The 80's began with disco becomming less and less popular so the producers of that time had to come out with a new sound.They started experimenting with newer forms of music,and that was how new wave was born.New wave had disco's beats but minus the trombones,trumpets and funk guitar.
It was basically disco with rock n roll drums.Examples are "cars"-gary numan,"don't go"-yazoo,and many many depeche mode songs.Basically they sounded a lot like computer games.Just listen to "just can't get enough" by depeche mode.This sound was much better than 70's disco but they still didn't defined the real sound of the 80's yet.New wave would continue to the end of the 80's with massive success with groups like duran duran,human league,soft cell..
But some groups like depeche mode changed their style to some kind of "gothic" ,dark sounding disco that always conveys the message of doom and gloom.Enough about new wave.Next is the birth of the real sound of the 80's.
In my opinion,the 80's eurobeat started off officially in 1983,with songs like "living on video"-trans x.There was a more harder edge to new wave.A hard and fast 80's style "dat" sounding drumbeat emerged,and a lot of computer games like sound coupled to the defining sound of eurobeat,-the constantly "reverberating background synthesized bass loop"(rvb) for short and added with it the hooks and melodies never heard before.Suffice to say it met with much success.The pioneers of these sounds were the italians,with songs like
- happy children-p.lion (slow moody type)
- to meet me-den harrow(mid tempo optimistic sound)
- crazy family-jock hattle(american sounding)
- dolce vita-ryan paris(happy slow italodisco)
- pretty face-styloo(fast aggressive rvb)
These are just a few as i cannot list them all.This new sound was immensely popular in american clubs in '83.I will only touch about european songs here so you wont't see groups like pet shop boys or erasure here.I have made a seperate page about them.
1984 The year SLEAZE began
In 1984 came a newer sound called sleazy eurobeat.How does it sound you ask?Well it was slower and sounds sad and very emotional.This sound would be very popular throughout 1984-1985.The german group modern talking were the pioneers of this style and they met with tremendous success with their song"you're my heart you're my soul". Songs that were defined as sleaze are:
- you're my love you're my life(1985)-patty ryan(very sad sounding slow)
- say you'll never(1985)-lian ross(sounds so much like modern talking)
- only you(1984)-savage(very nice strong drums and sounds sad)
- i wanna hear your heartbeat(1986)-bad boys blue(very nice emotional hopeful slow song)
- i'llamma el amour(1985)-charlie g(sad slow)
The italian group radiorama was one of the main contibutors to this style until 1987 when they changed their style.With songs like "aliens","vampires" and "hey hey" they made music that sounded almost "middle ages" with strong orchestral arrangements.
Also at this time the germans hopped on the bandwagon with Hansa records leading the way followed by ZYX,the most important label for eurobeat in the 80's which had singers like patty ryan,lian ross and roger meno.
The italians came with their own hard sound with songs like "turbo diesel"-albert one,"miss you"-styloo and "hey hey guy"-ken laszlo.
1984 - 1985 saw the popularity of eurobeat exploded in asia,with the help of discos like HOLLYWOOD EAST playing eurobeat all the time.There was one hollywood east in hong kong then another one came to malaysia in 1986.The leading record label releasing eurobeat in malaysia is VALENTINE SOUND PRODUCTIONSor VSP for short.The sounds of 84-85 started to define the european sounds ,melodic at times forceful,at times sad,at times happy and upbeat.
1985 the hard and fast sound
In 1985 ,side by side with sleaze,came the hard sound of eurobeat.It sounds very strong with a rock and roll style drum beat together with a very strong rvb.The songs were mostly fast.Examples are:
This sound has a lot of power and is for serious fast dancing.Just play it out loud and feel your room vibrate as the strong rvb sound pulsates to you.Songs like "touch in the night"-silent circle and "tonight"-ken laszlo became very popular in asia.It was also common at this time to have a chorus "hook" of synth sound.Just listen to "tonight"-ken laszlo and you will know what i mean.Another trend of eurobeat that started off in late 1984 was the addition of the "clapping" sound.It sounds like "cha cha cha cha" like many people are clapping their hands at the same time for a short period of time.This sound is very typical in the 80's.Examples you say? "swiss boy"-lou sern,"future brain"-den harrow
,"l.o.v.e in my car"-bad boys blue,"hey hey guy"-ken laszlo,"fear"-laserdance,"we won't be long"-syntech.This trend would continue throughout the 80's.The german groups made a big entrance and leading the way is MODERN TALKING.Other groups like SILENT CIRCLE,BAD BOYS BLUE ,MIKE MAREEN and C.C.CATCH appeared.Bad boys blue sounds incredibly alike modern talking and silent circle also sounds a bit like modern talking with the same style of chorus singing.C.c catch was basically a female version of modern talking.This was not suprising since the same songwriter and producer for modern talking was also the man behind her.Mike mareen was different though.Also at this time 1985,began a sub genre of eurobeat started by the italians with a group called koto.They made what was to be known as "space high tech eurobeat" or cosmic synth.What do they sound like you ask?Well it was your not so usual eurobeat.It does not have singers,but has "voices" and that isn't all the time.The music was heavy,with an insistent "dat" drumbeat,together with a very strong rvb with continious loops that seems to go on forever.This music often gives an impression of travelling into another dimension or outer space as seen by the vinyl covers.
The most notable hit of this genre is "visitors"-koto.The following years 1986 to 1989 saw the release of many more of this style.Suffice to say,i completely love this style.It was during this time that eurobeat began to have countless remixes and versions.The most popular type of remixing especially in asia is the silly sounding type where they add sounds like a baby crying,spitting and cartoon like sounds.Those were the extreme ones.The "normal" remixes usually had words repeated many many times in a short period of time like the remix of don't cry by ken laszlo which goes like "do do d-d-d-d-d don't" a.k.a the stuttering effect.Maybe the remixes were influenced by MAX HEADROOM.
