27 Best 80s Dance Songs EVER

Best 80s Dance Songs EVER

A good dance party requires one thing to make it epic: a good dance playlist. And no decade has a better selection of rocking tunes than the 1980s.

Let us take a journey through the best 80s songs for dancing.

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

Song Year: 1987

We have to kick things off with the queen of all dance anthems. This classic jam is an essential addition.

Whitney delivers what is probably the most upbeat song about longing and loneliness that you will ever hear. And when it comes on, you can't explain why but you need to dance.

“Faith” by George Michael

Song Year: 1987

If you can stop yourself from moving and grooving to this one, then there might be something wrong with you.

George Michael never intended this to be one of his singles when he first recorded the song. But it quickly became a favorite. He decided to grace the radio waves with those unmistakable sounds that have become quintessential to 80s dance music.

“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

Song Year: 1982

Jackson’s fastest-rising single since 1970, these are some beats that make you want to get down and move.

Even though Billie Jean herself doesn’t exist, the song is a somewhat chilling tale as a retelling of groupie drama from the days of Jackson’s family band, Jackson 5.

Despite the implications, this is still one of the best dancing songs out there. Turn it on and you’ll quickly see why.

“Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1983

This is one of those great songs that give you good life lessons while delivering wholeheartedly on a grooving time.

Joel proves himself the master with this 1960s throwback tune that’s bound to get your toes tapping. With a horn section to die for and killer backup vocals, it’s no surprise that this jam topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1983.

“Celebration” by Kool & the Gang

Song Year: 1980

I only recently learned what it meant for a song to be a bop, and this one came immediately to mind. It is, in fact, the ultimate bop.

A song does not have to be upbeat and cheery to be a good dancing tune, but it certainly helps. Things one brings the party along and encourages us all to have a good time.

“Invisible Touch” by Genesis

Song Year: 1986

You can always tell when a band loves playing a certain song. This jam is no exception. I can’t dance to save my life, but I sure try when this one comes on.

Genesis never thought this one would be such a hit; they just liked playing it. It quickly became one of their best-performing songs, and it’s still one of the best 80s dance songs ever made.

“Any Way You Want It” by Journey

Song Year: 1980

Inspired by the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, Journey went ahead and created a perfect tune that makes you want to stop what you're doing and start jumping around.

It’s a straightforward song. The best way to understand why this is an essential addition to any dancing playlist is to turn it on and see what happens.

“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC featuring Aerosmith

Song Year: 1986

Originally released by Aerosmith ten years earlier, Run-DMC made the song jump to the number four spot in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with their version of this rocking groove.

Featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Run-DMC’s remake helped Aerosmith make a comeback in the 80s. It’s also one of the best crossover events in music history, which just makes that much more fun.

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

Song Year: 1983

If there was a soundtrack for the happiest person alive, this would undoubtedly be the title track.

This is one of those songs that sounds exactly as you would expect it to sound upon hearing the title. This upbeat love song about feeling good sure does what it can to make you feel good.

“You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon

Song Year: 1986

A mid-life crisis has never been so much fun. Paul Simon delivers with this word-heavy, instrument-centric tale about a man who wonders why life is so hard, in the most groovy way possible.

Why is this one such a great dancing tune? Take a listen and find out. The instrument variety alone makes this one of the most recognizable songs out there.

The Chevy Chase appearance in the music video is cool, too.

“Dancing In the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen

Song Year: 1984

It would seem that this is the quintessential 80s dance anthem. The Boss shows up in a big way with this first single from his Born in the U.S.A. album. Springsteen channels all his pent-up angst and frustration to create this masterpiece of rock anthems.

“Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News

Song Year: 1986

With Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott singing backup vocals, how could we not include this one? Huey’s hit jumped to number three in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 and spent a total of 16 weeks on the chart.

The brilliance of this song comes from recognizing that it’s one giant joke, calling out all the oddballs of the 1960s who started trying to fit in with the 1980s. Add those funky horns and you’ve got a real toe-tapper.

