29 Best House Songs Ever
DJs began experimenting with house music in late 1970s Chicago, and the trend spread across the United States and Europe within the next decade. Club-goers everywhere are familiar with the genre, which includes an average tempo of 120 beats per minute and a signature four-on-the-floor repetition.
Read on to learn about the best house songs.
1. “On and On” by Jesse Saunders
Song year: 1984
Jesse Saunders is a house music artist, and the world has come to see “On and On” as his theme song. He wrote the hit single with his friend Vince Lawrence, and it became the first song by a house DJ that sold to the public.
House lovers have Saunders to thank for the genre’s climb to the top in the 80s. This single helped him pave the way for house DJs to release successful content for the next decades.
2. “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi75
Song year: 2002
Benny Benassi released the hit house song “Satisfaction” on his debut album Hypnotica. Two speech synthesizers, artificial productions of human speech, perform the lead vocals. Dance/electronic fans immediately liked the song, but so did casual listeners. “Satisfaction” made Benny Benassi a pioneer in the electro-house genre, bringing it to the mainstream.
The tune earned a gold certification in four countries: the United States, Australia, France, and Belgium. It also peaked at number two in the United Kingdom.
3. “Around the World” by Daft Punk
Song year: 1997
The French electronic duo Daft Punk released “Around the World” three years into the full-fledged pursuit of their music career. It is the second single on their debut album, Homework.
Club-goers everywhere found the jam fun and danceable, making it skyrocket to number one on the dance charts in four countries. The only lyrics are the song’s title, which repeats twelve dozen times. In 2011, the NME considered the house hit one of the “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years.”
4. “Needin’ U” by David Morales
Song year: 2000
David Morales never intended to release the hit song “Needin' U” to the public, but house fans everywhere are glad he did. He created it as a demo track, but professional DJs and fans praised it when he added it to his sets.
The song samples a few other hits like “My First Mistake,” a soul/r&b number by the American quartet The Chi-Lites. The “Boss Anthem Remix” of the song is one of the most popular versions – frequent club visitors will instantly recognize the quick beat.
5. “Music Sounds Better With You” by Benjamin Diamond and Stardust
Song year: 2003
The French house trio Stardust is a one-hit-wonder – quite literally, too. They only released one song, “Music Sounds Better With You.” The 2003 song was a quick hit for DJs and house lovers who might have loved to hear more from Stardust, but they disbanded immediately after the release.
The trio created the double platinum track by sampling Chaka Khan’s post-disco song “Fate.” Many renowned publications now consider it one of the best house songs.
6. “Where’s Your Head At?” by Basement Jaxx
Song year: 2001
Basement Jaxx’s house hit “Where’s Your Head At” deserves its spot on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s.” The English electronic duo released it as a single on their album Rooty and immediately charted internationally.
The song samples Gary Numan’s “This Wreckage” and “M.E.” The music video gained just as much attention as the tune. English actor Damien Samuels stars in the story-heavy music video that Traktor directed, earning a spot on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 50 Music Videos of the 2000s.”
7. “Freed From Desire” by GALA
Song year: 1996
Italian singer-songwriter Gala gifted the dance scene with the Eurodance hit “Freed From Desire” in the mid-1990s. She released it as a single on her debut album, Come Into My Life, and its immediate success was no surprise to house fans.
It received a gold certification in Italy and a recording certification in France, in addition to peaking at number two in the United Kingdom. Attitude ranked the song as one of the “Top 10 Dance Tunes of the ‘90s.”
8. “Acid Trax” by Dj Pierre and Phuture
Song year: 2019
The secret to the brilliance of “Acid Trax” is friendship. DJ Pierre and Phuture became good friends before producing a track together. They teamed up with DJ Ron Hardy to make the song a hit, but it took a minute to get the crowd on board.
Ron Hardy played the song four times in a single night. No one danced the first time. The next two times, however, more people came out to enjoy the tune. By the time the fourth play came around, the crowd went wild, and the artists knew the song was ready for public release.
9. “Lola’s Theme” by the Shapeshifters
Song year: 2004
The British house duo Shapeshifters released their hit song “Lola’s Theme” on their debut album Sound Advice. Their first single would end up being the pair’s biggest hit, topping the international charts and becoming the most successful club hit of 2004 in Australia.
