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In our new series, we take a look at the biggest tunes in dance music, the tracks that go off every single time.

 

Instantly recognisable as one of the greatest dance tracks of all time, "Voodoo Ray" was probably the UK's biggest contribution to the acid house catalogue.

Recorded in 1988 by Gerald Simpson AKA A Guy Called Gerald, the track contains samples of comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, specifically Cook delivering the line "voodoo rage" and Moore saying "later!" The samples were pitch-shifted to make them almost unrecognisable. That unmistakable vocal was provided by longtime Simpson collaborator, Nicola Collier.

"Voodoo Ray" was recorded over two days at Moonraker Studios in Manchester. Speaking about the process to Mojo in 2005, Simpson said: "I was trying to keep it quiet from the dudes in 808 State because I was still working with them but wanted to do my own thing. It was fun just slipping out of their basement and taking the drum machine. They'd be like 'where are you going?' I'd say, 'Oh just going home to do some programming,' then nip off to another studio.

The title "Voodoo Ray" comes from the limitation of Simpson's hardware at the time. The sampler didn't have that much memory, so when he recorded Cook's "Voodoo Rage" line it couldn't save the whole phrase, resulting in the sample saying "Voodoo Ra..". The title became "Voodoo Ray".

"Voodoo Ray" was the best-selling independent single of 1989 and charted at No.12 in the Uk Singles Chart. It was re-recorded for release in America and titles "Voodoo Ray Americas". 

The track has become a pop culture phenomenon, synonymous with Acid House. It featured in an iconic scene from Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People and also in SF-UR in-game radio on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

 

 

A Guy Called Gerald is headling Feelings 5th Birthday and 30 years of Acid House celebration, tickets & more info here.

 

About the author

Matthew Francey

Managing Editor.

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