The 1980s were a decade of big hair, bold fashion, and iconic dance music.
From classic disco to new wave and synthpop, the 80s had it all.
Whether you’re a fan of Michael Jackson, Madonna, or Prince, there’s no denying the influence these artists had on the music of the era.
In this list, we’ve compiled 45 of the best 80s dance songs that will transport you back in time and have you dancing the night away.
From the catchy hooks of “Billie Jean” to the upbeat energy of “Walking on Sunshine,” these songs are sure to get your feet moving and bring a smile to your face.
So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to groove to the best 80s dance songs.
1. “Blister In The Sun” by Violent Femmes
The American rock group Violent Femmes’ song “Blister in the Sun” was first released on their 1983 debut self-titled album.
After being chosen by listeners for the event, it was the first English-language tune to ever be played on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, the Republic of Ireland’s Irish-language radio station, in 2005.
The Violent Femmes managed to keep folk punk and alternative rock alive in the 1980s.
This upbeat song is a crowd favorite and is always a hit on the dance floor.
2. “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol
Here is another song from the 1960s that received a fantastic 80s remake.
This time, we have Tommy James and the Shondells to thank for the release of this song back in 1968.
It wasn’t given an 80s rock tweak until Billy Idol in the UK opted to cover it.
Idol’s version, which included a more rock-influenced sound, reached the top 40 internationally and rekindled interest in the classic garage rock single.
3. “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” is one of the most popular 80s dance songs.
This song was included in the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” list by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
When Bruce Springsteen released this in 1984, it marked the first time he had employed synthesizer sounds.
Fans appreciated the nod to 1980s style.
Although he is an American singer, “Dancing in the Dark” became well-known internationally and occasionally appeared near the top of the charts abroad.
4. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard
“Pour Some Sugar On Me” is a song by the British rock band Def Leppard.
It was released in 1987 as the second single from their fourth studio album, Hysteria.
The song became one of Def Leppard’s most popular and recognizable songs, reaching the top ten in multiple countries, and is considered a classic of 1980s rock music.
The song’s lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but the general theme is sexual desire.
The song’s guitar riff and its catchy chorus have made it a staple of rock radio.
It was also a commercial success, reaching number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
It has since become one of the band’s most enduring and recognizable songs.
5. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes
“(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” was written by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz in 1987.
It served as the theme song for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing and was performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
This multiple-award-winning song brings to mind Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze from the movie Dirty Dancing.
This song is the epitome of an 80s dance song. Just be sure you’re prepared for the run and lift at the end.
6. “Into The Groove” by Madonna
The 1985 Susan Seidelman film Desperately Seeking Susan contained the song “Into the Groove,” which was recorded by American singer Madonna.
A list of 1980s dance songs without any Madonna songs on it is inaccurate.
Her positive, alt-pop, female rocker vibe dominated the decade. She has long been a source of inspiration for artists.
In essence, this stage queen helped create subsequent musical eras and taught the 1980s how to express themselves.
7. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson, an American singer, released the song “Thriller” in 1983 under Epic Records in the UK.
With sound elements like thunder, footsteps, and wind, the music and lyrics are reminiscent of horror movies.
Stop what you’re doing and watch the “Thriller” music video right now if you haven’t already.
This song is cinematic, frightening, hilarious, and unforgettably catchy.
It even has a zombie dance. Try mastering all the steps for a fantastic exercise challenge.
It has been rated as one of the top 80s dance songs.
8. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
American songwriter Robert Hazard wrote “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and recorded, performed, and released it as a single in 1979.
The song’s cover by American singer Cyndi Lauper, who sang it in 1983, is the most well-known.
Another 80s pop icon, Cyndi Lauper, was known for her colorful outfits, hair, and distinctive voice.
This song is essential for any 80s dance playlist you’re creating because it has long been regarded as the anthem of girls’ nights out.
9. “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams
“Let’s Hear It for the Boy” is a song written by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow and recorded by Deniece Williams.
It was released in 1984 and featured in the film Footloose.
The song reached number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was a hit in several other countries.
It has since been covered by several other artists and has become a popular song for karaoke and dance performances.
10. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
“Footloose” is a song by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins.
It was released in 1984 as the title track for the film Footloose and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.
The song was written by Loggins and Dean Pitchford, who also wrote the film’s screenplay.
It was competing with “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” for the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Although neither song won the prize, the two nominations guaranteed this soundtrack a permanent spot in dancers’ hearts.
11. “Love Shack” by The B-52’s
The B-52’s are an American new wave band, and “Love Shack” is a song from their fifth studio album, The Cosmic Thing.
Was Don produced it, and it was released publicly on June 20th, 1989.
Since its debut, “Love Shack” has become a mainstay at stage concerts and is regarded as the band’s anthem.
When you play this at your next 80s party, the entire dance floor will yell, “Tin roof, rusted!”
They claimed that was how they imagined the love shack to appear.
According to the band, the club in the movie The Color Purple served as some of their inspiration.
12. “Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby” by Eddie Money
Eddie Money’s Can’t Hold Back album opens with the song “Take Me Home Tonight.”
With Ronnie Spector singing the “be my baby” line in the style of her song “Be My Baby,” the song is seen as a duet.
Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” became the 14th most-played song ever on American radio, drawing inspiration from the 1960s classic “Be My Baby.”
But surprisingly, when it was released in 1986, this song reached its highest point at number four on the Billboard list.
13. “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners
Dexys Midnight Runners, an English band, released “Come On Eileen” as a single from their second studio album Too-Rye-Ay in the UK in June 1982.
Michael Jackson would have enjoyed two straight number-one songs if it weren’t for Dexys Midnight Runners.
In 1983, “Billie Jean” was ousted from the top spot and replaced by “Come On Eileen.”
It features a mix of traditional Irish instruments and a catchy, upbeat chorus.
14. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
AC/DC, an Australian hard rock band, released the song “You Shook Me All Night Long” on their album Back in Black.
The song was also included in their follow-up album, Who Made Who?
Australian rockers AC/DC may not have made a mainstream music debut, but they were masters at getting crowds to dance.
This was ranked number 10 on VH1’s list of the greatest 100 songs from the 1980s.
15. “Invisible Touch” by Genesis
Genesis’ “Invisible Touch” is one of the top 80s dance songs ever recorded.
The lead single from Genesis’ 1986 album of the same name, “Invisible Touch,” is both the album’s title track and first single.
The song was created by a group of people, with lyrics penned by Phil Collins, a drummer, and singer.
“Invisible Touch” certainly succeeds in doing the job for a thirteenth album.
When they recorded this in 1986, Genesis wasn’t interested in making mediocre music.
Three weeks in a row saw the title song reach the top of the chart.
16. “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive
On their second album, Youthquake, the English pop band Dead or Alive features the song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”
It took 17 weeks for it to reach No. 1 in the UK after being released as a single in November 1984.
Like any era, the 1980s featured a wide range of unique sounds.
The chart-topper from Dead or Alive is in a minor key, giving it a touch of goth or alternative rock.
The dance floor always gets crowded thanks to its energetic beat.
It, therefore, fits perfectly on this 1980 disco songs list.
17. “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” is a song by the British New Wave band Wang Chung.
The song was released in 1986 as a single from the album Mosaiq.
Their single from 1986 remained at the top or very near the top of the charts.
It continues to be popular among 80s fans globally.
This song’s original version was ironic and depressing.
Their producer instructed them to remove the irony and create a song with a party vibe.
18. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
Wham! had a ton of hits, but this was their first in the United States, and it’s still one of their most well-known.
When it starts playing, you’ll probably begin to dance around the dance floor with everyone else because it is high-energy and upbeat which was composed and produced by George Michael.
After discovering that one of his bandmates had unintentionally doubled the word “up” in a note to his parents requesting that they wake him up before they left to go out somewhere.
The weirdest settings can often be where inspiration strikes!
19. “Fame” by Irene Cara
“Fame” is a song written by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford for the 1980 film of the same name.
Irene Cara, who portrayed Coco Hernandez in the original movie, sang the song.
It served as her first song as a recording artist as well.
“Fame,” the theme song for the same-titled movie and TV show, gave the 1980s their first taste of what was to come.
In 1980, the song earned a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Original Song.
20. “Nasty” by Janet Jackson
Janet and Michael Jackson dominated the top charts for the majority of 1980s dance songs.
The American singer Janet Jackson’s third studio album, Control, features the song “Nasty.”
It was released in 1986 as a sample-based funk song with a unique timpani melody.
On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song peaked at number three, while it also topped the chart for Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
The song “Nasty” later won Favorite Soul/R&B Single at the 1987 American Music Awards.
21. “Mickey” by Toni Basil
Toni Basil, an American singer and choreographer, recorded “Mickey” (originally named “Kitty”) for her 1981 debut studio album, Word of Mouth.
Toni Basil, who choreographed The Monkees, gained popularity for this controversial song.
She claims it’s just a straightforward song about a crush.
Some critics, however, have interpreted the lyrics as being dirty.
Basil clarified that the song does not also refer to Micky Dolenz of The Monkees.
22. “Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C. ft. Aerosmith
“Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C. featuring Aerosmith is one of the most popular 80s club songs.
