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Belt Publishing

Chicago House Music: Culture and Community

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Marguerite L. Harrold

August 13, 2024

An inside look at the music born, bred, and perfected in Chicago.

 Chicago house music originated in the city’s Black, gay underground in the late seventies and became one of the most popular musical genres in the world by the end of the century. In Chicago House Music: Culture and Community, Marguerite Harrold tells the story of the genre’s rise and the prolific creators who have sustained it for decades. You’ll learn about house music’s early innovators, like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, who transformed the social and political turmoil around them into a revolution in dance music. You’ll also hear remembrances from contemporary figures in the house community, like DJ Lady D, Avery R. Young, Czboogie and Edgar “Artek” Sinio, who have forged new paths as the genre has evolved. It’s a story about much more than music—it’s about a community struggling for acceptance, love, liberation, and freedom, and about the creative pioneers whose resilience helped turn house music into a worldwide phenomenon.

Full of interviews and first-hand accounts from the people who stood behind the turntables, carried crates of records, or danced until dawn, Chicago House Music is the history of an art form that continues to be a force for social interaction, spiritual liberation, and community today. 

ISBN: 9781953368737 | Paperback | 6 X 9

Praise for Chicago House Music: 

"Chicago house music is more than a Spotify playlist, or category of 12-inches in your nearest dance-friendly record store. As Marguerite Harrold's deeply felt book shows, Chicago house is a culture and a way of life; it's a community and a family; it allows us to feel and hear a broad range of religious and subcultural roots of expression; it's an expression of Black and brown queer communities, and it's the face of pop music; it is a definitive expression of Chicago, incubated by marginalized communities counteracting political and economic neglect. 
        Chicago House Music: Culture and Community captures these complex facets that all house heads know to be true, and Harrold lays out the details with the kind of care and passion that should hook a curious novice who doesn't know Marshall Jefferson from Marshall Fields. This vital book shows the Chicagoans who did the work to open clubs, promote parties, spin records, and build house music into a vital international phenomenon." 

—Leor Galil, senior staff writer for the Chicago Reader


"Chicago House Music: Culture and Community is a history lesson of black music, from blues and gospel to soul and disco, and how it all converged in Chicago to give birth to house music. Author Marguerite Harrold, who witnessed the scene firsthand, takes you on a journey through the clubs, studios, and streets of the Windy City, where a musical revolution took place. Through extensive research and interviews, the story of house music is told with passion, insight, and respect. You will feel like you are there as the music is taking place, blossoming, and spreading across the world. This book is more than a reference book. It is a love letter to Chicago house music, and a tribute to the black culture that gave it life."

—Barbara E. Allen, filmmaker of House Music: A Cultural Revolution


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