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Hi-NRG

Hi-NRG

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Hi-NRG describes a form of high-tempo disco music as well as a genre of electronic dance music
Electronic dance music
Electronic dance music is electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered upon dance-based entertainment...

 originating in the United States during the late 1970s. The genre consists of high-tempo four-to-the-floor beats usually accompanied by a steady TB-303 bassline, reverberated
Reverberation
Reverberation is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed. A reverberation, or reverb, is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air...

 vocals and, sometimes, keytar
Keytar
A keytar is a relatively lightweight keyboard that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, similar to the way a guitar is supported by a strap. Keytars allow players a greater range of movement compared to conventional keyboards, which are placed on stands...

 riffs.

Starting late 1980s, hi-NRG (along with electrofunk) also served as basis for the more popular house music
House music
House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

 genre.

Terminology


In 1977, Donna Summer
Donna Summer
LaDonna Adrian Gaines , known by her stage name, Donna Summer, is an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Summer is a five-time Grammy winner and was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach...

 was interviewed about her single "I Feel Love
I Feel Love
"I Feel Love" is a song by Donna Summer, taken from her 1977 concept album I Remember Yesterday.The song constituted the "future" segment of the album, which represented a stylistic progress through time...

", which was a mostly electronic, relatively high-tempo disco song without a strong funk
Funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

 component. In the interview, she said "this song became a hit because it has a high-energy vibe". Following that interview, the description "high-energy" was increasingly applied to high-tempo disco music, especially songs dominated by electronic timbres. The tempo threshold for high-energy disco was around 130 to 140 BPM. In the 1980s, the term "high-energy" was stylized as "Hi-NRG". Eurobeat
Eurobeat
Eurobeat is a form of italo-disco/hi-NRG music that developed in the late 1980s.In the United States, Eurobeat was sometimes marketed as Hi-NRG and for a short while shared this term with the very early freestyle music hits....

, dance-pop
Dance-pop
Dance-pop is dance-oriented pop music that originated in the early 1980s. Developing from post-disco, it is generally up-tempo music intended for clubs with the intention of being danceable or merely dancey...

, and freestyle
Freestyle music
Freestyle or Latin freestyle, sometimes referred to as Latin hip hop, is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 1980s. Mostly popular during the mid 80s to the early 90s...

 artists like Shannon
Shannon (singer)
Shannon is an American singer. She is best known for her 1983 million-selling record, "Let the Music Play". The record re-defined the electro funk sound that would eventually be called freestyle music.-Biography:...

, Stock Aitken Waterman
Stock Aitken Waterman
Stock Aitken Waterman, sometimes known as SAW, were a UK songwriting and record producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. They had great success during the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s...

, Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne was born Leslie Wunderman on March 7, 1962 before later adopting her current stage name. She is an American pop vocalist, songwriter, and dance artist. Overall, she has had eighteen individual hit songs reach the top ten in Billboard magazine...

, Freeez
Freeez
Freeez were a United Kingdom dance music group from London, known initially as one of the UK's main jazz-funk bands of the early 1980s. Initiated by John Rocca, Freeez consisted of various musicians, originally with Rocca and others such as Andy Stennet Freeez were a United Kingdom dance music...

 or Michael Sembello
Michael Sembello
Michael Sembello is an American musician and songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.-Career:Sembello was born and raised in Philadelphia. He studied with jazz great Pat Martino and began his career as a professional musician by becoming a session musician, working increasingly with...

 were also labeled as "Hi-NRG" when sold in the United States.

In the 1980s "Hi-NRG" referred not just to any high-tempo disco/dance music, but to a specific genre, only somewhat disco-like. Hi-NRG is, however, typified by an energetic, staccato, sequenced synthesizer sound of octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 bassline
Bassline
A bassline is the term used in many styles of popular music, such as jazz, blues, funk, dub and electronic music for the low-pitched instrumental part or line played by a rhythm section instrument such as the electric bass, double bass, tuba or keyboard...

s or/and where the bass often takes the place of the hi-hat, alternating a more resonant note with a dampened note to signify the tempo of the record. There is also often heavy use of the clap sound found on drum machines.

Ian Levine
Ian Levine
Ian Levine is an English songwriter, producer, and DJ. He is also a well-known fan of the long-running television show Doctor Who.Levine attended Arnold School in Blackpool from 1963 to 1970...

, one of Hi-NRG's pioneering DJs & producers in the UK, defines Hi-NRG as "melodic, straightforward dance music that's not too funky." Music journalist Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds is an English music critic who is well-known for his writings on electronic dance music and for coining the term "post-rock". Besides electronic dance music, Reynolds has written about a wide range of artists and musical genres, and has written books on post-punk and rock...

 adds "The nonfunkiness was crucial. Slamming rather than swinging, Hi-NRG's white European feel was accentuated by butt-bumping bass twangs at the end of each bar."

