|Parts of this article (those related to Labels and sub-genres) are outdated. (January 2013)|
|Stylistic origins||1985–1989: Dance-pop, British pop music, Italo disco
1987–current: House/Hi-NRG music with elements reminiscent to Italo disco produced mostly in Italy almost exclusively for Japan.
|Cultural origins||1985–1989: UK
|Typical instruments||Synthesizers, drum machines, electric guitars|
|Derivative forms||J-pop, Eurodance, Italo dance|
|Mid-to-late 1980s: United Kingdom
Mid–1980s to today: Japan (late 1990s to today Super Eurobeat)
Initial D, Dance Dance Revolution
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. Italo disco was often referred to as Eurobeat, probably due to the negative connotations of the word "disco" in the United States in the 1980s.
"Eurobeat" is also directly related to the Japanese Para Para dance culture, but in a completely different way, explained later in this article.
- 1 History
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Popular Eurobeat artists
- 4 Eurobeat compilations
- 5 Eurobeat labels websites
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Origin of the term "Eurobeat"
The term "Eurobeat" was first used in the UK when Ian Levine's Eastbound Expressway released their single "You're A Beat" in recognition to the slower tempo of Hi-NRG/Italo disco music emerging from Europe. The majority of Hi-NRG songs tended to be from 124–138BPM whereas the European releases tended to be from 108–120BPM. Many European acts managed to break through under this new recognition namely the likes of Modern Talking, Bad Boys Blue, Taffy and Spagna. It was 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 holidays in Greece and elsewhere. "Eurobeat" was also applied to the first hits from the Pet Shop Boys and other UK-based dance music and electropop groups of the time. Those "Eurobeat" hits had a European beat, topped the UK charts, and, in the USA, received radio airplay and contributed to the evolution of New York's Freestyle genre. "Braun European Top 20" on MTV Europe also aired on MTV USA during summer 1987 to 1989, spreading the UK's Eurobeat sound. But after the summer of 1988 (UK's summer of love), the style lost popularity, with the exception of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. By the summer of '89 the term "Eurobeat" was replaced by other labels and the music changed to 90s Eurodance and mostly Euro house. The term "Eurobeat" was also used only in the UK during 1986–1988, for specific Italian 80s Euro disco imports, such as Sabrina Salerno, Spagna and Baltimora.
Renaissance: "By the Italians, for the Japanese"
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, that 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) and by the late 80s while the Germans faded out of the outdated Italo-disco scene and went for other newly rising popular scenes, mainly trance, the Italians created a new sound especially for Japan, but virtually unknown in the rest of the world. In Japan, this music is called "Eurobeat", "Super Eurobeat", and "Eurobeat Flash".
In the early 1990s when Eurobeat's popularity was gradually decreasing in Japan, two Japanese men, 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, and eventually released the compilation CD, the first Super Eurobeat, which proved an instant success and re-sparked Eurobeat's popularity in Japan.
Despite its European origins, the Eurobeat style's main market has always been Japan, where its synthetic and emotionally upbeat stylings are popular. Even though many European people and American people have heard of Eurodance, Euro disco and Euro house, this flavor of Eurobeat is largely unknown in Europe and only recently became somewhat popular in the Western world. It appeals to open-minded Italo disco fans and some Euro-house fans.
The anime series Initial D, based on the manga by Shuichi Shigeno, uses Eurobeat music regularly in its episodes during racing scenes between the characters, and because of this it has come to the attention of some anime fans outside Japan.
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, characteristic are the energetic (sometimes wild) and heavy use of synths, distinctive brass and harp sounds, and tight, predictable percussion in the background. These sounds are layered with vocals and natural instruments (guitar and piano are common) into complex, ever-shifting melodies that, at their best, burst with energy.
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 from Toshiba EMI. Over time, DDR has featured Eurobeat songs on-and-off in their songlists. However, their number has dwindled due to efforts to make DDR more marketable to North American markets. Currently, there has been a push to add more Eurobeat into DDR, most recently with the addition of Super Eurobeat tracks in the latest arcade release, Dance Dance Revolution X2. Other music games in Konami's lineup feature a large number of Eurobeat tracks, including Beatmania, Beatmania IIDX, and jubeat. The popularity of the genre also led Konami to create a Para Para game; ParaParaParadise.
The Sega AM2-developed arcade fighting game, Sonic the Fighters (Sonic Championship in the US) uses a Eurobeat influenced soundtrack.
