Ron Hardy – Sensation

It’s been said that Chicago house music wouldn’t have been the same without the late Frankie Knuckles… well, you could say the same thing about Ron Hardy, whose residency at the legendary Muzic Box saw disco, hi-NRG, electro, industrial and uptempo pop blended together to create a unique sound still revered to this day.

Yesterday, 8 May, would have been Hardy’s 61st birthday, however the Chicago native succumbed to heroin addiction early in his life, dying at the age of just 33 in 1992 – just as house music was gaining international exposure.

With that in mind, Hardy’s production output is sadly minimal, with his 1985 EP Sensation, on legendary label TRAX Records, arguably his masterwork.

The sublime ‘Sensation’ was released on TRAX in 1985


TRAX, established just a year earlier, had only a handful of records under its belt when Sensation came out, and the three-track EP was one of the seminal releases of the then-fledgling label, and was produced by TRAX founder Larry Sherman.

An interesting piece of trivia about this track is that the vocals are sung by Adrienne Jett, who would go on to provide the sublime backing vocals to Jamie Principle’s Your Love a year later, before largely disappearing from the music industry.

On the record sleeve, Hardy is referred to as ‘The Original Music Box Mixmaster’


Writing about Sensation in 2014, Rolling Stone magazine said that it holds ‘near-mythic status among fans — finding an original pressing is almost impossible‘, with Hardy himself a master custodian of the ‘twitchier aspects of new wave and […] manic acid house mentalism’.

Happy birthday Ron!

[Main picture by Reggie Corner, sourced from Red Bull Music Academy]

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