Street Sounds Electro

Down the years, so many people have told me about how they got into dance music as a result of the Street Sounds Electro series, which had such a massive impact on a significant chunk of British youth, both black and white, following its launch in late ’83, but is bafflingly absent in so many accounts of UK dance history. Would welcome any comments here about how this seminal series affected and inspired you, and why you think it has never received anything like its proper dues from the wider dance community.

I’ve just put my article online about the evolution of mixing in the UK, with the Electro series an important part of the story.  Here’s the section I wrote about it:

“With a wealth of experience in club promotion, Morgan Khan launched his Streetwave label in the early ’80s. Struggling to get the hits he’d hoped for he began releasing compilation albums, featuring tracks that had been big on import in the specialist clubs. His ‘Street Sounds’ series proved to be a great success, resulting in no less than six Top 50 albums in 1983. This led to a further series, ‘Street Sounds Electro’ (first volume released in Oct ’83), but this time, rather than it being the normal grouping of separate tracks, Khan decided the album’s would be mixed. He approached Mastermind, led by Herbie Laidley, but also including Max LX and Dave VJ (later Max & Dave of Kiss FM), to mix the first release, which proved to be a masterstroke when it went all the way into the Top 20. These LP’s (not forgetting the cassettes, regarded as breakdance essentials for crews up and down the country) would become something of an institution, with a run of eighteen consecutive chart entries (the majority of which were mixed by Herbie Laidley) right up until August ’87, when ‘Electro’ was finally phased out of the title and the series continued as ‘Street Sounds Hip Hop’ (having been re-branded as ‘Street Sounds Hip Hop Electro’ since March ’86). It’s a major flaw on the part of UK dance historians that the impact and influence of these albums has been largely underplayed and, more often than not, completely omitted.”

Taken from ‘How The Talking Stopped’:

Street Sounds Wikipedia:

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15 Responses to Street Sounds Electro

  1. Dylan August 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I had all of these albums and they were the soundtrack to my youth when growing up in the Nunhead/Peckham area of SE London.

    Still remember a lot of the tracks like it was yesterday, also still remember carrying a big roll of lino and a ghetto blaster round the estate….happy times 🙂

  2. Gidman August 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Yes mannnnn…….

    I can remember buying the cassette of Electro 1 from a local record shop back in 1983 when i was 12 years old – absolute stone cold killer……..

    A1 Packman, The – I’m The Packman (Eat Everything I Can) 6:35
    A2 Newcleus – Jam On Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song) 7:49
    A3 West Street Mob – Break Dancin’ – Electric Boogie 5:02
    A4 C-Bank – Get Wet 7:52
    B1 K-9 Corp – Dog Talk 9:35
    B2 G-Force featuring Captain Cee, Ronnie Gee – Feel The Force 7:24
    B3 Project Future – Ray – Gun – Omics 6:40
    B4 Captain Rock – Return Of Captain Rock

    I can remember this cassette permanetly in my ‘wad-box’ for months on end, booming out this new electro sound, as we popped, locked and break’ed on our vinyl/carboard…that was until I managed to get a copy of ‘Street Sounds Electro 4’ – OH MY GOSH…… “Pumpkin And The Profile All-Stars – Here Comes That Beat”…….

    During the late 1980’s – between myself and my long time buddy/record collector….GARY C….we picked up all the compilations…….albums that stand out for me:-

    Street Sounds Crucial Electro 2 (1984)
    New York vs L.A. Beats (1985)
    Street Sounds Electro 6 (1985
    Street Sounds Electro 7 (1985)
    Street Sounds Electro 11 (1986)
    Street Sounds Electro 13 (1986)
    The Best of West Coast Hip Hop (1987)

    For me things went drastically downhill after No.16

    This expereince completely turned me onto the leftfield music scenes……from Electro to Hip Hop….from Hip-Hop to House….from House to Rave…From Rave to Jungle and so on……..

    Big up Morgan Khan and thank you…….

    For those who are interested in the story of Street Sounds and Morgan Khan…he recently appeared on a Radio 6 show….check it

  3. Ian August 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    I came to electro via Greg’s mixes on Mike Shaft’s Sunday afternoon TCOB show on Manchesters Piccadilly radio. Check the best of 82/83 mixes !

    Seen greg at one or two all dayers at Wigan Pier spinning from inside the giant frog !!!

    Remember witnessing him mixing on 4 decks this would have been 82/83 ???

    I had electro 2,3 & 4 mates had 1 and the crucial electro 1 & 2 series.
    Couldnt really afford many imports at the time, so the electro series was a bit of of a god send for us e l e c t r o hungry yout’s 🙂

  4. dave belushi August 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    I remember me and a friend had electro 1, one deck and the common room at school. we played it until it wore out. the other kids didn’t really get it. but that’s preston for you!

  5. Tony Lowndes August 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    The Street Sounds Electro records were basically what kick-started my life-long love affair with music. I have now been DJ’ing for 21 years, professionally for perhaps 16.

    Even today i look at these records with astonishing respect, awe & wonder.. this was the beginning for me, year dot, and these records are still a huge pilar in my life… Like a lot of kids i was breakin’ & poppin’ all over the streets and this was OUR soundtrack. This stuff was mind-bowing compared to everything else. Even today i carry many of the tracks from these albums in my DJ CD books.

    ‘Street Sounds Electro’ I would like to take this opportunity to say thankyou for all the good times you gave us, you were truely inspiring, a goliath in my my musical world.


  6. swedish house mafia pharrell October 12, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend which was doing some on-line research on that. And this individual in fact ordered me lunch for the reason that I discovered it for him smile So i want to rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  7. Aaron wood January 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Nice one greg so true what you say,no one ever mentions those classic albums.Apart from rebel without a pause dont think I was ever as excited about buying vinyl as them.Am 41 now and love house still but electro is the roots of it all and will never forget what streetsounds ment to music.

  8. Dave VJ November 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Greg well done for your continued fantastic essential postings. To add to what was written about who did the Electro mixes. Most of them were done by Max and Herbie. I had a go with a few 2 but it was mainly them 2. Keep up the good work.

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  10. Ian November 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Everyone thinks they are a DJ these days & roots of music should not be forgotten. Fantastic albums that stand the test of time. Crucial Electro 1 is my fave.

  11. stephen seasman May 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    oh where do i start,im a 44 year old liverpulian and absolutely love the streetsounds electro series.i have most of them on vinyl and all of them in mp3 form.they were the first ever mixed together records id ever heard and this was the early eighties! i would love it if they were ever available on legit cd.they formed my musical tastes from hip hop to techno.so many tunes that are so influential to modern dance music and rap as it is today.i will always love them even when im 80!

  12. Charlie Marbles January 14, 2020 at 5:13 pm #

    Seminal game-changer albums of extended mixes… when the music of hip hop culture was more diverse…. I still expect those mixes when i hear those tunes…. Big up Mastermind as well as Noel and Maurice Watson (RIP) !!

  13. Mel "Herbie" Kent January 28, 2021 at 1:15 am #

    I had the pleasure of bumping into Mastermind Herbie while working in London. He is the most humble person you could ever meet and totally plays down the massive impact he had on the Hip Hop scene, London really is in a bubble sometimes, LOL.
    He was mixing in tempo and very often ‘in key’ before the vast majority of DJ’s even took mixing two records together seriously. Thanks Herbie, for influencing so many of us as we stepped out into Dj’ing.

    Mel “Herbie” Kent –


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