“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean

Song Year: 1988

This is one of those songs that you just can’t help but dance to. It’s got a little bit of everything: jazz, synth, pop, and a little bit of funk.

If you weren’t on your feet yet, this song will get you there. It’s more than just a great driving tune.

“Bust A Move” by Young MC

Song Year: 1989

I’m not sure if Young MC coined the phrase “bust a move,” but he sure popularized it. The song’s protagonist isn’t great with women, but then all that changes when he breaks out his sick dance moves.

“Bust A Move” was Young MC’s only big hit, but it was certainly a memorable one.

“Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner

“Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner

Song Year: 1981

If ever there was a rock anthem that defined an era, it was this Foreigner classic. It drove crowds crazy in their heyday, it has that intense drum beat that drives the song, and the best part is that it’s based on a true story.

This is one of those 80s dance songs that you feel in your bones.

“You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates

Song Year: 1981

This song sounds like it was made to be danced to. I’ve tried not dancing when this one comes on. It doesn’t work.

It’s the simplicity that makes it great. It’s all about a guy and a gal who work well together and want the world to know it.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

Song Year: 1981

Sometimes you have to fight to keep your dreams alive, even when it’s all you can do to hold on to them. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

The minute the opening piano kicks in, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be on your feet rocking out with all your friends who love this song as much as you.

“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston

Song Year: 1985

Whitney is back with this upbeat jam that has all the wholesome beauty of a young girl in love, wondering if the boy will ever like her back.

Recorded early in her career, this was one of the defining songs for Whitney’s image as an up-and-coming artist.

“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Song Year: 1987

What happens when half of the Righteous Brothers team up with a Grammy-winning movie soundtrack veteran? The world receives one of the best 80s dance songs ever made.

Played over the climactic scene in the hit film Dirty Dancing, this is one of those songs that gets your shoulders moving.

“Strange Animal” by Gowan

Song Year: 1985

The great thing about a good dancing tune is that you don’t always need to know what it’s about to rock out to it.

That’s what makes “Strange Animal” one of the most underrated dance anthems of the 1980s. Let’s do our part to make it the played song of the 21st century.

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

Song Year: 1984

The first American hit by the U.K. band is all about a guy who just wants to go dancing with his gal. He’s crushed when he realizes she went dancing while he slept, and he begs her to always wake him up when it’s time to the floor.

“Footloose” by Kenny Loggins

Song Year: 1984

Sometimes, you just need to cut loose and fly across the dance floor. Leave it all out there and make a total fool of yourself. Get rid of those shoes and start slipping all over that dance floor.

If “Footloose” wasn’t on this list, we would have a serious problem.

“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

Song Year: 1986

Everyone’s favorite Australian rock band brings the party with this fan favorite. Some songs just don’t need much of an explanation. People love it and that’s all there is to it.

It is worth noting, though, that the opening guitar riff is priceless.

“Keeping the Faith” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1983

With another throwback to the funky vibes of the 50s and 60s, Billy Joel created a masterpiece with “Keeping the Faith.”

It might not be the sort of fist-pumping rhythm that keeps you up at night, but it’s a groovy tune that’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping and your arms swinging.

“She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby

Song Year: 1982

It’s not the most glamorous tune, but sometimes you need something that’s a little more oddball. Even then, it’s still a rhythmic masterpiece that makes you want to swing.

“Strung Out” by Steve Perry

Song Year: 1984

Journey’s frontman had a fairly successful solo career with songs like this one. With the powerful vocals that made his band so unstoppable, Perry reminds us why he might just be the king of the 1980s.

“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper

Song Year: 1983

We all knew a slow one was coming at some point. Perhaps one of the most timeless love songs ever written, Cyndi Lauper brings us a great tune to swing to with your favorite person.

Best 80s Dance Songs, Final Thoughts

When you’re looking for some good tunes that can get you on your feet and moving to the groove, it’s safe to peruse the archives of the 1980s. You’re practically guaranteed to find exactly what you need for any occasion.

What could be better than hitting the dance floor, rocking out to your favorite tunes, and making special memories with your best people?

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