Last Minute 80s Dance Music Suggestions: Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Hey guys:

As you know I’m DJing an 80s dance tonight. I’m pretty well situated for 80s dance music (500 tracks on the playlist) BUT there’s always a chance I’ve completely blown past a “wow you should really have that in the mix” track.

SO: Suggest one of YOUR favorite songs from the 80s that you would want to dance to. The “that you’d want to dance to” part is important, because it’s a dance.

Any genre works.

Do me a favor and focus on no more than five songs. I don’t need laundry lists; I need awesome 80s songs I might have overlooked.

Got it? Good. Go!

246 Comments on “Last Minute 80s Dance Music Suggestions: Hit Me With Your Best Shot”

  1. Zappa’s “Dancing Fool.” Just because it’s so funny to watch people actually try to dance to it.


    1) “Party at Ground Zero” by Fishbone
    2) “What I Like About You” by the Romantics
    3) “One Step Beyond” by Madness
    4) “Private Idaho” by the B-52s
    5) “Paid in Full” by Eric B and Rakim

    And if you’re feeling nuts, try “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo. The few who dance to it will love you best of ALL the DJs.

  3. “Take Me Home Tonight” – Eddie Money
    “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
    “Into The Groove” – Madonna
    “Flashdance (What a Feeling)” – Irene Cara

    :watches as ten other people post this simultaneously:

  4. Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi
    Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio
    The Call – Walls Came Down
    XTC – Dear God
    Jethro Tull – Steel Monkey
    Peter Schiling – Major Tom

  5. Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine. Bon Jovi, Living on a Prayer. Madonna, Like a Prayer. Aerosmith-Run DMC, Walk This Way. Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime.

  6. “Modern Love” by Bowie
    “Love Shack” B-52’s
    “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun” Cyndi Lauper
    “Let’s Groove” Earth Wind & Fire

  7. Maybe you could post a track listing of your playlist so we can see what you may have missed?

    “I want candy” by Bow Wow Wow always seems to be one that gets forgotten.

  8. Everything on Peter’s list fills me with footloose glee without reminding me of a middle school dance, which is always a danger for nerds of a certain age.
    The Polecats – “Make a Circuit with Me”
    Huey Lewis and the News – “Power of Love”

  9. My favourite such song is “You Spin Me ‘Round ’86” by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet; it’s from their first album, Savvy Show Stoppers. Most likely you haven’t heard of it. But if you hunt it down you won’t be disappointed.

  10. Mike and the Mechanics – “Silent Running” and “All I need is a Miracle”

    Great Genesis spin off band!

  11. Some slow jams:

    The Cars – “Drive”
    Phil Collins – “Groovy Kind of Love” (which I sincerely believe is a beautiful, minimal, underrated gem)
    Richard Marx – “Hold On to the Nights”

    And then obviously “Once in a Lifetime” and “Batdance.”

  12. Love Shack – B-52’s
    September – Earth, Wind and Fire (bleed over from late 70’s)
    Holiday – Madonna
    Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
    Life During Wartime – Talking Heads

  13. The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb on Me
    Midnight Star – No Parking on the Dance Floor

    Those are two I remember filling the dance floor back in the day!

  14. Cuts You Up – Peter Murphy
    How Soon is Now? – The Smiths (or really any Smiths)
    Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure

    Why, yes, I do prefer a goth bent to my 80s music. :-)

  15. The Kinks – Come Dancing
    Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio
    The Knack – My Sharona
    The Romantics – What I like About You

  16. Gary Numan – Cars, Stormtrooper in Drag, Down in the Park
    NiN – anything from Pretty Hate Machine
    Bauhaus – Passion of Lovers
    Love and Rockets – Ball of Confusion
    New Order – Everything’s Going Green, Blue Monday etc

  17. gotta go big hair bands:

    Sweet Cherry Pie
    Once bitten twice shy
    pour some sugar on me.

    And thanks, I now have living on a prayer stuck in my head.

  18. The Cure – Killing and Arab, Boys Don’t Cry.
    The Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go, Rock the Casbah, etc.

  19. Taco : “Puttin’ on the Ritz”
    Bangles : “Walk Like an Egyptian”
    DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince : “Parents Just Don’t Understand”
    Peter Schilling : “Major Tom”
    Stacey Q : “Two Of Hearts”

  20. “Catch Me I’m Falling” – Real Life
    “All Through the Night” – Cyndi Lauper (for the slow dances)

  21. More Talking Heads: “Moon Rocks” and “Making Flippy Floppy”. (“Speaking in Tongues” was their dancin’est and most Eighties album, if not their best.)

    A very young They Might Be Giants: “Don’t Let’s Start”.

  22. Nina, “99 Luftballoons”
    Men Without Hats, “Safety Dance”
    Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls”
    Peter Shilling, “Major Tom/Coming Home”
    The Cure “Lovecats”

  23. anything by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
    Free Nelson Mandela, The Specials
    Wild Thing, Sister Carol
    Sunday You Need Love, Monday Be Alone, Trio
    Crazay, Jesse Johnson (with Sly Stone)

    +1 on Party at Ground Zero. And a better Bow Wow Wow song would be “See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over, Go Ape Crazy”

    For some overlooked funk, check out Thomas Dolby’s Aliens Ate My Buick.

  24. I only dance when I’m taking ecstasy, and I don’t take ecstasy. However, there were a few songs that made me WANT to dance in the 1980s.

    Forever Young – Alphaville
    It’s My Life – Talk Talk
    Together In Electric Dreams – Giorgio Moroder
    Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
    Goodbye to You – Scandal – what a wonderfully terrible video on MTV

  25. Pointer Sisters – Jump
    J Geils Band – Freezeframe
    Laura Branigan – Gloria
    The Hooters – All You Zombies

  26. Clarification: Warrant’s Sweet Cherry Pie was released in 1990, so is it 80s if you are one of those math people, but not if just go by the number “8” in front of the date. Not to derail the great selections with a discussion on when where the 80s…

  27. “Crazy Serbian Butcher’s Dance” and “Who Stole the Kishka” from Brave Combo’s Polkatharsis (1987) would be good for, um, call it “two-stepping.” NO, I’M NOT KIDDING.

  28. Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
    Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
    I’ll Melt with You – Modern English
    White Man In Hammersmith Palais – the Clash
    Call Me – Blondie

    Personally, I think Rock Lobster goes on way to long to be enjoyable to dance to. But, I was dancing with a priest at the time, so…?

  29. London Calling – The Clash
    Pleasure and Pain – The Divinyls
    Hyperactive – Thomas Dolby
    Remember The Nights – The Motels
    99 Luftballons – Nena
    Cinderella Undercover – Oingo Boingo
    Da Da Da – Trio
    Frank’s Wild Years – Tom Waits

        Mmm, eighties….

  30. “Pump up the Volume” MARRS
    “Guns in the Sky” INXS
    “Throwing it All Away” Genesis
    “Tainted Love” Soft Cell
    “American Girl” Tom Petty

  31. “Fire in the Twilight” by Wang Chung
    “The Riddle” by Nik Kershaw
    “Lazy” by Love and Rockets
    “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde
    “Hyperactive” by Thomas Dolby


  32. Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
    The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
    Gloria Gaynor – I Am What I Am
    Michael Jackson – Thriller

  33. How did it take 50 comments to come up with “Thriller”? I declare Tanith the winner. Definitely book marking this page for next time I need ideas in updating the iPod.

  34. My Girl Wants to Party All The Time – Eddie Murphy
    Pop Goes the World – Men Without Hats
    Take My Breath Away – Berlin (when you want to slow it down)
    Dancing on the Ceiling – Lionel Richie
    Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone – Glass Tiger

  35. Overlooked 80s tracks that always get the crowd moving:

    Howard Jones, “Things Can Only Get Better”
    Men Without Hats, “Safety Dance”
    Gary Numan, “Cars”
    Thompson Twins, “Hold Me Now” and “Lay Your Hands on Me”
    Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer”
    Michael Jackson, “Black or White”
    Falco, “Rock Me Amadeus” and “The Commissar’s in Town”
    Plus anything by Prince

  36. Might be 90’s, but nothing will test the structural integrity of a dance floor like “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex. Google consulted – recorded in 1994. I’d use it anyway.

  37. Joe says: Madman Mora Blues and Step It Out Mary by Boiled in Lead.

    Add in The Wallets and the Urban Guerillas, and that describes a typical Minneapolis weekend for me in the 80s.

  38. Split Enz: “I Got You”
    XTC: “Senses Working Overtime”
    Pop Will Eat Itself: “CAN U DIG IT?” <— 'cause Alan Moore knows the score!

    My four-year-old recommends "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League. :)

    As it happens, we will be going to an elementary school Valentine's dance tonight. I'm willing to bet your music will be cooler, plus the kids won't let the adults on the dance floor anyway. "Mom! You're embarrassing me!"

  39. Dead or Alive – You Spin me Right Round
    Donna Summer – Bad Girls
    Rock Lobster, Love Shack – B52’s
    Push It – Salt n Pepper
    ABC – Look of Love, Poison Arrow
    AC/DC – You shook me All Night Long
    Beastie Boys – Brass Monkey, Fight for your Right to PAAAAAAAAAARTAAAAAY

  40. I second any of the New Order and the Talking Heads, but I’m a little surprised that no-one’s mentioned the Gang of Four. Back in the day, in the circles I ran with, “I Love a Man in a Uniform” would always get people moving. And the English Beat’s “Save It for Later” was another winner.

    And NO reggae yet mentioned. For shame! Jeez, just about any song from Black Uhuru’s 1st two albums in the 1980s (Sinsemilla and Red, respectively) are incredibly propulsive. I defy anyone with any sense of rhythm whatsoever to not dance when Sinsemilla or the Youth of Eglington comes on. Dittto Steel Pulse

  41. Bon Jovi – Runaway
    Madonna – Material Girl, Burning Up, La Isla Bonita
    Erasure – Oh L’Amour, Chains of Love
    David Bowie – China Girl and/or Let’s Dance
    Duran Duran – Union of the Snake, Wild Boys

  42. I may have missed it, but has no one suggested “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins?
    I just finished working on a play (Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet) that’s mostly about Shakespeare, but was written in 1985, so the director decided to make it an ’80’s period piece. “Axel F” stood in for a trumpet fanfare. Othello killed Desdemona to “Tainted Love.” Everyone danced to “Thriller” at the Capulet’s masked ball. Romeo fell in love to “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” Was it silly? YES. Did it work? ABSOLUTELY.

