Top Dance Songs Of All Time
What is the history of Dance Songs?
Dance music has never been bigger or more celebrated than it is now, as evidenced by the majesty of today's electronic music culture. The magnitude of its stadium-shaking events, the number of dance-dominated charts, and the hundreds of millions of ecstatic fans make it difficult to imagine a time when dance music was a small dot in a world that initially resisted change.
How then could something so small and initially insignificant have grown against the odds into a booming industry? Who courageously put the pieces together, radically altering the course of the evolution of music? The following text provides a thrilling roller coaster ride through the history of dance music.
What music are related to dance songs?
There are numerous instances that could be cited as the beginnings of electronic music, ranging from the introduction of Robert Moog's first commercial synthesizer in 1964 to the dub artists of Jamaica, who began layering multiple tracks on reel-to-reel audio tape recorders in the 1960s to create a new branch of reggae. Disco, however, was the one thing that initiated club culture in its entirety.
It is no accident that disco music has deep roots in African-American music culture. Almost every genre of twentieth-century popular music originated as black dance music, from jazz and R&B to rock 'n' roll, funk, hip-hop, and ultimately techno and house. Most non-Western cultures have long been inseparable from music, possibly more so than their Western counterparts.
Dancing to the beat of the drums and vocal chants was an integral part of rituals and a form of expression that was unparalleled. And when the United States abolished slavery in 1865, the descendants of the African peoples who had been transported to the country over multiple centuries began to influence the country's dominant music culture.
Ultimately, Disco music emerged in the mid-1960s to celebrate newly won freedoms, particularly for the gay community. Even though disco wasn't as inherently electronic as most dance music styles are today, it was the spark that shifted the focus of the record industry from radio to dance floors.
Despite its similarities to disco in terms of rhythm, intensity, and danceability, house music began to dominate when the world grew tired of disco at the end of the 1970s.
Farley Jackmaster Funk's cover of Isaac Hayes' 'Love Can't Turn Around' was the first international house hit, with visionaries such as Frankie Knuckles, Jesse Saunders, and Farley Jackmaster Funk laying the foundations of house music. Marshall Jefferson, whose style became synonymous with Chicago house, was another figurehead of the first wave of house producers. He incorporated the now-iconic vocals, thumping piano, and strings into the minimal, energetic rhythms while adopting a slightly quicker tempo (bpm – beats per minute) than its New York counterpart.
The demand for dance-floor-oriented tracks sparked a fire in the world of electronic equipment, which led to the rapid spread of house music throughout the United States. Midway through the 1980s, the emergence of drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers opened up a vast array of new possibilities, and house music flourished tremendously in their wake.
In another American city, music's development took a different path. In the late 1980s, a new, less conventional style of electronic music emerged, and it was appropriately dubbed "techno" in reference to the technologically advanced city from which it originated: Detroit.
As the oil crisis of the 1970s caused many people to lose their jobs in Detroit's automotive industry, it came to reflect the underlying socioeconomic differences within the city. The Belleville Three—Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson—played a significant role in the development of Detroit Techno.
The high school friends, who were black in a predominantly white neighborhood in the Detroit suburbs, bonded over their love of sports and, more importantly, the new wave of European synthesizer music. Their music became the soundtrack for the youths whose parents had worked together to secure a better future for future generations until they lost their jobs.
Derrick May began releasing seminal techno tracks such as 'Nude Photo' and 'Strings Of Life' as Rhythim Is Rhythim in 1986 after Juan Atkins established his Metroplex label in 1985 and used it to distribute his early techno hit 'No Ufo's' under his Model 500 moniker.
Kevin Saunderson, who later achieved great success as Inner City and E-Dancer, launched his label KMS (which stands for Kevin Maurice Saunderson) in 1987, and it remains a major force in the world of techno.
In the early and middle 1990s, following a brief and localized influx of hardcore and "gabber" music from the Netherlands, trance music emerged as a minor subgenre within the house spectrum. It shared characteristics with the house, techno, new age, and synthesizer pop, with the latter two contributing significantly to its dreamy atmosphere.
Primarily because there wasn't enough new material being produced to warrant complete trance sets or dedicated trance nights, it was not an immediate success. Robert Miles ('Children,' BBE ('Seven Days And One Week,' and Sash ('Encore Une Fois') and BBE ('Seven Days And One Week') and Sash ('Encore Une Fois') transcended these limitations with their respective songs.
As these records became massive club hits and crossed over to the mainstream charts, more and more producers began to immerse themselves in the world of trance, assisting the genre in staking a claim alongside the other great dance music styles of the era.
The melodic tendencies of Ferry Corsten, DJ Tisto, and later Armin van Buuren contributed to the gradual emergence of trance music as the newest dominant style of dance music. Armin van Buuren was the first of the three to fully utilize the Internet's reach.
