Arthur Baker (musician)

Last updated
Arthur Baker
Born (1955-04-22) April 22, 1955 (age 66)
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Electro, [1] post-disco, [1] club, dance, [1] freestyle, old school hip hop
InstrumentsVocals, synthesizer, drum machine
Years active1982–1996, 2006–present
Labels A&M/PolyGram, Criminal, Streetwise
Associated acts New Order, North End, Rockers Revenge, Goon Squad, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Afrika Bambaataa, Freeez, Hall & Oates, Pet Shop Boys

Arthur Baker (born April 22, 1955) is an American record producer [2] [3] and DJ best known for his work with hip hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa and Planet Patrol, as well as British group New Order. He is also known for remixing the Jill Jones song "Mia Bocca" on the 12" single, taken from her self-titled debut album Jill Jones (1987), released on Prince's Paisley Park Records, as well as remixing the Pet Shop Boys song, "In The Night". His remix of the song was used as the main theme for the BBC TV programme The Clothes Show between 1986 and 1994. He also remixed 'the Massive Jungle Mix' for Tina Turner's UK top 40 lead single from her 1996 album Wildest Dreams "Whatever You Want" (co-written by himself, Taylor Dayne and Fred Zarr). [4] [5] Arthur Baker's songs are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.

Contents

Biography

Early career

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, [6] Baker began working as a club DJ in Boston in the early-1970s, where he was known for playing crowd-pleasing soul and Philly soul. Nonetheless, he had little patience for DJing, saying in an interview: "[If] I didn't get a good reaction on a record, I'd just rip it off, break it up and throw it on the dancefloor." [6]

Baker's production career started off with a few disco recording sessions in Boston. Legendary disco remixer Tom Moulton, who was signed to Casablanca at the time, was required to release an album of his own as part of the deal for working for the label. Tom's brother Jerry came across the sessions written and recorded by Baker, Tony Carbone, and Larry Wedgeworth and bought them in a deal from Baker. Moulton then remixed the tracks and released them as his 1979 album "T.J.M" Baker talked about the album in an interview with Red Bull Music Academy in 2012.

"Well, when I was in Boston, I went into a recording studio...Intermedia Studios ... the first Aerosmith album was recorded there. I took an engineering course there....from there I kept on doing things.... I went to my family and I borrowed like a thousand dollars, from my grandmother, my father, just about anyone. Got money from them and I decided to make an album. Something like a Gamble & Huff album. It was like doing a full album with strings on every track. I mean it was crazy, and I probably spent like 15 grand. And then Tom Moulton's brother heard it and said " Oh we love the songs, we'll buy it from you but we're going to re-record everything." So this was the first time I got f***ed in the record business. Listen up for this one! So, basically he said: "Here's the money, you'll get publishing." Because you know, I'd written all the songs. And he said : " We just want the tapes, we're not going to use them but we just want them so we can listen to them better." So of course, I gave him the multitracks, and a year later it came out as T.J.M. He'd used everything I'd done, and he sort of remixed it or mixed it. So, I got a bit screwed on that one."

Arthur Baker

Baker also released a single under the moniker "North End" on West End Records in 1979, "Kind of Life (Kind of Love)."

Remixer/producer

In 1981, Baker moved to New York, where he continued to DJ whilst pursuing a career as a producer. His first successful single was "Happy Days", which he released under the name North End on Emergency Records in 1981.

In the early 1980s, prior to digital recording equipment that would emerge a decade later, Baker and his contemporaries created remixes on analogue tape. He worked closely with the Latin Rascals, which were influenced by the earlier work of Tom Moulton, John Morales (of Morales and Munzibai), and Walter Gibbons, the creator of the first commercially available twelve-inch single, a remix of Double Exposure's "Ten Percent." The Latin Rascals would eventually edit the work of every major United States dance-music producer active in the 1980s, but in the early days, the duo was part of Baker's circle.

