The 100 Best Dance Songs Of All Time

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Dance hits remind some of the blissful disco nights. Some disco fans get high on the rhythms and soundscape. Others consume drugs to deepen their intoxication.

Some settle for stimulant energy drinks with or without added alcohol.

The musical tastes of disco lovers and critics are very different. The opinion of the public, the opinion of professional journalists, and the sales figures do not always coincide. So let’s take a look at what we’ve determined to be the top 100 dance hits.

The demand is high. These are supposed to be disco evergreens that were important and influential.

(You can find a Spotify playlist at the end of this article.)

1. Gloria Gaynor – “Never Can Say Goodbye” (1974)


Many music fans find that Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” is a dance floor evergreen. Interestingly, the “Jackson Five” had already recorded this song in 1970.

They reached number two in the US charts with it. But only the remake in 1974 gave Gloria Gaynor the dancefloor superhit. On the album of the same name, the song appeared in a 19-minute long version. Later, various disco remixes were created on this basis.

Although “Never Can Say Goodbye” with Gloria “only” reached number 10 in the US pop charts, it reached number 1 in the disco charts. This kicked off the disco craze of the seventies and eighties. A version by the British “Communards” later reached number two on the US dance charts.

2. Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing” (1976)


Whether you like Barry Gibb’s falsetto singing or not, no disco fan can get past “You Should Be Dancing.”. In all, the Bee Gees wrote three major dance chart breakers. In the movie “Saturday Night Fever” they are convinced with “Staying Alive”, “Night Fever” or “How Deep Is Your Love”.

Nevertheless, we nominate the song “You Should Be Dancing” as the second-best disco smash of all time. This song played a prominent role in the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”. It underscored important dance scenes.

By the way, connoisseurs are surprised that this was the only disco song of the Bee Gees that could storm the top ranks of the disco charts. It lingered there for seven weeks while remaining № 1 on the pop charts for one week. As a side note, it should be noted that Barry Gibb used the falsetto voice for the first time on this song.

3. Lipps Inc. – “Funkytown” (1980)


By 1980, the disco wave in pop music was almost history. Dance music was seen more as underground music. New-wave synth-pop, R&B, and power ballads dominated the mainstream charts. “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. with Cynthia Johnson as lead vocalist still became a smash hit in the pop charts.

The song occupied number 1 for a month and also stormed the disco charts. Later dance songs copied the electronic sound effects used here. A rocking cover by the Australians “Pseudo Echo” scored again in 1986.

The song stuck around for Lipps Inc. but a One-hit wonder.

4. Donna Summer – “I Feel Love” (1977)


This song with Donna Summer, co-produced in Germany by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, is still considered one of the most influential songs of all time. By the time it was recorded, all disco producers had used orchestras to lay down backing tracks. Moroder and Bellotte relied on Moog synthesizer sounds.

The sound it produced influenced synth-pop and the Techno scene lasting. Brian Eno had predicted this after hearing “I Feel Love” for the first time. In addition, Donna Summer contributed a lot of sex appeal, and not just vocally.

Along with much positive criticism, “I Feel Love” earned her #6 in the pop charts. 1978 saw the release of a fifteen-minute remix by DJ Patrick Cowley. This became an underground hit.

In 1995 Donna Summer climbed the top ten of the dance charts with her own remix of the same song. In 2011, Donna’s version of “I Feel Love” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

5. C+C Music Factory – “Gonna Make You Sweat” (1990)


“C+C Music Company” was born in 1989 from a collaboration between producer and songwriter David Cole and Robert Clivilles. Her first single was called “Gonna Make You Sweat”. It immediately stormed the dance and pop charts.

But then there was legal trouble. Singer Martha Wash was neither mentioned in the credits nor in the video. The case was settled out of court.

Rapper Freedom Williams had joined in as the second singer. Producer Cole died of AIDS at a young age. Due to the video style, “Gonna Make You Sweat” is occasionally used as incidental music at sporting events.

6. Chic – “Le Freak” (1978)


Who doesn’t remember this disco song? Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards founded “Chic” in 1976. Although “Chic” remained a pure studio project, the two landed in the charts with the first release “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”.

