Those of you of a certain age will probably know Danny Rampling as that DJ who used to have a show on Radio 1 called “The Love Groove Dance Party” – a name that was considered naff even by the meretricious standards of the 1990s.
But I think it’s awfully unfair to criticise him as being a naff DJ purely from the naff show he used to do on the radio. So let’s have a look back at his life and see where that naffness came from. Michael Aspel, this one is for you.
Daniel Rampling was born on 15th July 1961 in Streatham, south London. He started out his career in the early 1980s, playing funk and soul music wherever in London he could.
Chances are he probably learnt a fair bit about naffness here. I present this claim with no evidence to back it up – much in the same way that he presents dubious claims about the coronavirus and “freedom” today. But I digress.
The infamous story goes that in 1987, he went on holiday to Ibiza with Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker, attended Amnesia and heard Alfredo playing house tracks from the USA alongside other styles of music. They also supposedly discovered that the MDNA drug also reduced inhibitions on the dancefloor whilst on this holiday.
When I started digging into the origins of the Belleville Three, I soon learnt that the story of how they got together was nonsense. I’m pretty willing to wager that most of this story is bollocks too. I present this claim without evidence – you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Danny Boy?
Anyway, Rampling enjoyed his holiday and decided to set up his own club in London. He called it Shoom, which moved to three different venues during its existence. Legend would have you believe the club was fantastic. Not according to a friend of mine who frequented the club a number of times…
“To be honest, the main thing I remember Shoom for is for being shit. The music was good, but most of the mixing was considered shit, even at the time. Why they pretend it was this amazing place, I’ll never know.”
Rampling then went on to have a pretty decent decade in the 1990s for being naff. After working at Kiss FM in the days before it went legal, Rampling stuck it to the man in 1994 – by joining the establishment at BBC Radio 1 on a much increased salary. That showed them how much of a rebel you were, didn’t it, Dan?
At the same time, he formed a band called The Millionaire Hippies. Quite what he was trying to tell us about himself remains a mystery, but one thing which was more understandable was the apparent desire of the band’s members to remain anonymous. Three records were released by this band, each more excreable than the last.
Only a decent Fire Island dub from his mates Terry Farley and Pete Heller saved “I Am The Music, Hear Me” from being slated even at the time. Later in life, Rampling would proceed to make more rubbish records, such as “Strobelight” with MYNC Project. And in a rare fail for the then EMI-backed Positiva Records, they somehow ended up signing it.
Rampling also mixed a number of compilations over the years. Mostly badly. In 2005, he announced that he’d had enough of being a naff DJ and decided instead, in a much hyped announcement at the time, he was going to run a restaurant.
This never happened. Quite why was never explained. Instead, Rampling decided to continue his life of rebellion by focusing on his property business – namely by making carbon neutral houses before they were fashionable and flogging them for maximum profit. And having promised never to return to DJing, he did so only two years later.
These days, his passions – aside from DJing – include the environment and campaigning. One involves an almost fanatical obsession with carbon negativity, the other appears to involve emitting considerable amounts of hot air via his social media feeds.
What will his next move be as lockdowns start to lift and life starts to return to something more normal? Whatever the answer, you can be assured it’ll have all the irredeemable naffness that Rampling is infamous for.