Baker went on to work for hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records, where he produced Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" single, which was a hit in the summer of 1982. [7] The record combined elements from two Kraftwerk recordings, "Trans Europe Express" and "Numbers," which were interpolated by studio musicians, rather than sampled. Later that year, using unused tracks from “Planet Rock, he later produced Planet Patrol's "Play at Your Own Risk" single in 1982, another group with a hit album in 1983.

Also during 1982, he produced the single "Walking on Sunshine" by Rocker's Revenge featuring Donny Calvin which hit number one on the U.S. Dance chart on September 18 that year.

In 1983, Baker found work doing dance remixes of pop and rock hits, first with Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," "Cover Me," and "Born in the U.S.A." from his Born in the U.S.A. album. Also during 1983, Baker produced the track "I.O.U." by Freeez, which was one of the biggest dance hits of the year in the UK. In 1984, Baker contributed his "Breakers' Revenge" to the Beat Street score and movie soundtrack, which he also helped produce. He is the remixer and additional producer for songs for Hall and Oates ("Out Of Touch", "Method Of Modern Love", "Possession Obsession", "Dance On Your Knees") and Diana Ross ("Swept Away", co-written and co-produced by Daryl Hall)). In 1985, he produced three songs on Jennifer Holliday's album Say You Love Me, the biggest hit being "No Frills Love", a song he co-wrote, co-produced, arranged and remixed. The remixes for Pet Shop Boys´ "Suburbia" followed in 1986.

Following these successes, Baker came to the attention of Manchester alternative dance group New Order, who co-wrote "Confusion" and "Thieves Like Us" with him (and Baker can be seen prominently in the music video of the former). The 12-inch single "Confusion" was a crossover hit on the U.S. dance charts, and established a relationship between Baker and the band that has continued since.

Narrowly missing out on signing the Beastie Boys to his Streetwise Records label, Baker did manage to sign the group New Edition, which had success with its single "Candy Girl."

Further collaborations

In 1984, Baker worked with Hall & Oates as mix consultant on their album Big Bam Boom, and the result was a markedly urban and electronic sound for the duo. Baker co-wrote the opening instrumental, "Dance On Your Knees," with Daryl Hall. He also remixed that song and the album's other three chart hits: "Out Of Touch", "Method Of Modern Love", and "Possession Obsession." Baker also contributed three remixes to “Tease Me,” the lead-off track on (Ohio Players and Parliament Funkadelic alum) Walter “Junie” Morrison's “Evacuate Your Seats” Techno-Freqs EP.

In 1985, Baker helped Bob Dylan complete his Empire Burlesque album as mixer and arranger, and with Little Steven Van Zandt organized and produced the anti-apartheid anthem "Sun City" by Artists United Against Apartheid. He was later honored by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid for "high valuable contribution to the international campaign for the elimination of apartheid and the establishment of a non-racial and democratic society in South Africa"[ citation needed ].

In the late 1980s and later into the 1990s, Baker worked with soul star Al Green, writing and producing the international hit "The Message is Love" and the anti-handgun song "Leave the Guns at Home". In 1989, he released the album Merge on A&M Records as Arthur Baker and the Backbeat Disciples, and remixed Neneh Cherry's debut single "Buffalo Stance". He was also the music supervisor of the films Fried Green Tomatoes and Listen Up - The Lives of Quincy Jones. In 1991, he released a second album under Arthur Baker and the Backbeat Disciples, Give in to the Rhythm.

1990s–2000s

In the 1990s, following a break from production for some years, Baker moved to London, and established a chain of successful barsThe Elbow Roomsacross the city. He also owns the Tiny Robot restaurant and The Starland Social Club members bar in London, located in Notting Hill. He continues to work as a DJ and producer and recently produced "Part-A" for the genre-busting London Electro Metal band Monsta.

The Arthur Baker remix of 'Spaceman' by Babylon Zoo was used in the 1995 Levi's commercial 'Planet'.

