Eurodance (sometimes known as Euro-NRG or Euro) is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the late 1980s in Europe. It combines many elements of techno,Hi-NRG,house music and Euro disco.
This genre of music is heavily influenced by the use of rich melodic vocals, either exclusively by itself or inclusively with rapped verses. This, combined with cutting-edge synthesizer, strong bass rhythm and melodic hooks, establishes the core foundation of Eurodance music. Eurodance production continues to evolve with a more modernized style.
Eurodance music originated in the late 1980s in central Europe, especially in Germany, where rave parties were becoming popular. By 1987, a German party scene, started by Tauseef Alam, based on the Chicago House sound was well established. The following year (1988) saw acid house making as significant an impact on popular consciousness in Germany and Central Europe as it had in England. In 1989 German DJs Westbam and Dr. Motte established the Ufo Club, an illegal party venue, and co-founded the Love Parade. The parade first occurred in July 1989, when 150 people took to the streets in Berlin. It was conceived as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through love and music. On 19 July 1989 Black Box's single Ride On Time was released. The song spent six weeks at No. 1 in the United Kingdom and it was the UK's best-selling single of 1989. It contained the Korg M1's "house piano" which can be found in many Eurodance releases. On 27 September 1989 Technotronic's single Pump Up the Jam was released. It reached number one in Belgium and Spain, and it popularised the house variant called hip house in Europe. On 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, free underground Techno parties mushroomed in East Berlin, and a rave scene comparable to that in the UK was established. East German DJ Paul van Dyk has remarked that the Techno-based rave scene was a major force in re-establishing social connections between East and West Germany during the unification period. In the same year, German producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti (under the pseudonyms Benito Benites and John "Virgo" Garrett III) formed the Snap! project in Frankfurt. Snap! songs combined rap and soul vocals adding rhythm by using computer technology and mixing electronic sounds, bass and drums. By doing so a new genre was born: Eurodance. Their first single, "The Power", released in 1990, reached number one in the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and it helped to popularise the genre within Europe. In the following years, other Eurodance acts formed in Frankfurt, including La Bouche, Jam and Spoon, Magic Affair and Culture Beat, and new groups popped up all over Europe. The popularity of the genre also expanded to East Asian nations such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
The term "Eurodance" gradually became associated with a specific style of European dance music. During its golden years in the mid-1990s, it was referred as "Euro-NRG"; in Europe it was often called "dancefloor" or simply "dance".
While some use a much broader definition of what is considered "Eurodance", over time, the term particularly came to refer to an NRG-based genre from the 1990s which included a solo vocalist or a rapper/vocalist duet. Although the term was initially used to describe only European dance music productions, there are some examples of acts from the 1990s produced in America, which followed the same music style and became popular particularly in Europe, nowadays are also referred to as Eurodance music.
Eurodance often carries a positive, upbeat attitude; the lyrics usually involve issues of love and peace, dancing and partying, or expressing and overcoming difficult emotions. The early to mid-1990s Eurodance vocals were frequently done by a solo vocalist or a mixed rapper-vocalist duet.
Many groups used variations of the rapper-vocalist theme, such as a German rapper with American singers (Real McCoy), or the use of reggae rap as in Ice MC and Fun Factory, or scat singing as in Scatman John. Solo singing artists such as Alexia, Haddaway, Lynda Thomas, Tess, Corona, Playahitty, Whigfield, Double You, and DJ BoBo also contributed to the genre. Eurodance lyrics are almost always sung in English, regardless of the artist's nationalities.
Most Eurodance is very melody-driven. Unlike most pop music, which is usually written in major keys, most Eurodance songs are in minor keys, similarly to techno. This, along with positive lyrics, helps contribute to the overall powerful and emotional sound of Eurodance. Besides the contribution of the female or male vocals, there is often a noticeable use of rapid synthesizer arpeggios.
From the early to mid-1990s, Eurodance was popular in Europe; the style received extensive airplay on radio stations and television shows, resulting in many singles appearing in the charts. For example, in Italy there were seven singles in the top ten of the chart at the end of May 1995.
By the late 1990s, the popularity of this genre had started to decline slowly. At this time, the classic Eurodance sound gradually morphed into progressive house. In the 2000s, the mainstream music industry in Europe moved away from Eurodance in favour of other styles of dance music such as nu-disco, electro house, dance-pop and R&B.
In recent years till the present day in 2018, classic Eurodance songs continue to be loved by many and are aired on some of the most popular radio stations and TV music channels across Europe.
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Eurodance was popular in Australia in the early 1990s, particularly during the time of the emergence of warehouse parties and raves. Its popularity in the country waned in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Canada was a major Eurodance market, the largest outside Europe, which produced its own variant called Candance. From about 1992 to 2000, acts such as Capital Sound, Jacynthe, Shauna Davis, Emjay, Love Inc., Temperance, Jefferson Project, Big Bass, DFS, Kim Esty, The Boomtang Boys, Solina, Joée, Roxxy, and BKS among others; originating mainly in major cities of Central Canada such as Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa were hitting the airwaves. The Toronto sound was more pop-oriented, while the Montreal one was more house-oriented. Eurodance received significant airplay on radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area such as Power 88.5, Energy 108 and Hot 103.5. Montreal was also a major Eurodance market, with MC Mario's famous radio show on Mix 96, called "Party Mix" and Bouge de là, a popular TV show on MusiquePlus. Eurodance is still played in rotation on Z103.5 (formerly Hot 103.5), and had a dedicated Live to Air broadcast every Wednesday night, called Wayback Wednesday.
Eurodance is not well known in the United States outside of the major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, etc. Exemplifying this is the Eurodance classic "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)", by Scatman John, an American artist; despite topping the charts in multiple European countries and reaching number 3 in the United Kingdom, it only reached as high as number 60 in the Hot 100. Another notable example is the Life in the Streets album, a combined Eurodance music project from American rapper Marky Mark and Caribbean reggae vocalist Prince Ital Joe, which was not released in the United States, but was a huge success in several European countries including singles like "Happy People" and "United" that topped the German charts.
A few Eurodance artists (including La Bouche, 2 Unlimited, Real McCoy, Cartouche and Ace of Base) made the Rhythmic Top 40, Top 40 Mainstream and the Billboard Hot 100 during the early to mid-1990s. However, the sound tended to be more house and the rap-oriented artists received airplay. For instance, the German hip-house project Snap!, the Belgian hip-house project Technotronic and the Dutch techno dance project L.A. Style received quite a bit of airplay early on.
The more Hi-NRG-oriented artists were typically played only during special "mix" shows, and it was often necessary to go to a club to hear Eurodance music. While Eurodance did become popular with club DJs in the United States, radio stations were cautious about playing anything that sounded too much like disco during most of the 1980s and 1990s. By the end of the 1990s, however, some of the later acts such as Italian group Eiffel 65 and Danish group Aqua did receive extensive airplay.
Compilation albums, such as the DMA Dance: Eurodance series of compilation albums (1995-1997) from Interhit Records and Dance Music Authority magazine, were popular and helped to define the genre as well as to make it accessible in the U.S. and Canada.
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It was then that the DJs who used to play what was previously known as Euro dance hi jacked the genre and it mutated into the commercial sound people tend to call Progressive House today.
Electro House rose to prominence in the early to mid 00's as a heavier alternative to other house subgenres that were prevalent at the time.