Chime @ 30

4 minutes 4 seconds average read (813 words)

It was 30 years ago today the Paul & Phil taught the kids to rave

Chime 7 inch single

On 12 March 1990 Chime by Orbital was released. Well actually this is not entirely true, it was actually released in the December before on a limited release by Jazzy M's Ohzone Records. The release that I'm talking about is the FFRR (London Records) release.

For me every time I hear the intro, I get tingles and goosebumps and I start dancing. I've even run into shops before, when hearing it playing, dancing like a loon and then leaving.


Simon Reynolds

In his book Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture referred to it as:

British equivalent to Derrick May's seminal classic "Strings of Life"


It was included at number 11 in their 100 Greatest Dance Singles of All Time

They also included it on two "best ever dance" compilations:

Sampled in…

Chime or at least parts of it have been sampled by a number of acts, most notably Energy Flash (which is probably where Simon got the name of his book from) by Joey Beltram.


Orbital have themselves remixed Chime a number of times as have other acts.


Chart Success

On 24 March 1990, Chime made it as high as number 17 in the Official UK Singles chart.

Top of the Pops

On 29 March 1990, Orbital appeared on Top of the Pops, the weekly UK TV chart show, on BBC1.

Top of the Pops, famously or infamously doesn't allow live performances. When Morrissey of the Smiths found out about this he refused to hold a microphone and instead danced with a bunch of Gladioli. When the The Orb, performed(?) Blue Room, they just sat on stage and played chess.

When Orbital found out about this restriction, they choose to place all the plugs of their equipment face up on top.

In order to make the recording the day before transmission, Paul had to ask to swap shifts at the Pizza restaurant he worked in.

“I told the manageress ‘I can’t work on Wednesday.’ ‘Oh, why?’ ‘I’ve got to go and do Top Of The Pops ‘. Well, she just screamed. ‘Are you joking?’ I said ‘D’you know what? I don’t think I’m coming back.’

Video of the Top of the Pops performance.

My favourite Live version

This is a toss up really between:

Glastonbury 25 June 1994

It was a bit mental that night. I went out the back of the crowd and could see the first proprer lasers, I'd seen, at an outdoor gig and could just see 10,000s of people going absolutely mental.

Q Magazine named this gig number 51 in their list of the best 100 gigs of all time.

Video of Chime Glastonbury 1994

Alexandra Palace 31 December 1996

They'd just ended the year with Satan and it got to midnight and the Big Ben Chimes came in. Orbital started messing with the Big Ben Chimes and in came the super fat bassline of Chime, I think I might I wet myself, a little, at that point.

Video of Chime Alexandra Palace 1996

So if you see me and hear Chime playing:

  1. Don't talk to me, wait until it's over
  2. Join me and dance like a loon

Many thanks to Matt Christie (aka Badger) for alerting me to the 2019 release The Keyboard Wizards Of Acid House.