I was recently part of a celebratory weekend, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the ‘Second Summer Of Love’, which, in fact, spanned 2 summers (1988 and 1989), focusing on the key role played by the famous London club night, Shoom.
The original ‘Summer Of Love’ was back in 1967, when the hippie ethos of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, having reached bursting point with the influx of ‘flower children’, was unleashed on a largely unsuspecting world in a blaze of peace, love and LSD. This had been anticipated by John Phillips of the influential West Coast Folk Rock group, The Mama’s & The Papa’s, who wrote a song (recorded by his friend, Scott McKenzie) called ‘San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)’ in anticipation of what would be a mass of tripped-out humanity, who’d come from far and wide, seduced by alternative lifestyle encompassed by Timothy Leary’s ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out’ mantra – a famous, albeit somewhat reckless 60’s soundbite he’d aired to great effect the previous January at the ‘Human Be In’ (aka ‘Gathering Of The Tribes’), held at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. With The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ as its technicolor soundtrack, the ‘Summer Of Love’ 1967 was the epicentre of the 60’s. With its beautiful naivety, it marks a moment in history when, for a great many young people living in the western world, anything seemed possible. More in the following posts:
The second summer(s) of love very much borrowed from the first in terms of its symbolism and imagery, both movements sharing a peace and love philosophy. However, whereas the hippie generation seriously believed they were going to change the world, the ravers were more hedonistic by nature, their primary objective being right to party through the night. We were living in Thatcher’s Britain where a dog eat dog mindset prospered, community becoming increasingly fragmented in an everyone for themselves type atmosphere. MDMA, or Ecstasy as it was widely known, broke that down in spectacular fashion amongst the more inquisitive, bringing young people together in tactile recognition of their fellow brothers and sisters, the dancefloor becoming an almost sacred gathering place for these loved up congregations. For a time it was all ‘nice one’ and ‘matey’ as Ecstasy, and subsequently, making its most significant re-emergence in the UK since the 60’s, LSD itself, became the drugs of choice amongst an ever-growing amount of younger people (Ecstasy wasn’t cheap back then, and could cost between £15-£20, whereas an acid trip was a powerful option at but a couple of quid). Not surprisingly, club / dance culture would experience radical changes as a consequence.
The catalyst for all this had been the famous, now almost mythical, trip to Ibiza in 1987, when Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway, Johnny Walker and birthday boy Paul Oakenfold went to spend a week on the White Isle, and were turned on to Ecstasy by friend and fellow DJ Trevor Fung, who was working out there at the time with his cousin, Ian St Paul. Following this fabled ingestion of MDMA, whilst listening to eclectic Argentinian DJ, Alfredo, at the club Amnesia (a venue with hippie kudos), they stepped through the looking glass into a blissed-out Balearic paradise, which opened up a realm of new possibilities to them. Their shared revelation would ultimately have a global impact.
Overwhelmed by the experience, it had been something of a spiritual awakening for these DJ’s, inspiring them to set about bringing a bit of Ibiza back with them. Ecstasy was already in use on the gay scene in London, but, when, following their return to the city, Rampling, along with his then wife, Jenny, set up Shoom, whilst Oakenfold weighed in with Future and Spectrum, and Holloway with The Trip, Ecstasy found its environment, set alongside the aural accompaniment of House and Balearic records pumping out of the speakers.
The night was called Shoom because, as Nicky Holloway explained; “half an hour or so after you necked a pill you would suddenly feel this euphoric wave go through you, like shooom! – hence the name of Danny’s club”. It would enjoy great success during the late 80’s, and Danny Rampling would go on to host his long-running BBC Radio 1 dance show, which graced the airwaves between 1994 and 2002, whilst continuing to appear at clubs internationally. He retired as a DJ in 2005, but made a return 2 years later. Nowadays he mainly works alongside his wife, Oregon born DJ Ilona Rampling.
I must admit I was surprised when I was approached to play at the anniversary. I was retired as a DJ myself for a 20 year period, including the years Shoom was active, and I never got to attend the night personally, so there was no connection, apart from an appreciation of what it all represented. However, Danny & Ilona were keen for me to appear, so it would have been rude not to. Also on the bill were DJ Simon Little, and former Frankie Goes To Hollywood member, Paul Rutherford, who was making a personal appearance (his post-Frankie solo hit ‘Get Real’, from 1988, a Rave anthem). The following night Danny & Ilona were joined by DJ’s Terry Farley, Pete Heller and Phil Mison, with Paul Rutherford back for a further PA. The nights were held in Hastings (at West Exit Club) because this is where Danny is based these days, the south coast town providing an alternative to London, where Shoom held its 25th birthday celebration last year.
