As you may have noticed, I’m a HUGE fan of dance music – 90’s-ish dance, in particular. I tend to just label most of it “Eurodance” by default, but a lot of what gets lumped in as Euro is actually Canadian!
There were a ton of great Canadian dance music artists back in the day. I’d listen to them on Chris Sheppard’s radio shows (and Canadians of a certain age now know exactly where “Celebration Generation” came from!), I’d watch them on Electric Circus, and – after moving to the GTA – I’d even hear them on top 40 radio, via Z103.5. Z has a heavy focus on dance music even to this day – It’s my favourite radio station ever, as a result!
So, with Canada Day coming up, I figure I’ll use the big party as an excuse to blog a Canadian Dance Music Playlist. It is out 150th, after all… so I’ll take any excuse to mark the occasion 🙂
To keep this reasonable, I’m only going to embed one song per group, though many featured have several / many great songs. If you hear something you like, I encourage you to look more into them. I love the high energy, uplifting nature of dance music, and love to share it with all of you!
In no particular order..
Laya – All My Dreams
This is one of my all time favourites, and gets played pretty much any time I’m in the truck or in front of the computer.. usually on repeat. LOVE.
Beatman – Nadia
This is one song I first heard through Z, and it’s a classic. High earworm potential, btw.
Roxxy – I’ll Never Stop
I love the speed and energy on this one, it was always great to play during skating practice or for workouts.
Jet Fuel – Hang on Here We Go
This song has a special place in my heart, as someone who was basically addicted to Electric Circus in my early-late teens – this song was the theme for the show Every Friday night, I would plan to watch, and usually record it. Living in Winnipeg – and being too young to go to clubs – it was the most readily accessible dance music, and it was fabulous. They’d open the Much Music studios and basically turn it into a club. The dancers wore bright colours, metallic fabrics.. spandex and feathers everywhere. LOVED. IT.
Capital Sound – Desire
Capital Sound was based out of Ottawa, and had a bunch of great songs. It was hard to narrow it down for the purposes of this list – so many good ones to choose from! I think “In The Night” was probably their biggest hit, but don’t quote me on that. “Higher Love” was right up there, too. “Feel the Rhythm” is probably tied for my favourite, but for my embed, I’m going with “Desire”. I don’t think it got as much love, in general… but I <3 it so.
Bif Naked – Spaceman
Now, I love me some Bif Naked at times, but she wasn’t really known for her dance music. I still find it a bit hilarious that she put out a dance remix of her “Spaceman“… but I’m certainly not complaining! I am firmly of the belief that dance music makes everything better.
Emjay – We All Need Love
I think “In Your Arms was my first exposure to Emjay, and it was DEFINITELY on Electric Circus; she performed live on the show at least once, and they played this video often. She had quite a few great songs, like “Fascinated“, “Flying to the Moon“, “Sound of my Heartbeat“, and “Point of No Return“. For the purposes of this list, though.. I’m picking “We All Need Love”. The video is so spectacularly 90s, and I just don’t hear this song get as much play as the others.
BKS – Living in Ecstasy
BKS was one of Chris Sheppard’s projects – featuring Simone Denny, who I adore – and they put out a lot of great music. Astroplane, Dreamcatcher, Take Control – which was, IMHO, the best song on Much Dance ’95…
I happened to be listening to the Astroplane album when I was trying to come up with a name for my business. It was during their cover of Swamp Thing, when inspiration struck. Chris Sheppard yelled “Celebration Generation, you know who you are!” – “The Celebration Generation” being his name for his fans – and in that moment, I just thought “Yes, I do!”. It stuck.
For this playlist, though, I figured I’d go old school and highlight my current favourite of theirs, “Living in Ecstasy”
Love Inc was another Chris Sheppard project, also featuring Simone Denny. Broken Bones was their first hit, and remains a favourite of mine today. You’re a Superstar is an amazing, feel-good anthem – one I load up on regularly, and make a point of sharing when someone needs it. Here Comes the Sunshine, Who Do You Love?, and more – all great.
