|Cultural origins||British Eurobeat:|
Mid 1980s, United Kingdom
Late 1980s, Italy, Germany and Japan
Eurobeat refers to two styles of dance music that originated in Europe: one is a British variant of ItalianEurodisco-influenced dance-pop, and the other is a hi-NRG-driven form of Italo disco. Both forms were developed in the 1980s.
Producer trio Stock Aitken Waterman and pop band Dead or Alive made Eurobeat music more popular in the United States, where Eurobeat was historically marketed as hi-NRG (pronounced as "high energy"). For a short while, it also shared this term with early freestyle music and Italo disco.
In the late 1970s, Eurodisco musicians such as Silver Convention and Donna Summer were popular in America.
In the 1980s, a highly polished production with "musical simplicity" at its core — from Bubblegum Pop-like lyrics, catchy (in some cases Italian, in other Eurodisco-like) melodies, to "elementary" song structures — an average British Eurobeat song took very little time to complete.Bananarama's "Venus" and Mel & Kim's "Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)" were said to be completed in a day, according to Pete Waterman of Stock Aitken Waterman.
Eurobeat lyrics and melody are very simple. Italo disco, sometimes fast and happy music like EDM, with a sequenced octave bassline. Many feature guitars as a beginning section, followed by a thunderous, highly technical synthesizer riffwhich is then repeated after the chorus. Songs usually repeat the verse, bridge, and chorus multiple times during the song. The beginning is typically like an instrumental rendition of the verse, bridge, and chorus, while the riff is a lot like an instrumental version of the chorus.
British record producer Ian Levine's Eastbound Expressway, released the single "You're a Beat" in recognition of the slower tempo of hi-NRG music emerging from Europe. Many European acts managed to break through under this new recognition, namely the likes of Modern Talking, Bad Boys Blue, Taffy, and Spagna. The term "Eurobeat" was subsequently used commercially to describe the Stock Aitken Waterman–produced hits by Dead or Alive,Bananarama, Jason Donovan, Sonia, and Kylie Minogue which were heavily based on the British experience with Italo disco. During 1986–1988, it was used for specific Italian 1980s Eurodisco imports, such as Sabrina Salerno, Spagna, and Baltimora but was also used in the United States as a catch-all term for UK-based dance and electropop groups of the time such as Pet Shop Boys, purported to have a "European beat", hence Eurobeat. By 1989, with the advent of Eurodance and Euro house, the term was dropped in the UK.
"It's a great hybrid with Motown-style lyrics, an Italian-style melody, and a Eurobeat. It sounds really great on the radio."
The trio of British record producers, songwriters, and former DJs Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman were involved in the British underground club culture, encountering the Black American soul music-focused scene called Northern Soul, Italian pop-Eurodisco, and sped-up Motown Sound-inspired tracks. As underground record producers, they sought to recapture the "nostalgia" of Motown Sound with a hint of campy playfulness where the simplicity of musical structures, like in Italian disco, was preferred. This musical formula was proven to be successful enough to be capitalized on as they had a string of top 10 UK hits in the 1980s to the point of their version of Eurobeat becoming synonymous with British pop music as a whole.
Pete Burns of Dead or Alive regularly fought the production team over "[having to adhere] to their production methods and concepts" which SAW were "quite firm about". Burns went on making a next album, produced by Burns and Dead or Alive drummer Steve Coy, without them, called Nude . Epic (licensed by Sony Europe) was reluctant about releasing the album but it turned out to be so successful in Japan that it was awarded the Japan Record Award Grand Prix for Best International Album of 1989 in the 'Pop' or 'Popular' Category.
"Three labels have been with us for years now, and they believed in us. Without them, we couldn't have made it happen."
