Born in 1967, the Parisian DJ David Guetta was, by 2001, perhaps not the most obvious candidate for a breakout name in dance music. Though his career dated back to the 80s, and he first gained notice with an early slice of French hip-house recorded alongside the rapper Sidney (1990’s Nation Rap), followed by a single with deep-house icon Robert Owens (1994’s Up & Away), Guetta hadn’t amassed much in the way of production credits. He had, however, made a name for himself as a DJ at the Scream club in Paris, his blend of main-room house and electroclash material revitalising a scene which he had supported since its early days. Released in January 2002, Guetta’s mix compilation Scream Vol.5 approximated those heady sets. More pertinently, however, it also began with a tease of what would be the title track for his debut album, Just A Little More Love.
Listen to ‘Just A Little More Love’ here.
Letting it all out on the breakdowns
A briskly recorded cut featuring a traditional house anthem’s lyrical themes of world peace, the song Just A Little More Love was bolstered with vocals from Chris Willis, a US soul singer who would contribute to most other tracks on the album. Originally given a European release in 2001, the single would become an international hit after being reissued, two years later, with the original Elektro Edit (which sampled from Hashim’s electro-funk classic Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)) now sharing space with a remix by Spanish DJ Wally Lopez, alongside further mixes, including one by Kid Vicious (aka long-standing Guetta collaborator Joachim Garraud). With the full version of Lopez’s mix proving popular in Ibiza, the song would be a hugely successful draw on soundtracks and compilations.
Follow-up single Love Don’t Let Me Go also trails its predecessor on the album’s tracklist, with Willis letting it all out on the breakdowns. Sensing the need to rein in his wall-shaking club instincts for a more communicable approach on record, Love Don’t Let Me Go was given a snappy edit, and its single release again included a cavalcade of remixes, among them a simmering retooling by Italian house mainstay Joe T Vannelli. However, the most successful take surfaced in 2006, when, inspired by one of Joachim Garraud’s DJing tricks, Guetta’s original was retooled into a hit mash-up with German DJ Tocadisco’s bumpy, electro-fied remix of Walking Away, a tune by English electronica outfit The Egg. Issued as a single that August, Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away) marked the start of Guetta’s true ascendancy to stardom, charting at No.3 in the UK and doing brisk business across Europe.