In 2006, the financial services company Visa used a Baker-produced track from Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking For the Perfect Beat" as the backing music of a Visa Check Card commercial. In the ad, an animated worm drawn on the pages of a checkbook does the 1980s dance known as the Worm.

Select discography

Wally Jump Jr. & the Criminal Element

YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
US Dance
[8]
NED BEL
(FLA)
UK
[9]
1986"Jummp-Back"16Don't Push Your Luck
"Ain't Gonna Pay One Red Cent"
"Turn Me Loose"560
1987"Private Party"3957
"Tighten Up (I Just Can't Stop Dancin')"23131124
1988"Sworn to Fun" (US only)
"Thieves" (UK only)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Criminal Element Orchestra

YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
US Dance
[10]
UK
[9]
1987"Put the Needle to the Record"1063Locked Up
1989"When the Funk Hits the Fan"
1990"House Time, Anytime" (US only)
"Everybody (Rap)" (feat. Wendell Williams)(Criminal Element Orchestra credited on UK releases only)30The Best of Criminal Element Orchestra
"Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" (with Tkeylow)(US only)
1991"What Is the Criminal Element? (La Da Dee La Da Daa)" (feat. Princessa)(US only)
1992"ABC/OPP" (feat. Tim Bryant)(US only)
1996"Go Around" (UK only)89Single only
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Arthur Baker & the Backbeat Disciples

YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
US
[11]
US R&B
[12]
US Dance
[13]
AUS NZ NED BEL
(FLA)
GER AUT UK
[14]
1989"It's Your Time" (feat. Shirley Lewis)64Merge
"Talk It Over" (feat. John Warren)
"The Message Is Love" (feat. Al Green)843946101296438
1990"Last Thing on My Mind" (feat. John Warren)
1991"Let There Be Love"14Give In to the Rhythm
"Leave the Guns at Home" (feat. Al Green)69
"Kiss the Ground (You Walk On)" (feat. Adele Bertei)47
1992"I O U" (feat. Nikeeta)9319
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Other projects

YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
US Dance NED BEL
(FLA)
UK
1984"Breaker's Revenge"19 Beat Street OST
"Who You Stealin' From" (by Guru)(US only)Singles only
1986"(I Want to Go To) Chicago" (by R.T. & the Rockmen Unlimited)
1987"The Opera House" (by Jack E Makossa)6211048
1991"Over & Over" (by Pleasure Pump)
"Why Can't We See" (by Blind Truth feat. Táta Vega & Toney Lee)
1993"Love Is the Key" (by Blind Truth feat. Táta Vega)
1994"Boombaata" (by Blind Truth)
1996"It's So Hard" (Angel Moraes re-presents Blind Truth)
"You're Mine" (Arthur Baker presents Blow Out Express)(UK only)
"Down the Pub" (Blowout Express presents Norman & Christopher)(UK only)
1997"Blowout Expressions" (by Arthur Baker presents Blowout Express)(UK only)
"Stop! Love Patrol" (by Baker/Robie Project)
1998"The Break '98"
1999"Breaker's Revenge '99" (UK only)
2002"Hold Your Head Up" (by Arthur Argent)(UK only)
2003"Real Fookin' Noise" (by Arthur Argent)(UK only)
"Return to New York" (feat. Princess Superstar)(UK only)
"1000 Years" (feat. Astrid Williamson)(US only)22
2004"This Feelin'" (by AB/DC)(UK only)
2006"Glow" (feat. Tim Wheeler)(UK only)82
2009"Tear Down the Walls" (feat. Nona Hendryx & Ladonna)(UK only)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Related Research Articles

<i>Planet Rock: The Album</i> 1986 studio album by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force

Planet Rock: The Album is an old school hip hop album by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, released in 1986 as a collection of previous singles. The song "Planet Rock" was one of the earliest hits of the hip hop music genre and remains one of its pioneering recordings. The single's liner notes include members of Kraftwerk with the songwriting credits. In creating the track, portions of Kraftwerk's "Numbers" and "Trans-Europe Express" were interpolated, along with portions of songs by Captain Sky and Ennio Morricone.

