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Darryl Pandy

Darryl Pandy, who sadly passed away yesterday, was the fulsome vocal presence behind Farley Jackmaster Funk’s breakthrough cover of Isaac Hayes’ original disco number “Love can’t turn around”. 

For many of us in the UK, at least until the mid-90’s when the show began to finally die, appearances on Top of the Pops were a defining next-day-in-the-school-playground moment for young people’s consciousness about popular musical culture. Frankie Goes to Hollywood in particular combined risque subject matter with well-marshalled stage performances that will always live long in the memory. 

Unlike the Detroit TV shows “The Scene” or “The New Dance Scene”, which has provided a number of entertaining treasures on youtube over the last couple of years, TOTP in the 80’s was a national and therefore much more neutered affair, albeit with a faint patina of sarcasm whenever John Peel was presenting. The ability to make a video of quality was out of the reach of many smaller bands, which meant that a performance was a surefire way of promoting your record.

The crowd, being mostly composed of fairly clueless teenagers, was a random affair instructed to clap and whoop at appropriate moments. As such, performances by alternative bands and acts who somehow found themselves in the Top 40 could often look somewhat restrained. 

Pandy’s wonderfully charismatic (and live) performance for “Love can’t turn around” was a breakthrough moment for house music in the UK. I won’t try and suggest that it was a catalyst for my own interest in electronic music, but Steve “Silk” Hurley’s “Jack your Body”, which surprisingly reached no.1 a few months later, did give it a gentle shove.

It’s not the acid house generation equivalent of the Sex Pistols’ goading by Bill Grundy, but as a historical marker for the development of Chicago House in particular, it’s a useful starting point. 

Toby Frith

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