Eurobeat from the Japanese point of view
Eurobeat evolved into different genres, while preserving its essence. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hi-NRG, 70s Eurodisco, space disco, Canadian disco, and Italo disco (a.k.a. 80's Eurodisco) emerged from electronic music. Although disco music became unpopular in North America, it remained in the limelight in Europe for many more years. In the USA, in the early 80s, disco linked with George Clinton, Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Hi-NRG scene.
What follows in the article, is the description of "Eurobeat" (a.k.a. Super Eurobeat) as formed during the late 80s and 90s in Japan.
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While modern music is often recognized by its lyrics, Eurobeat is recognized not primarily by its lyrics. Very much like bubblegum Eurodance, it usually has extremely silly or utterly meaningless lyrics. This broad genre can create a great number of different sub-genres within it because of this combination of harmony and rhythm. Sometimes it can still sound like disco music, and sometimes it can be very "fast and happy" like happy hardcore or speed music, and occasionally features guitars as a method of Saiba.
One peculiar thing about Eurobeat is the fact that each artist is often credited with a variety of different aliases (See "Popular Eurobeat Artists" below for details). Artists usually adopt different stage names according to the mood of each song, or depending on who wrote their lyrics. For instance, Ennio Zanini has stated on the SCP Music website that he goes by the name of "Fastway" on songs which are more upbeat and sprinkled with high-pitched female backing vocals, and goes by "Dusty" on his more "serious" tracks. Also a popular theory is that Eurobeat artists such as Clara Moroni and Giancarlo Pasquini manufacture the same acts under many different names in order to "compete with themselves". (Compare to legendary house producer Thomas Bangalter, who is infamous for the same practice).
Eurobeat also has notoriety for name recognition, lifting titles from popular songs and using them as the names of Eurobeat tracks. Examples are "Like a Virgin", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "What is Love", and "Station to Station." The Eurobeat songs that reuse song titles typically have nothing to do with the song it lifted its title from (i.e., not a cover).
Yet another characteristic of Eurobeat is how many songs are themed around the same, recurring themes. Common themes include:
- Cars / car racing - examples: "The Race is the Game" by Dave Rodgers, "The Race of the Night" by Dave Rodgers, "The Race is Over" by Dave Rodgers, "Wheels of Fire" by Dave Rodgers, "Face the Race" by Powerful T., "Drivin' Crazy" by Ace, "My Car is Fantasy" by Mega NRG Man, "Pilot is the Hero" by Niko, "Car of Your Dreams" by Nuage and Dave Rodgers, "Ready Steady Go!" by Manuel, "Go Racin' Go!" by Fastway
- Energy / feeling energetic - examples: "Adrenaline" by Ace, "Power" by Go 2, "NRG" by Go 2, "Get Me Power" by Mega NRG Man, "Stop Your Self Control" by Marco Polo, "Electric Power" by Niko, "Overload" by Matt Land
- Love - examples: "Love is in Danger" by Priscilla, "Love is Danger" by Linda Ross, "Break My Heart" by Helena, "Need Love" by Mega NRG Man, "Switch!" by Melissa White and Ace, "Crazy for Love" by Dusty, "Take All My Heart" by Annalise, "Mystery of Love" by Virginelle, "Buring Love" by D. Essex
- Japan - examples: "Tokyo Tokyo" by D. Essex, "Kamikaze" by DJ NRG, "Ganguro" by Franz "Mad Cow" Tornado and The Yamanba Gals, "Tokyo Fever" by Marco Polo, "No One Sleep in Tokyo" by Edo Boys, "Japanese Girl" by Mega NRG Man, "Night Flight to Tokyo" by Matt Land, "Made in Japan" by Dave Rodgers
- Eurobeat itself - examples: "Super Eurobeat" by Franz Tornado and The Tri-Star Girls, "Super Eurobeat (Gold Mix)" by Dave Rodgers and Futura, "Eurobeat" by Dr. Love, "King of Eurobeat" by Jordan, "Super Eurobeat (Eurobeat Mix)" by Alphatown, "Super Eurobeat" by Niko (note that although several songs are called "Super Eurobeat", it is not the same song sung by different artists)
- Music and dancing in general - examples: "Music for the People" by Dave Rodgers and Jennifer Batten, "Don't Stop the Dance" by Ace, "Music Come On!" by Go 2, "Don't Stop the Music" by Lou Grant, "Music Forever" by D. Essex, "Play the Music" by Ace, "Disco Fire" by Dave Rodgers
The Eurobeat formula (for the Japanese market)
||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (December 2007)|
Like most musical genres, (modern) Eurobeat has a fairly specific formula to it:
|intro → riff (musical synth) → a melo(verse) → a melo2(bridge) → a sabi (chorus) → riff (musical synth) → outro|
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The intro is the introduction into the song, the riff is the musical part without voices. The a melo, or a-melody is the first verse in the song, the a melo2 (a-melody 2) is the bridge of the song, and the sabi is the chorus of the song. The outro is the ending. There will also be a c melo (the second a melo) after the first sabi, as well as another a/b melo variant after the second sabi.