The dance-pop tune draws inspiration from previous hits, like Johnnie Taylor’s “What About My Love” and Anthony White’s “Love Me Tonight.” The English soul artist Cookie sings the vocals, which tell the story of a grateful lover.
10. “Love Can’t Turn Around” by Farley Jackmaster Funk
Song year: 1986
American artists Jesse Saunders and Farley “Jackmaster” Funk worked together to produce the Chicago house hit “Love Can’t Turn Around.” Their combined talent for the genre allowed the song to cross over from the United States dance scene to the United Kingdom singles chart.
Rolling Stone Magazine considers the song one of the “20 Best Chicago House Records” as of 2014, while Time Out says it’s one of the “20 Best House Tracks Ever.”
11. “Move Your Body” by Marshall Jefferson72
Song year: 2019
Marshall Jefferson struggled to release “Move Your Body” because other artists and record executives at Trax Records did not see the house song’s potential. However, once the song became popular in dance clubs, they allowed its release, and the song went far.
The composition includes a distinguishing characteristic. It opens with a piano chord, making it the first house song to include a piano. The song is an anthem for dance music lovers, as the lyrics detail the experience of falling in love with house music.
12. “Music Is the Key (Basement Key)” by J.M. Silk
Song year: 1985
J.M. Silk is a pioneer of early house music. The artist has had several singles top the international dance/electronic charts, and “Music Is the Key (Basement Key)” is one of them. He released it on his album The House Sound of Chicago, referencing the city where he and the genre got their start.
The song shares a beat with another song on the album, “Music Is the Key (House Key).”
13. “The Whistle Song” by Frankie Knuckles
Song year: 1991
Francis Warren Nicholls Jr. played a significant role in bringing the house genre into the mainstream. Many consider him to be the “Godfather of House Music.” He released “The Whistle Song” in the early 90s when he already had an established career. The song did not disappoint his fans, who quickly adapted it as one of the best house anthems.
Club-goers will be familiar with the song’s danceable four-on-the-floor beat. The techniques contributed to Frankie Knuckles winning the Grammy for Remixer of the Year later in the decade.
14. “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim
Song year: 1998
The English beat musician Fatboy Slim released “Praise You” on his second album, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. The single reached number in the United Kingdom and charted internationally in Canada, the United States, Ireland, and Iceland.
The tune gained recognition for several eclectic samples, like the guitar from “It’s a Small World” from Disney’s Mickey Mouse Disco. The artist also uses pieces of the theme song from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
15. “Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic
Song year: 1989
Technotronic’s debut album Pump up the Jam includes a single by the same name, which would become one of the most recognizable songs from the late 80s. The tune has a triple platinum certification and reached the top of the US Cash Box Top 100.
Film and television fans will recognize the song from many productions about the late 80s and 90s, as it is the go-to for club scenes in the era. Emmy-Award-winning show, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, uses it for the mid-90s.
16. “La La Land” by Green Velvet
Song year: 2001
Green Velvet is an American DJ and house producer who has created several popular dance songs, and “La La Land” is one of the most successful. The techno song reached number 12 on the Billboard Dance Club chart.
Green Velvet comes from Chicago, the birthplace of house music, so exposure to the genre at a young age allowed him to refine his technique and come into his musical creativity.
17. “Pacific State” by 808 State
Song year: 1989
The British electronic group 808 State released their hit single “Pacific State” in 1989, but it was not unique to their Quadrastate album. They released different versions of the same song on various albums, including “Pacific 202” on Ninety.
808 State released the song after band member Gerald Simpson left the band, causing a dispute since they publicized his work without permission. Either way, the song charted internationally and is one of the most well-known house songs of the era.
18. “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” by Crystal Waters
Song year: 1991
American musician Crystal Waters’s song “Gypsy Woman” is also known as “La Da Dee La Da Da.” She wrote it with her collaborator Neal Conway and released it on her debut album, Surprise. It immediately shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 once it hit the public ear, and it even charted in eight countries plus the Eurochart.
Slant Magazine considers it one of the “100 Best Dance Songs of All Time.”
19. “Passion” by Gat Decor
Song year: 1992
“Passion” is a defining song for the English electronic music group Gat Decor. The song immediately swept the underground club scene before coming to the mainstream United Kingdom charts.
