Dance music lovers of the 80s and 90s will remember this revolutionary genre well: Eurodance. This subgenre of dance music is centered around synthesizers and keyboards, a fusion of Hi-NRG, house music, and disco. It is one of the branches of dance music in the 80s that is tributed with being a gateway for dance music to reach the mainstream stage. Its contemporary and similar contenders are disco and old school trance. As the name suggests, the genre originates in Europe.
When most think of Eurodance, they think of the traditional stereotypes of the genre: glowsticks, frosted tips, and poorly edited, colorful album covers. But at the focal point of the multifaceted experience that was Eurodance was the iconic music that one could not help immediately swaying to. The classic upbeat trademark of the genre could get one’s heart beating in synch with the tempo, which could range from 110 to 150 beats per minute. Here is a look back at some of the music that distinguished Eurodance from other genres:
This German Eurodance group formed in 1989. Like the majority of Eurodance songs, their music consisted of a blend of a female vocalist and male rapper. Their first single, “The Power,” was released in 1990 and climbed the charts all the way up to number one in multiple European countries. “The Power” is generally regarded as the hit that raised awareness to Eurodance.
The Dutch dance group released the bulk of their hits during the peak of Eurodance in the first half of the 90s. At one point, their song “No Limit” was number one in fourteen different European countries, becoming Europe’s best-selling song (of any genre!) the year it was released, 1993. They even took Eurodance on the road, touring several times in the continent. While Eurodance never caught on as a mainstream genre in the United States, 2 Unlimited’s tracks have been played at sporting events by the NBA and NHL.
Nothing gold can stay, so it is no surprise that the popularity of Eurodance began its gradual decline in the second half of the 90s. Scatman John’s single “Scatman’s World” was the last major Eurodance hit to enjoy number one in Europe. Released in 1995, it sat on the throne for three weeks in the Eurochart Hot 100. Ironically enough, Scatman John was actually an American musician and singer––he had moved to Berlin, Germany in 1990 to advance his musical career.
The last hurrah for Eurodance is widely regarded to be Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” a single released over twenty years ago. The 1998 song is one of the last of the genre to hit the mainstream music charts, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2000 and stretching into the new millennium.
In the early 2000s, Eurodance disappeared completely from the radio. However, its memory lived on: the subgenre is observed to have gradually morphed into one we are all very familiar with today, progressive house.