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Hi-NRG (High Energy) is a type of electronic dance music which was popular in nightclubs in the early 1980s.



The name "Hi-NRG" comes from the Evelyn Thomas's Disco hit, "High Energy", produced by Ian Levine. Hi-NRG is typified by an energetic staccato sequenced synthesizer sound where the bass often takes the place of the hi-hat. There is often heavy use of the clap sound found on drum machines. During 1984 the music began to crossover into the mainstream pop charts in the United Kingdom, largely due to the success of the Record Shack record label.

Record Shack also enjoyed chart success with tracks by Break Machine and an unlikely comeback single by Eartha Kitt ("Where Is My Man", 1984). Stock Aitken Waterman were Hi-NRG producers at the start of their career, working with Divine and Hazell Dean, and producing the most successful Hi-NRG track, Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)", which reached number one in the UK. Hi-NRG was largely superseded by house music but still enjoys an underground following, usually in the form of Hi-NRG versions of mainstream pop hits.

Many of the Hi-NRG tracks produced in Europe at the time qualify doubly as examples of Italo disco (i.e., Bobby Orlando, Taffy, Magazine 60, Divine, Roni Griffith, the Flirts, Lime, etc.) and discofox (i.e. Linda Jo Rizzo, Lian Ross, Modern Talking, Fancy, Lift Up, Blue System, Bad Boys Blue.)


The style is often associated with gay promiscuity, thus Miquel Brown's "So Many Men, So Little Time" and Hazell Dean's "Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man)", whilst typically sung by women, are actually aimed at gay men. It is also associated with camp excess and gender bending by artists such as Divine and Pete Burns.


Earlene Bentley
Laura Branigan
Bronski Beat
Dead Or Alive
Hazell Dean
Eastbound Expressway
Laura Pallas
Barbara Pennington
Seventh Avenue
Sylvester and producer Patrick Cowley
Evelyn Thomas
Tony De Vit


All of these records reached the Hi-NRG charts in the late 1980s:

Bianca - Midnight Lover
Bodyheat - No! Mr Boom Boom (Diamond Records
Crystal In The Pink - Back To You
Celena Duncan - Questions And Answers (Nightmare Records)
Barbara Doust - If You Love Somebody
Sisley Ferre - For You (Hotsound Records)
Fun Fun - Could This Be Love
Samantha Giles - Stop
Havana - Satisfy My Desire (Wow Records)
Carol Jiani - Turning My Back And Walking Away (Nightmare Records)
Lanei - Love Bites (Opium Records)
Lime - Gold Digger (TSR Records)
M&H Band - Popcorn
Marsha Raven - I Like Plastic
Man To Man - Hard Hitting Love (Nightmare Records)
Midnight Sunrise - This Is A Haunted House (Nightmare Records)
Modern Rocketry - I Feel Love Coming (Megatone Records)
Off - Electrica Salsa (Ton Son Ton Records)
Linda Jo Rizzo - Perfect Love
Shooting Party - Safe In The Arms Of Love
Helena Springs - Paper Money (Atlantic Records)
Scott Stryker - Science Fiction
T-Arc - Undercover Lover (ZYX Records)
Linda Taylor - Every Wakinh Hour (Nightmare Records)
Tuillio De Piscopo - Stop Bajon (Primavera) (Greyhound Records)
Vivien Vee - Heartbest (X-Energy Records)
XS-S - I Need More (VCN Records)

Number Ones

These records reached Number One in the Hi-NRG charts compiled by James Hamilton and Alan Jones in Record Mirror

Eria Fachin - Savin' Myself (Power Records - 1987)
Michelle Goulet - Over And Over And Over (Island Records America - 1988)
Man To Man - Who Knows What Evil? (Nightmare Records)
Kim Weston - Signal Your Intention (Nightmare Records - 1987)

Cover Versions in the Hi-NRG style

Quantize - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore, a cover of The Walker Brothers on Passion Records.
Seventh Avenue - The Love I Lost, a cover of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes on Nightmare Records.
Bona-Riah - House Of The Rising Sun on Rise Records

Record Labels

Record labels that most frequently appeared in Record Mirror's Hi-NRG chart are as follows:

Bolts Records
Flea Records - Italy
Hi Tension Records - Belgium
Macho Records - Italy
Nightmare Records
Passion Records
Time Records - Italy
X-Energy Records - Italy


  • Jones, Alan and Kantonen, Jussi (1999) Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco. Chicago, Illinois: A Cappella Books. ISBN 1556524110.

External links

Bright disco - Dance-punk - Disco polo - Euro disco - Hi-NRG - House - Italo disco - Spacesynth
Discothèque - Nightclub - Orchestration - Other electronic music genres

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.