History



High-tempo disco music dates back to the mid-1970s. Early examples include several British disco songs by Biddu
Biddu
Biddu or Biddu Appaiah is an Indian-British music producer, composer, song-writer and singer who produced and composed many hit records worldwide during a career spanning five decades...

 and Tina Charles in 1976. From 1979 to 1987, unlabeled high-tempo disco music was especially popular among LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 communities in American coastal cities such as New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and San Francisco. In particular, DJ/producer Patrick Cowley
Patrick Cowley
Patrick Joseph Cowley was an American disco and Hi-NRG dance music composer and recording artist. He recorded in a style that has drawn comparisons to that of Giorgio Moroder and is often credited with pioneering electronic dance music.-Early life:Patrick Cowley was born in Buffalo, New York to...

 helped popularize this kind of music at the The EndUp
The EndUp
The EndUp was founded in November 1973 and is a dance club in San Francisco, California. It is located on the corner of 6th and Harrison, in the SoMa district. The EndUp has two bars, a lounge with fireplace, a dance floor with mirrored columns, and a large open-air deck with a waterfall, plants...

 club in San Francisco. The genre knew moderate mainstream popularity in Europe, despite being the icon of British and American LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 communities around 1983-85, while opposing both eurodisco and electro on the dance scene. Examples of hi-energy disco acts include Claudja Barry
Claudja Barry
Claudja Barry, is a singer and actress who has performed in the European versions of the stage musicals Hair and Catch My Soul.-Early music career:...

, Miquel Brown
Miquel Brown
Miquel Brown Miquel Brown Miquel Brown (born Michael Brown, 1954 is a Canadian actress and Disco/Soul singer from the 1970s and '80s most popular for the songs "Close to Perfection" and the Hi-NRG songs 'So Many Men, So Little Time' and "He's A Saint, He's A Sinner" (both now considered vintage gay...

, Amanda Lear
Amanda Lear
Amanda Lear is a French singer, lyricist, composer, painter, TV presenter, actress and novelist....

, France Joli
France Joli
France Joli is a Canadian singer, born 1963, who is best known for the disco classic "Come to Me."-Teen stardom:A native of Montreal, Quebec, Joli grew up in the Montreal suburb of Dorion...

, Sylvester
Sylvester James
-Studio albums:-Live albums:-Compilation albums:* Mighty Real UK #62* 12 By 12 * Immortal -Singles:-Additional recordings:*Lights Out San Francisco...

, Divine, and The Weather Girls.

During the same period, a form of Hi-NRG (EDM) became popular in Canada and UK. The most popular groups of this style are Trans-X
Trans-X
Trans-X is a Canadian 1980s synth band formed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They are known for their hit song "Living on Video" which charted world wide.-History:...

 and Lime
Lime (band)
Lime was a synth-pop group from Montréal, Canada, during the 1980s. The group was composed of husband and wife Denis and Denyse LePage, although two younger and more attractive singers, Joy Dorris and Chris Marsh, were chosen to tour and appear as the act. They are most noted for their songs "Angel...

. The genre is closely related to space disco
Space disco
Space disco is a term used to describe the fusion of disco music with futuristic themes, sounds and visuals, which was popular in the late 1970s...

. Bands include Koto
Koto (band)
Koto is an Italian synth pop group that originally consisted of Anfrando Maiola and Stefano Cundari, later with the Dutch composer Michiel van der Kuy.- History :...

, Laserdance
Laserdance
Laserdance is a Dutch spacesynth-project that was popular in the 1980s with hits such as "Laserdance", "Power Run" and "Humanoid Invasion". Laserdance was the project of the Dutch producers Michiel Van der Kuy and Erik van Vliet...

 and Cerrone
Cerrone
Marc Cerrone is a French disco drummer, singer-songwriter and record producer.Marc Cerrone has sold over thirty million albums and has often performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people at huge concerts and events such as The 2005 Dance Party Live in Versailles and The 2000 Los Angeles...

. Hi-NRG sound also influenced techno
Techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

 and house music
House music
House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

.

Commercial success


In 1983 in the UK, music magazine Record Mirror
Record Mirror
Record Mirror was a British weekly pop music newspaper, founded by Isadore Green and featured, news articles, interviews, record charts, record reviews, concert reviews, letters from readers and photographs. The paper became respected by both mainstream pop music fans and serious record collectors...

began publishing a weekly Hi-NRG Chart. Hi-NRG entered the mainstream with hits in the UK and US pop and dance charts, such as Hazell Dean
Hazell Dean
Hazell Dean is a British dance-pop singer, who achieved her biggest success in the 1980s as a leading Hi-NRG artist. She is best known for the top ten hits "Searchin' ", "Whatever I Do " and "Who's Leaving Who"...

