Raver

Raver

[reyv]

Raver is a word that has been used since the 1960s to describe people who are enthusiastic attendees of parties. For this purpose, the term is most common in the UK.

The popularity of the term has ebbed and flowed in reflection of the constant changes in youth cultures in each decade. The meaning has also altered slightly as different youth cultures have adapted the word (and related words) to suit their milieu and lifestyles.

In its original 1960s incarnation the word was a synonym for the American slang term “party animal” – a gregarious fun-loving individual. In its second incarnation (from the 1980s onwards) the word has come to mean anyone who attends extended night-time music events known as “raves”. In the post-1980s meaning – the essence of the word relates primarily to the type of events the person attends rather than to the personality of the individual.

Origination and usage in the 1950s and 1960s

The word first came into popular vogue in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a derivative of the original meaning of the word “rave”.

“Rave” was a word that originated in the late 1950s with people of Caribbean descent living in London. It was used to describe a bohemian party. The word was co-opted in the early 1960s by the burgeoning mod youth culture of the era. An especially wild party would be described as a "rave" or "rave-up". By way of example, the British rock group The Yardbirds released an album in 1965 titled Having A Rave Up.

People who were gregarious party-goers (the type often described as being “the life and soul of the party”) were described as "ravers". For example, pop musicians such as Keith Moon of The Who and Steve Marriott of The Small Faces were self-described "ravers".

• The lyrics of the 1968 hit single "Lazy Sunday" by the mod band The Small Faces referred to "ravers" in this context:

Wouldn't it be nice to get on with me neighbours?
But they make it very clear they've got no room for ravers...

One of the leading British consumer pop music papers Melody Maker named its weekly music gossip column The Raver in the 1960s. The Raver column was created and originally written by journalist Bob Dawbarn. After his departure from the paper in 1970, the column was written by journalist Chris Welch who has revived the Raver name for an online music gossip column in recent years.

Fade from usage in the 1970s

With the rapid change of British pop culture from the Mod era of 1964–1966 into the hippie era of 1967 and beyond, the term fell out of popular usage. From the late 1960s till the word's resurrection twenty years later, the term was not in vogue. Its use during that era would have been seen as quaint or ironic use of bygone slang. A term as patently "sixties" as the word "groovy" and therefore “old-fashioned” in the 1970s.

New usage in the 1980s and beyond

In the 1980s, a new youth culture evolved based initially on acid house music and all-night parties. Adapted from the earlier usage of the word – these events became known as raves – and the participants at raves were invariably called ravers.

In 1993, Malibu Comics published a comic mini-series called Raver by actor/writer Walter Koenig. The protagonist is a superhero, the Raver.

In popular culture

The Raver is the name of an online music-biz gossip column written by former Melody Maker writer Chris Welch
The Raver was the name of Britain's first irreverent music-biz gossip column published weekly in the 1960s in the consumer music weekly Melody Maker

The Ravers is the name of an Orange County, CA - based rock group that performs with national and international acts throughout Southern California

The Ravers is the name of a group of fictional super-heroes in a 1990s comic-book series [[Superboy and the Ravers]
The Ravers was the original name for 1970s new wave band The Nails - which provided Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys with his first music industry work (as a roadie)
Ravers is the name of a song on the 1977 eponymous first album by the heavy metal band Quiet Riot
He's A Raver is the name of a 1967 song by the 1960s pop group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich that was covered live by The Sex Pistols
Ravers Digest is the name of a website that has documented events and aspects of the contemporary rave culture since 2000.
Crash Course For The Ravers is the title of a 1996 David Bowie tribute album featuring covers of Bowie songs by multiple indie artists
Music for Rockers, Ravers, Lovers and Sinners is the original sub-title of the 1993 CD and video compilation Pure Cult of the English rock band The Cult
The Rave-Ups are a roots rock band best known for their appearance in the film Pretty in Pink
Ravers is the name given to a species of spirits in the 1970s-1980s fantasy novels The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Ravers is the name of an L.A.-based 60s revivalist band who have performed at Hollywood movie premieres and 60s film festivals

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