Dec 10, 2015, 16:48

The best part of any journey is the beginning, when there’s nothing but hope. That’s why our favorite part of every sci-fi trilogy is always chapter one; where the guy with freakish recuperative powers and a metal skeleton is just drifting around Canada prizefighting for cash. Or the kid, whose parents were murdered by a criminal, is serving time in a Himalayan prison so he can beat up criminals.

What will become of these men? That much bad-assery cannot possibly stop there.

That same sense of hope and opportunity happens in music every day. Here’s a fascinating series of interconnected music releases – created by artists who sat in dark rooms full of music gear with nothing but hope. They had no idea at the time where their blood/sweat/tears would lead.

This 1977 hit single, produced entirely with electronic instruments by Giorgio Moroder..

..inspired Swedish DJ Denniz Pop to snub his elitist musician-peers and use only machines to produce…

…which was heard in a record store by two members of Ace of Base who knew they had finally found the electronic sound they were looking for. That led to the creation of..

“All That She Wants” by Ace of Base

…which music mogul Clive Davis loved so much he pulled over his yacht and signed Denniz over the phone. Arista Records released “All That She Wants” in the U.S. and it was a smash hit.

With his new fortune, Denniz created a “song-factory” (multiple dark rooms full of music gear) in Stockholm that allowed this hair-metal band singer to emerge as his most prodigious songwriter:

“Pretend I’m God” by It’s Alive

So when Jive Records had trouble finding good songs for their newly signed boy-band (well-known songwriters wouldn’t touch them)..and when manager Lou Pearlman (currently in prison for engineering the Ponzi scheme that financed all this) agreed to cover the costs of recording in Sweden, DenniZ Pop put his protege into the studio with the clean-cut boy band. Together they created…

..which was released in 1997 and became the first in a string of hits for the Backstreet Boys. Their sophomore CD, Millennium, would become one of the highest grossing CDs in music history.

When watching an “origins” story, we get the luxury of God’s viewpoint. We know Wolverine will save the world. We know Batman will save Gotham.

And WHEN extraordinary things are actually happening, the feelings are usually boring, painful things like, “Why won’t this drum machine work?” or “Why can’t this pretty-boy sing the melody I wrote?” or “Did my wealthy benefactor just make a pass at me?”. AFTER the extraordinary things happen, we’re left with just lifeless statistics and embarrassing tabloid headlines. Everyone’s out of adrenaline and ready to move on.

But BEFORE the extraordinary thing? With all that potential energy? Sucks us in every time. Here’s to people who sit in dark rooms full of music gear, doing the best they can, without a clue where it’s going.


Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of, a production music marketplace with over 40,000 tracks online where media producers, video producers, filmmakers, game developers, businesses  and other music buyers can license high-quality, affordable royalty-free music from an online community of musicians.

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