The follow-up “Le Freak” became a disco classic. Seven million records were sold at the time. Three times the band placed with it on place 1 of the “Billboard Hot 100”.

In 2018, the Library of Congress added Le Freak to the National Recording Registry.

7. Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls” (1984)


The debut song of the “Pet Shop Boys” appeared twice. “West End Girls” was originally produced by dance music veteran Bobby Orlando. The song received a positive response in dance clubs, but it wasn’t until 1985 that a re-recorded version scored points. The “Pet Shop Boys” landed a number 1 hit in the USA and Great Britain with this version.

The lyrics of the hit were based on T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land”. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe became one of the most successful dance music acts of all time.

The “Pet Shop Boys” played their hit song at the London Olympics closing ceremony in 2012.

8. Yaz – “Situation” (1982)


Hardly anyone knows the band “Yaz”. Depeche Mode founder Vince Clarke and singer Alison Moyet, once known in Europe as the duo “Yazoo”, were behind it. For legal reasons, the two had to publish the song “Situation” under other names in the USA.

Yazoo/Yaz released two legendary synth-pop albums before breaking up. “Situation” became a top chart hit in the USA. The album reached platinum status. Alison Moyet’s voice was convincing. The little laugh she included in “Situation” was sampled hundreds of times in the years that followed.

It can be found for example in Summer hit “Macarena” again. In 1999, further remix versions of “Situation” achieved chart success again.

9. Thelma Houston – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1977)


Originally, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was recorded by “Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes”. When Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff worked on the song, it was still a pop song.

First Thelma Houston’s Cover version made this song a disco evergreen. It reached number 3 in the US disco charts and became a permanent hit in the discotheques of the world. Our #3 was supposed to be Diana Ross’ follow-up to her hit “Love Hangover”.

Since Diana showed no interest, the song was offered to Thelma Houston. This one had just been signed to Motown. Thelma knew her vocal potential.

She made the song a dance hit and received a Grammy for “best female R&B voice”. Homosexuals especially loved this disco smash hit. In 1986, the Communards covered “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”.

They were also able to achieve high chart positions.

10. Shannon – “Let The Music Play” (1983)


“Let the Music Play” is considered legendary today. Singer Shannon, on the other hand, has long been forgotten. Producer Chris Barbosa became a key figure in the development of freestyle dance music. Even if disco music could hardly land in pop chats in 1983, the sound of “Let the Music Play” convinced different groups of listeners.

Dance rhythms were thus able to reassert themselves in mainstream pop. Shannon landed after this track other highly placed hits in the dance charts, but “Let the Musik Play” landed only at number 8 in the US pop charts. Still, it shouldn’t be overlooked that “Let the Music Play” ushered in a golden age for dance-pop music at the end of the disco era.

11. Herbie Hancock – “Rockit” (1983)


That a jazz pianist like Herbie Hancock ends up on the dance charts is spectacular. With “Rockit”, dance music evolved through techniques such as scratching and other turntable techniques.

These techniques developed Grand Mixer D.ST. The accompanying video clip was produced by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme – both formerly of “10CC”. The clip included kinetic dancers by Jim Whiting.

The video won five MTV Video Music Awards. “Rockit” worked at the time with producer and bass player Bill Laswell. “Rockit” topped the dance charts and also landed in the top ten of the R&B singles chart.

12. Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean” (1983)


The fact that this Jackson song only reaches #10 in our country has to do with the important influences of the competition. Nevertheless, Jackson’s “Billie Jean” represents one of the best danceable songs of all time. It became a prominent dance hit in the post-disco era.

For seven weeks “Billie Jean” could stay at number 1 in the dance and pop charts. There were also “Grammy Awards” for the best R&B singer and the best R&B song. Jacko’s “Billy Jean” is rightly considered one of the best pop singles of all time.

Michael Jackson knew he had written a super song. Producer Quincy Jones wanted to cut the instrumental introduction, but Jackson pushed through it.

13. M/A/R/S – “Pump Up the Volume” (1987)


Everyone probably knows this song. But whether anyone still has the spelling of the performers on it is questionable. “Pump Up the Volume” was created by a short collaboration between the electronic band “Colourbox” and the alternative rock band “A R Kane”.

They wanted to combine the emerging House music explore. The original version of “Pump Up the Volume” was percussive, purely instrumental, and came from “Colourbox”. An R Kane added the guitar parts to it. But it was the samples and scratches of DJs Chris Macintosh and Dave Dorrell that gave this song format.

There is a reason why the project name M/A/R/S has been forgotten: The cooperation initiated by the producer ended after this project. “Pump Up the Volume,” however, proved seminal in the emergence of the British “acid house” scene and sampling as a musical technique. The song climbed to the top of the US dance charts. It landed on the mainstream pop charts at number 13.

14. Vicki Sue Robinson – “Turn the Beat Around” (1976)


Hardly anyone remembers Vicky Sue Robinson. The lady was first seen in small supporting roles in Broadway movies.

Later she was a Background singer. But definitely many remember the disco song that helped her rise to fame. A producer named Warren Schatz thought Vicky could be successful as a disco singer. Vicki Sue Robinson’s very first disco song roared into the charts as a smash hit.

The rhythmic “Turn the Beat Around” occupied #1 in the disco charts for a month. The song was also placed in the top ten of the pop charts. But Warren Schatz had finished the orchestral disco track with studio musicians – and only then called Vicky. She should add her singing voice to it.

No more. In 1994, Gloria Estefan covered the song. It also landed them at the number one spot on the dance charts.

15. Daft Punk – “One More Time” (2000)


In “Rolling Stone” this song made it to the top of “The 20 best dance hits of all time”. That shows how different such classifications are. The French electronic duo “Daft Punk” combines house with disco music. “One More Time” fits the duo’s song catalog.

R&B singer Romanthony contributes the voice. It was distorted by Auto-Tune technology. Daft Punk made it to #1 on the U.S. dance charts and the U.S. pop charts with it.

In England, the song landed at number 2 on the pop charts. He brought the disco sound back to mainstream pop. With the 2013 album “Random Access Memories” and the hit single “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk were superstars.

16. RuPaul – “Supermodel (You Better Work)” (1993)


RuPaul was the first drag queen to make it in the mainstream. RuPaul appeared for the first time in a music video of the B-52’s – in the track “Love Shack.”Initially played only in underground dives and gay clubs, RuPaul’s “Supermodel” soon became a perennial hit on the mainstream charts as well. MTV promoted the video for the song.

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain also liked the song.

17. Deee-Lite – “Groove Is In the Heart” (1990)


The track “Groove Is In the Heart” was written in the late eighties and first performed live in 1989. However, it was not recorded until 1990. The track was recorded as the debut of the trio “Deee-Lite” – consisting of DJs Dmitry and Towa Tei plus singer Lady Miss Kier.

You can also hear the bass player from Funkadelic and rap from QTip on the track. “Groove Is In the Heart” reached the top of the dance charts and number four on the pop charts. Deee-Lite had some more dance hits after that.

18. Cher – “Believe” (1998)


“Believe” represented Cher’s comeback. At the same time, auto-tune effects were heard for the first time on a commercial pop song. The sound was groundbreaking. He made “Believe” a worldwide dancefloor hit.

It even became Cher’s biggest chart breaker ever. All the charts recorded “Believe” at number 1. At the same time, the comeback allowed Cher to follow up with more number 1 dance hits. “Believe” won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording and was nominated for Record of the Year. Anno 2013 Cher already had eight dance hits to show at chart position 1.

19. Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (1982)


Must we say something about Jackson’s brilliant “Thriller” video? Hardly.

This dynamic dancefloor hit speaks for itself. It would certainly rank higher on other “20 best dance hits of all time” lists. But we have decided differently.

Jackson reaches number 20 with “Thriller” in the list of the “500 best albums of all time” by “Rolling Stone” magazine. “Thriller” sets standards for music videos and sounds. He made Jackson a megastar. Until “Thriller” there had been “only” superstars.

The Jackson album of the same name sold 65 million copies. It won a whopping eight Grammys.

20. The Beatles, “Twist and Shout” (1963)


Dance fans were already shaking a leg to “Twist and Shout” by the “Beatles” in 1964. The song was designed as an R&B piece.

