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Seven UK Garage Classics

In the late 90s and early 2000s, you couldn’t move for garage. It was everywhere! All over the radio, in the clubs, Ayia Napa was the place to be, and every Vauxhall Nova had a ridiculous sub pounding bassy vibes from the boot. Fast forward 20 years and every time there’s a whiff of sunshine, we can’t help but start pulling out the old garage playlists and firing up the BBQ!

The original garage sound – Garage House, to give it the correct title – was born in the clubs of New York and New Jersey in the 1980s, but it was the UK Garage boom of the early noughties which put the genre firmly in the spotlight. Artists like Craig David, Daniel Bedingfield and MJ Cole got their big breaks through releasing garage tracks which would go on to become timeless classics.

As the ancient proverb goes: every party should have a garage half hour. (Ok, we might have just made this up) Here’s some of our all-time favourite garage cuts for you to enjoy!

Garage

Artful Dodger ft. Craig David – Re-Rewind

The year 2000 was the year of Craig David. His debut album Born To Do It went straight to number one, but it was this track, produced by Artful Dodger in November 1999, that is the reason Craig David became a household name almost overnight!

In an interview in 2016, Craig said that the song was almost lost forever after the recording session... He says: "We finished the song and dubbed it onto a cassette to go and play it in the car. It sounded good but there were a couple of little tweaks we wanted to do – and literally as we turned the computer on, all we saw was this 'error, file number' message. The only way to get rid of it was to press OK. So we pressed OK, and it kept coming up with new error numbers. So we'd press OK, press OK, press OK. But when we looked at the session, all that we saw was the hi-hats. I was like, 'are you actually for real?' So that plastic TDK tape became gold dust. We had the whole song on there, and we had to use the recording as our reference, playing it very carefully so it didn't get chewed up, and trying to remember all the things we did. And that was 'Re-Rewind'."

Good job really! And the less said about Bo Selecta, the better!

MJ Cole – Sincere

MJ Cole has pretty much done it all. Classically educated, a multi-instrumentalist, he won scholarships to the Royal College of Music and City of London School in his youth. After graduating, he started working at a drum ‘n’ bass label, and it was here he got the bug for making garage, or 2-step as it was back then.

This track was picked up by Pete Tong on Radio 1 and became one of the earliest garage songs to break into the UK charts. Pure summer this one!

Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers

Formed in Manchester in 1996, it was this almost chart-topping smash hit (it only got to number two in the UK!) from April 2000 that we all know and love. Remixer Ceri Evans aka Sunship gave it the UK Garage twist and the rest is history!

Monsta Boy – Sorry (I Didn’t Know)

True garage heads will know this one. But if you’re not familiar, you may still recognise it because a version of it by Joel Corry has recently been in the charts. Monsta Boy are from Nottingham and at the time this track was picked up by XL Recordings, who have been home to artists such as Adele, The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx, Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Dizzee Rascal and Jungle...

Double 99 – RipGroove

Double 99, as the name would probably suggest, were a duo. But many people probably don’t know that one half of this producer combo was none other than Tim Deluxe! 1997’s ‘RipGroove’ is a top drawer sample fest – borrowing bits from tracks like Armand Van Helden’s drum ‘n’ bass remix of CJ Bolland’s ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’, Barbara Tucker’s ‘I Get Lifted’ and the vocal from another garage classic; the Kelly G ‘Bump-N-Go’ mix of Tina Moore’s ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’ (more on this track at the end of the article....)

DJ Luck & MC Neat – Piano Loco

Some would argue that there are better tracks to choose from DJ Luck & MC Neat – sure, ‘A Little Bit of Luck’ and ‘Masterblaster 2000’ are bona-fide classics, but this slice of Latin inspired garage goodness makes our list because it’s just so damn ridiculous! ‘Hey flibby-dibby-dibby-dibby-dibby-dibby.... we come to get dowwwn!’

Special Mention: Shift K3y – Touch

This one was a surprise back in 2014, when unknown producer Shift K3y jumped straight into the charts with a tune that is a straight up nostalgic blast of 2000s inspired joy! The track hit number three on the UK singles chart in April and stuck around in the Top 40 for a further five weeks! We all love a bit of nostalgia!

Are you thirsty for more? Well good! Because we’ve put together a playlist of our top 30 favourite UK Garage classics (including the previously mentioned ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’). Head over to Spotify to take a listen – perfect for the summer BBQ! Get it rinsed!