piano legs

Ten of the best dance tunes with the phattest piano breaks EVER! // These are ‘big in my box’. So to speak

Loving the new Toddla T track ‘Take It Back’ featuring Shola Ama with it’s nineties ‘plinkety-plonkety’ piano riffs. It took me back. Back to the ‘old skool’.

Now, I was only about ten in the early nineties, so no pilled-up warehouse raving for me. But, thanks to my two (much) older brothers, I developed a fairly mature taste in music for my age, citing ‘Promised Land’ by Joe Smooth as one of my favourite ‘songs’ when asked in assembly aged nine. I also used to turn up for lessons on ‘mufti days‘ in denim dungarees, psychedelic printed hoodies and colourful Kickers – just like a mini raver. My school bag was an across-body Technics record bag. Yup.

This probably goes a long way to explain my innate love for a phat piano break. To this day, if I hear a track with a chunky chord, I’m guaranteed to start dancing around my handbag. And on that note (ha!), here’s my top ten tracks with juggernautloads of juicy piano jingles. Enjoy (and feel free to suggest your own below)!

Rhythim Is Rhythim // Strings of Life (1987)

No, it’s not a typo. Derrick May, who thankfully recorded under this slightly snappier (though mis-spelt) alias, was a pioneer of techno and pals with the legendary Frankie Knuckles – who’s said to have (quite literally) named this tune. Astonishing to think this track is twenty-fucking-four years old!

Alison Limerick // Where Love Lives (1990)

Just a fucking tune. That is all.

Brothers in Rhythm // Such a Good Feeling (1991)

DJ duo Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman (of Renaissance/Global Underground fame, not the ex-Arsenal goal keeper) sample the bejesus out of Charvoni’s ‘Always There‘.

Bizarre Inc // Playing With Knives (1991)

Stafford – where Bizarre Inc hailed from – was clearly where it was AT in the nineties. Complete with wailing diva vocals, soaring piano chords and a gruff MC demanding that we move our bodies. Don’t mind if I do!

Liquid // Sweet Harmony (1991)

Epic. Liquid’s first (and probably best known) track – but do listen to the original sample, Ce Ce Rogers’ ‘Someday’, too for that is also a tune of the highest order.

The Prodigy // Your Love (1991)

What is known in the trade as an ‘E-Tune’. For obvious reasons. Liam Howlett at his earliest and, some say, his finest.

N Joi – Anthem (1991)

This sampled shit loads of songs – what one might call a ‘mash-up’ nowadays. Including: I Found Love by Darlene Davis (1986); the awesome Peanut Butter (Larry Levan Mix) by Gwen Guthrie (1983) and Back to Life (Acapella) by Soul II Soul (1989).

Utah Saints // Something Good (1992 )

An aggressive, shouty track containing chipmunk-like vocals from Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ (from her 1985 album, ‘Hounds of Love’). And of course, manic piano. Sounds a bit like it was recorded in a teenage boy’s bedroom. Mind you, it probably was.

Moby // Next is the E (1992)

He hasn’t always been master of melancholy chill-out (read: come-down) tracks, you know. Nuh-uh – he used to be responsible for hyping up the bit before, too. Not sure if this even charted at the time, but well worth a listen now.

K-Klass // Let Me Show You (1993)

Legend has it K-Klass formed after meeting at The Haçienda in Manchester during the eighties. Mega. Klaxons + catchy piano riff + hi-hat cymbal + deep and meaningful vocals = serious shapes being thrown.

They don’t make ’em like they used to, eh? That ain’t necessarily so. Take, for example, last year’s Faithful (Gloves’ China White Club Dub) by World’s End Press and listen out for a piano being tickled at 2.08.

Feel sure I’ve missed a really obvious riff out. But reckon you’ll let me know in the comments below…

Natalie Wall

  • Comments

  • avatar
    Zoe T


    • avatar

      A great song is Infinity by Guru Josh (1989)

  • avatar

    This is a great list, thanks. I’ve been looking to remember some of the classic oldschool piano anthems for my next mix and this helped to jog my memory. This is what I have so far…
    M.A.N.I.C – I’m Coming Hardcore
    Brothers in Rhythm – Such a Good Feeling
    Dream Frequency – Feel So Real
    The Prodigy – Your Love
    Manix – Feel Real Good
    Bassheads – Is There Anybody Out There
    Awesome 3 – Don’t Go (Kicks Like A Mule Remix)
    Liquid – Sweet Harmony
    Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era – Far Out
    Bizarre Inc – Playing With Knives
    N Joi – Anthem
    K-Klass // Let Me Show You

  • avatar
    Lord Midas

    @Alain: You fucking legend. All the others I have in my collection… until you recommend M.A.N.I.C. I’m Coming Hardcore. OMG what a choon. Welcome to my collection 🙂

  • avatar

    There’s some absolute quality being mentioned above, and kudos for I’m Coming Hardcore. Absolute belter. also dream frequency, although ‘take me’ was their epic tune imho.

    A few to add:

    Alfredo – Action!
    asha – jj tribute
    G&VJ – gonna get the boy (original and remix)
    gat decor – passion

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