- touch in the night-silent circle
- tonight-ken laszlo
- pretty young girl-bad boys blue
- future brain-den harrow
1986 and 1987
The fast and hard sound continues to dominate dance music in 1986.Songs like "don't cry"-ken laszlo,"from you to me"-silver pozzoli,"come back and stay"-bad boys blue,"droid"-hypnosis carry the eurobeat with rock and roll style "normal" sounding drums throughout 1986 and 1987.Also from the producers of space disco came "jabdah"-koto a delightful melodic number that so defines the european sound.In 87 came even more of this sound with "droid"-hypnosis and a new group that was to have the most hits with this style- laserdance.Their song of 87 is "fear".It is the best space disco sound i ever heard.It starts with the clapping sound,then comes in the drums "dat dat" then followed by rock and roll type drums then comes my favorite sound,the high tech sound of the rvb bass.It "rolls" beautifully and all the sounds combined play of each other beautifully.
Also in the same year laserdance released "humanoid invasion","battle cry" and a few more i don't know of.Also in 1986 emerged a more syntethic sounding drumbeat that was to be the norm for eurobeat in 1988 onwards.The songs which started this style was "for your love"-albert one,"hie hie hie"-alan barry and "visitors -the alien mix"-koto.Another trend that started off in '86 is the MIAMI sound.Just listen to the miami vice theme at the beginning and you will get my meaning.Those "congo" style drums were mixed in with eurobeat.Songs like "housebeat"-fred ventura","dance with me"-alphaville,"don't cry"the canadian marquee remix-ken laszlo "for your love"-albert one and "for you"miami remix-sisley ferre..'87 also saw the end of the german supergroup Modern talking due to internal misunderstandings.
1988 and 1989 the invasion of italodisco
In 1988 the italians dominated eurobeat with a new sound that is incredibly alike the british producers'sSTOCK AITKEN WATERMAN style.Just imagine "love in the first degree"-bananarama then you get the picture.Gone are the rock and roll type "normal" drums,in is the syntethic electronic "rubber" like drum beat that goes all the way "dat dat dat" instead of "dat dishhh" like the rock and roll style.This is what i define as italodisco.This new style was also happier sounding and the beat per minute increased to 130 and over, really fast!.The rvb sound also changed a bit with a unique sound which i call the '88 sound.Examples are:
Most of this new sound came from time records s.r.l with artists like virgin,anika,gypsy & queen,linda ross,rose,danny keith,vanessa and radiorama etc.Radiorama from this time onwards made this kind of eurobeat,mostly the happy jovial fast '88 style.In 1987 house music made a big entrance and it greatly influenced eurobeat in 1989.In late '88 the italodisco sound started to sound "housish" with the additions of the "smooth" fast piano and the "rapid" beats 4/4 kick drum as you can hear in black box's "ride on time" and many other house and techno songs from 88 - 91.As a result,italodisco started to have houselike piano lines,examples are "midnight girl"-italian boys,"shine a little love"-les blues belles,"precious love"-anika.Eventhough it had house influence, i still love the '88 - '89 sound because it's extremely melodic with incredible chord changes a happy sound and very fast!.But at this time also italodisco had to compete furiously with house and techno which was winning the battle.Eurobeat was surely witnessing its demise within the next year or so.In '89 italodisco still could make the charts with songs like "when you come back to me"-jason donovan and "don't you want me baby"-mandy.Italohouse was making a big entrance and it was pushing everything else aside.Also in late '88 was the beginning of a new kind of drum beat that would dominate dance music throughout the next decade,the "thoop thoop" sound.But even so time records continue to release italodisco and also from ken laszlo came "every body's dancing" with a very distinct '89 style.After modern talking split,the germans still had C.C CATCH ,BAD BOYS BLUE and SILENT CIRCLE.Bad boys blue had many releases in '89 especially their best of albums and super 20's.Silent circle released the very emotional "i am your beleiver" bad boys blue released the same song in '90 although the silent circle version was better,while c.c.catch had released her last album "big fun".She was to split up with producer dieter bohlen because of some misunderstandings.
- supercatching desire-virgin
- love-gypsy & queen
- soft time-sophie
- crazy lover-anika
The 90's - the demise of eurobeat and italodisco
It's 1990.Eurobeat songs have a hard time entering the charts,so the producers are abandoning them.Italo house,house,techno and rave made it to the charts in the 90's.The early 90's saw the productions of emotionless music with the hard "thoop thoop" sound.Songs from soul 2 soul,klf,2 live crew,vanilla ice,2 unlimited dominated from 90 -93.The music around that time was completely deppressing.They were no more melodies.All there was the hard drum beat"thoop thoop thoop" and nothing else.That's all your hear.There's no hope,no story,no emotion,nothing.And yet people still liked this music because it's"fashionable".Crap i say.There are people who still love the 80's sound but they stop being true to it just because their friends say its outdated and uncool so they just follow the crowd.
But at around '93 came a glimmer of hope.The moody dark sound of the early 90's changed and a more happier sound emerged with artists like corona,twenty4seven,whigfield,the real mccoy,and recently aqua,vengaboys and toy box.This music isn't totally the same as italodisco,but it has the same happy feeling and almost the same rvb sound.Finally we can all be happy again.It will never replace 80's eurobeat for me but at least its something.One final note is that eurobeat still lives in almost it's original form only in one country-japan.There,it is now called "super eurobeat".Its like 80's eurobeat on steroids.It's completely fast at 150 and over b.p.m. and stil has the 80's drumbeat.Well it goes to show the japanese are the only ones with good taste.On this point i end my story of eurobeat.I hope you enjoyed it.
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