Remembering Stu Allan, DJ and house pioneer, after his death at 60

Last night, Ears To The House briefly reported on the death of Stu Allan at the age of 60 – a DJ of some four decades standing who played a crucial role in spreading house music out of its Chicago roots and showcasing it to what turned out to be a very willing British audience.

This was the statement posted onto Allan’s Facebook page last night…

Stu Allan was one of those names whose role in dance music was frequently understated. Having grown up on the island of Anglesey in rural North Wales, he started being exposed to the sounds of disco in the 1970s and later moved to Manchester to pursue a career as a DJ.

When he started out all the way back in 1982, he mainly concentrated on hip-hop – but when house music started coming out of the USA later in the decade, he was perfectly placed to find those records and show them to the people in England’s north west. Amidst names such as Mike Pickering, Graeme Park and others at legendary Manchester club The Haçienda, Allan’s name often gets neglected.

This might be something to do with snobbery over his move in the 1990s into hardcore. A more commercial venture followed in 1993 when he joined Eurodance group Clock – he was a member until their break up in 1999. During the mid-90s, he was also an important character in the development of hard house – a particularly popular variety of house music in the north of England at the time.

In a genre which behaves quite strangely towards people who make the move from underground to mainstream pastures, the fact his role in the development of house music in the UK is often understated is unsurprising – but also grossly unfair. Because if it hadn’t been for Allan and his passion, house music’s trajectory when it hit British shores might have been that little bit different.

Yes, house music came out of black communities in the United States. This is simply not in doubt. But it was never embraced by the American people in the way it was by the British – and Stu Allan was out there spreading the message every weekend. He is just one of the many pioneers whom today’s generation of superstar DJs owe everything to – they simply wouldn’t be where they are now without all that groundwork laid down by the likes of him…

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