Their song “Into the Night” didn’t get the same amount of play as some of the others ones, but it’s just such a gorgeous song, I had to include it here!
O.O.P featuring Simone Denny – You Make Me Feel Like a Star
Ok, this is probably my last Simone Denny song in here, I swear! So far as I can tell, I don’t actually know any other songs by this group, but this one – on the BeatClub CD – is definitely a favourite of mine.
Dion – Maybe
This is one of those songs that just really perks me up when it comes on the radio. Love it!
Ivan – Open Your Eyes
I never cease to be amazed at how obscure Ivan’s solo dance music seems to be. I do love to see the shock on friend’s faces when I point out that Ivan is Ivan Doroschuk, from Men Without Hats. Remember Safety Dance? Yep – that’s Canadian too!
Anyway, he put out an album in the mid 90’s – “The Spell”. This, and “SuperBadGirls” were my favourites from that album.
Temperance – Lost in Love
Temperance was a Toronto based group that had a couple of hits – A great cover of “Forever Young“, and Lost in Love, which was my favourite of the two.
Yakoo Boyz – Pipe Dreamz
Techno version of “Scotland the Brave” – what else can I say? This one has a special place in my heart, as I used to skate to the instrumental version. I thought my coach would kill me when I cut the music, choreographed it, and showed up to a competition with it, without telling him. The skirt was neon plaid, the bodice was made of 4 way stretch black PVC with metal zippers and rivets – looked like a stylized biker vest. I had my tattoo showing (a no-no for figure skaters back then!), a blue stripe in my hair… and I had FUN. This song makes me smile, just remembering all that nonsense 🙂
YBZ – Now That I Found You
Yakoo Boyz teamed up with Cleo-Patra,became YBZ (the code for a Toronto airport), and put out this song. Love it!
Outta Control – Tonight It’s Party Time
OK, I was wrong, this is another Simone Denny song. Whoops. This one was the first song on one of the compilation dance music cassettes I had way back in the day. Can’t remember which one, but I wore it out over this song. 🙂
Joee – Feel it in the Air
IN the end, I’ve gotta go with “Feel it in the Air” as my fav (“Almost Suicide” is a close second!)
Boomtang Boys – Dancing with Myself
Boomtang Boys are a group of producers/remix artists. Yep, they were the ones behind HamsterDance(and Hamster Dance 2.0)… but are much better known/respected for their work on other’s remixes (see “Spaceman”, above), and their own singles, Squeezetoy and Pictures (which had a memorably disturbing video!), and Both Sides Now, and – my favourite – Bang a Gong. (Which seems to be blocked in the USA, boo!)
My second favourite is their version of “Dancing with Myself”… even if I find the video – full of kids bouncing around – to be a completely bizarre choice, given the song’s rumoured (Though disproven) subject matter!
Prozzak – Omobolashire
I enjoy The Philosopher Kings, but I LOVE Prozzak – a project started by two of their members. Yes, the songs are cheesy, and the videos are corny, and the fake British accent is ridiculous.. but I LOVE it all. Judge all you want! 😀 Sucks to be You, www.nevergetoveryou, Europa, Strange Disease, the uplifting Be as… it’s all great for listening while sewing. My favourite, though, is the first song of theirs that I’d ever heard, Omoboloshire.
Jefferson Project – All I need is the Night
I don’t know much about this group, other than that I first saw them on Electric Circus back in the day. Love the song though!
Shauna Davis – Get Away
This song is a classic… and the singer is fascinating. Shauna Davis is Stéphane Moraille, who went on to sing for Bran Van 3000 (“Drinking in LA” is one of my favourite songs ever!), before becoming a lawyer and politician in Quebec!
…. this list is getting long! I’ll wrap it up with:
Solina – I Wanna Know
So. Yes. Canadians do Dance Music well! 🙂