Farley Keith - Music Career

Music Career

Farley got his start in the music industry in 1981 as a one of the original members of the Hot Mix 5, a DJ team at WBMX-FM 102.7 FM, Oak Park, Illinois (original members of Kenny "Jammin" Jason, Mickey "Mixin" Oliver, Scott "Smokin" Silz, Farley "Funkin" Keith and Ralphi "Rockin" Rosario). He was a guest DJ at The Warehouse nightclub, and was a resident DJ at The Playground, which later became The Candy Store and later La Mirage.

Farley began recording in 1983 with his debut single "Aw Shucks".

Farley created his first house music productions in 1984, including "Funkin with the Drums", on the House Records label. This track was what became a standard in Chicago house music, the "beat" track or "rhythm" track, a song composed with drums alone. In 1985, Farley's single "Jack the Bass" (along with Chip E's "Time to Jack") ushered in the popular "jacking" dance craze in Chicago house. Also influential in 1985 was "Funkin' with the Drums Again", followed in 1986 by "Give Yourself to Me" with vocals by Kevin "Jack N House" Irving and Darryl Pandy. These recordings were released through Trax Records label. His roommate at the time, Steve Hurley, had produced a cover of "I Can't Turn Around" by Isaac Hayes, which sold well in the Chicago area. Before Hurley could arrange to have the record licensed for overseas distribution, Farley managed to attach his own name to a European release of a slightly altered version of Hurley's track. The new version, "Love Can't Turn Around" by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk (vocals by Darryl Pandy), which reached #10 in the UK Singles Chart in 1986. Tony Camillo produced a "female" version built around the backing vocals for the track, releasing it under the name Philly Cream on Cotillion / Warner Bros. Records the same year; Farley would occasionally air it during his WBMX radio mixes in 1986-1988.

Farley also did some remixing and editing for DJ International Records in Chicago during this time, and he DJed and performed at many parties in the Chicago suburbs, helping to spread the music throughout the Chicago area.

Farley had several other follow-up hits during the late 1980s, including "Jack My Body", "Hey Norton", "The Trax U Lost", "It's You" with vocals by Ricky Dillard, and most notably, "House Nation", credited to House Master Boyz featuring the Rude Boy of House, which followed "Love Can't Turn Around" into the UK top ten.

In 1990, after becoming a born-again Christian, he grew tired of house music and began producing hip hop. However, he returned to house by the mid 1990s, and by the late 1990s began to enjoy a fair amount of success as a global touring DJ.

The radio station Galaxy 105 in the UK features Farley to roll-over into January 1, 2000 with a track called "Happy New Millennium".

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