The song was written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith and was released in 1986 as a single from Run-D.M.C.’s third album, Raising Hell.
Aerosmith enjoyed success in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until they worked with Run-D.M.C. on a cover of “Walk This Way” in the 1980s that they were recognized as a multi-generational group.
This success also revealed how popular rock and hip-hop mashups are.
In the past, the genres have frequently remained separate.
23. “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel
“Tell Her About It” is a song by Billy Joel, released in 1983 as the lead single from his album An Innocent Man.
Another performer who has dominated the charts for years, for this piano guy, the 1980s in particular were a wonderful decade.
In 1983, this gold-certified single debuted at the top of the charts.
The song’s lyrics are about a man who is trying to convince a woman to give him a chance and tell her about his feelings for her.
The song features a catchy, upbeat tempo and is considered one of Billy Joel’s most popular songs.
24. “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic
“Pump Up The Jam” is a hit song by the Belgian group Technotronic.
It was released in 1989 as the lead single from their debut album Pump Up The Jam: The Album.
It is one of the best 80s dance songs and was officially the first in the house genre to top the US charts.
It was played at every gathering, in every bar and club, and every radio station was asked to play it repeatedly.
The Eurodance sound by Technotronic from 1989 may have signaled the change from the 1980s to the 1990s.
25. “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield
“Jessie’s Girl” is a hit song by Australian singer-songwriter Rick Springfield.
It was released as a single from his album Working Class Dog in 1981.
It took some time for Rick Springfield’s song to become popular in the US, but once it did, it remained so.
Springfield had a crush on a real person who was the inspiration for the song’s lyrics, but he never met her.
26. “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone Loc
Tone Loc, an American rapper, actor, and producer, released the hip-hop song “Funky Cold Medina,” which was composed by Young MC, Matt Dike, and Michael Ross.
Loc’s 1989 debut album, Lc-ed After Dark, included it as the second single.
What does a “Funky Cold Medina” actually mean?
It turns out that Tone Loc got the phrase from Flavor Flav.
The song narrates the tale of a cocktail that has stunning and humorous unforeseen effects on the drinker.
27. “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston
This song is from Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut album in 1985; can you believe it?
Right from the outset, she was a renowned superstar.
George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam wrote this song, which was produced by Narada Michael Walden.
“How Will I Know” peaked at number one and spent weeks in the top ten of the global charts.
28. “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow
“I Want Candy” is a song originally written and recorded by The Strangeloves in 1965.
It was covered by the British band Bow Wow Wow in 1982 and released as a single.
The song was a hit for the band, reaching number 66 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
The dancing song by Bow Wow Wow is one of the greatest 80s dance hits.
Throughout the 1980s, MTV aired this music video of a band playing on a beach.
The catchy chorus will stick in your brain forever, so beware.
29. “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles
The American band the Bangles released the song “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
It debuted as the third single from the album Different Light in 1986.
It was the band’s first number-one hit, was given a gold certification by the RIAA, and peaked at number one on Billboard’s 1987 Hot 100.
This song, which was banned in some locations due to sensitivity issues, is still a classic from the 1980s.
The composer previously said that he got the inspiration for the song from observing people struggling to maintain their balance on a ferry boat.
30. “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League
The Human League, a British synthpop group, released the song “Don’t You Want Me” (credited on the cover as The Human League 100).
It was the most popular and commercially successful song for the group and the best-selling UK single of 1981.
The Human League’s song helped British synthpop find its footing in the 1980s.
This song was categorized as a “Second British Invasion” hit by Rolling Stone in 1983.
This song was originally a solo, but the lead singer changed it after getting some inspiration from the movie A Star is Born.
31. “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen
This is another top 80s dance song by John Deacon, the band’s bassist, and was featured on the band’s eighth studio album, The Game.
By the 1980s, Queen had already made a name for themselves as a dominant force in the rock music industry.
They were never afraid to follow new musical trends.
Freddie Mercury and his band had a reputation for establishing trends.
When they received an American Music Award in 1980 for this well-known dance song, that’s exactly what they did.
32. “Super Freak” by Rick James
The best 80s dance songs list cannot be complete without including “Super Freak” by Rick James.
“Super Freak” was purposefully written to be a hit dance song, and countless other songs have sampled and referred to it afterward.
The song “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer features some of its most recognizable riffs.
33. “1999” by Prince
Many of these songs have a very 1980s sound, which makes them seem outdated.
The chorus of this 1982 hit, however, includes a date that is meant to be far in the future.
It’s similar to reading the book 1984 when you listen to it now, only with a lot more dancing and enjoyment.
The song returned to the top 100 list after Prince’s death, showing that he has never been out of style.
34. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
Hold up, Gloria Jones released the first version of “Tainted Love” in 1964.
That’s right. The well-known song that we are all familiar with is a cover.
This song didn’t immediately get to the top of the charts and establish itself as a staple of the 1980s; it took the British synthpop band Soft Cell to release their customized version.
35. “Faith” by George Michael
“Faith” is a song by George Michael, released in 1987 as the lead single from his debut solo album of the same name.
This song was number one on the Billboard chart for an entire month, and it didn’t even require George Michael to wear tight jeans. However, it didn’t hurt.
It was one of the top dance songs of the 1980s.
The music video for the song features Michael dressed as a biker and was noted for its use of sexual imagery.
The song includes a catchy guitar riff and a blend of rock and pop elements.
36. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is a song by American singer Whitney Houston, released as the lead single from her second studio album Whitney.
This is one of the most uplifting songs you will ever hear about longing and loneliness.
You don’t know why you have to dance when it starts, but you must.
It won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was nominated for Record of the Year at the 30th Grammy Awards.
37. “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang
This song quickly came to mind as I learned what it meant for a song to be a “bop” recently.
It’s the peak of bop.
It’s not a requirement, but it certainly helps for music to be lively and uplifting to be a good dancing song.
38. “Any Way You Want It” by Journey
Any Way You Want It” is a song by the American rock band Journey, from their album Departure.
It was written by band members Steve Perry and Neal Schon and released as a single in 1980.
Journey went ahead and produced a fantastic song that compels you to stop what you’re doing and start dancing after drawing inspiration from the Irish rock group Thin Lizzy.
It’s an easy tune to understand.
Turning it on and observing what transpires is the best way to understand why this is a necessary addition to any dancing playlist.
39. “Strange Animal” by Gowan
“Strange Animal” is a song by Canadian rock musician and keyboardist Lawrence Gowan.
You don’t necessarily need to know what a fantastic dance song is about to rock out to it, which is one of its amazing qualities.
That is what distinguishes “Strange Animal” as one of the 1980s’ most underappreciated dance anthems.
Let’s all work together to make it the most-played song of the twenty-first century.
The song is known for its keyboard-heavy sound and Gowan’s powerful vocals.
40. “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
Never has a midlife crisis been more enjoyable.
In the most groovy possible way, Paul Simon delivers this wordy, instrument-centered story about a man who questions why life is so difficult.
Why is this one of the greatest 80s dance songs? Listen to find out.
This song is among the best-known songs because of the variety of instruments used in it.
It’s also amazing that Chevy Chase shows up in the music video.
41. “Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis & The News
How could we leave this one out when backup vocals are provided by Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott?
Huey’s hit reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 and stayed there for a total of 16 weeks.
Knowing that this song is one big joke calling out all the weirdos of the 1960s who started attempting to blend in with the 1980s makes it brilliant.
You’ve got a great toe-tapper when you add those funky horns.
42. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean
“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” is a song released in 1988 by Trinidadian-English recording artist Billy Ocean.
One of those songs that just compels you to dance is this one.
Jazz, synth, pop, and a tiny bit of funk are all represented in it to various degrees.
This tune will get you moving if you weren’t already.
43. “Bust A Move” by Young M.C.
Young M.C. certainly made the phrase “bust a move” popular, though I’m not sure if he actually came up with it.
The protagonist of the song isn’t great with women, but when he busts out his sick dance moves, everything changes.
Young M.C. only had one significant hit, but it was a memorable one.
44. “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner
“Juke Box Hero” is a 1981 song recorded by the British-American rock band Foreigner.
It was included in the band’s fourth studio album, 4.
This Foreigner classic is undoubtedly the rock anthem that best sums up its time.
It had a driving drumbeat that enthralled audiences back when it was popular, and the greatest part is that it is based on a true story.
45. “You Make My Dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates
“You Make My Dreams” is a 1980 song recorded by American pop-rock duo Hall & Oates as a single from their album Voices.
This music has the vibe of something that was meant for dancing.
When this song plays, I’ve tried not to dance, but it does not work.
It’s great because of how straightforward it is.
The emphasis is on a guy and a girl who get along well and want the rest of the world to know it.
The song is known for its addictive chorus and upbeat tempo and has been featured in several films and television shows.
Best 80s Dance Songs – Final Thoughts
In conclusion, the 1980s were a decade known for its iconic dance music, with a wide variety of genres and styles represented.
The 45 best 80s dance songs we’ve listed above are a great representation of the decade’s diverse musical landscape and highlight some of the most memorable and timeless tracks of the era.
These songs continue to be popular and are often played at parties and events, proving that 80s dance music will always hold a special place in our hearts and on the dance floor.