  43. I think that Mony Mony by Billy Idol is virtually a must. Especially if anybody knows the additional lyrics to sing during the pauses.

    Devil Inside, INXS
    Blue Monday, New Order
    Cruel Summer, Banarama
    Head Over Heels, GoGos.

    And if you need a slower song, is there anything more 80s than holding a boom box over your head and blasting In Your Eyes?

  44. As an actual party dj in the 80’s, here’s some songs that worked back then. I realize that I could keep going for another hour

    Top 5 guaranteed:
    Mirror in the Bathroom – English Beat
    Don’t Go – Yaz (or Yazoo)
    Hyperactive – Thomas Dolby
    Grey Matter – Oingo Boingo
    White Wedding or Rebel Yell – Billy Idol

    Long List (still only the go to songs to fill the dance floor):
    Mirror in the Bathroom – English Beat
    Twist and Crawl
    I Confess
    Goody Two Shoes – Adam and the Ants
    Dog eat Dog, a personal favorite
    Don’t Go – Yaz
    Rock Lobster – B52s
    Hyperactive – Thomas Dolby
    She Blinded Me with Science
    White Wedding – Billy Idol
    Rebel Yell
    Mony, Mony
    Dancing with myself
    Take on me – aha
    Wake me up before you gogo – Wham
    She-bop – Cindy Lauper
    Girls just wanna have fun
    Grey Matter – Oingo Boingo
    Chains of love – Erasure
    Why – Bronski Beat
    I want candy – Bow wow wow
    Twilight zone – Golden Earing
    Talk Talk – Talk Talk
    It’s my life
    Simply Irresistable – Robert Palmer
    Addicted to Love
    Johnny Come Home – Fine Young Cannibals
    Love Cats – The Cure
    Lies – Thompson Twins
    Church of the Poison Mind – Culture Club
    Don’t you want me – Human League
    Walking In LA – Missing Persons
    Rio – Duran Duran
    Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
    Should I Stay or Should I Go – Clash
    One Thing Leads to Another – The Fixx
    Down Under – Men At Work
    Walk Like an Egyptian – Bangles
    We got the beat – Go Go’s
    Venus – Bananarama

    Mad World – Tears for fears
    Mothers Talk
    Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

    A little more obscure:
    Love plus one – Haircut 100
    Welcome to the lifeboat party – Kid Creole and the Coconuts

  45. “Sussudio” – Phil Collins
    “Hip to be Square” – Huey Lewis and the News (Really any song off of “Sport”)
    “Owner of a Lonely Heart” – Yes
    “Walk of Life” – Dire Straits
    “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin

    I’m trying really hard to forget about the Eighties.

  46. Mirror in the Bathroom — English Beat
    Every Day Is Halloween — Ministry
    Start Me Up — The Rolling Stones (I’d never have thought of this one, and then I saw a reception crowd go completely nuts over it a couple of months ago)

  47. Erasure — A Little Respect
    Pet Shop Boys — What Have I Done to Deserve This
    Kon Kan — I Beg Your Pardon

  48. Every Breath you Take — The Police
    Rio — Duran Duran
    Under the Milky Way — The Church
    Invincible — Pat Benatar
    I’ve Done Everything for You — Rick Springfield

  49. Add a vote for Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round,” and how about:

    Michael Sembello, “Maniac” (from “Flashdance”)?
    Springsteen, “Dancing in the Dark”
    The Cars, “You Might Think” and/or “Magic”

  50. I’m surprised this hasn’t been listed yet, so I’ll add it…

    Never say never by Romeo Void

  51. Shazbat! iTunes here I come…

    Super Freak – Rick James!
    1999, Purple Rain, Baby I’m a Star – Prince
    Can’t Touch This – Hammer
    My Adidas, King of Rock, Walk this Way – Run, D.M.C.

    man.. all that rap from the 80!?! blowing my mind right now.

  52. I’m really scraping the barrel of my 80’s musical knowledge, here. Dance music was never much my thing.

    Mel and Kim – Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)
    Mel and Kim – Respectable
    Divinyls – Pleasure and Pain (really, any early Divinyls.)

  53. “Fiesta” by the Pogues.

    “Come all you rambling boys of pleasure
    And ladies of easy leisure
    We must say adiós! until we see
    Almería once again”

  54. Wake me up before you Go-Go – Wham
    Relax – Frankie goes to Hollywood
    Sisters are doin’ it for themselves – Eurythmics/Aretha Franklin
    Come on, Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
    Story of the Blues – The Mighty Wah

  55. They Might Be Giants, “Birdhouse in Your Soul” (Released 12/31/89.)
    Scandal, “The Warrior”
    Cheap Trick, “Don’t Be Cruel”
    ‘Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry”
    John Parr, “St. Elmo’s Fire”
    Martika, “Toy Soldiers”
    Jane Child, “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love”
    T’Pau, “Heart and Soul” (Hard to dance to, but the band’s name requires their inclusion.)

  56. The Look – Roxette
    Don’t you Forget About Me – Simple Minds
    Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
    Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan
    I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston

  57. I see now that someone already posted my first suggestion, so here’s a couple more nobody’s mentioned yet:

    Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
    Black Crowes – Hard to Handle – preferably the ‘Memphis Horns’ version but that’s hard to find. (Yes I know this song is a little late: 1990 to be exact.)

    I can’t wait to make a playlist out of the suggestions in this thread!

