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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,[2] Hi-NRG,[1] house music[1] and Euro disco.[2]

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.[2] 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 well established Chicago House sound; 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.[4] In 1989 German DJs Westbam and Dr. Motte established the Ufo Club, an illegal party venue, and co-founded the Love Parade;[5] the parade first occurred in July 1989, when 150 people took to the streets in Berlin.[6] It was conceived as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through love and music.[6] 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.[7] It contained the Korg M1's "house piano"[8] 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[9][10] and Spain,[11] and it popularised the house variant called hip house in Europe.[12] 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.[5] 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.[13] 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,[14] their first single, "The Power", released in 1990, reached number one in the Netherlands,[15][16] Spain,[11] Switzerland[17] and the United Kingdom,[18] 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; later in Russia.


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"[19] or simply "dance".[20][failed verification]

While some use a much broader definition of what is considered "Eurodance",[1] 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.[21] 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.[22][23]

Characteristics of the music[edit]

Most Eurodance is characterized by synthesizer riffs, one or more vocals with simple chorus, one or more rap parts, sampling and a strong beat.[2][24] Sometimes non-rap vocals are used.[24]

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.[24]

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.[24] Solo singing artists such as Alexia, Dr. Alban, 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.[24]

Almost all Eurodance emphasizes percussion and rhythm; the tempo is typically around 140 beats per minute, but may vary from 110 to 150.[24][25]

Most Eurodance is very melody-driven. Unlike most pop music, which is usually written in major keys[citation needed], 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.[2] Besides the contribution of the female or male vocals, there is often a noticeable use of rapid synthesizer arpeggios.[2]


In Europe[edit]

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.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28][29]

In recent years till the present day in 2019, classic Eurodance songs continue to be loved by many and are aired on some of the most popular radio stations and television music channels across Europe.


Eurodance was popular in Australia in the early/mid 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.

North America[edit]


During the 1990s, Eurodance became popular in Canada, which produced its own variant called Candance (although it was mostly referred to as "Eurodance" or "dance music").[30] 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.[31]

United States[edit]

Eurodance is not well known in the United States outside of the major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. 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 on the Hot 100.[32] 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.[33][34]

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.[35][36][37]

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.

Despite lack of widespread radio play, many Hi-NRG and Eurodance songs are popular at professional sporting events in the United States, especially ice hockey and basketball.[38][39]

Compilation albums, such as the DMA Dance: Eurodance series of compilation albums (1995–1997) from Interhit Records and Dance Music Authority magazine,[40] were popular and helped to define the genre as well as to make it accessible in the U.S. and Canada.[41]

Hands up[edit]

Hands up (sometimes stylized as Handz Up! or HandzUp!, also known as Dancecore in East Europe) is a subgenre of Eurodance. The genre comes from its name, meaning music that requires listeners to "put their hands up" as well as fitness and danceability.

The genre originated in Germany in the mid- to late 1990s and in the early years of the following decade, where it developed from Eurodance and various other dance genres such as happy hardcore and techno.[citation needed] This was also the period during which the genre received its name.[citation needed] Representatives of Eurodance such as Starsplash and Mark 'Oh, are sometimes regarded as forerunners of Hands Up; the biggest commercial success was the music until the mid-2000s, Scooter's hit single "Nessaja" at number one on the single charts.[42][43]