's "Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)
Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)
"Searchin' " is a hi-NRG song written by Ian Anthony Stephens, originally recorded and made famous by British singer Hazell Dean. Originally released in 1983, it became a Top-Ten hit on the UK Singles Chart and U.S. Dance/Disco charts...

" and Evelyn Thomas
Evelyn Thomas
Evelyn Thomas is an American singer from Chicago, Illinois, best known for the dance hits "High Energy", "Masquerade", "Standing At The Crossroads", "Reflections", and "WeakSpot"....

's "High Energy
High Energy (Evelyn Thomas song)
"High Energy" is the title of a 1984 song by American dance singer Evelyn Thomas. The song was very popular in dance clubs around the world, and it topped the American dance chart in September of that year. It also spent four weeks atop the pop chart in Germany, and peaked at #5 on the UK singles...

". In the mid-1980s, Hi-NRG producers in the dance and pop charts included Ian Levine
Ian Levine
Ian Levine is an English songwriter, producer, and DJ. He is also a well-known fan of the long-running television show Doctor Who.Levine attended Arnold School in Blackpool from 1963 to 1970...

 and trio Stock Aitken Waterman
Stock Aitken Waterman
Stock Aitken Waterman, sometimes known as SAW, were a UK songwriting and record producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. They had great success during the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s...

, both of whom worked with many different artists. Stock Aitken Waterman had two of the most successful Hi-NRG singles ever with their productions of Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive (band)
Dead or Alive were a British New Wave band from Wirral, England, United Kingdom, Europe. The band rose to fame in the 1980s with their number one single on the UK Singles Chart, "You Spin Me Round ". They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team Stock Aitken Waterman...

's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
"You Spin Me Round " is a song by British band Dead or Alive on their 1985 album Youthquake. The song was the first UK number-one hit by the Stock Aitken Waterman production trio. Released in November 1984, the record reached number one in March 1985, taking seventeen weeks to get there...

" (UK #1 & US #11 in 1985) and Bananarama
Bananarama
Bananarama are an English female pop duo who have had success on the pop and dance charts since 1982. Rather than relying on a two part harmony, the duo generally sings in unison, as do their background vocalists. Although there have been line-up changes, the group enjoyed their most popular...

's "Venus" (US #1 & UK #8 in 1986). They also brought the genre full circle, in a sense, by writing and producing Donna Summer's 1989 UK and US hit "This Time I Know It's For Real
This Time I Know It's for Real
"This Time I Know It's For Real" is a song originally recorded by Donna Summer, and released in 1989 as the first single from her album Another Place and Time...

" (UK #3 and US #7).

American music magazine Dance Music Report
Dance Music Report
Dance Music Report, initially Disco News and later DMR, was a biweekly U.S. trade magazine oriented toward nightclub and radio DJs in the dance music industry...

published Hi-NRG charts and related industry news in the mid to late 1980s as the genre reached its peak. By 1990, however, house music
House music
House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

 and eurodance
Eurodance
Eurodance is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the late 1980s or early 1990s primarily in Europe. It combines many elements from House, Techno, Hi-NRG and especially Italo-Disco...

 have superseded Hi-NRG in popularity in many danceclubs. Despite this, Hi-NRG music is still being produced and played in various forms, including many remixed versions of mainstream pop hits, some with re-recorded vocals. Later in the 1990s, Nu-NRG music, a fusion
Fusion (music)
A fusion genre is music that combines two or more styles. For example, rock and roll originally developed as a fusion of blues, gospel and country music. The main characteristics of fusion genres are variations in tempo, rhythm, i a sometimes the use of long musical "journeys" that can be divided...

 of Hi-NRG and trance
Trance music
Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s.:251 It is generally characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 bpm,:252 repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout a track...

, was born.

See also

  • House music
    House music
    House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

    • Garage house
  • Europop
    Europop
    Europop refers to a style of pop music that first developed in today's form in Europe, throughout the late 1970s. Europop topped the charts throughout the 1980s and ’90s...

  • Rave music
    Rave music
    Rave music may either refer the late 1980s genre or any genre of electronic dance music that may be played at an electronic dance party such as a rave. Very rarely, the term is used to refer to less electronic related genres glam, powerpop, psychedelic rock and dub music parties...

  • Acid house
    Acid house
    Acid house is a sub-genre of house music that emphasizes a repetitive, hypnotic and trance-like style, often with samples or spoken lines rather than sung lyrics. Acid house's core electronic squelch sounds were developed around the mid-1980s, particularly by DJs from Chicago who experimented with...

  • Italodisco
  • Eurodisco

External links