Ron Hardy – "Sensation" (1985)
The late Ron Hardy was best known as the groundbreaking DJ who commanded the booth at Chicago's late, legendary Music Box. The hard-driving, percussive "Sensation" is one of the only Hardy tracks that exists, and it has near-mythic status among fans — finding an original pressing is almost impossible. Hardy, who died in 1992, was a DJ's DJ who chopped up and reinvented music with innovative re-edits, radical juxtapositions and wild EQing. In many ways, Hardy was the polar opposite of Frankie Knuckles, who presided over the Warehouse and later, the Power Plant. Knuckles frowned upon drugs and alcohol, while Hardy indulged in a range of chemicals. Knuckles' approach was classier and more conventionally musical; Hardy's sets were crazier and more experimental, celebrating the twitchier aspects of new wave and the manic acid house mentalism of acts like Phuture. Knuckles was the yin to Hardy's yang; together, they represented two distinct and equally important sides of Chicago house.