Let’s Dance! My 50 Favorite Classic Rock Dance Songs

9.12 Tom Tom Club
Talking Head spin-off band Tom Tom Club

Contrary to many rock fans, dance music, soul, R&B and hip hop have all played a role in the development of rock music throughout the 60+ years since Bill Haley took “Rock Around the Clock” all the way to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart back in 1954. Back in the day, it was nothing for the young artists who were creating this thing called rock & roll to mix Country music with Rhythm & Blues and the Blues. All of the creative geniuses of that initial wave of Rock & Roll, like Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly were all performing this musical alchemy. And, the cross-pollination did not stop there, as The Beatles recorded Motown songs on many of their initial albums before their brilliant songwriting took off. And, The Rolling Stones seemed as if they were digging through the Library of Congress, finding obscure Blues and Rhythm & Blues singles and repackaging them for American consumption.

9.12 The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones revitalized themselves by incorporating disco and punk back on their 1978 classic LP ‘Some Girls’

Then, as the Sixties were ending, Funk music started finding its way into music, as George Clinton’s Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone began to mix heavy music with funk, while Jimi Hendrix was taking the Blues, making it sound heavy, then added a funk beat to his innovative music. So, all of those fans who believe that rock music started in the Seventies and had no “outside” influences (in other words, “black”) on music are wrong. Rock is all about this cross-pollination. That’s why it continues to adapt and survive, regardless of what the popular sounds are clogging the Hot 100 this week.

9.12 Frank Zappa for President
Frank Zappa had a Top 40 hit in 1979 with the disco parody “Dancin’ Fool”

Back during the aftermath of Saturday Night Fever and its ultra-popular soundtrack, disco was everywhere. And, believe it or not, many rock artists expressed their love of the music. Seriously, everyone from the Grateful Dead and the Beach Boys to Kiss and David Bowie, all the way up to Blondie and Talking Heads were singing the praises of this new brand of dance music, with each recording a song that entered the Disco Single Chart. And, once mainstream rock artists were experimenting with dance rhythms, it opened the floodgates that have yet to be closed, as current pop/rockers Maroon 5 have been proving year in and year out with their current brand of successful rock dance hits.

9.12 The Kinks
The Kinks made a comeback in 1979 with their ‘Low Budget’ album, which followed a similar game plan as did the Stones’ ‘Some Girls’

Dancing and Rock music have always gone together. That’s why it is never a surprise to hear rock groups releasing singles that make us dance. Heck, you can hear disco’s and funk’s influences all over the Rock music of the late-Seventies and into the Eighties and all the way to the present. So, may I present my 50 Favorite Classic Rock Dance Songs. My list is ordered alphabetically.

9.12 Wings-Goodnight-Tonight
Even Paul McCartney and his band Wings had a disco hit in 1979 with the single “Goodnight Tonight”
  1. ABBA – “Does Your Mother Know” (Voulez-Vous, 1979)
  2. Aerosmith – “Walk This Way” (Toys in the Attic, 1975)
  3. Bee Gees – “Jive Talkin’” (Main Course, 1975)
  4. Blondie – “Atomic” (Eat to the Beat, 1979)
  5. Blondie – “Call Me” (American Gigolo OST, 1980)
  6. Blondie – “Heart of Glass” (Parallel Lines, 1978)
  7. Bruce Springsteen – “Dancing in the Dark” (Born in the USA, 1984)
  8. Chicago – “Street Player” (Chicago 13, 1979)
  9. Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (She’s So Unusual, 1983)
  10. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “I Don’t Want to Lose You” (Along the Red Ledge, 1978)
  11. David Bowie – “Let’s Dance” (Let’s Dance, 1983)
  12. Dexys Midnight Runners – “Come on Eileen” (Too Rye Aye, 1982)
  13. Don Henley – “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” (Building the Perfect Beast, 1984)
  14. Duran Duran – “Hungry like the Wolf” (Rio, 1982)
  15. Duran Duran – “The Reflex” (Seven and the Ragged Tiger, 1983)
  16. Electric Light Orchestra – “Don’t Bring Me Down” (Discovery, 1979)
  17. Electric Light Orchestra – “Shine a Little Love” (Discovery, 1979)
  18. Elton John – “Mama Can’t Buy Me Love” (The Thom Bell Sessions, 1979)
  19. Foreigner – “Urgent” (4, 1981)
  20. Frank Zappa – “Dancin’ Fool” (Sheik Yerbouti, 1979)
  21. Grateful Dead – “Shakedown Street” (Shakedown Street, 1978)
  22. INXS – “Need You Tonight” (Kick, 1987)
  23. INXS – “Original Sin” (The Swing, 1984)
  24. INXS – “The Devil Inside” (Kick, 1987)
  25. INXS – “What You Need” (Listen like Thieves, 1985)
  26. Kiss – “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” (Dynasty, 1979)
  27. Maroon 5 with Christina Aguilera – “Moves like Jagger” (Hands All Over, 2010)
  28. Pat Benatar – “We Live for Love” (In the Heat of the Night, 1979)
  29. Paul McCartney – “Comin’ Up (live)” (McCartney II, 1980)
  30. Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” (The Wall, 1979)
  31. Primal Scream – “Movin’ on Up” (Screamadelica, 1991)
  32. Queen – “Another One Bites the Dust” (The Game, 1980)
  33. Queen – “Body Language” (Hot Space, 1982)
  34. Robert Palmer – “Addicted to Love” (Riptide, 1986)
  35. Rod Stewart – “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (Blondes Have More Fun, 1978)
  36. Soft Cell – “Tainted Love” (Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, 1981)
  37. Talking Heads – “Burning Down the House” (Speaking in Tongues, 1983)
  38. The B-52s – “Love Shack” (Cosmic Thing, 1989)
  39. The Clash – “Lost in the Supermarket” (London Calling, 1979)
  40. The Clash – “Rock the Casbah” (Combat Rock, 1982)
  41. The Kinks – “(I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” (Low Budget, 1979)
  42. The Power Station – “Some like It Hot” (The Power Station, 1985)
  43. The Rolling Stones – “Emotional Rescue” (Emotional Rescue, 1980)
  44. The Rolling Stones – “Miss You” (Some Girls, 1978)
  45. Tom Tom Club – “Genius of Love” (Tom Tom Club, 1981)
  46. Wild Cherry – “Play That Funky Music” (Wild Cherry, 1976)
  47. Wings – “Goodnight Tonight” (Single, 1979)
  48. Yoko Ono – “Walking on Thin Ice” (Season of Glass, 1981)
  49. ZZ Top – “Gimme All Your Lovin’” (Eliminator, 1983)
  50. ZZ Top – “Legs” (Eliminator, 1983)
9.12 primal-scream
By the time the 90s rolled around, everyone was incorporating dance rhythms into their music, such as Britpop sensations Primal Scream proved to great effect on their classic 1992 album ‘Screamadelica’

See what I mean? Rock music IS about the whole dance thing. And, I mostly stuck with songs in MY wheelhouse, though I did occasionally throw my younger readers a bone or two. Unfortunately, I steered away from songs in the Fifties and Sixties, even though I love many songs from that era, yet, I tried to stick with songs from my prime of the late-Seventies and Eighties. Also, I kept Prince off the list, since the man epitomizes Rock Dance songs. Still, these songs will make you boogie on the dance floor.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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