in 1986, house music was still on the ascent in the US and abroad when “love can’t turn around,” a collaboration of chicago house music pioneers farley smith, jesse saunder and vocalist darryl pandy became the big bang moment for the genre in the UK.
often described as a flamboyant house music diva, darryl pandy fused his gospel, broadway, and opera background into both his vocal and performance artistry. it was this fusion that detonated house music in the UK and cemented pandy as chicago house legend.
in 1986, chicago dj and producer steve “silk” hurley reworked the 1975 isaac hayes song “i can’t turn around” featuring vocals from keith nunnally into a blazing and pulsating house track. the song topped the billboard dance in the fall of 1986.
hurley’s version served as the inspiration for farley “jackmaster” funk’s “love can’t turn around” which featured additional production by jesse saunders, new lyrics by vince lawrence, and a masterful vocal by darryl pandy.
“love can’t turn around” hit airwaves in the summer of 1986 and reached #13 on the US dance chart. later that october, the song was a bonafide pop hit reaching the top 10 on the singles chart in the UK. this led to a rousing performance by darryl on the british music tv show “top of the pops” that remains one of the show’s most memorable.
the success of “love can’t turn around” in the UK paved the way for steve “silk” hurley’s “jack your body,” which topped the chart in 1987. it also made darryl pandy one of the most dynamic house vocalists releasing numerous singles including “animal magnetism” (1986), “i love music” (1990), and “sunshine & happiness” 1999.
darryl pandy became an ancestor on june 10, 2011. he was 48 years old.
since the release of the pivotal “love can’t turn around” in 1986, house music has not only ascended as a genre internationally, but it changed the sound and direction of pop music. and darryl’s flamboyant and exuberant style helped to lay the foundations the world dances on.