MusicRadar's best of 2018: Italian DJ, producer and remixer Benny Benassi took the dance fraternity by storm in 2002 with the legendary summer club smash, Satisfaction. The track, which reached No.2 in the UK singles chart, was swiftly followed by his debut album Hypnotica, solidifying Benassi’s reputation as an electro house pioneer and Grammy award-winning remixer.
These days, Benassi’s name is synonymous with electronic dance music due to his cliché-free DJ sets and eclectic fusion of house and electro styles. Most recently, the legend himself has teamed up with Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern – best known as Sofi Tukker – on the track, Everybody Needs A Kiss. No doubt Benassi will be hoping it’s another genre-defining summer anthem!
Click through the gallery to discover the 10 dance tracks that have inspired Benny Benassi…
1. Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body
“This is probably the first house record I ever put my hands on. I had only just started DJing and was sensing that ‘80s dance music was less and less exciting. Something new just had to happen.
“When this record came along, I realised something serious was going down in Chicago and that’s where club music would be heading. I immediately fell in love with Trax Records. I get so much out of this track every time I play it; so much so that I asked if I could officially remix it a while ago. It was an eye-opener for me. Or should I say ear-opener?”
2. Faithless – Insomnia
“It was my first ever holiday in Ibiza. I went to Privilege where Paul Oakenfold was playing and was blown away by the sound of the record and the reaction it was getting from the five thousand people in the room.
“Ibiza was the place to spot future hits and Paul had spotted the hit of the following winter. I was a resident DJ in a small Italian club and was very happy to come home with this tip! In general, I’ve always appreciated the originality of Faithless. They always did their own thing.
“I had the honour and privilege of remixing ‘Bombs’ about ten years ago now. It was a milestone for me, one of those things that a few years earlier would have seemed simply impossible.”
3. DJ Rui Da Silva – Touch Me
“This was the record everybody loved. The atmosphere and mood still inspires me today. It’s a blessing when you stumble across a record that’s just so right on every level. This is one of those, and it will always have a place in my Hall of Fame.
“The lyrics are simple and universal. Anyone who’s ever been young and in love in the summer on a Spanish island knows what this song is about! Apart from anything else, the fact that a Portuguese DJ could go to Number 1 in the UK charts was good news for me!
“At that time, getting the seal of approval from UK music lovers was something all mainland European artists liked me longed for… and probably still is.”
4. Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes
“This is one of those magical, timeless tracks. There were a lot of great remixes of this at the time, too, mainly from the trance gurus including Tiesto, Armin and Above and Beyond if I remember right!
“I’ve chosen the original for this list because that’s where it all started. It’s a collaboration between Gabriel and Dresden and JES, a singer from New York who has given us a lot of good music.
“Her voice is haunting and the song is beautiful. It brings back a lot of memories, so I never tire of this tune. It’s very uplifting and transporting, which is exactly what club music is supposed to be! It gets me dreaming, and every time I hear it I get taken back to that period. It manages to symbolize an era and yet be eternal.”
5. Bomb The Bass – Beat Dis
“This track is a BOMB. I wish I could still play it night and day. There was a moment in the ‘80s when you had to have the word 'bass' either in your artist name or in the title of a track ('pump' was a viable alternative).
“I guess that’s what was happening… bass frequencies were taking over the world and there’s been no turning back. If I had to describe club music to a Martian and I was limited to one word, it would be... 'bass'.
"So more than a track, this is a style statement, a manifesto. And a lot of fun, too! There’s a lot of Bs here. Bomb, Bass, Beat, all chosen by Benny Benassi!”
6. 808 State – Pacific State
“It’s that sunrise moment! Everyone has their favourite chill track with which to welcome the new day in, even though you haven’t quite finished the old one. This is one of mine. Very cool track. A great reminder of what Ibiza was back then.
“A few years later, I would start producing my own music with my cousin and went to parties where famous British DJs were spinning to see if I could get close to their record box and slip them a promo of something I’d made in the hope they’d find it and like it. I still dig the birdsong sounds on this one, and the sax is so laid back it should be illegal.
“The name of the act is a tribute to the 808 drum machine by Roland, and nowadays that has an exciting vintage feel to it too. Where would we all be without the 808? I wonder… ”
7. Frankie Knuckles – Your Love
“This is an all-time favourite of mine, okay? I may not be first person on the planet to have ‘discovered’ this record, but it’s still so fucking good! My own sound and career have been described as electro-house, so you can see why this record drives me crazy.
“The sequencer is seminal and the atmosphere is unique. It’s exciting, ethereal, groovy and dreamy all at the same time, which is quite an achievement. I am always happy to listen to this record, any place and any time. How many records can you say that about?”
8. Inner City – Big Fun
“I’ve always appreciated the housey sound of Inner City. It’s still current in my view and there’s so much stuff begging to be sampled in there! Kevin Saunderson, the Detroit techno pioneer, was part of Inner City and this track was a hit in the late ‘80s.
“It’s a great example of a crossover track, mixing different styles creatively to produce a pop hit born in club culture. In that sense, it was a kind of blueprint for my own ambitions and a great source of inspiration.
“Inner City had a handful of hits and was among the first to introduce jazz and swing elements into techno music.”
9. Liquid – Sweet Harmony
“I love the creativity in this record; it’s an amazing mixture of different genres. House piano, breakbeat loops, sampling, and very UK-sounding, too. The first time I heard it I wasn’t sure, then it just grew and grew on me.
“I think this was an XL Records track. What a label. It’s a very joyful tune indeed! An interesting thing about this track is that it samples a track by CeCe Rogers that wasn’t that old at the time. Because it was sampling a relatively recent release, maybe that made it feel kind of underground yet transgressive - just a thought.
“A lot of current tracks come to mind that sample music from the late ‘80s, but this was originally released in 1991! It reminds me of how new and exciting the whole sampling thing was and how sampling technology developed really quickly, changing the landscape and presenting new challenges.”
10. LFO – LFO
“And talking of record labels… Warp is Warp. This is a piece of electronica that really influenced me. Kind of techno, kind of house, sort of acid, slightly industrial, call it whatever you want, for me it’s just GDM - Great Dance Music.
“Again, like Liquid, it’s very UK-sounding. As an Italian, on the outskirts of the empire, I was absorbing as much music as I could, mainly from the US and UK, and I guess that was filtered through my own experience of DJing in Italian clubs and the whole italo house and Italian disco scene.
“So when I came across a record like LFO, I felt like I was an explorer and a pioneer! For the younger readers, try to imagine life before the Internet!”