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Eurobeat is well known for complex, energetic rhythms, which give the music a rapid, accelerating feel. Songs often have an intro section characterized by a very loud, highly technical synth riff, which is repeated after the chorus. The song usually repeats the verse, bridge, and chorus (although with different lyrics most of the time. Often these lyrics are extremely original and feature intricate vocals, such as the sole use of clever words such as fire and desire) and then goes into a "breakdown" where there can be a variety of new parts to the song including a guitar solo, the dropping and adding of percussion, or a plain instrumental version of the track. Typically though, this only encompasses the verse and bridge; the chorus is usually sung once again, and then the synth and outro play. The outro can either be the main synth played again, or something reminiscent of the intro.
Another thing to note is that the intro is somewhat like an instrumental rendition of the verse, bridge, and chorus, while the synth is a lot like an instrumental version of the chorus. They don't have to sound completely similar, but they do in fact fit on top of each other most of the time.[tone]
Popular Eurobeat artists
The following is a list of many Eurobeat compilations series, the most famous (and longest running) are Super Eurobeat and the various Super Eurobeat presents... compilations by Avex Trax. Other notable compilations include:
- Aerobeat Eurobeat
- D-1 Grand Prix
- Digibeat Euro
- Eurobeat Fantasy
- Eurobeat Masters
- Eurobeat Stars
- Eurobeat University
- Eurobeat Disney
- Eurobeat Flash
- Gazen ParaPara!!
- It's Eurobeat
- Love J Euro
- Maharaja Night
- Maharaja Night - Hi-NRG Revolution
- Para Oke
- ParaPara Paradise
- Para Para Hi-BPM Eurobeat
- Paradise! Eurobeat
- Super Anime Remix
- Super Euro Best
- Super Euro Christmas
- That's Eurobeat (Vol. 1–44, 1986–1994)
- That's Eurobeat series of compilations was launched by Alfa Records in 1986, as the successor to That's Hi-NRG, the first Hi-NRG compilation in Japan released in 1985. It consisted of original Eurobeat music, not reborn Eurobeat music that first appeared in the late 1980s–early 1990s. That's Eurobeat was the most popular and best-selling Eurobeat product until the early 1990s, when it was overtaken by Super Eurobeat. "Eurobeat University" is a series owned by DJ Eurobeat, world-wide famous since 1986, YouTube series #5 released in May 2012.
- That's Eurobeat Now
- The Early Days of SEB
- Toho Eurobeat
- Tokio Hot Nights
- VIP Mega Euro Star
Eurobeat labels websites
- Interbeat (include Magnum, Blitz, Movie)
- A-Beat C / Rodgers Music
- Akyrmusic (Includes Vocal Trance projects such as nR Element from California.)
- Dima Music
- Disko Warp Music
- Farm Records
- GoGo's Music
- Hi NRG Attack
- LED Records (Includes Vibration, Eurobeat Masters)
- The S.A.I.F.A.M. Group (Includes Boom Boom Beat, Asia Records, etc.)
- SCP Music
- Sinclaire Style
- Time Records
- NRGexpress, History of "EUROBEAT" (Japanese)
- Avex Japan Eurobeat (Official website for Super Eurobeat)
- Eurobeat Prime (Extensive Eurobeat information and database)
- ParaParaMania CD Information (Japanese Eurobeat database by Yuuto Matsumoto that has many lesser-known Eurobeat releases)
- NRG Express (Eurobeat information from Japan)
- Eurobeat.se (Some Eurobeat and Eurodance samples)
- Eurobeat-Italia (Italian Eurobeat website)
- New Parapara (Chilean website for Eurobeat and Parapara)
-  (Official website of DJ Eurobeat)