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Arthur Baker

Arthur Baker (Born April 22, 1955, Boston, Massachusetts, USA is a record producer and DJ best known for his work with hip-hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa, and the British group New Order.

Baker's career began as a club DJ in Boston in the early 70s, where he was known for playing crowd-pleasing soul and Philly soul. Nonetheless, he had little patience for DJ'ing, saying in an interview: "[If] I didn't get a good reaction on a record, I'd just rip it off, break it up and throw it on the dancefloor."

In 1981, Baker moved to New York, where he continued to DJ whilst pursuing a career as a producer. His first successful single was "Happy Days", which he released under the name North End on Emergency Records in 1981.

He went on to work for hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records, where he produced Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" single, which was a hit in the summer of 1982. The record combined elements from two Kraftwerk recordings, "Trans Europe Express" and "Numbers", which were imitated by studio musicians, rather than sampled.

Following this success, and others, Baker came to the attention of Manchester pop group New Order, who asked him to produce their songs "Confusion" and "Thieves Like Us." The 12" single of "Confusion" was a crossover hit on the US dance charts, and established a relationship between Baker and the band which has continued for more than twenty years. This also set a precedent for rock-style bands to produce dance records and remixes, which have now become commonplace.

Narrowly missing out on signing the Beastie Boys to his Streetwise label, Baker did manage to sign New Edition, who had a huge success with their Jackson 5-style single "Candy Girl".

In the 1990s, following a break from production for some years, Baker moved to London, and established a chain of successful bars—The Elbow Rooms—across the city. He also owns two soul-food restaurants in London called "Harlem," located in Brixton and Notting Hill. He continues to work as a DJ and producer.

Last updated on 2005-08-28 5:32:00 PM - 5:32:00 PM
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