I tried, in the best way I could, to summon the spirit of House / Acid House and Balearic via the tracks I chose, a selection of classics spanning the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s. Not being a DJ during this period, these weren’t tracks I played in the clubs when they were originally released (with a few exceptions, which I’ll go into below). There are 20 tracks in all, the majority of which are edits, including a number of my own. The full mix is now available to stream / download via SoundCloud:
There are 3 tracks included that were released before I stopped deejaying, but are also relevant to the later Acid House era:
Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’ was a 1980 Salsoul release, which was played in the specialist clubs, but never caught the attention of a more mainstream audience until it was sampled by Italian group Black Box in 1989, the resulting track, ‘Ride On Time’, becoming the UK’s biggest selling single that year, whilst prompting a financial settlement with Holloway, who’d threatened legal proceedings on discovering the track had used her uncredited vocals. I play the Beaten Space Probe edit.
Electra ‘Feels Good (Carrots & Beets)’, was a 1982 Italian dance track (released on the New York label Emergency) with a proto-Electro vibe that was massive for me following its arrival on import in May 1982. 4 years later, one of the seminal Chicago House tracks, Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’ (1986), reworked, to great effect, part of the bassline that was hidden away towards the end of the Electra track. Then, in 1989, DJ Eren would mash-up the instrumental of ‘Your Love’ with Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’ (1986) for a famous bootleg, before an official version, credited to The Source Featuring Candi Staton, became a top 5 UK hit in 1991. Finally, 4 years ago, in 2009, when I heard that Cosmic Boogie was doing a re-edit of the Electra track, I pointed out that this was the source of the bassline for ‘You Got The Love’, suggesting that in the latter part of his edit, when this section of the bassline came in, he should loop it round and introduce the Candi Staton acappella, which he ended up doing to great effect, the mash-up subsequently issued on 12” via Disco Deviance. This is the version I play here (‘Your Love’ is also represented in the mix via Underdog’s edit).
Originally recorded by Lamont Dozier in 1977, the Richie Havens version of ‘Going Back To My Roots’ first appeared on his 1980 album ‘Connections’. It would later be claimed as a Balearic discovery, having become a Shoom classic, but it had originally been a huge tune on the early-80’s Jazz-Funk scene (including Wigan Pier, my own venue at the time), so much so that, although never officially issued as a single here, WEA club promotions man, Fred Dove, would press up a limited DJ Only white label 12”, which also included the Lamont Dozier original (both long and shorter variants), WEA owning the rights to both recordings. Soon after, in 1981, Odyssey would have a huge UK pop hit with their interpretation, and then, in 1989, Italian House act, the FPI Project released their take on it, a classic of the Rave era, which borrowed its piano breakdown from the Havens adaptation. Given the success of all these 4 versions, it’s a track, as I’ve said previously, that’s embedded firmly in the psyche of UK club culture, and with Richie Havens dying earlier this year it was absolutely nailed on for me to play it. That said, it was a completely spur of the moment decision to play the Killer Funk Disco All Stars edit of the track out of the FPI Project version, connecting the 2 directly (I proceeded to do this for the next 2 nights, thus bringing a bit of Shoom to my gigs in London and Brighton). On a personal level, ‘Rich In Paradise’ is one of the defining releases of Rave period, here’s what I wrote about it in my ‘The Haçienda – 30 Years On’ blog piece from last year:
“My abiding memory of the Haçienda in those ‘rave on’ days was the overwhelming response to the track ‘Rich In Paradise’ by the FPI Project (an instrumental version of the classic ‘Going Back To My Roots’), which I witnessed during a visit from London. I stood chatting to Kermit (then of the Rap Assassins) in one of the alcoves when, while continuing the conversation, he raised his hand in the air as the track’s piano breakdown filled the room. In my heightened state I then noticed that all the people standing near us were giving the same type of salute. As I looked around it became apparent that everyone in the club was sharing this outpouring of togetherness, hands held high in the air! It was the most unifying moment I’ve ever experienced in a club and, although I witnessed similar sights subsequently, everything that followed seemed to be just chasing shadows, trying to re-capture something that was no longer there, at least not in its purest form.”
So thanks to Danny for inviting me to take part in Shoom’s celebrations – it was really enjoyable to DJ in a different context. To play these records, knowing how much they meant to many of those in attendance, evoking memories within them of a magical era of youthful exuberance, was something special to experience. So, nice one to all of those I shared the night with, and I hope that the people who weren’t there, but who can now check out the mix online, will also feel their spirits rise as those Summer Of Love vibes seep out of the grooves of these memorable tunes.
Summer Of Love Wikipedia:
Second Summer Of Love Wikipedia: