Now That’s What I Call Two German DJs Dance Music

What TV and movie writers would have you believe is the most-important time of your life happened for me in the 90s—four years of high school and five years of college (I was indecisive about what I wanted to study, hence the extra year). As a result, I’m extremely-familiar with a lot of 90s music. Lately, my wife and I have been listening to a lot of 90s music on SiriusXM as well as killing time in the evenings by watching 90s music videos on Vevo via PlutoTV.

As we’ve listened, I was reminded of a particularly-90s genre of music. I call this genre “Two German DJs Dance Music”. This phenomenon consisted of (usually) a couple of European DJs or record producers (not necessarily German, but more-than-likely, they were German) who manufactured a dance track in the studio with vocals by an English-speaking singer (who was usually, but not always, an American ex-patriot living in Berlin or Amsterdam or wherever).

I thought I’d do a round-up of some of the most-well-known tracks from this genre; most were one-hit-wonders, though a couple had multiple hits, burning very brightly before fizzling out.

Really putting that Video Toaster to work there, aren’t ya?


Out of Belgium, Technotronic was the brainchild of Jo Bogaert, a new beat music producer. Partnering with Congolese rapper Ya Kid K, they released “Pump Up the Jam” on the world in 1989. 34 years later and this song is still hanging around and, surprisingly, is still as infectious and fresh-sounding today as it was before the first Gulf War.

Writing in Insomniac in 2018, Jonny Coleman wasn’t wrong when he stated “‘Pump Up the Jam’ by Technotronic is one of the best dance songs of all time, because—while it should have disappeared in our cultural memory as a sort of punchline or joke or some one-hit wonder—it’s still an infinitely playable tune that works in literally any dancefloor context. It doesn’t get old, for some reason, and continues to thrive to this day. It’s dancefloor perfection.”


SNAP! was formed in 1989 by German record producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti, who decided, for some reason, that they needed to be known as Benito Benites & John “Virgo” Garrett III, respectively, in an attempt to hide their nationalities?

SNAP! has two tracks that are well-remembered, having beat the odds and were more than a one-hit-wonder, rising to the status of “two-hit-wonder”. The first track everyone remembers is “The Power”…who can forget that repetition of “Ruh Ruh Ree…reee..ree..” throughout the track? The part that I always remember, however, is the first line, spoken in Russian: “Amerikanskaja firma Tranceptor Technology pristupila k proizvodstvu computrov ‘Personalny Sputnik'”, which translates to “Amerikanskaja firma Tranceptor Technology pristupila k proizvodstvu computrov ‘Personalny Sputnik'”. This line wasn’t just a random “techy-sounding” phrase made up for the track, but was apparently from a Russian news broadcast story about Tranceptor Technologies’ 1990 release of their “Personal Companion”, a small computer to aid the blind. More information can be found here. Unfortunately, Tranceptor Technologies seems to have pretty much disappeared.

The other well-known SNAP! track is “Rhythm is a Dancer”, which, in my mind, contains one of the worst lyrics in memory: “I’m serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer”. (And now that I’ve typed that then Googled it to make sure I transcribed it correctly, I see that at least one professional critic agrees).

Culture Beat

Culture Beat was also formed in 1989 by German DJs Torsten Fenslau, Peter Zweier and Jens Zimmermann (a trio of German DJs? Fancy!). They’re best-remembered for their single “Mr. Vain”, whose lyric “call him Mr. Raider” never fails to make me not think of the “Refrigerator Raider” 90s TV spot for milk. And whose head briefly resembles a scrotum:

Before reaching “fame” with “Mr. Vain”, Culture Beat’s first single was “Der Erdbeermund” (The Strawberry Mouth), a decidedly-weird track that featured controversial actor (and Werner Herzog’s best friend—which probably says a lot in and of itself) Klaus Kinski reading the titular poem.

Real McCoy

Real McCoy was another duo of German DJs/producers: Juergen Wind and Frank Hassas whose first single wasn’t even an original track; instead, it was a cover of Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam”. They soon, however, found their 15 minutes with 1993’s “Another Night”, which bears a strong resemblance to a contemporaneous Coca-Cola spot’s theme.

Man, that guy in the thumbnail is off-putting

Gonna head on over to /r/SuddenlyGay after watching that

Black Box

Formed in 1988 by a trio of Italian DJs, this group is best-remembered for a trifecta of tracks in the very-early-90s: “Ride on Time”, “Everybody, Everybody” and “Strike It Up”.