Meanwhile, in Japan in 1985, the term "Eurobeat" was applied to all continental-European dance music imports. These were mainly Italian and German-produced Italo disco releases. That sound became the soundtrack of the Para Para nightclub culture, which has existed since the early 1980s. Japan experienced Italo disco through the success of the German group Arabesque, which broke up in 1984. This did not prevent the release of two Italo disco-sounding singles in 1985 and 1986, produced and mixed by Michael Cretu (of Enigma). The later solo success of Arabesque's lead singer Sandra further introduced this sound to Japan. This attracted the attention of many Italo disco producers (mostly Italians and Germans), though by the late 1980s the Germans had faded out of Italo disco and focused on more popular scenes, mainly trance. In Japan, this music is called "Eurobeat", "Super Eurobeat", and "Eurobeat Flash".
The Japanese Para Para dance culture is influenced by Eurobeat. In the early 1990s, Eurobeat's popularity was gradually decreasing in Japan. Two Japanese men, namely Masato "Max" Matsuura the owner and a managing director of Avex a small import record shop at the time, decided to release a compilation CD. They went to Italy and met Giancarlo Pasquini (later known as Dave Rodgers), then a member of the Italo disco band Aleph. Together they released the first Super Eurobeat , a compilation CD which saw instant success and re-ignited Eurobeat's popularity in Japan.Avex also collaborated with foundational Eurobeat labels A-Beat C, Time, and Delta long after Eurobeat's mainstream popularity peak.
Eurobeat's sound (in the Japanese market) is its main link to its Italo disco origins, where it was just one of many different experiments in pure electronic dance. There are certain synth instruments that recur across the entire genre: a sequenced octave bass, the energetic (sometimes wild) and heavy use of synths, distinctive brass and harp sounds, and tight, predictable percussion in the background.
The anime series Initial D , based on the manga by Shuichi Shigeno, uses Eurobeat music regularlyin its episodes during racing scenes between the characters, and because of this it has come to the attention of some anime fans outside Japan. The series, as well as the video games, use a large playlist of Eurobeat songs (for example, the trio of "Deja Vu" by Dave Rodgers, "Running in the 90s" by Max Coveri, and "Gas Gas Gas" by Manuel Caramori). (Many of these songs also became memes.) There are also many Eurobeat songs based on the series itself, including: "Takumi" by Neo, "Speed Car" by D-Team, "Initial D Hell" by Dave Rodgers and "DDD Initial D (My Car is Fantasy)" by Mega NRG Man. Another anime called Dear Boys , which focuses on basketball, also features Eurobeat during basketball game sequences.
In 1998, Bemani, a branch of the video game company Konami made a hit video dance machine, Dance Dance Revolution . The game acquired Eurobeat songs from the Dancemania compilation series published by Toshiba EMI. Though there was not much Eurobeat from 2006's SuperNOVA on, the series still features some tracks as of 2021. Other music games in Konami's lineup feature a large number of Eurobeat tracks, including Beatmania , Beatmania IIDX , jubeat , and many more. The popularity of the genre also led Konami to create a Para Para game, ParaParaParadise , though it was less successful than their other series.
There have been four types of music called "J-Euro" (Japanese Eurobeat);
One of the dance moves Eurobeat spawned was para para (パラパラ), a type of Eurobeat music-inspired Japanese youth social dance performed in unison.
Para Para is a synchronized dance that originated in Japan. Unlike most club dancing and rave dancing, there are specific synchronized movements for each song much like line dancing. Para Para has existed since the early 1980s when European countries started selling Italo disco and Euro disco, and in the mid-to late 1970s, new wave and synthpop music in Japan. However, it did not achieve much popularity outside Japan until the late 1990s.
Hi-NRG is a genre of uptempo disco or electronic dance music (EDM) that originated in the United States during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Dance-pop is a popular music subgenre that originated in the late 1970s to early 1980s. It is generally uptempo music intended for nightclubs with the intention of being danceable but also suitable for contemporary hit radio. Developing from a combination of dance and pop with influences of disco, post-disco and synth-pop, it is generally characterised by strong beats with easy, uncomplicated song structures which are generally more similar to pop music than the more free-form dance genre, with an emphasis on melody as well as catchy tunes. The genre, on the whole, tends to be producer-driven, despite some notable exceptions.
