Mastermix DJ Dave Evans takes us on a trip down memory lane into the world of 90s Dance…
Ah. The 90’s, The end of the Soviet Bloc, Dolly the sheep, New Labour rising to power, heartbreak at Euro 96 (Football’s still coming home, it’s just taking the long way round), Trainspotting and much much more.
But what about the music? Acid house was still around at the start but the emergence of Jungle, Speed Garage and Drum n Bass spread the world of dance music into faster BPMs. Britpop exploded onto the scene with the likes of Oasis and Blur but the biggest hit of the 90’s was the emergence of “Girl Power” with the Spice Girls spending 800 weeks (or so it seemed) at number 1 with their debut single “Wannabe”. Across the pond groups like N’Sync, New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys dominated the mid 90’s before Britney and Christina shook off the shackles of the Mickey Mouse club and burst onto the scene at the end of the decade.
But what records do you still play from the 90’s that are certain dance anthems which people still love to jump onto the floor to. In no order, any of these would get a good reaction if you were asked to play some 90s Dance!
Come on admit it, just reading the title already has you doing the intro in your head. Infectious beat. Some partisans would say DJs Take Control is the better track but you can play this anywhere and someone will try to shuffle to it. This should have been Number 1 instead of Deeply Dippy.
Get this one out of the way early. When Robin Stone first released this track (Montego Mix, big hints of Jocelyn Brown to it) in 1990 there was no indication that it would become one of the most successful and remixed dance records of all time. Whether you go for the classic Stonebridge mix or one of the 100’s of remixes of it, you can find a version for virtually any genre. One that will never die.
- N-Trance – Set You Free
Hands in the air! While it may not have had the commercial success of Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy, this rave anthem has certainly outlived its rival on the dancefloor. With its uplifting vocal intro and big beats, this track is a sure-fire winner for the dancefloor.
Yes, not Dreamer. For me this is the better record, its more tighter and compact to use plus it has a better outro point if you don’t wish to use the entire track. Dreamer is an anthem but lingers a bit too long for me. A good alternative to have from the same group.
Released in 1990, this is my joint single of the decade along with Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy. Its everything a dance record should be, great vibe, funky beats, sing-a-long vocals, Bootsy Collins and it makes you smile. What more could you want from a dance song.
For me, this and the next track sum up the mid 90’s dance scene. The Balearic scene was really blowing up commercially and this track captures more of the fluid side of the dance floor. Instead of being an “hands up” (see the next track) belter, The Nightcrawlers gently ease you onto the floor without you knowing it and will not let you go till its finished………….
Whereas in comparison, The Original comes screeching out of the speakers within the first 5 seconds, hits the strings and picks you up by the hands throwing you onto the floor. A true house record with an almost gospel chorus to it. This records still sounds fresh even 24 years after it was first released (I now feel old).
Taking away the “are they a pop or dance band” debate (they had Hacienda’s Mick Pickering, they are a dance group), M People made some brilliant records. Elegant Slumming contained some cultured tracks and none more than Moving On Up. Heather Small’s vocal is instantly recognisable and the horns are crisp. This may be one more for the over 30s than the teen market nowadays but it is a certain 90s dance floorfiller for those who know it.
I have one DJ bucket list item; To play Insomnia at St Pauls Cathedral in the dark with a laser show. But for a dance anthem, this record is a bit of an oddity, the first minute you can’t really use as it has no beat. The main verse is quite slow but…….
Nothing else needs saying.
Is this a 90s dance record or cheese? Depends how you look at it. Up and Down was a dance record and in Europe the Vengaboys are treated as a dance group so it goes in the list. Don’t believe me that it’s a dance tune? Put it on, watch your audience and tell me after that it isn’t.
It’s hard to pick out 10 from a decade where there was so many great dance records but hopefully this list is a sure fire quick win crib list.
Now where are my glow sticks, I’ve got a Vengabus to catch to get to an S Club Party…
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Where possible in this article, I’ve linked to the DJ Beats version of the track, so you can get creative with your mixing!
90s Dance DJ Beats
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The collection includes tracks from Adamski, Brainbug, Da Hool, Chad Jackson, JX, Nightcrawlers, Run DMC, Strike, Wamdue Project and loads more.
90 Dance 12″ Versions
Indulge yourself in some classic extended 90s tracks with Classic Cuts 111!
The 12″ versions of 19 of the biggest hits of the decade, including Fat Boy Slim, Happy Mondays, Shamen, Soup Dragons and Electronic!