One of the stranger sagas of the early 90s rave scene was that of Shut Up And Dance’s Raving I’m Raving – by far the group’s biggest hit, yet also the most tainted to a certain extent.
Having enjoyed limited success with singles such as £10 To Get In, Derek Went Mad, and Autobiography Of A Crackhead (the latter being an understated classic), Raving I’m Raving soared to No.2 in the UK charts, before collapsing out of the Top 40 in double quick fashion, after it emerged that SUAD’s Philip ‘PJ’ Johnson and Carl ‘Smiley’ Hyman had not sought proper clearance for the sample that dominates it, Marc Cohn’s Walking in Memphis.
Cohn’s track, based on the songwriter’s visit to Memphis, Tennessee, had been a global hit the previous summer, and SUAD’s adaptation, with the chief lyric changed from “I’m walking in Memphis” to “I’m raving I’m raving”, was a step too far for the American singer songwriter and his lawyers.
Faced with a legal challenge, Shut Up And Dance agreed not to press any copies beyond the initial run; however this, coupled with regular airplay on Kiss FM from the likes of Colin Dale and Colin Faver, was enough to spark a mass buying spree, with the record selling out right across the board, almost catapulting it to the top of the charts.
In addition, following Cohn’s injunction, SUAD agreed to donate all sales from the single to charity, making it (by proxy) one of the biggest selling charity singles of that year.
Raving I’m Raving wasn’t completely destined for the scrapheap however, with Germanic comedy hardcore act Scooter releasing their own version of the track in 1996, this time with the required legal backing.
Still, for a generation of ravers, there was one track that proved to be the soundtrack to the summer of 1992, with or without Marc Cohn’s blessing.