Italo disco is a music genre which originated in Italy in the late 1970s and was mainly produced in the early 1980s. Italo disco evolved from the then-current underground dance, pop, and electronic music, both domestic and foreign and developed into a diverse genre. The genre employs electronic drums, drum machines, synthesizers, and occasionally vocoders. It is usually sung in English, and to a lesser extent in Italian and Spanish.
Dancemania is a series of remix compilation albums by i-DANCE. The series deals primarily with dance music, especially Eurodance. Despite many of its tracks being made by various musicians from all over the world and mainly from the European continent, the albums have been released exclusively in Japan.
Eurodisco is the variety of European forms of electronic dance music that evolved from disco in the late 1970s, incorporating elements of pop and rock into a disco-like continuous dance atmosphere. Many Eurodisco compositions feature lyrics sung in English, although the singers often share a different mother tongue.
"Face the Change" is a song by the Japanese J-pop group Every Little Thing, released as the group's seventh single on January 7, 1998. It was their second single to top the Oricon chart.
"Fragile", released with a B-side track "Jirenma", is a single by the J-pop group Every Little Thing, released as their eighteenth single on January 1, 2001. It was their fourth single to top the Oricon chart.
The Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix remix album was released by Ayumi Hamasaki on February 16, 2000. The album became the second highest selling remix album in Japan of 2000 with 700,000 copies sold. The album became Hamasaki's longest charting remix album with over 31 weeks on the chart. It is the 4th best selling remix album in Japan and also the 9th best selling remix album worldwide of all time.
Velfarre was a disco located in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, Japan. Velfarre was the self-professed "largest disco in Asia" with a capacity of 1,500 people, with three floors above ground and three floors below; owned by Tetsuya Komuro and Avex Trax. Velfarre was known for Trance, Eurobeat, Techno, Para Para, and Disco related events. Velfarre held concerts for Avex Trax artists, and was able to be rented for private events.
"All Of Me " is a song by Italian popstar Sabrina, released in Italy in July 1988 as the first single from her second album, Super Sabrina (1988). It was also her fifth international single. Written and produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman, it followed her previous single "Hot Girl" in Europe, while it was her second single release in the UK, following "Boys ".
Nu-disco is a 21st-century dance music genre associated with a renewed interest in the late 1970s US disco, synthesizer-heavy 1980s European dance music styles, and early 1990s electronic dance music. The genre was especially popular in the first half of the 2000s, and experienced another mild resurgence throughout the 2010s.
Alessandra Mirka Gatti or Alessandra Gatti born 19 November 1969 in Mantua, Italy is an Italian Eurobeat singer who is popularly known by her stage name of Domino.
Super Eurobeat Presents Euro Every Little Thing is a remix album, consisting of recordings by Japanese pop group Every Little Thing remixed by various eurobeat producers from Italy, released in 2001 by Avex Trax.
Bratt Sinclaire is an Italian Eurobeat/Italo disco producer. He has produced a countless number of tracks for the Super Eurobeat series, the world's longest running series of dance compilation albums. He is the founder and owner of the dance music record label SinclaireStyle and one of the three co-founders of Delta, one of the most known Eurobeat record labels.
J-Euro Non-Stop Best is a megamix compilation album, consisting of recordings by various Avex artists produced and/or remixed by various music producers mostly those of eurobeat from Italy, released in 2001 by Avex Trax.
Super Eurobeat Presents Euro Dream Land is a remix album, consisting of recordings by Japanese all-girl dance band Dream, released in the late 2000 by Avex Trax.
Alberto Contini is an Italian musician. He has been the vocalist, bassist or keyboardist for the Italian extreme metal band Bulldozer since the early 1980s and has produced many works in the Italo disco and Eurobeat scenes since the early 1990s.
J-Euro Best is a compilation album, consisting of recordings by various Avex artists produced and/or remixed by various music producers mostly those of eurobeat from Italy, released in 2001 by Avex Trax.