ABOUT STREET SOUNDS
“In 1982, Khan –then 23–launched Street Sounds, a compilation series that democratised the dance music underground. Suddenly, tracks that had been available only on import in specialist shops, bought by DJs and serious clubbers, were available to all”.- Michael Hann, The Guardian
Founded in 1982 by Morgan Khan, Street Sounds quickly became the de facto, brand and market leader of compilation albums, specialising in music of black origin, including all styles of street music. Street Sounds released innumerable compilations and has launched the careers of many recording artists.
Described by Music Week as ‘iconic’, the Street Sounds record label in its 40-year history has been instrumental in shaping and defining street music. The label was responsible for introducing and pioneering various important music genres including Hip Hop/Rap and House music to the UK and European markets.
Street Sounds was conceived from the need to expose and make available the latest, most upfront music from the streets of America to UK and European audiences. The concept was born from Morgan Khan's love of music as a fan and from his own frustration of not being able to get hold of certain tracks because they were either US imports, that cost up to 10 times that of a UK 12-inch single, or album AND that’s if you could even find the import.
Let us not forget that the majority of record shops in the early 80's, where ‘Mama and Papa’ type shops, which were totally oblivious to the new music being listened to by a new generation. Until the birth of Street Sounds the perception of compilation albums were ‘Ktel’ type albums, featuring mainstream pop hits, or cover versions, sometimes so butchered in length, to fit as many tracks as possible on each album.
Street Sounds is the 'godfather' of the modern compilation album and its format became the template for the labels that came later. The concept of each album; to literally represent the sound of the moment; full length versions and the highest quality.
The reason for the colossal success of the Street Sounds albums was having tracks which were just coming on import or were still only available as promotional records to the few key DJs, or having just been UK released, or tracks hard to get hold of in their full-length version. Numerous tracks featured on the Street Sounds albums were never even released as singles in the UK, or Europe. Street Sounds made expensive import tracks available to kids with a fiver in their pocket! Electro 1 went on to sell over 60,000 albums (BPI certified). To qualify this, Harry's House was officially the biggest album of 2022 in the UK sold 160,000 pure sales (150,000 physical, 10,000 downloads).
Street Sounds, or more precisely its sister label Streetwave were responsible for giving exposure to many artists, that would never have broken in Europe. One of these was Cheryl Lynn and her track “Encore”, which CBS records had decided not to release and thank God, Streetwave did, with major commercial success!
Street Sounds is far more than just a record label and its distinctive yellow and black logo. Street Sounds is for many people a passage/journey from youth to adulthood, a way of life that helped shape their identity, that opened a new world of music and culture.