Inner City – Good Life

„Good Life“ is a song by American electronic music group Inner City, featuring vocals by Paris Grey. The song was written and produced by Kevin Saunderson. It is often remembered for being played at dance clubs and on the radio.

Saunderson met singer Paris Grey through a good friend of his. Grey travelled to Detroit to collaborate with Saunderson on „Big Fun“ in 1988. Saunderson and Grey included „Good Life“ on their debut album, Paradise (issued in the United States as Big Fun).

„Good Life“ were made by using a Casio CZ-5000 synth and a Roland TR-909 drum machine. Saunderson made the instrumental part in his own apartment and rented a studio for 24 hours to record it with Grey. He was very happy with the result.

„The vocals were 100% Paris on ‘Good Life’, I just gave her some direction. I said, ‘Look, I don’t want it to sound like ‘Big Fun’ but I want it to be in the same family, I want to follow up with a feel that’s similar’.“

Virgin had asked for a follow-up single after the success of „Big Fun“. „Good Life“ was chosen right away. The original version was almost like a radio version, and Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Steve „Silk“ Hurley made remixes for the single. „Good Life“ reached number 4 in the United Kingdom in January 1989, and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry for sales exceeding 200,000 copies. It’s their highest charting single and became huge at rave parties and acid house clubs.

When asked about „Good Life“ in a 2014 interview, Kevin Saunderson said:

‘Good Life’ is a song that’s going to touch people forever, it’s gonna inspire people, change their mood when they need it, it’s definitely going to make them dance — whether the original or a remix,” he continues. “It’s that kind of song. It wasn’t the intent to make a record to be a hit, it was the intent to make a record that could be played in the clubs that had a melody, which reminded me of when I used to go to hear Larry Levan play Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King or Chaka Khan. There were some great dance records — disco records — and it was my interpretation at the time.

Mixmag ranked the song number 20 in its 100 Greatest Dance Singles Of All Time list in 1996, adding:

„As the Summer of Love drew to a close, a tune emerged which distilled the spirit of club hedonism, pressed it onto vinyl and slapped it on the decks of every discerning DJ. „Let me take you to a place I know you wanna go,“ cooed Paris Grey over a chunky effortlessly uplifting backdrop, „it’s the good life“. And thousands of kids turned on to this bizarre new way of spending your Saturday night knew exactly what she meant. Remove it from its cultural context, play it eight years after it first came out and you’re still left with a beautiful, remarkable house record.“

Slant Magazine ranked the song 55th in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list, adding:

„1988’s “Good Life” clanked like techno, pumped like house and featured disco diva vocals from his partner in Inner City, Paris Grey. “Let me take you to a place you know you wanna go/It’s a good life,” she belts, creating the clearest picture of dance floor halcyon since Chic sang about 54 and its roller skates, roller skates.“

In Time Out’s 2015 list of The 20 Best House Tracks Ever „Good Life“ was included at #11, adding:

„One of Detroit techno don Kevin Saunderson’s housier, poppier moments – under his Inner City project with singer Paris Grey – also became his most well-known. With its unashamedly upbeat vocals and colourful ’80s synths all over the place, ‚Good Life‘ showed that dance music wasn’t all about heads-down raving in a dark basement club – it could also be (whisper it) happy, for no damn reason at all.“


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