House, techno, electro and hip hop musicians owe their
existence to the pioneers of analog synthesizers and sample based
keyboards such as the Minimoog and Mellotron which enabled a wizardry
of sounds to exist, available at the touch of a button or key.
Although many people believe house music to have originated from Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", fully formed electronic music tracks actually came before house. Early American Sci-Fi films and the BBC Soundtrack to popular television series Doctor Who stirred a whole generation of techno music lovers like the space rock generation during the 1970s, influenced by the psychedelic music sound of the late 1960s and bands such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Amon Düül, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and the so-called Krautrock early electronic scene (Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze). Shunned by many as a "gimmick" or "children's music", it was a genre similar and parallel to the Kosmische Rock scene in Germany. Space rock is characterized by the use of spatial and floating backgrounds, mantra loops, electronic sequences, and futuristic effects over Rock structures. Some of the most representative artists were Steve Hillage's Gong and Hawkwind.
The late 1970s saw disco utilise the (by then) much developed electronic sound and a limited genre emerged, appealing mainly to gay and black audiences, it crossed over into mainstream American culture following the hit 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. As disco clubs filled there was a move to larger venues. "Paradise Garage" opened in New York in January 1978, featuring the DJ talents of Larry Levan (1954–1992). Studio 54, another New York disco club, was extremely popular. The clubs played the tunes of groups like The Supremes, Anita Ward, Donna Summer and Larry Levan's own hit "I Got My Mind Made Up". Drugs including LSD, poppers and quaaludes boosted the stamina of the clubbers. The disco boom was short-lived. There was a backlash from Middle America, epitomised in Chicago radio DJ Steve Dahl's "Disco Demolition Night" in 1979. Disco returned to the smaller clubs like the Warehouse in Chicago, Illinois.
Opened in 1977 the Warehouse on Jefferson street in Chicago was a key venue in the development of House music. The main DJ was Frankie Knuckles. The club staples were still the old disco tunes but the limited number of records meant that the DJ had to be a creative force, introducing more deck work to revitalise old tunes. The new mixing skills also had local airplay with the Hot Mix 5 at WBMX. The chief source of this kind of records in Chicago was the record-store "Imports Etc." where the term House was introduced as a shortening of Warehouse (as in these records are played at the Warehouse). Despite the new skills the music was still essentially disco until the early 1980s when the first drum machines were introduced. Disco tracks could now be given an edge with the use of a mixer and drum machine. This was an added boost to the prestige of the individual DJs.