The ‘90s were a seriously special time for dance music, with countless club classics crossing over organically from the dancefloors to the chart – alongside a few memorable hits on the more ‘novelty’ side of things. Here’s our look back at some of the biggest acts of the decade who are still touring and performing live PAs across the world today.
All of these acts are available to book via MN2S booking agency. Click on their name to make an enquiry.
Daniele Davoli and co’s piano house outfit scored a huge global hit in ‘Ride On Time’, which remains one of the biggest dance music anthems of all time. Hitting No. 1 in the UK and becoming the country’s biggest selling single of 1989, their Loleatta Holloway smash was still going strong in 1990. They continued to have a run of Top 40 hits across the world through the early ‘90s, with UK Top 40 success continuing through until 1996.
First finding fame as the lead singer of Top 10 smashing crossover act Ten City – who were one of the very first house acts to be signed to a major label – Byron Stingily later found success as a solo artist. His unmistakable falsetto made ‘Get Up (Everybody)’ a huge club hit which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Top 100 and No. 14 on the UK Top 40, with two more Billboard Dance No. 1s thanks to successive singles. His cover of Sylvester’s disco classic ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ also broke into the UK charts, peaking at No. 13. Recent years have seen him feature on releases on classic house labels like Nervous Records and Peppermint Jam.
Nick ‘Chicane’ Bracegirdle made his first big splash with his lush Balearic-tinged debut ‘Offshore’ in 1996, a classic which found favour with both trance and chillout fans and hit No. 12 in the UK and Top 40 charts across Europe. A string of big club crossover singles followed until Clannad-sampling 1999 anthem ‘Saltwater’ broke him into the Top 10 for the first time in the UK, peaking at No. 6. His biggest hit was 2000’s ‘Don’t Give Up’ with Bryan Adams, a No. 1 in the UK, Australia and Russia. Still playing live today with his full band, he released a new album at the start of 2015, ‘(The Whole Is Greater Than) The Sum of Its Parts’, with contributions from Ferry Corsten and Duane Harden, and continues to run his successful Sun:Sets radio show.
Philadelphia-born singer Crystal Waters started her career writing demos for house music production team The Basement Boys and for Mercury Records’ artists. Her enduring smash ‘Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)‘ was a song she wrote for Ultra Naté, but The Basement Boys liked her demo version so much they decided to use it instead. The track reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and can still be heard at clubs and festivals around the world every weekend without fail. She also hit the Top 10 in 2007 in the UK with ‘Destination Calabria’ alongside Alex Gaudino, and toured Russia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Dubai and many other countries.
German act Culture Beat’s 1993 classic ‘Mr. Vain’ sold a staggering 10 million copies across the world, hitting No. 1 in 11 European countries and achieving Gold sales status in the US, where it reached No. 17 in the Billboard Hot 100. Follow-ups ‘Got To Get It’ and ‘Anything’ were also Top 10 hits across Europe, and their album ‘Serenity’ sold over 2 million copies.
Sasha’s remix of D:Ream’s piano house epic ‘U R The Best Thing’ put the Northern Irish act on the map in 1992, becoming Pete Tong’s Essential Tune Of The Year. It was the 1994 re-release of ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ that turned them into stars, though, hitting No. 1 in the UK and receiving another re-release in 1997 as the Labour Party’s election campaign theme. The band scored nine Top 10 singles and two Top 10 albums in the UK in total, and famously featured Professor Brian Cox as keyboardist in their live shows. They were also nominated for an MTV Europe Video Award in 1994 and a BRIT Award in 1995.
Born in Nigeria, Dr. Alban move to Sweden to study dentistry when he was 23 and took to DJing to earn money, often singing/rapping over the tracks. He began recording music, formulating a style that mixed Euro dance with dancehall, and released his debut album ‘Hello Afrika’ in 1990. He ended up selling over 16 million records worldwide. His biggest hit was ‘It’s My Life’, which hit No. 1 in numerous countries and sold over 2 million copies in Europe alone. He continued to enjoy Top 10 success across the continent until 1997.
Italian trio Eiffel 65 scored a huge international hit with 1998 Eurodance anthem ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’, possibly the first hit record to utilise the heavily AutoTuned vocal effect that would become so prominent in hip-hop and dancehall years later. It hit No. 1 in 19 countries across the world, and sold over 2 million – and it remains the highest-charting single by an Italian act in the history of the Billboard Top 100. The song also featured in 2013 blockbuster ‘Iron Man 3’. The group have been touring again every year since 2013.
