Category Archives: Break Machine

Everybody’s talking about the situation

A while ago, a tune came up on my unbranded mp3 player that I didn’t recognise. I’m not saying there’s anything particularly weird about that. Sometimes I put stuff on there without listening to it first and then forget it’s there. Anyhow, on this occasion the mystery tune was a pleasant enough 80s-style electro instrumental. “I wonder what that is?”, I thought to myself. Took a look at the display and… really? I don’t think I’ve heard that song in about 30 years and I don’t remember it being anything like that. But it was.

Link: The Rock Steady Crew – (Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew (instrumental)

What I didn’t realise until I read up on it later, is that this was at least partly the work of one of my favourite producers, Stephen Hague. Need I mention his terrific work with OMD, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Malcolm McLaren, One Dove, et cetera? This 1983 single was one of his first big hits, basically a bit of a cash-in on the breakdance craze.


The Rock Steady Crew weren’t really a pop group at all, they were a breakdancing troupe (an excellent breakdancing troupe, mind) who got the chance to make a record. I don’t imagine this is bringing in much in the way of royalties these days…

Link: The Rock Steady Crew – (Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew (12″ mix)

I have since tracked down the Rock Steady Crew’s album Ready For Battle, and the two most amazing things about it are (1) that it existed in the first place, and (2) that it has been reissued on CD with all the remixes added as bonus tracks. The third most amazing thing about it is that it’s mostly listenable. Stephen Hague wouldn’t let us down !


Around the same time, an even more blatantly calculated attempt to cash-in on the trend appeared in the form of Break Machine, a manufactured trio masterminded by the guys behind the Village People, which explains why the track below is more disco than hip hop. Their album has never been issued on CD, a situation that needs to remedied. If they’re remembered at all (if…), it’s more likely for their debut hit “Street Dance”*, but the follow-up also made the top ten, and it certainly makes me want to dance, if not quite in the style they’re suggesting…

Link: Break Machine – Break Dance Party (12″ / album mix)
Link: Break Machine – Break Dance Party (Dub mix)

* To quantify this, a look at Discogs suggests that “Break Dance Party” has been on three CD compilations over the years, while “Street Dance” has been on 6.8 trillion. I think the case is made, yeah?