In Massive Tunes, we take a look at the biggest tunes in dance music, the tracks that go off every single time.
Simply put: one of the smoothest dance tracks ever created. "Gabriel" has been used to soundtrack everything from Croatian boat parties, to London rooftop parties, to streetwear videos and dance music documentaries. Produced by Roy Davis Jr. with Peven Everett providing vocals and performing trumpet and keyboards.
The mix we all know and love is not the original mix, however. The OG track "Gabrielle" was released in 1996 on Chicago's Large Music. The original version is more of a straight house record and is much more up-tempo than the now-iconic version. Roy created the 'Live Garage Version' as a chillout mix and named it as his studio was beside his garage. This is somewhat ironic as the Live Garage Version would soon blow up on UK pirate radio and helped define the genre that would become known as UKG.
"Gabriel" (Live Garage Version) soon sparked a bidding war among UK labels and was eventually released by XL Recordings one year after the original debuted in Chicago. The XL release featured remixes by UK acts Basement Jaxx and R.I.P. Productions. It was an instant club hit and peaked at No.22 on the UK Singles Chart, remaining in the chart for five weeks.
Talking about "Gabriel" years later, Davis expressed surprise that it was the Live Garage Version that so captivated UK audiences, saying that his favourite mix is an unreleased Philadelphia mix featuring live percussion from Larry Philips.
Davis and Peven would create 'four or five' more songs together but none of them would see release. Davis has since expressed regret that he wasn't able to negotiate an album deal with XL. As "Gabriel" became more and more popular, demand grew for Davis and Peven to perform the track live. Unfortunately, this would eventually lead to them going their separate ways. As Davis would later explain; "promoters were like if you don't get rid of this person then we can't book you anymore. You know, when it starts to get like that you have to step back and you have to communicate with that person on a mature level."
Davis and Peven have not worked together since.
Roy Davis Jr will play with Glenn Underground and Boo Williams on Sat 26th January, get tickets here.