  58. “cool places” by Jane wiedlin and sparks…

    We should be adding her just on the basis of her appearance in Star Trek IV….

  59. Just Can’t Get Enough, Depeche Mode
    Freedom, Wham!
    Sharp Dressed Man, ZZ Top (some would say “Legs” but I think this is more danceable)
    I Will Follow, U2
    My House, Mary Jane Girls
    I Wonder if I Take You Home, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
    Dancing With Myself, Billy Idol
    Don’t You Want Me, Human League
    Dreaming, OMD

    If you’re going for the ironic, cheezy, make the people laugh and dance, you can’t beat:
    Dancin’ on the Ceiling, Lionel Richie
    Shake Your Love, Debbie Gibson (Only in My Dreams would work too)
    Girl You Know It’s True, Milli Vanilli
    The Right Stuff, New Kids on the Block
    We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off, Jermaine Stewart

    Have a great time!

  60. Here’s a mixed bag of stuff that’s rattling around in my 80’s playlist that never fails to get the feet tapping:

    Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
    Re-flex – Politics of Dancing
    Don Henley – If Dirt Were Dollars
    Eric Clapton – Pretending
    Blondie – Call Me
    ZZ Top – Can’t Stop Rockin’, Legs
    Webb Wilder – Human Cannonball

  61. Rick Springfield – Bop Til You Drop (best with video playing in background)

    Berlin – No More Words

    TMBG – She’s An Angel

    Miami Sound Machine – Words Get In the Way

    New Edition – If It Isn’t Love

  62. 1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (COME ON! 90+ COMMENTS AND NO ONE HAS SUGGESTED IT YET!?)
    2. “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money
    3. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
    4. “Take On Me” by A-ha
    5. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

  63. Thank you, Keith. I am pretty sure that federal regulations actually require George Clinton and/or Parliament of Funk to be played at any 80s dance party that has not previously requested an exemption.

  64. Takin a Ride by the Replacements
    I’m guessing you already have Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes based on the tagline on your banner.

  65. No one has mentioned Siouxsie and the Banshees. WHAT? “Peekabo.”

    Also please add “Mind Your Own Business” by Delta 5.

    “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth.

  66. Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science
    Elvis Costello – Mystery Dance, Pump It Up, The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes
    Madness – Our House
    New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
    Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way
    Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

    Um, yes. I do like my Elvis Costello. Anyway, those are the ones that stand out from my college years. We also had a local band called the Judy’s that had an incredible song called Guyana Punch which I unbelievably just found on YouTube:

  67. Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
    Eurythmics – Here comes The Rain Again, or Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
    ZZ Top – Sharp Dressed Man
    Go-Go’s – Our Lips are Sealed, or We Got the Beat

    Wish I could be there!

  68. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Canibals (let’s hear it for the late 80’s)
    Do the Dog – The Specials
    I Will Dare – The Replacements (you can dance to it)
    Kiss – Prince
    Heat of the Moment – Asia (“And now you find yourself in ’82…”)
    Lonely Is the Night (or, if you must, The Stroke)- Billy Squier
    Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones (let’s hear it for the early 80’s, the last days of disco, and the adaptability of Jaggers/Richards)

  69. How about some hair metal? Some of that stuff is sure to draw a crowd onto the dance floor – like “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” by Motley Crue (or “Dr. Feelgood”), “The Final Countdown” by Europe, “Photograph” by Def Leppard.

  70. Dream Police – Cheap Trick (technically ’79, but very proto-80’s)
    Hot Summer Nights – Miami Sound Machine
    Meet Me Halfway – Kenny Loggins
    Mr. Roboto – Styx
    Rock & Roll Rebels or Give Me News I Can Use – Steppenwolf

    @ MikeB

    I’m still trying to forget the 80s so excuse me if I don’t join in . . .

    Your loss.

  71. Amazingly, no one has yet suggested Time Warp from Rocky Horror (probably technically a 70s song, but the 80s really lasted from 78ish to 88 or so).

    It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – REM
    Peace and Love Incorporated – Information Society

    And no one’s mentioned anything by the Ramones yet. Just grab their greatest hits album and pick a few.

    Only a Lad – Oingo Boingo

    Valley Girl – Frank and Moon Unit Zappa

    Heck, just look up on Amazon the two Valley Girl the movie “soundtrack” albums that Rhino put out and you’ve got most of a party playlist right there (there wasn’t an official soundtrack, but Rhino just put all the music together). The songs there were:

    1. Million Miles Away Listen
    2. Johnny, Are You Queer? Listen
    3. Eyes of a Stranger Listen
    4. Angst in My Pants Listen
    5. Who Can It Be Now? Listen
    6. Everywhere at Once Listen
    7. I La La La Love You Listen
    8. He Could Be the One Listen
    9. Love My Way Listen
    10. Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime) Listen
    11. The Fanatic Listen
    12. She Talks in Stereo Listen
    13. Oldest Story in the World Listen
    14. School Is In Listen
    15. I Melt with You Listen

    1. Girls Like Me Listen
    2. Eaten by the Monster of Love Listen
    3. Mickey Listen
    4. Zero Hour [Original Version] Listen
    5. He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’ Listen
    6. In the Name of Love Listen
    7. The Earthquake Song Listen
    8. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me Listen
    9. Cool Places Listen
    10. Town Called Malice Listen
    11. I Eat Canniballs Listen
    12. Time to Win Listen
    13. Voo Doo Listen
    14. Marina Men Listen
    15. Pocket Pool Listen
    16. Shelly’s Boyfriend Listen

  72. “Illegal Alien” Genesis
    “The Boys of Summer” Don Henley
    “Werewolves of London” Warren Zevon

  73. Can I just add a couple?

    Stray Cats – Stray Cats Strut, Rock this Town, Sexy & 17
    Adam & the Ants – Goody Two Shoes

  74. “Amazingly, no one has yet suggested Time Warp from Rocky Horror…”

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I figured Scalzi was probably on top of that one.