Twelve-inch single Type of vinyl phonograph record

The twelve-inch single is a type of vinyl gramophone record that has wider groove spacing and shorter playing time with a 'single' or a few related sound tracks on each surface, compared to LPs which have several songs on each side. This allows for louder levels to be cut on the disc by the mastering engineer, which in turn gives a wider dynamic range, and thus better sound quality. This record type is commonly used in disco and dance music genres, where DJs use them to play in clubs. They are played at either 33+13 or 45 rpm. The conventional 7‐inch single usually holds three or four minutes of music at full volume. The 12‐inch LP sacrifices volume for extended playing time. In the 1970s, the 12‐inch single was created as a hybrid.

DJ BoBo Musical artist

Peter René Baumann, better known under his stage name DJ BoBo, is a Swiss singer-songwriter, rapper, dancer, and music producer. He has sold 14 million records worldwide and has released 12 studio albums as well as a few compilation albums which have included his previous hits in a reworked format. BoBo has also released as many as 34 singles to date, some of which have charted high not only in German speaking countries, but also in other European territories.

Jocelyn Enriquez Philippin-American dance-pop singer (born 1974)

Jocelyn Enriquez is a Philippine-American dance-pop singer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most popular songs are "Do You Miss Me", "A Little Bit of Ecstasy", and the Stars on 54 cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind". Her success helped inspire and pave the way for many Asian American, particularly Filipino Americans from the San Francisco Bay Area, artists during the mid to late 1990s such as Buffy, Kai, One Vo1ce, Pinay, Sharyn Maceren, and others.

John Benitez (born November 7, 1957), also known as Jellybean, is an American drummer, guitarist, songwriter, DJ, remixer and music producer of Puerto Rican descent. He has produced and remixed artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and the Pointer Sisters. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked him as the 99th most successful dance artist of all-time.

Kurtis el Khaleel, known by the stage name Kurtis Mantronik, is Jamaican-born hip hop and electronic-music artist, DJ, remixer, and producer. Mantronik was the former leader, DJ, and keyboardist of the influential 1980s hip hop and electro-funk group Mantronix. Currently, Mantronik lives in South Africa, where he has produced and remixed house and techno music tracks by artists such as India, Junior Senior, Kylie Minogue, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, Michael Gray, Victoria Beckham, Liberty X, and Mim. Mantronik was influential in the development of hip hop music: notably, he laid the foundations for Southern hip hop genres such as Miami bass and trap music, and helped popularize the Amen break.

Gabry Ponte Italian DJ

Gabriele "Gabry" Ponte is an Italian DJ, remixer, record producer, and radio personality, best known for his membership in the Italian dance band Eiffel 65.

Artists United Against Apartheid was a 1985 protest group founded by activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker to protest against apartheid in South Africa. The group produced the song "Sun City" and the album Sun City that year, which is considered a notable anti-apartheid song.

David Banks, better known by his stage name DJ Disciple, is an American DJ and house music producer from Brooklyn, New York City, New York.

Freemasons are an English DJ duo from Brighton, East Sussex, England. The act consists of the producers Russell Small and James Wiltshire.

Disco Inferno 1976 single by The Trammps

"Disco Inferno" is a song by American disco band The Trammps from their 1976 fourth studio album of the same name. With two other cuts by the group it reached number-one on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in early 1977, but had limited mainstream success until 1978, after being included on the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, when a re-release hit number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Sun City (song) 1985 single by Artists United Against Apartheid

"Sun City" is a 1985 protest song written by Steven Van Zandt, produced by Van Zandt and Arthur Baker and recorded by Artists United Against Apartheid to convey opposition to the South African policy of apartheid. The song declared that all the artists involved would refuse to perform at Sun City, a resort which was located within the bantustan of Bophuthatswana, one of a number of internationally unrecognized states created by the South African government to forcibly relocate its black population.

