Chris Hill (DJ)

Chris Hill is a British disc jockey. He worked at the club Lacy Lady in Ilford, as well as at the Goldmine Canvey Island.[1] He was the head of the 'Soul Mafia' in London and the South East of England into the early 1980s. In 1975 he released a "break-in" novelty record, in the style of Dickie Goodman, called "Renta Santa", which became a hit single in the UK during the Christmas season. The record peaked at No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart in December of that year.[2] Early the following year, he released a cover version of The Coasters' hit "Yakety Yak",[3] with the innuendo-laden "Ride On!" featured on its 'B' side that failed to chart, but later on, "Bionic Santa", cut with audio segments in a similar style to "Renta Santa", was more successful, again with "Ride On!" on the flipside, the record also peaking at No. 10 in December 1976.[2] Both tracks, which included snippets of other hits of the time, were released on the Philips label, marketed by Phonogram.[4]

During the 1970s, working with Havering Council, he promoted a series of concerts at the Upminster New Windmill Hall, although a small venue he attracted acts like Thin Lizzy, Roxy Music and The Pretenders.[citation needed] Roxy Music had just released "Virginia Plain" and their performance coincided with it climbing the charts. Hill was keen to use local bands as support including Castle Farm and After the Fire who went on to become moderately successful in the United States.[citation needed]

His final release, "Disco Santa", again in the same style, at Christmas 1978, failed to chart.[5]

Hill remains a DJ and until 2011 ran the Lacy Lady in Ilford. Hill also has a major involvement in the Caister Soul Weekenders with his longtime event collaborator and music promoter Brian Rix.[citation needed]

Having completed a second stint back on Canvey's Goldmine in the early 1980s, Hill decided to quit the club scene in 1985 and concentrate on his Ensign duties with Sinéad O'Connor whom he had recently discovered.[citation needed] In 1987, he was offered a weekend job in Hamburg on Radio 107 and created SoulBeat, which made him a celebrity in Germany.[citation needed] When O'Connor's worldwide hit "Nothing Compares 2 U" happened in 1989, Hill looked set for a quiet retirement from club life, until fellow DJ Gary Dennis suggested he return to his old Essex roots.[citation needed] Re-opening The Lacy Lady at The Kings, Ilford, they set about rebuilding a scene that had all but collapsed under the attack of rave, house and every other dance craze.[citation needed] The Lacy Lady's club at the Kings in Seven Kings closed in 1980.

Hill was a key figure on the Brit funk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s: Alexis Petridis has described him as "perhaps the scene’s biggest and most controversial name, with a divisive penchant for onstage wackiness". However Hill has also been praised by fellow DJ Gilles Peterson, who stated that he was "an amazing DJ" musically and said that he was the British equivalent of Larry Levan.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Time Capsule:December 1976. Sixmillionsteps.com.
  2. ^ a b Search for "Chris Hill" performed at everyhit.com Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine database on May 22, 2008.
  3. ^ "Chris Hill - Yakety Yak / Ride On ! - Philips - UK - 6006 508". 45cat.com.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 253. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "Chris Hill Disco Santa.Wmv". YouTube. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  6. ^ Petridis, Alexis (2 April 2021). "'There were pitched battles, fist fights': how Britfunk overcame racism to reinvigorate UK pop". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2021.

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