The year was 1982 and I was 19 years old, regularly spending time in pubs and clubs across East London and Essex, when I first heard that unforgettable opening bass line. It was “Walking on Sunshine” by Rockers Revenge, and instantly I knew this track was something special. That pulsing funk groove, the bursting synthesisers, and the singer’s vocals instantly created a packed dance floor. Like many, I was exhausted by the end of the over 5-minute, 12” version, but more reason for another pint!

YouTube player

We hadn’t heard synth stabs and rhythms fused quite like that before. The song blended the best elements of disco, funk, and electronic music into something fresh. Yet the feeling it created was primordial – pure dance floor euphoria.

For me and my mates, hearing “Walking on Sunshine” meant the night was off to an epic start. We belted out the lyrics together, feeding off the track’s energizing vibe. It became a staple that united Britain’s underground dance scene everywhere from Manchester to London.

Even today, that opening bass line takes me right back to those carefree times. We didn’t know it yet, but “Walking on Sunshine” was helping pioneer the dance music revolution to come. No questioning it, for me and ‘soul-boys’ everywhere, this song defined the glorious abandon of the 80s club scene.

Produced in New York, When “Walking on Sunshine” was released in 1982, it became a massive hit in England’s urban dance clubs. The funky bass, syncopated rhythms, and upbeat vocals perfectly captured the mood of British youth looking to party and dance freely. It spent over 4 consecutive months on the UK pop charts, peaking at no.8 in 1983. More importantly, the production techniques used on “Walking on Sunshine” made it a trailblazer for the emerging “house” genre taking shape in Britain’s club underground. Producer Arthur Baker pioneered creative sampling of disco hooks and drumbeats, fusing it with synth stabs and electronic effects from the brand new Fairlight CMI sampler. This innovative sound influenced early UK house pioneers like ‘808 State’ and ‘A Guy Called Gerald’.

By the mid-80s, this blend of disco sampling and drum machine rhythms coalesced into “house” – the newest post-disco offshoot energising British clubgoers. The release of UK-made singles like “Pump Up the Volume” formalised the craze by 1987. But those initial staples of the genre’s blueprint were audible years earlier in ‘Walking on Sunshine.’

The anthemic song cemented sampling and electronic instrumentation at the core of modern dance music production. Without the groundwork laid by “Walking on Sunshine,” emerging genres like acid house and rave may have sounded distinctly different. Though created across the pond, the track’s lasting impact in Britain as an early proto-house classic is undeniable.

So next time you hear the euphoric vocals and bubbling funk synths of ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ appreciate it as more than just catchy pop. It helped sow the seeds for house music’s takeover of Britain’s club scene in the late 80s. Over 40 years later, the sunshine still hasn’t stopped shining.

🤞Don’t miss new stories!

We don’t spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more info.