Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden 'You Don't Know Me'

Chart Peak: 1 [1 week]


Armand started DJing when he was just 15 years old, playing disco, hip-hop and Latin freestyle all over the world thanks to his father's job with the US Air Force... Between '91 and '93, when his professional career as a DJ and remixer was taking off, his day jobs included working for a law firm and flipping burgers in a diner!
You know what, I don't think burger-flipping is a particularly surprising day-job for an aspiring musician (unless it was Morrissey or somebody); it's a common job that requires relatively little training or commitment.  Anyway, it's a job he was eventually able to get away from, and like Fatboy Slim he had his solo Number One well into his career - indeed, both had topped the chart as remixers before they did so on their own, Van Helden having done so on Tori Amos's 'Professional Widow' in early 1997. Though he'd been releasing records of his own for some years by then, it raised a level of commercial expectation that he defiantly dashed with his next few singles. Reputedly, his record company had a word and the result was this highly commercial comeback single. 'You Don't Know Me' (sometimes written 'U Don't...' but it's definitely 'You' on the UK single cover) is an upbeat house track based on an instrumental section from from 'Dance With You', a 1979 disco hit by Carrie Lucas. Apparently, vocalist Duane Harden was pretty much left to his own devices by Van Helden, who left the studio to get on with something else. Next thing you know, he's on the phone at the end of the Top 40 rundown, with Mark Goodier congratulating him and claiming the next single 'Flowerz' could do even better (it didn't).

Although my brother bought this single at the time (which is how I'm so sure of the spelling), I didn't like it at all then. I rather enjoy it now, despite the obvious lack of originality. Harden's lyric isn't saying much new either, but that no longer bothers me - I can take this as the entertainment it's supposed to be. I even quite like the video, which shows the duo being refused admission to a series of clubs - mainly because (SPOILER WARNING) they don't have the predictable payoff of them finally getting into the best club of all. It does unfortunately draw attention to the one weakness of the track, a slightly lazy fade at the end of the radio edit. But then, I wouldn't have the patience to listen to the full eight minute version either. This'll do.

Available on: Defected Presents For The Love Of House Volume 2

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