Dec 08


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19. Shut Up And Dance – I’m Ravin’ I’m Ravin’

How many times has a melody stalled on the tip of your tongue? Na-nur-na-nur NAH-ah NAAA. Dammit, what is it? Where on earth is that from? Na-nur-nah wee-woo-WEEEE-urr-wooo. You can’t remember what comes next, but if someone could *just* give you the first bit of the chorus you’d surely be able to hum the whole thing, even though you don’t know what the song’s called. Or who it’s by.

Picking the catchiest bits of a melody and magpie-ing it into a new track is one of the hallmarks of rave (as we’ve seen with Utah Saints and Urban Hype). Shut Up And Dance’s original mix was a fairly straight rework of Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking In Memphis’, with Peter Bouncer providing some more
suitable vocals (“Put on my ravin’ shoes” etc). This was cruelly rejected by Cohn’s army of lawyers, who clearly preferred Scooter’s effort four years later, and the proceeds from the SUAD single went to charity. Hence the version of ‘I’m Raving I’m Raving’ on Rave ’92 contains no trace of the original tune whatsoever. Brilliant!

I vastly prefer the Cohn-less remix – not just because my childhood dislike of Cher would have put me off (come on – she was TERRIFYING!), but for the detective story I got to play. Even as an eleven-year-old I *knew* that the hook came from somewhere, but the tune was different AND the words were different. I finally narrowed it down to the phrasing of the chorus (“I’m-Something-And-Something”) and kept an ear out for the familiar tune that would match it.

I love spotting these unobvious similarities in pop music (for example, the recent Beyoncé number 1
If I Were A Boy‘ is now inseparable in my mind from Joan Osborne’s ‘One Of Us’ despite not really sharing any immediate properties) as I’m sure do many other music fans. I was *so* pleased once I had worked out the origins of ‘IRIR’ without anyone actually telling me directly – it was even more satisfying than figuring out on my own that Gilbert & Sullivan were quite different to Gilbert O’Sullivan. The reward of avoiding looking like an idiot is a sweet one, and also fuels plenty of righteous indignation when you discover that Mick Hucknall has a full writing credit for ‘Fairground’ when at least some of it should clearly go to The Goodmen*.

If I spent as much effort making videos as I did feeling smug about my music trivia skills then this entry would have been posted some weeks ago! But I finally got round to it – you can watch my hand-crafted video to ‘I’m Ravin’ I’m Ravin’ below:

*Or better yet, Sergio Mendez’s ‘Fanfarra’, whom the Goodmen originally sampled on ‘Give It Up’ yet Hucknall didn’t credit either.


  1. 1
    SteveM on 8 Dec 2008 #

    I think the piano version may have got played briefly on The Chart Show but by the time they were on Top Of The Pops it was with this version. Personally I do prefer the former.

    A lot of rave hits juggled euphoric sounds with melancholic or menacing moments but SUAD were, and not just through their superb choice of samples, unusually good at sadness (perhaps no more so than on ‘Derek Went Mad’) – an approach that often seemed at odds with their trying to make people dance and soundtracking good times. Even today it’s hard trying to make sense of that but this juxtaposition remains one of my favourite things about techno-based pop.

  2. 2
    AndyPandy on 8 Dec 2008 #

    The original piano version had been played for weeks on Kiss FM in London before it entered the pop charts (in the Top 5 I think) and so I was very disappointing when that tuneless dirge with absolutely nothing in common with what people had actually been buying the record for came on Top of the Pops. If I remember correctly as soon as the sampled version ws withdrawn precisely no-one bought the replacement. They’d got away with using a pretty substantial sample of Whitney Houstons ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ on ‘5,6,7,8’ in 1989 so it’s a pity the writer of this one hadn’t been more reasonable…

  3. 3
    Mark G on 9 Dec 2008 #

    I didn’t think they replaced it as such, just that they were ‘allowed’ to ship the ones that had been manufactured (to avoid bankrupting the label), but not to promote it or repress it.

    The ‘remake’ was on the “death is not the end” album.

    I guess it wasn’t the music as much as the new lyric that MCo objected to. Which is why Scooter and Cher were alright.

  4. 4
    Mark G on 9 Dec 2008 #

    .. and because it was so in demand, there was a danger that it would be number one for exactly one week, than vanish entirely off the chart.

  5. 5
    Gareth Parker on 24 Jun 2021 #

    Marc Cohn you rotter! This would have made a great #1.

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