Chuck Roberts: The Voice of House Music Passes Away at 66

Chuck Roberts, a figure synonymous with house music, passed away peacefully on June 6, 2024, surrounded by his family in Berwyn, Illinois. Known for his iconic “In the beginning there was jack…” sermon from the 1987 track “My House” by Rhythm Controll, Roberts’ contribution to the genre is unparalleled. He was 66 years old and had been battling cancer.

Roberts’ speech on “My House” is one of the most sampled vocals in house music history. It gained immense popularity when it was featured in Larry Heard’s 1988 deep house classic “Can You Feel It,” helping to solidify the track as a seminal piece in the genre. The speech, which speaks to the inclusivity and spirit of house music, has been described as one of the most spiritual experiences in dance music​

Roberts began his musical career singing in church choirs, which honed his powerful vocal skills. He later formed the R&B bands “Mister” and “The Verdict,” gaining local fame with tracks like “I Wanna Thank You.” His venture into house music came unexpectedly when producer Tony Lewis invited him to lay down vocals for a track. This collaboration led to the creation of “My House,” a track that would define Roberts’ legacy in house music history​

Beyond his famous sermon, Roberts continued to influence the music scene. He worked with various artists and producers, including Glenn Jones, Bobby DeBarge, and projects on Death Row Records. In 2018, Roberts released a new rendition of his iconic speech in collaboration with Chicago producer Terry Hunter, titled “In The Beginning”​

Roberts’ influence extends beyond the music itself. His speech has been embraced globally, often bringing audiences to tears during live performances. Reflecting on his legacy, Roberts expressed humility and gratitude for the impact his words have had over the past three decades​

Tributes have poured in from across the music world, celebrating Roberts’ contributions and the lasting impact of his work. His message of unity and love continues to resonate with fans and artists alike.

Chuck Roberts’ passing marks the end of an era in house music, but his legacy will live on through his timeless speech and the countless tracks it has inspired. As house music continues to evolve, the foundational words of Roberts will remain a guiding light for the genre.

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