    I’m going to second the Brave Combo recommendation from way up there (especially their polka cover of “People Are Strange” from the Musical Varieties CD, PLUS you can do it as a medley with the Echo and the Bunnymen version!), and since I didn’t see them up there, throw in Burning Sensations’ “Belly of the Whale” and Comsat Angels “Independence Day” for good measure.

  75. You might already have these, but still:
    Don’t bring me down- ELO
    Funkytown- Lipps Inc
    Anything Earth Wind & Fire

  76. DMSR or 1999 by Prince
    Almost anything by the English Beat
    Red Red Wine by UB40
    Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

  77. Set list for the Emerald Tavern, Baltimore, 1984-1988

    Prince – “Let’s Go Crazy”
    Clash – “Train in Vain”
    “Weird Al” Yankovic “Dare to be Stupid” (but only when I requested it)
    Peter Gabriel – “Big Time”
    Elton John – “I’m Still Standing”

  78. Anything from Weird Al during this period – Another One Rides The Bus, Eat It, Fat

    Also I can’t imagine you forgot the biggies from Culture Club or Cindi Lauper but they need to be in there

  79. Heavy Metal – Don Felder
    Relax – Frankie goes to Hollywood
    Bang on my drum – Todd Rungren
    Away from Home – Klark Kent
    HArden my Heart – Quaterflash

  80. I feel like you might forget the 80s teen music that was danceable, so allow me to help you remember them. :)

    Debbie Gibson: “Electric Youth” “Staying Together” “Shake Your Love”
    New Kids on The Block: “The Right Stuff”
    Paula Abdul: “Cold-Hearted Snake” “Straight Up” “Opposites Attract”

  81. Fascination–Human League
    Girls on Film–Duran Duran
    Electric Avenue–Eddie Grant
    Cities in Dust or Peek a Boo–Siouxsie and the Banshees
    Brass Monkey–Beastie Boys

  82. I was going to say Physical by Olivia Newton-John because you couldn’t escape it in 1981, but you said awesome.

    And how have we gotten this far without someone suggesting A Flock of Seagulls?

  83. A few more:

    Jack and Diane – John Cougar Mellencamp
    Time Out for Fun – Devo
    Let’s Go – The Cars
    Centerfold – The J Giles Band
    Guyana Punch – The Judys

  84. The Vapors — “Turning Japanese”
    The Violent Femmes — “Add it up”
    The Smiths — “Ask” , “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
    Icicle Works — “Birds Fly (whisper to a scream)”
    New Order — “Blue Monday”
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners — “Come on Eileen”
    Peter Schilling — “Coming Home (Major Tom)” *German version*
    Duran Duran — “Rio”, “Hungry like the Wolf”
    Modern English — “I Melt with You”
    Erasure — “Always” , “A Little Respect”
    Front 242 — “Headhunter”

  85. need a 10 minute jam? Play “Love Bizarre” from Sheila E’s Romance 1600. Duet with Prince, amazing Maceo Parker sax solos, and it’s basically a (radio safe) sequel to Prince’s “Erotic City.”

  86. I should have added that all my suggestions are tested crowd pleasers from the numerous 80s/New Wave/Industrial clubs I’ve been to in the last 12 years. Whether in Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington DC or Baltimore, these songs pack the floor *every* time.

  87. Wow. So many great suggestions. Here are a couple I haven’t seen listed here yet:

    Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat
    I Wanna Be a Cowboy – Boys Don’t Cry

  88. I could go deep and postpunk, but lots of that gets covered above. Instead pop R&B that no one mentioned:

    “Word Up” – Cameo
    “My Prerogative” – Bobby Brown

  89. Brass in Pocket – Pretenders
    Roam – B-52s
    Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
    Self Control – Laurqa Branigan
    Would I Lie To You? – Eurhythmics

  90. How about “Star Trekkin'” by The Firm

    Some SF writer is releasing a book called “Redshirts” later this year. I figure from the title it might be loosely based on a well known joke about Star Trek. So this song could go over well.

  91. She Blinded me With Science — Dolby
    White Horse –Laid Back
    Meeting In the Ladies Room — Klymaxx (totally stoopid lyrics but great to dance to)

  92. I’ll second the recommendation of The Judys (a Texas band) but suggest “Man on a Window Ledge”.

    Second for Bronski Beat “Why”/’Smalltown Boy” and Gang of Four “Uniform”

    New recommendations: “Wood Beez (Pray Lke Aretha Franklin)” by Scritti Politti, and “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones (August 79, but close enough).