Hands up Disc Jockey

The synthesizer melodies are often catchy and simple. Often the vocal melody is accompanied by a synthesizer. In contrast to Techno short, high-pitched synthesizer tones are used. Hands Up does not rely on the structure of tension build-up, but is based on the typical verse-chorus-pop music scheme; the main elements are the bassline, drums and a catchy lead sound. A typical stylistic device of hands up are pitched female or resulting feminine vocals, male vocals are also common. In addition, distorted, chopped and repeated spoken phrases are common characteristics.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Euro-Dance Music Genre Overview". AllMusic. Complex Media. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). All Music Guide to Electronica: The Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.). Backbeat Books. pp. x. ISBN 978-0879306281.
  3. ^ Pump Up the Jam: Heroes of Eurodance (2014)
  4. ^ Short excerpt from special on German "Tele 5" from Dec.8, 1988. The show is called "Tanzhouse" hosted by a young Fred Kogel, it includes footage from Hamburg's "Front" with Boris Dlugosch, Kemal Kurum's "Opera House" and the "Prinzenbar".
  5. ^ a b Robb, D. (2002), Techno in Germany: Its Musical Origins and Cultural Relevance, German as a Foreign Language Journal, No.2, 2002, (p. 134).
  6. ^ a b John Borneman & Stefan Senders, "Politics without a Head: Is the "Love Parade" a New Form of Political Identification?" Cultural Anthropology J5(2) 294-31, American Anthropological Association. 2000
  7. ^ Lane, Dan (18 November 2012). "The biggest selling singles of every year revealed! (1952-2011)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  8. ^ Leggitt, Bob. "The House Piano Sound Explained". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Technotronic feat. Felly - Pump Up The Jam". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Pump Up The Jam – TECHNOTRONIC" (in Dutch). Top 30. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2014. Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  11. ^ a b Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  12. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1 March 1990). "SPIN". SPIN Media LLC. Retrieved 19 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Messmer, S. (1998), Eierkuchensozialismus, TAZ, 10 July 1998, (p. 26).
  14. ^ "Neue Ehrlichkeit. Mit Tanzmusik aus dem Computer feiern zwei Frankfurter Klangbastler weltweit Erfolge" (PDF). Der Spiegel (in German). 3 October 1994. p. 268. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  15. ^ 40, Stichting Nederlandse Top. "Top 40". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  16. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Snap! - The Power". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  17. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Snap! - The Power -". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  19. ^ ""New single from german eurodance/dancefloor project X-Tension is finally out"". eurodancemag.
  20. ^ "Dance Music". Archived from the original on 2 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Top Top 10 - Eurodance Artists".
  22. ^ "Reel 2 Real lineup, biography -". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  23. ^ "The Outhere Brothers lineup, biography -". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Eurodance Dominates Charts 06/24/95". Billboard. 24 June 1995.
  25. ^ "The Eurodance Encyclopaedia - FAQs". 17 October 2013. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  26. ^ "HPI - Settimana del 27/05/95".
  27. ^ Simon Huxtable (11 August 2014). "What is Progressive House?". Decoded Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 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.
  28. ^ "Electro House". Beat Explorers' Dance Music Guide. Archived from the original on 15 June 2015. 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.
  29. ^ Kellman, Andy (17 January 2011). "Andy Kellman's 100 Favorite Charting R&B Singles of 2000-2009". AllMusic.
  30. ^ Dart, Chris (24 February 2015). "Emjay, Love Inc. and beyond: remembering Canadian Eurodance". CBC. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Upcoming Events | Ristorante Buonanotte | Z103.5". Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  32. ^ Billboard (Retrieved 9 July 2014)
  33. ^ Wolfgang Spahr (3 December 1994). "HITMAKERS '94". Billboard magazine. New York: Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 54. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  34. ^ "Prince Ital Joe". Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  35. ^ "Snap! - Chart history - Billboard".
  36. ^ "Artist Search for "technotronic"".
  37. ^ "Artist Search for "la style"".
  38. ^ "Quizzo Trivia Night at Shake Shack - BU Today - Boston University".
  39. ^ Eurochannel. "2 Unlimited - Belgium - Eurochannel".
  40. ^ "Various - DMA Dance Vol. 1: Eurodance".
  41. ^ Gajarsky, Bob (19 May 1997). "Review: Various Artists, DMA Dance Volume 3". Consumable Online. Hoboken, NJ (109). Archived from the original on 30 June 2007.
  42. ^ "Best Of Hands Up Genre!, a playlist by timpanromih on Spotify". Spotify. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  43. ^ "Scooter – New Songs, Playlists & Latest News – BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  44. ^ "Eurodance band Soundstream release new single entitled Summer Nights".

External links[edit]