100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #67 Joe Smooth – Promised Land

Released : 1987 (US)

They were only there if you looked for them, but there were some discernible straight lines between early house music and the gospel traditions, of evangelism and out of body experiences. Amongst the noise and darkness and smoke of club dance floors from Chicago to Manchester, when you were asked “Can you feel it” by some disembodied voice from by the DJ booth, the answer was always yes.

Joe Smooth was already a player in the Windy City’s nascent house scene when he signed to the esteemed D.J. International label in 1987, having appeared on Frankie Knuckles ‘You Can’t Hide’ and a handful other tracks in the run up.

He’s revealed since that the formula he used to create what has become one the genre’s most instantly recognisable – and best loved – tracks was disarmingly straightforward: “I studied my favorite hits from Motown and was determined to write a classic song with the same type of spirit in our house style”.  What he came up with embodies the spirit of the era, it’s sense of optimism and togetherness, a gift from a higher power for midnight churches everywhere.

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