“Ride on Time”, the group’s first popular single features a sample of Loleatta Holloway’s 1980 track “Love Sensation”, specifically the line “Thank you baby, ’cause you’re right on time”. Unfortunately, due to the DJs not being native English speakers, they interpreted this as “…ride on time“, hence the track’s title.

Their follow-up, “Everybody, Everybody”, is noted for it featuring former Weather Girl (“It’s Raining Men”) Martha Wash as its singer. However, Wash did not receive credit and a model was featured in the music video who lip-synced to Wash’s singing, no doubt because Wash was a full-figured lady and the group wanted to feature someone more “traditionally attractive”. Wash sued and settled out-of-court for additional fees and re-issues of the album and single with credits. Interestingly, Wash had a similar experience with C+C Music Factory and her contribution to their “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now” track, which lead to MTV adding a disclaimer to the music video that credited Wash for vocals and Zelma Davis (who lip-synced Wash’s vocals in the official music video) for “visualization”.

Finally, we have “Strike It Up”, the other track that the group attempted to screw over Martha Wash on. This track still sounds great today and is well-known for being played during the third period of every New York Rangers game since 1996.

The VengaBoys

“We Like to Party”

Who doesn’t?

This Dutch group was the brainchild of DJ/producers Wessel van Diepen and Dennis van den Driesschen (aka Danski and Delmundo).

In 1998, they invited us to join them on the VengaBus to party. But, more importantly, this song ensured that we got one of the creepiest corporate mascots of all time in Six Flags’ “Mr. Six”, whom you’ll unfortunately remember as an plastic-looking elderly man who rides around in an old bus to various theme parks in the Six Flags organization, occasionally stopping to show us how flexible his replacement hips are.

Though it did give us a very funny, but not-really-topical, SNL skit with Lizzo last year, so there’s that.

The VengaBoys other well-known single is “We’re Going to Ibiza”, which gives away the fact that English isn’t their native language as they pronounce “Ibiza” as it “Ibeetza” rather than the English/Spanish “Ibeetha”.

That’s some janky animation

And the weird story of “Macarena”

Taking the VengaBus to the south of Europe, Spain gave us perhaps one of the worst/most-enduring things to come out of the 1990s. Still played and danced to at weddings, bar mitvzahs, quinceañeras and other celebrations, the “Macarena”, for better or worse, has become a cultural touchstone.

Everyone and their grandmother knows the dance. If the DJ plays it at a wedding, you know, if you’re a straight guy, that your girl will try to drag you out onto the dance floor to do the dance before giving up and going it alone with the other women (I may speak from experience/editorialize a bit here).

All girls
All girls

Even Dr. Evil did the Macarena in 1997’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

But the Macarena has a weird/interesting story behind it.

The original version was by Spanish duo Los del Rio, a pop/lounge act who’d been releasing albums since 1967. In fact, most of the repertoire is decidedly not “Macarena”-y:

The original version of the song was released in 1993, inspired by a local flamenco dancer who performed at a reception they attended while on tour in Venezuela (this was before Hugo Chavez took power in 1999 and either destroyed the country or made it a socialist paradise, depending on which direction you lean, politics-wise).

Includes instructions on dancing the titular dance, should you need help

However, the song didn’t sear its way into our wedding videos forever until 1996, when it was remixed by the Bayside Boys, a pair of Miami DJs who recruited a session singer to record new, somewhat questionably lyrics to go along with the core of the original track.

“Wait a second! Questionable lyrics?” you ask.

Well, depending on your moral compass, yes, somewhat questionable.

The singer of the song is a woman whose boyfriend is on deployment in the army so she starts sleeping with his two best friends, as exemplified by the lyrics:

“They all want me
They can’t have me
So they all come and dance beside me
Move with me
Chant with me
And if you’re good, I’ll take you home with me”


“But don’t you worry about my boyfriend
He’s a boy who’s name is Victorino
I don’t want him
Couldn’t stand him
He was no good so I
Now come on, what was I supposed to do?
He was out of town and his two friends were so fine.”

Finally, adding to the confusion, a Canadian duo, Los del Mar (“From the Sea”, as opposed to the originators’ “From the River”), covered the original version of the song:


I’ll leave a few more examples here for you to explore as homework:

Captain Hollywood Project


Eiffel 65


La Bouche

Urban Dance Squad

Questions? Comments? Concerns?