A Spotify playlist showcasing some of the original superstar DJ David Morales’ best pop remixes and 12″ versions.
David Morales is one of, if practically not the, original superstar DJs in the same way that Cindy Crawford was one of the original supermodels – he was and still is that big. Apart from producing records under his own name, he is one of the most prolific remixers of the 12″ era. Whilst his CV lists many highly credible club hits, he never shies away from remixing pop hits, often adding a strong tribal, percussive element. This playlist lists some of his best pop remixes.
Because it is tempting to pigeonhole all of his remixes – “add some tribal drums, stick a two-minute breakdown in the middle, the stretch the whole thing out to ten minutes” – I’ve deliberately picked a few different styles of remix to showcase the man’s amazing talents.
“Where Love Lives (Come On In) (Classic Club Mix)”, Alison Limerick (1990)
Not just one of the greatest David Morales remixes of all time, this is one my my greatest dance records ever – in fact, just one of my greatest records, full stop. A mix created in conjunction with Frankie Knuckles, this is one of the most famous dance records ever made.
“Space Cowboy (David Morales Mix)”, Jamiroquai (1995)
Fair dos to Jamiroquai’s record company – they never skimped on the remixes. Every promo I got would be a beautifully-designed, high-quality gatefold double 12″ pack with a whole host of big name remixers. This is one of the classics, and was a favourite in my residency from the very first time I played it.
“I Like The Way (David Morales Classic Club Mix)”, Deni Hines (1998)
Another piano-driven remix for Australian soul singer Deni Hines, giving her a top twenty dance chart single in the US.
“Caught In The Middle (Def Classic 12″)”, Juliet Roberts (1994)
Juliet Roberts is a well-known backing singer and soul, jazz and house singer in her own right who has worked with acts such as Cathy Dennis, LA Mix and Dannii Minogue. This single was originally released in 1992, but this remix dates to 1994. Peak Morales gospel piano house.
“Needin’ U (Club Mix)”, The Face (1998)
This is another David Morales project, featuring Juliet Roberts on lead vocals. The key string melody and some vocals are taken from “My First Mistake” by The Chi-Lites, whilst the piano comes from Rare Pleasure’s “Let Me Down Easy”.
“Itchycoo Park (Morales Classic Club Mix)”, M People (1995)
Even as promos for “Love Rendezvous” were being mailed out in 1995 (which had a great – seriously great – K Klass remix), there was a buzz about the single that was to come after it and rumours circulated that it would be a cover version of The Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park”. The promo came out with remixes from M People, Hed Boys and this classic David Morales mix. The single performed well, although many fuddy-duddy types (looking at you here Chris Evans) slated the band for covering a classic in their own style, which here is a beautiful gospel house.
“How Would U Feel (Original Mix)”, David Morales featuring Lea-Lorien (2004)
This is the another of David Morales’ own productions, and one that changes the blueprint. It’s a more urgent, club-based sound that the piano-driven tunes on the playlist so far, and a credible underground club record.
“Luv 2 Luv (David Morales Stereo Anthem)”, Suzanne Palmer (2004)
I literally know nothing about this record except that it came out on a Hed Kandi Twisted Disco compilation, and it’s bloody great. There isn’t even much on the Internet so that I can fake knowing all about it. Meh.
“Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ (Def Mix)”, Inner City (1989)
Possibly the finest remix of all time. The original was an unremarkable 1979 disco hit for Stephanie Mills but this slowed-down remix by Morales and longtime co-conspirator Frankie Knuckles simply oozes brilliance. A complete change of pace for both Inner City, and David Morales’ remix portfolio. If you could imagine watching the entire Ringu trilogy in an industrial walk-in freezer you would still only be but four-tenths of the way to appreciating the shivers that I get when I hear this record.
“Fantasy (Def Club Mix)”, Mariah Carey (1995)
In many ways the archetypal David Morales pop remix. Tribal drums, disco sirens, an epic dropped-tempo breakdown that incorporates the original single, a belting piano, an 8-octave vocal performance, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
“Spice Up Your Life (Morales Carnival Club Mix)”, Spice Girls (1997)
This is how I described it for a playlist of my 11 greatest pop songs ever:
“Distilled sugar cane byproducts. Carbonated water. Sugar cane juice. Citrus aurantifolia. Mentha sachalinensis. When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound terribly appealing; but when you call it a Mojito, something magic happens. And that’s a bit like “Spice Up Your Life”. The singing is shit, the lyrics are trite, the level of musicianship is Key Stage 2, the choreography is depressing, the wardrobe is upsetting, and Victoria Beckham. But put them together, slam it to the left, shake it to the right and then look what you have! You can’t not sing along, just like you can’t not order another Mojito when you’ve already had three. Shout out to the 12” mixes, especially the David Morales mix. Epic.”