Some of the songs that we think we know best are really a mystery to us; there’s barely a person over the age of 20 alive today who couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) sing along to The Rhythm of the Night – but ask who it’s sung by and you may be met with a blank stare.
In fact, the tune was released by legends of the dance world Corona, although it’s been covered many times since then. So just who were Corona and where are they now?
Corona and Olga Souza.
Corona is an outfit fronted by the Brazilian singer Olga Souza, who was born Olga Maria de Souza in Brazil in the 1960s. Though she has always fronted the band, much of its distinctive sound comes from a succession of producers, as well as from her voice.
Initially produced by Francesco Bontempi (also known as Lee Marrow), Corona went through a series of producers over the years who included fellow Italians Francesco Conte and Paolo Dughero.
Souza was born into a musical family in Rio de Janeiro where her father was a musician and her mother worked as a cook. After working in a bank for several years, the impetuous Brazilian decided to quit her stable job to travel the world in search of fame and adventure; something which she certainly found.
Finally settling in Italy, the young Olga Souza chose for herself the stage name Corona and so the legend was born.
In The Charts
Corona’s infectious brand of Eurodance proved extremely popular in Italy and beyond, with Corona finding significant success as far afield as the USA.
It was the outfit’s first and most famous single, The Rhythm of the Night, which saw the most success for Souza and Corona. In 1993 it stayed in the top spot in the Italian music charts for an almost unheard of eight consecutive weeks, as well as making it to number 2 in the UK.
The USA was late to cotton on to the popularity of The Rhythm of the Night as with many Europop and Eurodance hits in the 1990s, but in the spring of 1995 the song became an overnight sensation in the charts and the clubs of America.
Follow up singles Baby Baby, Try Me Out and I Don’t Wanna Be a Star also saw success in the States that year, while the album sold modestly, climbing as far as #2 on the US Top heatseekers chart but peaking at #154 on the Billboard 200.
After the party
Corona’s label, Dance World Attack (DWA) underwent some major changes to structure and staffing in 1996 and as a result, was putting out very little material. Production of the band’s material was moved over to producer Francesco Bontempi’s own label, World Of Music.
Since the runaway success of Rhythm of the Night in the USA, Corona has seen success in other areas – A Cor Dos Teus Olhos (The Colour of Your Eyes) was a hit in singer Olga Souza’s native Brazil, and the song Garota Brasileira made a splash in Japan.
Cover versions of Rhythm of the Night
As one of the most ubiquitous and memorable songs of the 1990s, plenty of artists have lined up to cover Rhythm of the Night, ensuring that it’s never far from the public consciousness.
Two remixes were released on Corona’s original label, DWA, by production duo Frisco (Frisco vs. Corona, 2008) and another by Italian producer Simone Bontempi, who happens to be the up and coming son of Francesco Bontempi, Corona’s original producer (Simon from Deep Divas vs. Corona, 2010).
The dance groups Cascada and Hermes House Band have also released covers, while a quirkier version titled Of the Night appears on British band Bastille’s 2013 album All Of This Bad Blood.
In recent years Souza has moved into diversifying her talents, with work both as a contestant and a host on several Italian and Brazilian TV shows.
Corona is still releasing material and the band is available for bookings now. MN2S is a Corona agent based in London, and through this celebrity agency you can hire Corona for any type of event or performance.