts

  2. I’m 25 and i love classic house. I owe it to the grand theft auto games, which was how i discovered this music. Im probably the only 25 year old in north america who likes this stuff!!!

  3. You cannot have a list without Kerri Chandler…that’s like hip hop with no Rakim…forgot Dance by Earth People (get the Kerri mix)…or Get it Off by Kerri Chandler…those two are not to be missed and define NJ/Chicago house music…

  4. You just made me discover House Music ! 5.am, Paris, in my bedroom with my headphones on. I’m glad I can’t sleep. I’ll remember this night. Thank you.

    1. Holy shit. I think in the (almost) three years since I started this blog, this is my all-time favourite comment. You are so welcome. Hope you have many more happy sleepless nights.

      1. Honestly I totally agree!! That is one of the most incredible comments I’ve ever read. Congrats on your work Mr. Hogan!! And thanks for the videos too πŸ™‚

  5. So awesome – i have often wished that there was a website b/c half the time I forgot the names of the songs and the other half of the time I had no clue what the song was called – only that I loved to listen and dance to it…Thanks Colm you continue to provide such cool info about music.

  6. Hey Colm this old house music brings back great memories from Blackburn House parties and they were amazing!! illegal but amazing!! I’ve just been listening to them with my daughter and she remembers most of the to with great times out!! Hell yeah bring back house parties…with love from a 57 year old!!!!!

  7. Fantastic list brings back memories of the Garage in NYC and Club Zanzibar Newark NJ one the birth places of House Music!

  8. Colm, just came across your site a week ago on a very late night home alone dancin around the sitting room! – Wonderful Wonderful!! Had to come back again!!!! Thanks a million for putting that together – would be a brilliant album for us ouldies! Are you Toronto or Irish born with a name like colm hogan??!!!

    1. Hey thanks a lot Maeve! Born in Montreal with Irish parents…discovered house and techno in the early nineties in Toronto! Wishing you many more dance parties in the future!

      1. Colm -.danced to them all again with my beloved the night Mandela died. Love to you and your parents from Eire!!!

  9. Hey, I’m in South Africa. When those songs came out way back in the day I just started out as a DJ. Just came across your site…Fantastic list. Try these out and let me know via this blog what you think . . S50 – Input… H&M band – popcorn… Black Riot – a day in the life… Maurice Joshua – This is Acid… Kenny “jamming” Jason – can you dance. I still have the Vinyl…my daughter calls it “big black CDs”

    1. Hi Carlo!
      Love Black Riot’s A Day in the Life and This is Acid… absolute classics… Don’t ever throw your big black cds out! Pass them on to your daughter…House music needs to be preserved, like fine wine!

  10. wow….remembering RPM(now GUVERNMENT ( Thats what it was called in my time)and a little club called the ‘a” club..where I used to go and groove and challenge people tp “dance offs” hahahaha …….ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! them were the days πŸ™‚

  11. Hey, I understand this is your list of classic house anthems, but how could you not include Marshall Jefferson “Move Your Body” It is one of the earliest house anthems and the most influential song to the genre of house music. Just Saying.

    Cheers.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion. No argument there – It is an absolute classic and I know it well. Just didn’t make the list. Maybe because this white boy had trouble finding the bassline to step to back in the day. Still a great track though!

  12. thanks for putting this up – i’d only heard Ladycop – to be real in the clubs – it was great to hear that again after 20years or so – Nice1

  13. I like your list. the fact that it still gets recognition years later shows that it is good. you make want to add to it. This guy put together another awesome list but he didn’t include youtube links like you did. http://www.listology.com/dancetronic/list/100-greatest-house-music-songs-you-must-listen

    Perhaps you can help me with a song i’ve been looking for. it’s old 1990s house where the woman starts off by saying “Hola, yo soy juana”. At least that is what i think she says. She does not sing it. She only says it. There some talking throughout. It was so long ago that i can’t remember it and i only heard it through a mix.

    1. Hey, thanks alot. I really appreciate it….
      as for your search – man, that’s a tough one.
      The closest I could get is there is a house remix track with Juana in the title called Yo No Bailo Con Juana, but I don’t think that’s what you want. It’s not really classic house sounding, and there isn’t talking. If it was a mix, there is also a possibility that the vocal sample may just been thrown in on top of an existing beat…Can you remember where you heard the mix, or who dj’d it? That might help.

  14. i heard the mix some time in the 90s . it’s more of a garage house sound. i really believe it was chicago dj or something. i don’t know much. it was just something that stuck with me. i successfully found it on through google and saw the video on youtube. but after years of moving on i forgot again.

  15. Yeah, we all have our White Whales. For me it’s a deep house cassette originally purchased in the early 90s at Xstatic in Toronto by someone called Lily Tran. Since then, never seen or heard a single one of those tracks anywhere, but it was a phenomenal set.

  16. OK I know this is gonna sound like me being totally anal… (and I admit it sort of is).

    BUT…………

    How can you include Candy Staton – You Got The Love, and leave out JAIME PRINCIPLE – YOUR LOVE!!! What world am I on??? Your Love is considered an ultra classic and is referred to by some as the first real “house” record.

    Staton’s You Got The Love is just a sample of Your Love so including it and leaving out Your Love is a slap in the face!!!

    I am going easy on your because you know about Xstatic in Toronto and it was a great place to get music. πŸ˜›

    In case you werent aware… http://torontoravemixtapearchive.com/index.html has a serious collection of lots of the old tapes from Xstatic.

    Enjoy.

    1. Hey, thanks for your comment, and for going easy on me. I made an annotation to the Staton track. Yes, I know about the Mixtape Archive, but it’s been ages since I visited – thx for plugging it. Nice to see there are tons more tunes on it. Still no Lily Tran, but maybe one day someone will dig it up! Peace.

  17. you can play this in any country, in any city, in any backyard, in any club, on and radio station,, and iof you are truely a house head you will Jack and yhis is thee truth !!!

  18. This that shit! I never knew the names of most of these tracks until now. But how could y’all leave out “Free man” by south shore commission?

  19. I need your help been trying to find this House cut but cant remember damn name…. listen to the bamba.listen how its played.it will make u dance no matter what the age. U gotta get up on the floor and.boogie boogie to the beat cause when u ???????? it will make move your feet itll make u go uh na nana na.if u can give me artist and title would appreciste it

  20. I’ve got all these plus lots more classics in excellent condition on vinyl and wanting to sell them to the right person whose passionate about their house anybody interested

  21. Been DJing for close to 2o years and have a couple House tracks that a friend of mine said you might me able to ID. Ive been looking ti ID them forever. Hope can help and thanks in advance!
    DJ Draven Josh

  22. hi from England.nice list wouldnt mind adding a few.

    god save the queer-Klatsch
    love cant turn around – jessie saunders
    not over yet -state of grace

  23. Hi do you know the Lero Lero Lero le le laying song – I think it’s deep house… But he’s more so belting it in the same rhythm as this man in this vodeo attached. It sounds like the same man but like I said he’s louder in it.

  24. If you google Audrey aka DJ Awww Damn and track her down, maybe you’ll find her sister dj Lily Tran (?). I was looking for classic house anthems like follow me. I was disappointed that lil louis club lonely (lonely people) didn’t make the cut. I’m from TO. I remember a club called casablanca on kennedy, i think. I remember wide pants. I can’t, for the life of me, find any videos of classic TO style house dancing with fists to chest, elbows out. Anyone track this down? This was around the time voguing was just becoming popular.

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