Gat Decor received international critical acclaim for the jam, including a glowing review from Music Weekly. Mixmag Magazine ranked it as one of the “100 Best Dance Singles of All Time” and “50 Most Influential Records of All Time.”
20. “Good Life” by Inner City and Kevin Saunderson
Song year: 1988
“Good Life” is a single from American electronic group Inner City’s debut album Paradise. It reached the top of the international charts, serving as a blueprint for some of the biggest house hits, including Pump up the Jam.
Critics received the song very well, with publications like Music Weekly, The Observer, The San Francisco Examiner, and The Baltimore Sun singing their praises of the house tune.
21. “Push the Feeling On” by Nightcrawlers
Song year: 1992
The Nightcrawlers are a Scottish music group that did not initially identify with house music. They released the dance club hit “Push the Feeling On” in 1992, but they still did not consider themselves a house group. It was not until 1995 that they decided to rebrand as house musicians considering their biggest hits.
The “MK Dub Revisited Edit” of the song charted internationally, including the Eurocharts.
22. “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)” by Modjo
Song year: 2000
The French house musical duo Modjo is known for their bold approach to house music that began in 1999. “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)” was their first large-scale hit, reaching the top of 10 musical charts and becoming the 2000’s 16th best-selling single in the United Kingdom.
The song is slightly faster than the average house song, coming in at 128 beats per minute, which is why it quickly became popular in nightclubs.
23. “Voodoo Ray” by a Guy Called Gerald
Song year: 1989
“Voodoo Ray” is British record producer Gerald Simpson’s claim to fame. He released the song under the stage name “a Guy Called Gerald” during his time with Warlock Records. The song saw so much success that Music Weekly named it the best-selling independent single of 1989.
The Hacienda, a popular nightclub in Manchester, played the song so often that house fans everywhere began to associate the song with the club.
24. “Percolator” by Green Velvet
Song year: 2010
Green Velvet released his song “Percolator” on his 2010 album It’s Time, and it quickly became one of the biggest dance hits of the early 2010s. The song is associated with a dance, and its catchy beat makes it one of the best line dance songs for weddings.
Green Velvet’s version of this song heavily samples the 1992 Cajmere song of the same name, with a few minor changes.
25. “The Sun Can’t Compare” by Larry Heard
Song year: 2011
Not many famous house songs have lyrics, but Larry Heard and Mr. White’s 2011 tune “The Sun Can’t Compare” has some sweet words. The singer tells their lover that not even the sun, moon, or stars can compare to the light they bring to his life. This house jam brings an element of romance to dance clubs.
26. “French Kiss” by Lil Louis
Song year: 1989
Chicago-born musician Lil Louis rose to fame in America, Europe, and Australia with the release of his single “French Kiss.” It hit the top of the Billboard charts, climbing to number one for Dance Club Songs and 50 on the Hot 100. The instrumental, electronic song has a fun, moveable beat and no lyrics save for samples of erotic moans.
27. “One More Time” by Daft Punk
Song year: 2000
The year 2000 brought the beginning of a new century and one of the most iconic Daft Punk songs of all time. “One More Time” is a popular club song to this day, holding a special place in the hearts of dancers and lovers of the anime-style music video. It peaked at number 61 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
28. “Promise Land” by Joe Smooth
Song year: 1987
American DJ and producer Joe Smooth rose to fame in the late 80s, and his house hit “Promise Land” has much to do with his success. The song immediately resonated with the underground club scene and reached the top of the American charts.
After its release, Joe Smooth’s whole discography would contribute to him becoming one of the pioneers of American house music.
29. “That’s the Way Love Is” by Ten City
Song year: 1989
The Chicago house trio Ten City released “That’s the Way Love Is” on their debut album Foundation. The song received international acclaim but did especially well in West Germany.
Critics referred to the tune as “deep house” and helped the public realize there’s a thin line between soul music and house music, and it all comes down to a song’s feeling.
Top House Songs, Final Thoughts
Even though every house song has a similar tempo and four-on-the-floor beat, each release brings something new to the table. House music has evolved since its birth in the late 70s, with international influences and elements from other genres affecting the final product.
The genre’s evolution proves that it’s not going anywhere soon, so club frequenters will continue hearing some of the best house songs on their nights out.
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