Planet Rock (song) 1982 single by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force

"Planet Rock" is a song by the American hip hop artists Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force. The song was produced by Arthur Baker and released by Tommy Boy Records in 1982. The recording came together after DJ and producer Baker met with Bambaataa and the two bonded over the idea of creating a song about their mutual appreciation for the band Kraftwerk. Baker and Bambaataa had worked together previously on the song "Jazzy Sensation," and decided to compose a more electronic based version of the hip hop song, as opposed to the more disco-oriented work popular at the time. Along with musician John Robie, the group recorded the single at Intergalactic Studios in New York. Robie duplicated the sound on the record and had Bambaataa's rappers in the Soul Sonic Force rap over it. To create the raps, the lyricist of the group, Emcee G.L.O.B.E., had to develop a style he called "mc popping", which involved rapping off time, an unusual style at the time.

Soulsonic Force is an American electro-funk and hip hop ensemble led by Afrika Bambaataa who helped establish hip-hop in the early 1980s with songs such as "Planet Rock". They were also influential in the birth of the electro movement in America and helped pave the way for modern dance music styles such as electro-funk as well as the entire Miami bass scene.

Looking for the Perfect Beat 1983 single by Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force

"Looking for the Perfect Beat" is a song by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force. The song was produced by Arthur Baker and John Robie and was the follow-up track for the group following "Planet Rock". The track took much longer to develop than "Planet Rock" with Baker experimenting with cocaine and the pressure involved with creating a follow-up single. The group was developed for months in Robie's apartment while Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force were touring.

Afrika Bambaataa American DJ, record producer and activist

Afrika Bambaataa is an American disc jockey, rapper, songwriter and producer from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Afrika Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world. On May 6, 2016, Bambaataa left his position as head of The Zulu Nation due to multiple child sexual abuse allegations dating as far back as the 1970s.

John Robie is an American musician and record producer, widely credited as the driving force behind many of the most successful songs from the early 1980s electro boom and is best known for his work with the New York-based record producer Arthur Baker. John Robie's songs are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.

<i>Gonna Get You</i> 1983 studio album by Freeez

Gonna Get You is the second album by the British jazz-funk/post-disco group Freeez, released in United Kingdom on 1983 by Beggars Banquet, and in Japan on 1984 by Victor Musical Industries.

Torsten Stenzel Musical artist

Torsten Stenzel is a German musician, songwriter, composer and producer. Classically trained from an early age his roots are within the field of Electronic Dance Music. His interest for music first started at age 5 when he received piano lessons by academic piano teacher Andre Terebesi.

DJ Mog Northern Irish house DJ and producer (born 1984)

DJ Mog is a Northern Irish house DJ and producer whose single "Somewhere" reached #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay Chart in America.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Arthur Baker". AllMusic . Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  2. Arthur Baker Biography, arthurbaker.net Archived March 5, 2005, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved June 13, 2005
  3. "Arthur Baker RBMA lecture". Redbullmusicacademy.com. Archived from the original on 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  4. "Tina Turner - Whatever You Want - Single". The-world-of-tina.com.
  5. "TINA TURNER | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  6. 1 2 'Interview: Arthur Baker', DJ History Archived March 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine , Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton. Retrieved June 13, 2005.
  7. Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 42. ISBN   1-85227-969-9.
  8. "Wally Jump Jr & The Criminal Element - US Dance Club Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  9. 1 2 "Official Charts Company: Wally Jump Jr & The Criminal Element". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  10. "Criminal Element Orchestra - US Dance Club Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  11. "Arthur Baker And The Backbeat Disciples - US Hot 100". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  12. "Arthur Baker And The Backbeat Disciples - US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  13. "Arthur Baker And The Backbeat Disciples - US Dance Club Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  14. "Official Charts Company: Arthur Baker And The Backbeat Disciples". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-05-02.