Remembering Larry Sturm, House Music’s First Go-to Engineer


The Chicago music community is mourning the passing of engineer/producer/remixer Larry Sturm. Beginning his career in the ’80s during the birth of Chicago’s house music scene, Sturm worked behind the boards on a multitude of seminal releases, including early tracks by Jamie Principle, Fingers Inc., Shay Jones and D’Bora. He regularly collaborated with Windy City house icon Steve “Silk” Hurley (pictured above with Hurley at Chicago Trax Studio in 1985), and lent his mixing prowess to tracks by artists signed to Hurley’s ID Records. Strum went on to work on cuts by Green Velvet, The Shamen, Bad Boy Bill and countless others.

But Sturm’s production prowess wasn’t limited to dance music. He produced Chicago post-hardcore band Naked Raygun’s 1989 album Understand? and engineered a bonus track on Jennifer Hudson’s Grammy-winning self-titled 2008 album. His lengthy discography also includes work with Destiny’s Child, Disturbed, Prince & the New Power Generation, Ministry, Diddy, Fila Brazillia, Solange Knowles, Love & Sas and Twista.

In all, Sturm, who served as a governor for the Chicago chapter of The Recording Academy, was awarded with over 30 gold and platinum records during his amazing career.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, Hurley paid tribute to his friend and collaborator:

I have learned so much from this man. Even from my first session in a real studio (1985- Music Is The Key”), he was always willing to answer my crazy questions, which ultimately lead to me gaining so much knowledge. Although I told you from time to time about the little things that I appreciated, I never FULLY expressed how much you impacted my life, Larry.

Where would I be today without having such a willing teacher so early in my career? I remember when you would create perfect mixes and I would come behind you and make them sound “House”… like what the clubs wanted. You were patient enough to go back and fix what I messed up and shape my sound into one that would still be “House”, and also sonically correct. Thank you so much for being patient enough to find that compromise, and help me create what became known as “The Hurley Sound”.

Services for Larry Sturm to be held at noon on Saturday, December 12 at St. John’s Lutheran Church at the corner of 47th and Brainard in La Grange, IL.

Image via Facebook

Darren Ressler

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