Sexiest Song of… The 1980’s

In the second instalment of ‘Sexiest Song of…’ we’re moving from the 1970’s into the 80’s; from one club music icon to another. This time it’s the turn of the decade best remembered for big hair, Back to the Future, and your mum’s unsettling obsession with Bon Jovi. We’re here to talk about why Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles’ ‘Your Love’ deserves to be remembered as the sexiest song of the decade.

This is a song that’s at once euphoric and a touch melancholy- perfectly balancing the raw attraction and guardedness of a rave romance that promises to go on to the early hours, before the illusion melts into air and reality returns once more. “Don’t make me wait for your love” wails Jamie Principle on the chorus, as the bass builds and pulses; begging for a climax.

The vocals by Jamie Principle combine to perfection the icy cool of classic Berlin and New York disco singers, with the warm throb of instantly recognisable 80’s analogue synthesisers.

 A simple repeating riff and classic drum machine thump pushes the beat along as the bass builds and pulses. “I can’t let go”, Principle breathes repeatedly between gasps of pleasure.

Chicago house frankie knuckles

 The reverberating  of each vocal phrase was a perfect fit for the warehouses and post-industrial environment of Chicago’s House scene. But Principle’s vocal style, which seems distant and cold at first, reveals itself to be the tightly controlled whisper of someone on the verge of bliss.

During the 1989 “Summer of Love”,  in the UK, when ecstasy pills and Ibiza-inspired euphoria seemed to be on the brink of resurrecting the 60’s dream of free love, this song was everywhere.

5am at Tribal Dance rave M25 Orbital, East Grinstead, UK August 1989
5am at Tribal Dance rave M25 Orbital, East Grinstead, UK August 1989

 Your Love’ survived the failure of that fantasy and proved it still has the power to make people move when it featured as the signature song in tributes to Knuckles, who died in 2014.

Frankie Knuckles

“It works because it manages to combine a soulful spirituality with a darker side, while being very sexual at the same time” said DJ Dave Pearce in an interview with the Guardian. Thanks to the messy, instinctive desire at its heart, ‘Your Love’ remains timeless.

Compared to 80’s tracks like Prince’s Darling Nikki, or that classic of romantic restraint, Me So Horny by 2 Live Crew, ‘Your Love’ is subtlety itself. But it remains a sensual gem which new generations of dance fans are discovering every year. The combination of driving synthesisers, and the right-on-the-edge poise of the vocals make it something which raises the hairs on the back of your neck to this day.

Frankie knuckles and jamie principle

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