80s Hi-NRG Disco

In July 1984, I started to go to nightclubs and began a voyage of discovery into hi-NRG dance music. The current trend that summer was the explosion of high-energy dance music into mainstream commercial success in the UK. Records such as “Self Control” by Laura Branigan, “Jump” by The Pointer Sisters, “Searchin’” by Hazell Dean, “You Think You’re A Man” by Divine, and the eponymous “High Energy” by Evelyn Thomas all became top 10 hits. This style of music had remained underground in gay clubs since the dying days of disco in 1979–1980, but ‘came out’ in style in 1983 and 1984. .

This blog is an attempt to chronologically document the development of the Hi-NRG sound in the UK, from its closeted roots in gay clubs to the worldwide success of such producers as Stock, Aitken, and Waterman towards the end of the 1980s. The blog will attempt to bring some coherence to the influences behind the music, from its roots in 70s disco and early 80s boogie to San Francisco Boystown Disco and on to Eurodisco and Italodisco. The blog is based on my own thoughts, reflections, and experiences in the 80s dancing to and collecting these records and is not meant to be an academic treatise.

Although the Hi-NRG sound dwindled away from 1987 onwards, being replaced in clubs with House, Techno, Italodance, and Trance, there is still worldwide interest in the original 80s tracks, especially in Mexico, Japan, and Eastern Europe, where singers and artists from the 80s still perform and huge nightclubs still play the records at packed-out events. There are also many online radio shows dedicated to 80s Hi-NRG and Italodisco that have worldwide audiences.

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