Italian singer Gaia scored a huge hit with the anthemic ‘Freed From Desire’, which was a Top 10 hit across Europe and sold over 1 million copies in France alone and staying in the UK Top 10 for eight weeks. She had sold 6 million copies by 1998, with four Top 10 hits across the continent. More recently, she has developed her style as a singer-songwriter, and headlined at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Medals Plaza in Sochi – opening with her hit ‘Let A Boy Cry’ in support of her gay following in the country. 2015 saw her release ‘Singles V1’, featuring remixes of her recent singles by the likes of Todd Terry, Hoxton Whores, Bimbo Jones and Midnight Magic.
Born in Trinidad, schooled in Washington D.C. and later moving to Cologne, Haddaway [pictured] became a huge chart sensation in 1993 thanks to the timeless ‘What Is Love’. The single hit No. 1 in multiple European countries and sold over 2.6 million copies in two years, peaking at No. 11 in the US. A string of Top 20 singles followed and a Platinum-selling album. ‘What Is Love’ featured heavily in early Will Ferrell comedy ‘A Night At The Roxbury’, and in a Pepsi Max Superbowl half-time commercial in 2008, both giving the track a new lease of life.
Originally a dance act that had its roots in Manchester’s legendary club The Haçienda, M People sold several million records throughout the ‘90s, winning a BRIT Award and the Mercury Music Prize in the process. They headlined Glastonbury, and their third album ‘Bizarre Fruit’ spent a staggering two-and-a-half years in the album chart. Follow-up ‘Bizarre Fruit II’ became one of the decade’s biggest selling LPs. With hits like ‘One Night In Heaven’ and ‘Movin’ On Up’, they successfully crossed over from the clubs to the charts thanks to their vibrant production and Heather Small’s unmistakable voice.
English duo N-Trance’s ravey anthem ‘Set You Free’ ended up reaching No. 2 in the UK chart and selling over 600,000 copies upon its third release in 1995, making for one of the biggest dance hits of the era. Their unexpected transformation thereafter saw them cover a string of disco classics, with their version of Bee Gee’s ‘Stayin’ Alive’ with ex-KLF rapper Ricardo Da Force hitting No. 1 in Australia, No. 2 in the UK and various Top 5s across Europe. It became one of the UK’s biggest musical exports of 1995. Covers of Rod Stewart‘s ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ and Ottawan‘s ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ followed, as did a collaboration with actor Steven Berkoff.
‘Show Me Love’ is possibly the most universally-loved and enduring dance classic of all time, with not a year going by without a new version appearing or it being sampled in a different genre. The StoneBridge-produced anthem hit Top 10s across the world, with follow up ‘Luv 4 Luv’ also proving a chart success. The track has been used in singles by Jennifer Lopez and Jason Derulo, and covered by Clean Bandit – with Steve Angello & Laidback Luke’s bootleg version in 2008 entering the charts once again. She also performed a song on the soundtrack for 1996 movie ‘Space Jam’. She has toured Europe in the last decade and remains one of the most iconic voices in dance music.
German duo Snap! were one of the first major dance acts to make a big impression on the charts, with classics ‘The Power’ and ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’ achieving Gold and Platinum status in multiple countries. Their albums ‘World Power’ and ‘The Madman’s Return’ did likewise. ‘The Power’ sold over 2 million copies alone in the US, reaching No. 2 over there and No. 1 in the UK. Their sound fused heavy-hitting breakbeats with the early trance sounds to powerful effect, selling millions of records across the world and ensuring them a place in dance music history.
Jazzie B’s GRAMMY Award-winning group have been one of the most influential acts in UK dance music history, with their Top 40 success continuing into the ‘90s after they broke through in 1989 with No. 1 single ‘Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)’ and ‘Keep On Movin’’. ‘Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade’ went Platinum in the UK and Gold in the US and Canada, spawning Top 10 singles ‘Get A Life’ and ‘Missing You’. The group toured for the 25th anniversary of their debut album ‘Club Classics: Vol. One’, bringing their acclaimed live show to festivals including Lovebox and Parklife.
Her powerful performance on the 1997 Mood II Swing produced ‘Free’ snared house vocalist Ultra Naté a No. 4 hit in the UK, achieving status and lining up another two Top 20 hits in ‘Found A Cure’ and ‘New Kind Of Medicine’. She scored eight Billboard Dance Chart Top 10 hits across the decade and continued working with some of house music’s greatest producers while also enjoying commercial success.
Click to enquire about booking any of these acts via MN2S booking agency.