Hi Energy, your love is lifting me...
(shuffles to feet, coughs, hesitates) "My name is Jonathan, I am here of my own free will. And I'd just like to say I love Hi-NRG music". There. I've said it. At last I've come out to the world at large as a fan of the original, the biggest and the best gay disco music ever (volume 1).
My obsession started in the mid-seventies when disco first hit the UK big time. I'd love going to school discos, parties or Saturday night socials and just dance, dance, dance. It was quite liberating to be able to dance by myself as I'd always thought you had to find a partner (i.e. girl) to dance with. Now I realised I could dance alone and go crazy without being thought of as an idiot. Soon I got used to what music was cool and hip and groovy and started asking the guy who called himself 'Disco Jockey' what the titles were. Then the collecting started. I'd be down in Our Price every weekend buying up Donna Summer, Munich Machine, Voyage, Village People, Sylvester, Chic, Carol Jiani, Cerrone, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Edwin Starr, Earth Wind and Fire, Giorgio Moroder etc. Mainly 12" vinyl. By 1980 I had over one thousand disco singles. It filled up all my cupboards both at home and at college. Here is top 500 list of some of the classics. I have many of them.
Late seventies and early eighties saw the arrival of Punk Rock and the New Romantics, Gradually disco started to go out of style. By 1984 the only people keeping the disco flame alive were the gay clubs like Heaven on a Saturday night which played a simple uplifting form of disco called High Energy. The songs were often written by gay men and sung by black women. Telling stories of broken hearts, long suffering relationships, revenge fantasy, overt sexuality or simply big, butch men. Long standing producers like Ian Levine with artists like Evelyn Thomas held that disco torch aloft with this high powered, high charged thumping music. Despite this low profile songs like 'Masquerade' and 'High Energy' were making some impressions on the charts as were Man 2 Man's 'Male Stripper', Sinetta "So Macho", Eria Fachin's 'Savin' Myself' and Carol Jiani's 'Hit 'N' Run Lover'.
As the late eighties approached interest in disco was reawakened. Drugs were becoming more freely available and disco was due for a make-over. Chicago House appeared as if overnight, followed by Acid House, and then Techno. As they all arrived within a few years of each other it was seen as a cultural change. And as such needed a new name. What was once just called Disco was now to be rechristened as Dance. Dance music, dance culture, dance clubs. For over ten years this form of music has dominated the club scene and achieved much chart success. With all the various forms of dance music now around there is room for all it seems. Indeed High Energy is still alive and well and residing as remixes on many chart hits. Almighty Records are foremost in this field as they pump out remixes for many top artists including Geri Halliwell, Dina Caroll and Gabrielle, Ronan Keating and Samantha Mumba.
I get regular mailings from Almighty Records of their new releases. Some would call it sacrilege but I love their remixes of current 'indie' tunes. Jackie 'O''s cover of Travis' 'Sing' is my latest must-have. Other artists on their books are Natalie Brown, Obsession, and Abbacadabra. All top acts.
Gay music lives on.