When I was younger, so much younger, we used to go dancing. Believe it or not, we fell hard into the disco era and found our way to bars and clubs where we could dance for hours. There was plenty of Hustle as we would slide, turn, spin and merengue across the floor. The period was brief, not just because we are older now, but because the flood of disco received a quick backlash and we moved onto other styles of music. That did not stop the dancing. It just changed the beat.
When I was a young boy,
Said put away those young boy ways
Now that I’m getting’ older, so much older
I long for those young boy days
(- John Mellencamp)
We may not be going down to the Copacabana anymore, but we can still do our Neutron Dance. I am sure you know someone about whom you can say, “All She Want’s To Do Is Dance.” So why not be a Dancing Queen or King and get up and Dance, Dance, Dance. There is no Dancing on the Ceiling at Marilyn’s house, but you can still Dance The Night Away. I hear your Mama Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll, but what’s your excuse?
In order to get you up and moving, I brought along some music to spin on the old turntable. Before I get to my Top 10 Dance tunes that actually have the word “dance” in the title, I thought I would lay an honorable mention on this current tune. Maybe someone you know has already told you to “Shut Up and Dance.”
10. I Can’t Stop Dancing, Archie Bell and the Drells – The song was released in 1968 and was probably a predictable follow-up to 1967’s Tighten Up, another dance hit. This was certainly pre-disco and what we were dancing to until the records skipped a groove.
9. Dance, Dance, Dance, Beach Boys – The 1964 song by Brian and Carl Wilson along with Mike Love was a dance sensation. It was often paired in performance with another Beach Boys song on our list.
8. Come Dancing, The Kinks – The 1983 hit song was written by Ray Davies and inspired by his sister’s trips to the local dance hall. There was a follow-up single entitled “Don’t Forget To Dance.”
7. Do You Wanna Dance, Beach Boys – The 1958 Bobby Freeman song was given more life by the Beach Boys’ cover in 1965. It was subsequently covered by many others, including a very popular slow version by Bette Midler.
6. Dance to the Music, Sly and the Family Stone – It is time to mix a little soulful funk in with your rock and roll. The 1968 dance hit pushed music towards a more “Psychedelic” sound. Other bands followed. Everybody dance!
5. You Should Be Dancing, Bee Gees – The Brothers Gibb knew how to push music in one direction and then another. This 1976 chart topper helped disco to explode onto the dance floor. It was one of 6 Bee Gees songs to appear the following year on the soundtrack album of Saturday Night Fever. John Travolta taught people the moves as his stardom increased with every glide across the dance floor. It you are still seated, this should get you up.
4. Dancing In The Street, David Bowie & Mick Jagger – OK, I could have picked a lot of different versions of this song, but in this one they both Move Like Jagger. The Marvin Gaye tune was a 1964 hit for Martha and the Vandellas. Others covered it with success until David and Mick danced down the street in this 1985 version.
3. Dancing in the Dark, Bruce Springsteen – “The Boss” wrote the song and was apparently looking for a dance club hit. He got it with this 1985 release, the first single from the Born in the USA album. The “B side” of the single was “Pink Cadillac,” another hit. Springsteen owns the stage in this live performance and official video for the song.
2. Flashdance…What a Feeling, Irene Cara – The 1983 hit for the movie Flashdance was coauthored by Cara and picked up an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. Jennifer Beals is the dancer in the movie which received negative reviews and box office success.
1. Save The Last Dance For Me, The Drifters – I can see that you are now tired from all the dancing, so we will finish with a slow dance. I have always liked this song and thought it was put to powerful use near the end of Season one of Queer as Folk, the American version here. I will give you the 1960 version (used in QAF, by the way) with Ben E. King on lead vocals.