  93. Since you specifically stated no laundry lists and only 5 songs, here is my humble sampling culled from my iPod’s playlist:

    1) “Abracadabra” – Steve Miller
    2) “All Night Long” – Mary Jane Girls
    3) “Rhythm of the Night” – DeBarge
    4) “Glory of Love” – Peter Cetera (if you need a slow dance thrown in to the mix)
    5) “Cong” – Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine

  94. Music for Boys – The Suburbs
    Melt with You – English Beat
    Big In Japan – Alphaville
    Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo

  95. Heh, I was going to suggest Limelight – for the same reason as Tom Sawyer. Or John could be really evil and run off YYZ.
    I’m wondering if, given the location, a good slow song would be the Love Theme from Blade Runner.
    I was a metalhead those years, so if you don’t mind a bit of headbanging with your dancing, try Triumph, “Follow Your Heart”, or (much as I think it’s the weakest song on that album), Maiden’s “Two Minutes to Midnight”.

  96. Anything by 2 Unlimited. But Tribal Dance, surely.

    Arguably, they are more early 90s than truly 80s. But fuck it. I stand by my suggestion.

    (Goes to listen to some 2 Unlimited…)

  97. David Lee Roth’s version of “Just a Gigolo.” And then Blondie’s “Call Me”, the theme song from American Gigolo. And then The Time’s “Gigolos Get Lonely Too.” And then round it out with something from the Gigolo Aunts.

  98. Temple of Love – Sisters of Mercy
    Release the Bats – The Birthday Party
    Don’t Fear the Reaper – Lydia Lunch and Klint Ruin
    Rain – The Cult
    Dance Along The Edge – Concrete Blonde
    All That I Wanted – Belfegore
    Love Like Blood – Killing Joke
    Don’t Fall – the Chameleons
    2,000 Light Years from Home – The Danse Society
    Life in Tokyo – Japan
    Life in the Gladhouse – Modern English
    Spellbound – Siouxsie and the Banshees
    Bryan Ferry – Slave to Love
    Too Drunk to Fuck – The Dead Kennedys
    … i could go on …

  99. This is awesome.
    Wang Chung- Everybody Have Fun Tonight
    New Kids on the Block – The Right Stuff
    Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal, Bad, Billie Jean, Beat It
    Survivor – Eye of The Tiger
    Toto – Africa
    Devo- Whip It
    The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star–might have been 1979…
    Van Halen – 1984/Jump

    Being raised in what I considered a throw back family, we didn’t exactly jam to the stereo–we jammed to Vinyl, like “Ballad of the Thresher” by the Kingston Trio, anything Janice Joplin, Jazz from way before we were born, and radio shows like Prairie Home Companion. The 80’s…we had a black and white TV until 1990. I’m so psyched VHS tapes finally went out of style. =)

    Hope you rock it! Have a blast!

  100. Grauzone – Eisbar
    Gary Numan – Are Friends Electric?
    The Firm – Radioactive
    Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days

    Everybody keeps mentioning terrible Wang Chung songs. “Every Have Fun Tonight”? What is wrong with you people?

  101. Voice of the Beehive “Beat of Love.” You won’t regret it.

    Any of Peter Gabriel’s 80’s tunes, in particular his 4th CD. “Rhythm of the Heat” for the win.

    I will add my voice to any calls for Elvis Costello’s tunes.

    Anything off of They Might Be Giant’s “Lincoln” album.

    The Ramones.

    Have fun!

  102. I apologize if I am repeating suggestions but I did not have time to read the whole thread.

    “Doctor in the TARDIS” The Timelords
    “Stars” Erasure
    “Send Me an Angel” Real Life
    “But Not Tonight” Depeche Mode
    “Don’t Forget About Me” Simple Minds

  103. The Smiths – Panic
    Talking Heads – Burning Down the House
    Pop Will Eat Itself – Wise Up Sucker!
    TimeZone – World Destruction
    Joe Strummer – Trash City
    Camper Van Beethoven – Take The Skinheads Bowling
    The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
    New Model Army – White Coats
    Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark – Enola Gay
    The Pixies – Debaser

  104. Re-Flex – “The Politics of Dancing”
    They Might Be Giants – “Don’t Let’s Start”
    Joe Jackson – “Mad At You”
    Squeeze – “Hourglass”
    Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – “Balloon Man”

  105. Ok, strictly speaking a bit early, but much played in the 80’s: Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved. If that beat doesn’t get them up and dancing then you should probably check to make sure they are alive…

  106. Only adding what I didn’t see, apologize if it’s a duplicate: anything that was released as a single of of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814.

  107. Songs that I haven’t seen yet that would get me on the dance floor:
    U2: In The Name of Love
    Fine Young Cannibals: Good Thing
    The Spoons: Nova Heart
    INXS: Need You Tonight
    Also, I remember that The Beatles’ Twist and Shout was very popular at our dances – (Ferris Bueller Effect)

  108. The second I read “80s dance” “Safety Dance” popped into my head and I can’t get it out.



  109. @Electric Landlady,

    No, but now that you have it’s competing with “Safety Dance” as the Song-I-can’t-get-out-of-my-head.

    80s songs seemed designed to stick in your head on endless playback.

  110. scorpius, that’s often called an “earworm.” I offer this because it’s shorter than “Song-I-can’t-get-out-of-my-head” and widely recognized.

