For every Strings of Life or Voodoo Ray, there’s a barrel-load of techno turkeys polluting the pop charts, and back in April 1998, Mixmag journalists Neil Stevenson and Alexis Petridis set out to determine the worst dance music monstrosities ever committed to wax.

While the EDM scene (which no doubt would contribute a smattering of tracks if such a list was compiled today) was still a few years away, the late 90s was permeated with the dregs of the Eurodance movement, ‘rave’ versions of popular pop hits, and novelty records so inane they would make you long for the halcyon days of Joe Dolce’s Shaddap Your Face.

As the authors explain, this list is a selection of the ‘most cynical cash-ins, naff novelties, misguided experiments and drug-addled disasters ever to grace a set of Technics’.

You have been warned…

1. Doop – Doop [1994]


‘Dutchmen Ferry and Garneski’s biggest selling contribution to club culture was a 1920s Charleston dance combined with Euro synth riffs,’ the authors wrote. ‘Caned by Tall Paul and Nick Warren, plus Judge Jules and David Morales, who both remixed it’.

2. Scooter – Raving I’m Raving [1996]


According to the authors, this was ‘a European smash, despite an extraordinarily bad vocal, lunatic acid lines and the cherry on top, massed bagpipes playing Scotland The Brave. This record really has to be heard to be believed.’

3. Ferrerolicious – The Ambassador’s Party [1996]


‘Borrowing the backing from BBE’s Seven Days And One Week, it added Robert Miles-y piano playing – yes! – the music from the Ferrero Rocher ad, complete with spoken lyrics along the lines of “the Ambassador’s receptions are known for their good taste”.’

4. Dr. Spin – Tetris [1992]


‘A hideous dance reworking of the Nintendo theme, this was spawned by the production team who topped the charts two years previously with Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.’

5. Purple Kings – That’s The Way You Do It [1994]


The Purple Kings plumbed the lowest depths with this cheap Dire Straits knock off. Has the wold ever seen a sadder sight than that of people in a club playing air guitar to the riff from Money for Nothing?’

6. Slipstream – We Are Raving [1992]


‘Popular in Scotland, We Are Raving is the most compelling argument imaginable for the continued illegality of drugs.’

7. Skin Up – Blockbuster [1992]


‘Hardcore ravers were masters of subtlety, weren’t they? Note the way Skin Up cunningly slipped references to the rave scene’s drug of choice into Blockbuster; having a bloke repeatedly shout “GIVE US AN E!’ and “GIVE US ANOTHER E!”.’

8. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe [1995]


‘The entire genre of ‘banjo house’ should be confined to the bargain bin of history. Rednex’s Cotton Eye Joe was its apotheosis, a record that made the Grid’s teeth-gritting Swamp Thing sound like Smokebelch II.’

9. Undercover – Baker Street [1992]


A couple of grizzled mobile DJs hooked up with engineer Steve Mac to add a house-like twist to the hoary old busker’s favourite. Some unfortunate people played air sax while dancing to this record’.

10. Oceanic – Insanity [1990]


‘Another cynical rave cash-in from Liverpool, this featured the usual lyrics about “madness” and “getting out of it” delivered by a bowel-looseningly terrible voice which was utterly out of tune.’

Check out the honourable mentions below, which include a trance rework of Wonderwall, an MC’s rant against the Macarena, and no shortage of comedy hardcore classics. All coming to a bargain bin near you..! 🙂

1 thought on ““Put on my raving shoes and I boarded a plane…” Mixmag names the worst dance records of all time [April 1998]

  1. That wretched Smart E’s – Sesame’s Treet is the worst rave song of all time in my opinion. It’s a shame it’s not on this list.

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