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Top 10 Dance Songs of the 1980s

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by QV Hough Big hair, lots of flair and tons of unforgettable dance hits. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Dance Songs of the 80s. For this list, we're featuring dance songs that were released between January 1st, 1980 and December 31st, 1989. It's not necessarily about "dance songs" per se, but songs that you can dance to. Head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest to submit your ideas today!
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Top 10 Dance Songs of the 80s


Big hair, lots of flair and tons of unforgettable dance hits. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dance Songs of the 1980s.

For this list, we’re featuring dance songs that were released between January 1st, 1980 and December 31st, 1989. It’s not necessarily about “dance songs” per se, but songs that you can dance to.

#10: “It Takes Two”
Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock (1988)


In an era that produced the golden age of hip-hop and allowed B-boys to get funky on the streets with sweat suits and gold chains, this duo created arguably one of the greatest hip-hop tracks of all time. “It Takes Two” contains all of the essential ingredients to kick off any legitimate dance party. On one hand, you have the fresh beat by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, and then they hit you with an infectious chorus to get your body movin’ like a dance floor maniac. It’s ok if you don’t know the words, just wave your hands in the air and pretend like you know how to get down.

#9: “Funkytown”
Lipps, Inc. (1980)


Ah, can you hear that? Can you hear that synthesizer? That’s when you know it’s time to boogie. While the Minneapolis band Lipps, Inc. released their debut album in 1979, this single hit the radio in March of 1980 and kicked off the decade with a healthy groove. With the repetitive lyrics of “Won’t you take me to Funkytown,” anybody with a general sense of rhythm can holler out, “Oh, I’m already there!” – right before they bite their lip and get wild.

#8: “Push It”
Salt-N-Pepa (1987)


Drop that beat, Spinderella, cause it’s about to get sexy all up in here. With one of the most instantly recognizable beats ever created, Salt-N-Pepa created a groovy sensation when they released this track in 1987. The concept of “Push It” is clear: all you fly mothers gotta get up offa that thing and bust a move. Sure, it’s always crucial to understand the lyrics of a great dance song, but it’s also important to convey a little attitude - and this track brings out the sass in everybody.

#7: “Pump Up the Jam”
Technotronic (1989)


Shortly before the beginning of the '90s, a group from Belgium released a joint that became a popular house phenomenon in the United States. Complemented by the raw vocals of Ya Kid K, “Pump Up the Jam” has a fresh-to-death beat that will make you say “oh, hell yes” and help get you into the groove. Okay, the music video may cause some to experience seizures, but Technotronic’s contribution to the dance world inspired future musicians and might have even gotten your Grandma to unveil some old-timey dance moves. This track was such a success, it found its way to the ”The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and who can forget Chris Farley’ poetic ice skating number with Nancy Kerrigan on “Saturday Night Live.”

#6: “Celebration”
Kool & The Gang (1980)


We all know that special someone who refuses to dance – UNLESS this song blasts through the speakers. And it usually happens at a wedding reception. Originally released in late 1980, “Celebration” has become a party anthem for good times and laughter too. Who cares if the lyrics aren’t deep or thought provoking? All that matters is that Kool and the Gang wants to party hard with the entire world. And that, my friends, is something to celebrate, so c’mon!

#5: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
Cyndi Lauper (1983)


Anybody with an older and/or young sister knows the undeniable power of this Cyndi Lauper song. It’s perfect for slumber parties and light-hearted pillow fights, and it’s also made college girls to go nuts at '80s-themed house parties. Alright, so we know you boys might have trouble connecting to the song’s lyrics, but the song’s infectious beat will sure have you bobbing your head. It’s an anthem of female empowerment for ladies all over the world, and puts you in the mood for an all out frenzy of a dance performance.

#4: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”
Whitney Houston (1987)


Here’s a fun fact: this poppy dance number was originally written as a country song, but after Whitney Houston expressed interest, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was restructured and released as the lead single from the diva’s second album. The title says it all – this girl needs to unleash the beast and dance it out. This song will forever lead people directly to the dance floor, while the music video is simply a marvel in itself.

#3: “Superfreak”
Rick James (1981)


U can’t touch the freaky nature of this Rick James classic. Younger Mojoholics may recognize the beat from MC Hammer’s 1990 jam “U Can’t Touch This,” but in the early '80s, Rick James originated the sound that would make him a funk legend. “Superfreak” details the singer’s thoughts on a special lady, and he recruited uncle Melvin Franklin of The Temptations to provide backup vocals along with the rest of the crew. Today, this song remains a musical treasure to behold, and then there’s the music video, which one must simply watch to believe.

#2: “Holiday”
Madonna (1983)


Produced by Jellybean Benitez, this pop classic became the breakout hit for a 25-year-old singer named Madonna Louise Ciccone and catapulted her from obscurity to pop stardom. Her accessible pop sound became a huge success but of course, her music videos were on a whole other level. “Holiday” became essential listening for the children of the 80s, and grown women continue to scream out every time this song is heard. It’s one of Madonna’s personal favorites, and a definitive dance track of her immaculate collection. Of course, it her 1985 hit “Into the Groove” never fails to get us moving either.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Footloose”
Kenny Loggins (1984)

“Karma Chameleon”
Culture Club (1983)

“All Night Long (All Night)”
Lionel Richie (1983)

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
Eurythmics (1983)

“Nasty”
Janet Jackson (1986)

“You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”
Dead or Alive (1984)

#1: “Billie Jean”
Michael Jackson (1982)


Say what you want about Michael Jackson, but no one can deny his influence on dance music, and certainly no one could bust a move like the King of Pop. While the musical production of “Billie Jean” boasts the perfect vibe for dance floor boogies, it was MJ’s 1983 live performance that stunned the world and inspired a new generation of dancers. So you think YOU can dance? Michael Jackson offered up a master class on live television and instantly proved that “Billie Jean” had become the ultimate '80s dance song. Of course, he also released “Beat It” and “Thriller” to further establish himself as the Boss of the Dance Floor.
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