  111. Pat Benatar — Invincible
    ZZ Top — Legs
    Billy Joel — Uptown Girl and The Longest Time
    A-Ha — Take On Me
    Huey Lewis And The News — The Power Of Love
    Olivia Newton-John/ELO — Xanadu
    (Come to think of it, anything from the XANADU soundtrack)
    And since I don’t think anyone else mentioned it, you mentioned one in the title of this entry — “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar.

  112. If you want to reach back a little further, I might suggest Carl Carlton’s version of “Everlasting Love” from 1973. But if you’re insisting on 1980s versions, there is the Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet version from 1980. And I think Gloria Estefan released her version in 1988.

  113. The one for me is “counting the beat” by the swingers but that’s a bit esoteric I suspect.
    So “star trekking” by the firm.

    Limiting it to another four is hard…
    “US forces” or “power and the passion” by midnight oil
    “blue monday” by new order
    “we built this city” starship
    “land down under” men at work
    “she drives like crazy” weird al yankovic (ok, 1990’s cover of a 1980’s song)

  114. anything from the movie “Empire Records”
    sure, the *movie* did not come out in the 80’s, but the *music* did!
    thanks to everyone’s previous posts, iI now have a youtube surfing week ahead of me :)

  115. The Squeeze song ought to be “Take Me, I’m Yours.”

    Which I will now listen to and dance at my desk.

  116. I’m totally shocked that there have been this many comments and nobody suggested “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. It’s on the 1981 album, Face Value.

    Someone mentioned Flock of Seagulls, but not any titles — “I Ran” would be the obvious choice.

    Best of luck!

  117. (Don’t necessarily love each of these songs without qualification, but they speak to the era, are but which are (I think) mostly forgotten. The Swingers song is especially great.)

    Burning Sensations — Belly of the Whale
    The Swingers — Counting the Beat
    Haysi Fantayzee — Shiny Shiny
    Toto Coelo — I Eat Cannibals
    The Members — Working Girl

  118. Dance music from the 80s, for me, is Erin Boat, by Johnny and Phil Cunningham. Best waltz ever. But probably not what will bring teens to the dance floor.

  119. Erasure – Oh L’Amour or, to be a bit heretical, their cover of “Solsbury Hill”- It’s much more danceable than Peter Gabriel’s.

    And no 80’s Dance Party is complete without The Artist Occasionally Known as Prince

  120. What they said.


    Here Comes the Rain the Again – Eurythmics
    Strut / Morning Train – Sheena Easton
    That’s Good – Devo
    Who Can it Be Now / Down Under – Men at Work
    Let the River Run – Carly Simon
    Somebody – Depeche Mode
    Pop Muzik – M
    Jesse’s Girl – Rick Springfield
    Father Figure – George Michael
    Centerfold – J Geils Band
    Lean on Me – Club Nouveau
    Invisible Touch – Genesis
    Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr
    Miss You Much – Janet Jackson
    Kyrie – Mr Mister
    Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
    America – Neil Diamond
    Oh Yeah – Yello

    And anything from the soundtrack of Music and Lyrics…which isn’t 80’s…but sure sounds like it!

  121. Antmusic or Stand and Deliver -Adam and the Ants
    To cut a long story short – Spandau Ballet
    Golden Brown – the Stranglers (just to see the mix of 3/4 and 4/4 mess with people’s heads)

  122. Falco: Der Kommissar
    The B52s: Rock Lobster
    Erasure: Who Needs Love Like That
    Thompson Twins: In the Name of Love
    Thomas Dolby: Flying North

  123. Synchronicity II by The Police
    Every LIttle Thing She Does by The Police
    Deadbeat Club by the B-52s
    Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants
    Sat in Your Lap by Kate Bush

  124. Eight hours since the challenge was thrown down, and no one has mentioned Celebration, by Kool and the Gang?

  125. Oh, if we’re talking Squeeze, then “Nail for My Heart” is the obvious dance track!

    Amazing@8:50: John asked for favorite suggestions. No one actually prefers “Celebration” as dance music. It’s more of an obligatory catered-event song. They never played it in my high school gym.

  126. Um Hello? No one has mentioned Sylvester? If you’re dancing–he should be at the top.

    “Do You Want to Funk” by the Fabulous Sylvester
    “Vertigo/Instant Replay” by Dan Hartman
    “Use it Up and Wear It Out ” by Odyssey
    and for that punk princess feel
    “Johnny, Are You Queer?” by Josie Cotton

  127. Others have already suggested what I was going to (Radio Free Europe, I Beg Your Pardon, and Pure Energy), but I have two humble requests:

    1) please post your whole playlist at some point (I want to make sure I’m not missing something)
    2) follow up with a post asking folks to list their “80s Do Not Play List” (aka Celebration)

  128. Meat Loaf, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” (this classic of cheese is from 1977, but I remember my party DJ roommate using this in the actual Eighties with great success, so I associate it with Eighties dance parties).

  129. Morris Day and the Time: Jungle Love. Fish Net.
    ACDC: You Shook Me All Night Long.
    Prince: Purple Rain. (Prom song! No Prince is too obvious for me. Let’s Go Crazy, Controversy, Cream (1 year too late for you), 7 (includes the line– with…intellect and savoir faire, might appeal to those who feel they have both– then lose it all on the dance floor))
    Cameo: Word Up. Candy.
    Run DMC: It’s Tricky.
    Terrence Trent D’Arby: Sign Your Name. Wishing Well.
    Marvin Gaye: Sexual Healing.
    Celia Cruz: (You can pick just one? Hardly! More Celia Cruz! and there are so many versions and remixes that you can essentially avoid all limitation of the decade the 80’s, depending on how literal you are)
    Janet Jackson: Black Cat. Control.
    Michael Jackson: The Way You Make Me Feel
    Snap!: The Power.
    Joan Jett: Do You Wanna Touch.
    Depending on what kind of ’80’s a person had, the DKs: Too Drunk To.