He was covered several times. “Twist and Shout” was not written by Lennon/McCartney, but by Berns/Medley. Lennon’s husky voice can be attributed to a 15-hour studio session that was completed beforehand. “Twist and Shout” was the last song to be recorded. The first of two takes was pressed on record – and made history. It reached #2 on the US charts. More than 50 cover versions later, it’s clear that the song still inspires dance legs.

It, therefore, belongs as a disco precursor in our best list.

21. Toni Braxton – “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)


No song better demonstrates the remix techniques that can be used to successfully turn pop ballads into dancefloor hits. “Un-Break My Heart” was best suited to score in clubs and dance charts, especially in its house remixes. Naturally, Braxton’s R&B version also became a hit.

A good song is a good song. Toni won a Grammy for best female pop singer. She occupied #1 on the pop charts, the R&B charts, and the dance charts.

Let’s see if anyone can duplicate that!

22. Madonna – “Ray Of Light” (1989)


Madonna can be considered the most successful dance music artist of all time. She has been on the top dance chart positions 45 times.

In 1998, she collaborated with electronic specialist William Orbit on the sound of “Ray Of Light”. Madonna later told that the first song version would have been longer than ten minutes. “Ray of Light” became one of Madonna’s hits to earn the best reviews. The song was nominated for three Grammys.

It eventually won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording. Madonna landed high on the dance charts and at #5 on the pop charts. The video was influenced by experimental filmmaker Koyaanisqatsi.

It won the “MTV Video Music Award” for “Video of the Year”.

The places 23-100 of the most successful dance hits of all time:

Place: Performer/Song: Listen:
23. The Village People – Y.M.C.A.
24. Lionel Richie – All Night Long (All Night)
25. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing
26. The Isley Brothers – Shout
27. Cerrone – Supernature
28. Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman
29. TNGHT – Higher Ground
30. Diana Ross – Love Hangover
31. Kool & The Gang – Celebration
32. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
33. Spice Girls – Wannabe
34. Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
35. Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer
36. The Trammps – Disco Inferno
37. Salt-N-Pepa – Push It
38. The Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine
39. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
40. Irene Cara – Flashdance (What A Feeling…)
41. Avicii – Levels
42. The Emotions – Best Of My Love
43. Bee Gees – Night Fever
44. MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
45. James Brown – Get Up (I Feel Like Sex Machine)
46. Martha & the Vandellas – Dancing In The Street
47. Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On The Floor
48. New Order – Blue Monday
49. The Whispers – And The Beat Goes On
50. Sir Mix-a-Lot – Baby Got Back
51. Diana Ross – Upside Down
52. Darude – Sandstorm
53. Parliament – Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)
54. OutKast – Hey Ya!
55. The O’Jays – Love Train
56. Rick James – Give It To Me Baby
57. Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX – I Love It
58. Taste of Honey – Boogie Oogie Oogie
59. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
60. Madonna – Vogue
61. ABBA – Dancing Queen
62. Usher ft. Lil Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!
63. Sly & The Family Stone – Dance To The Music
64. Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now
65. KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It)
66. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
67. The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited
68. Donna Summer – Last Dance
69. The Pointer Sisters – Jump (For My Love)
70. Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – We Found Love
71. KC & The Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight
72. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
73. Richie Valens – La Bamba
74. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
75. The Jackson 5 – ABC
76. Chubby Checker – The Twist
77. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up Pt. 1
78. Will Smith – Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It
79. Britney Spears – Work Bitch
80. Prince – 1999
81. Sister Sledge – We Are Family
82. Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love
83. Ray Charles – What’d I Say
84. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
85. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
86. Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly
87. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
88. KC & The Sunshine Band – Boogie Shoes
89. Van McCoy – The Hustle
90. Cardi B – Bodak Yellow
91. Rod Stewart – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
92. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
93. LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yrself Clean
94. Donna Summer – Dim All the Lights
95. Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
96. Aretha Franklin – Respect
97. Commodores – Brick House
98. Yvonne Elliman – If I Can’t Have You
99. The SOS Band – Take Your Time (Do it Right)
100. Chris Malinchak – So Good to Me

Dance Music Spotify Playlist:

Of course, one could have made a totally different song arrangement, different placements for individual artists, and a different selection altogether. Tastes are different. What was important to us were influential impulses – not so much the chart positions or sales figures.

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