One of dance music’s most iconic names is 50 years young today. In celebration of Mr. Carl Cox’s birthday, here are 50 reasons we love him. Please add your own reasons in the comments. Happy Carl Cox day, everyone!
1. Children have Santa Claus. Buddhists have Buddha. Ravers have Carl Cox.
2. His signature line — the greatest in all of dance music: “oh-yes-oh-yes-oh-yes!”
3. His infectious gap-toothed smile.
4. His stage presence. Every great DJ has a unique aura. Armin bursts with unbridled euphoria. Dubfire exudes understated elegance. Carl Cox? He’s like a bull in a china shop crossed with a kid unwrapping presents on Christmas morning. Not exactly graceful, but full of power and joy.
5. The beads of sweat that invariably go flying into the faces of the people in the front row.
6. His driving, relentless sets. There’s hardly ever a moment to relax and catch your breath. Why would there be? You’re here to dance, remember?
7. His commitment to keeping the spirit of acid techno alive, decades after it first hit the UK.
8. His fitting nickname: “the three-deck wizard.” The man has incredible timing. His use of syncopated rhythms to mix tracks together is impossible to resist.
9. “I Want You (Forever).”
10. Nine… eight…seven…six-five…four-three…two…one…WORK!
11. His humility. Even though every self-respecting raver knows his name, he’s a throwback to a simpler time, when house music was about beats, not brands.
12. He’s the greatest DJ of the past 25 years (according to Mixmag, at least).
13. Moby – “Walk With Me” (Carl Cox Remix).
14. His (semi-awkward) two-step.
15. He’s a master of crowd control. The man has the gift of being able to look out into a throng of moving, grooving people, and knowing how to make them move just a little bit more.
16. The sheer amount of energy he expends while he’s behind the decks.
17. The part he’s played in bringing dance music out of the underground. Today, our beloved genre enjoys an unprecedented level of cultural relevance. Carl Cox is a big reason for that.
18. He’s a time-traveler, the only DJ to have brought in the new millennium twice. He did it by spinning a three-hour set in Australia, then flying halfway around the world to Hawaii.
19. This devastating Essential Mix.
20. The bragging rights. Once you’ve experienced a Carl Cox set, you’re no longer a newbie. That’s not to say you have to love him like we do, or that you even have to like him at all. But once you’ve seen Carl do his thing, you can debate dance music with even the most obnoxiously elitist fans, and you won’t be ignorant.
21. He was once a scaffolder.
22. His Revolutionary parties at Space Ibiza.
23. The Carl Cox & Friends stage at any dance festival worth caring about.
24. The fact that he’s been DJing longer than many of the people he plays for have been alive.
25. His mythical importance. If you’ve seen and heard and felt Carl Cox mix records together, your soul is connected to the thousands of people across the world who have been similarly moved. You’re part of the Carl Cox legend.
26. “Family Guy” (Sharam Remix). Deep, dark, delicious techno.
27. His finger wag — if he points to you, you’re obviously doing something right.
28. His record collection, which contained more than 100,000 stories at last count.
29. His ear for talent. Without him, we wouldn’t have Nicole Moudaber’s sultry skills or Joe Brunning’s pounding productions.
30. “Tribal Jedi” (Slam Black Drum Mix). Yet another reminder that less is more.
31. His ability to get you out of your own head and onto your feet, to make you stop thinking and start dancing.
32. At a time when his friends were spending their money on McDonald’s, he was spending his on records. We’re eternally grateful.
33. The way he crafts his drops — building, pushing, echoing until you’re surrounding by noise, then slamming into the next beat with precision that makes you go “oomph.”
34. This quote, which is allegedly attributed to him: “House music has the power to heal, to soothe, to comfort. It’s a music of love, a music from up above. True house music is an instrument of God and if this instrument is used wisely, it can change your soul.” Even if he’s never spoken those beautiful words, his music embodies them.
35. He’s played back to back with Green Velvet at Serbia’s infamous Exit Festival. Two of the baddest men in techno, sharing a stage.
36. His willingness to experiment, like with the drum ‘n’ bassy “Chemistry.”
37. In an era of pre-planned and sometimes even pre-mixed sets, there’s an element of spontaneity to Carl’s performances. It’s as if he’s finding another gear as he goes along, urging you to do the same. Sure, he plays lots of the same tracks while he’s on tour, but they’re rarely in the same order.
38. He’s an inspiration to so many people. There was a time when Carl Cox was just another punter in a nightclub. Then he heard a record — “Acid Tracks” by Phuture — that changed his life. How fitting, therefore, that Carl Cox went on to a career in which he’s played many records for many punters, changing quite a few lives in the process.
39. He was the first DJ Mag Top 100 winner.
40. His legacy, which will live forever in the hearts of everyone who’s shaken a leg at his behest.
41. He’s an ageless wonder. Watch Carl Cox videos on YouTube or look at photos of him from the 90s. That bald head, those twinkling eyes and that beaming smile haven’t changed at all. The music has kept him young.
42. He helped turn DJing from an afterthought into an artform.
43. He made a cameo appearance as a sketchy club owner in the cult film Human Traffic.
44. His (un)official title as The Nicest Man in Dance Music.
45. He’s done the seemingly impossible by bridging trance and techno. And that’s a F.A.C.T.
46. His enthusiasm for gyrating vigorously on stage while he plays records has made it socially acceptable for people like us to gyrate vigorously in nightclubs and festivals while he plays records.
47. If Carl Cox is still cool at 50, there’s hope that you might be when you’re 50.
48. He’s all heart, no hype.
49. He plays Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” so that we can all throw our hands in the air and sing.
50. His remarkable passion for making people dance. Carl, on behalf of everyone whose live you’ve touched, thank you. Here’s to another 50 years. We hope all of them are spent where you belong, behind the decks.