    In my fevered dreams of the 80’s, all this stuff would get people to move, but it may be that it was only me. Some of these songs are easier to dance to when one is holding a beer.

  130. I’m sure it’s too late for this, but I just gotta say that the songs I remember dancing to in college (1983 – 1987) were Shake Your Tailfeather, Shout!, and other memorable songs from earlier decades. Not that we didn’t also dance to eighties songs, but those were the songs that packed the dance floor at student union at those $2 entry fee dance nights.

  131. -E@9:04: I guess it’s a generational thing. When I was in high school, Celebration was still on the charts and very much in high rotation on the radio and the dance playlists, at high schools and private parties. The song brought on a “group dance” kind of thing, but some couples would slow-dance through it all, in what passed for “rebellion” during the first Reagan Administration.

  132. After careful consultation with my music collection, about 15% of which is ’80s stuff, I offer the following suggestions.

    Brave Combo’s “The Happy Wanderer.” That’ll be an interesting dance piece.
    Aretha Franklin, “Freeway of Love”/Bruce Springsteen “Pink Cadillac”

    That is all.

  133. AAHHH, I wish I’d seen this sooner! I hope you remembered Amii Stewart’s version of “Knock On Wood” (it isn’t disco, it’s funk!!). And the fact that, musically speaking, the Eighties started around 1977!

  134. “Lost in the Supermarket,” but I’d cheat and use the Afghan Whigs cover from a tribute album in the 90’s. With bonus lyrical insertions from”Train in Vain” and Ben E. King.

  135. My little suggestions (and boy was it hard to keep it to just five!)

    “Burn for You” – INXS
    “Out of Mind Out of Sight” – Models
    “Man Overboard” – Do Re Mi
    “Down Under” – Men at Work
    “Slice of Heaven” – Dave Dobbyn

    Mostly Aussie, but then, that’s what we were listening to down under.

  136. “The Wanderer”, Donna Summer
    “Lucky Number”, Lene Lovich (OK, technically it’s from 1979)
    “Affrican Reggae”, Nina Hagen (Ok, also from 1979)
    “Escuela de calor”, Radio Futura (a song vaguely inspired in “Fondly Fahrenheit”, by Alfred Bester)
    “99 Luftballons”, Nena

  137. Stix – “Mr. Roboto”

    Listened to this in Junior High. Never imagined that I’d actually end up in Japan. Go figure.

  138. @Xopher, if I listened to music much at all I’d know the term. Most music’s a waste of time, though.

    But thanks.

  139. There is only one 80s dance song: “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads. As long as you have that, nothing else matters.

  140. The 80s must be the decade with the most one-hit wonders ever. I remember one road trip where we spent hours naming 80s bands, no repeats.

  141. The 80s had a lot of really good dance tunes. Here are just a few from the early 80s that would get me onto the dance floor.

    Eye of the tiger – Survivor
    So much in love – Timothy B Schmit
    Do you really want to hurt me – Culture Club
    What’s love got to do with it – Tina Turner
    Hold me now – Thompson Twins

  142. Those were fuzzy years. Can’t recall specifics. How about some of Elton John’s and Toto’s stuff? I hated disco so sorry I can’t help much. Good luck.

  143. The songs with staying power go international. Here’s a Japanese cover of “So much in love” – by Tatsuro Yamashita

  144. I know I’m late, but I loved dancing to The Cure’s In Between Days in the 80’s (87ish?). I have a distinct memory of racing to the front of the high school dance with Julia Mentan and dancing to this song.

  145. Next time you do an ’80s playlist, don’t forget ‘Add it Up’ by the Violent Femmes (can’t believe only 1 or 2 VF mentions in this very long list!); ‘White Lines’ (Grand Master Melle Mell/Flash); ‘Bitter Tears’ by INXS; more SQUEEZE (Annie Get Your Gun, Tempted); UB40? Split Enz? R.E.M.? The Specials? The POLICE (!) U2 – (in the name of love), Simple Minds? Midnight Oil? Pink Floyd (comfortably numb – ok, it’s a slow song, but you can’t jump up & down like a Pogo stick all night if you remember the ’80s, like firsthand!) ..the Grateful Dead- Truckin …

  146. I’m late to the party also, but I would think for next time, that the “Back To The Future” effect would make Huey Louis and the News very workable, especially after a certain amount of liquid refreshment.
    And probably grandfather in “Johnnie B. Goode” as well.
    Thanks to all for some great 80s nostalgia, some music I hadn’t heard before, and a list of things I need to add to iTunes over the coming months.

  147. Very late to the party, but here are 5 I would like:

    Rick James – Superfreak
    Split Enz – I Got You
    Scritti Politti – Perfect Way
    Mission of Burma – Academy Fight Song
    Art of Noise + Tom Jones – Kiss

  148. I find myself in a similar situation. Now that your dance is over, which songs did you play, or more importantly, which songs did the kids respond to? Which songs filled the dance floor?

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