Acid house and the dawn of a rave new world

DJ Danny Rampling at his original Shoom club night

Author of Acid House – The True story Luke Bainbridge looks back on the early days of house music culture. In the late 80s, acid house became the biggest youth revolution for decades, uniting one ecstatic generation while horrifying parents, politicians and police.


Several years ago, for the 20th anniversary of acid house and Britain’s “second summer of love”, I interviewed some of the main players of those early days for the Observer Music Monthly magazine. It was a brief oral history, weaving together snippets from the main DJs, promoters and original ravers. “No one’s really told the story of acid house like this,” Haçienda DJ Mike Pickering told me.

When the 25th anniversary came around, it felt like the right time to speak to those people and others to pull together all their stories, many of which had never been told, for a book. I interviewed more than 80 people, from DJs such as SashaPaul Oakenfold and Andrew Weatherall, musicians such as Boy George and 808 State, to promoters, ravers, dealers and police. Everyone had a slightly different take on proceedings, depending on where their initiation came.

Each had experienced their own epiphany. “That’s why acid house spread so quickly,” DJ Terry Farleytold me. “Whenever it hit a new town, the first people in that town felt like they had the best secret ever. But it was a very evangelical secret, so they had this desperate itch to tell everyone and spread the word.”

Luke Bainbridge
for The Observer

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