His A State Of Trance radio show, which debuted in 2001 and remained primarily a national show for its first four years, gained sudden global prominence when a British company called Radio Department began broadcasting it globally. The globalization of dance music, specifical trance, was a significant turning point.
The evolution of dance music after the rise of trance is best described as a feedback loop. From hardstyle, progressive (house), and big room to drum 'n' bass, dubstep, and pretty much every offshoot of the main genre that comes to mind, new dance music genres have sprung up everywhere. And as more and more varieties of electronically produced music tantalized the taste buds of so many people around the world, the dance music industry recognized this incredible opportunity for what it was: a chance to break the waning dominance of the more traditional styles of music and establish their own empire.
In roughly the past ten to twenty years, the rise of dance music has been meteoric and self-reinforcing. The most prominent artists in dance music can now sell out stadiums in a heartbeat, once-minor labels have become premier global brands, and outdated views on music consumption have been swept away by the tide. And as the industry continues to innovate as a result of further technological development, the circle is closed.
Dance music is taking all the necessary steps to maintain its dominance. No one can predict, however, what the industry will look like in ten, twenty, or thirty years. However, there is one certainty.
Dance music has become a major force in the world of music against all odds and despite the derisive smirks of its early-day detractors. And because of the courageous individuals who went against the grain and made their dreams a reality, dance music now stands tall and proud as an electronic titan.
Late in the 1980s, musicians and producers began experimenting with various new EDM styles. They created new styles such as "acid house," a subgenre of house that produced hits such as "Pacific State" by the British band 808 State. Other UK groups, such as LFO, Underworld, and Orbital, were frequently influenced by post-punk or industrial music when developing their own unique styles.
Others, including B12, The Orb, Leftfield, and Aphex Twin, were influenced by the ambient music of Brian Eno. They combined synthesized sound waves with electronic beats to create "ambient house" and "ambient techno." These experimental styles are often referred to as "intelligent dance music" or IDM, a label implying that it is the type of music that requires close listening to fully appreciate.
Midway through the 1990s, the second wave of Detroit techno emerged as EDM producers such as Robert Hood and Carl Craig created a new style known as "minimal techno." Simultaneously, Kenny Dixon Jr. (a.k.a. Moodymann) created a new sample-based house music style.
Moodymann's house tracks were constructed by sampling soul, funk, and disco records and combining them with synthesized house beats and electronic sounds, whereas minimal techno was typically sparse and entirely electronic.
On his 1997 album Silent Introduction as well as more recent albums such as Sinner and Taken Away, Moodymann demonstrates his musical prowess. Moby, a New York-based DJ, utilized Moodymann-style samples on his 1999 album Play.
New Jack Dance and Swing Pop
Since jazz bands played swing in the 1940s and rock'n'roll topped the charts in the 1950s, dance music has appeared on the pop music charts.
In the 1960s, songs such as Chubby Checker's The Twist sparked new dance fads, and in the 1970s and 1980s, R&B artists such as Michael and Janet Jackson, Rick James, and Prince topped both the dance and pop music charts with their funky dance tracks.
Michael Jackson's 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, while his 1991 album Dangerous features excellent examples of new jack swing, a dance music style that dominated the charts and nightclubs in the 1990s.
New jack swing is a blend of R&B, soul, and rap played primarily on traditional instruments, but since the late 1990s, the majority of dance-pop has been created using computers.
Pop singers have collaborated with electronic dance music (EDM) producers to create songs that combine elements of pop music and EDM, as Madonna did when she asked EDM producer Stuart Price to help her create the classic 2005 song Hung Up.
The song combines a pounding disco beat with numerous EDM elements, including a breakdown reminiscent of trance near the end. It topped the charts in over forty countries and is a good example of 21st-century dance music that combines older styles such as funk and disco with more contemporary EDM styles such as acid house and trance.
What popular dance songs are popular after the year 2000?
New technology made it easier for artists to create high-quality electronic music at home and share it online at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This allowed numerous new IDM artists, such as Nicolas Jaar, Actress, and Four Tet, to emerge.
It also allowed new EDM producers to gain popularity, and some of these went on to become well-known DJs such as Tiesto, Deadmau5, Diplo, Skrillex, Armin Van Buuren, Zedd, and Todd Terje. In the 2000s and 2010s, they performed at massive dance festivals that replicated the raves of the 1990s but were organized by large entertainment corporations rather than dance music enthusiasts.
In the 2010s, EDM producers frequently collaborated with renowned musicians and vocalists. This is what French duo Daft Punk did when they invited Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers and R&B singer Pharrell Williams to appear on several tracks of their album Random Access Memories, including Get Lucky, 2013's biggest worldwide hit. Recently, Scottish producer Calvin Harris enlisted singer Steve Lacy for his upcoming techno track Live Without Your Love.
Dance music fans have a lot to look forward to with talented artists like Jamie xx, Moodymann, Against All Logic, and Kaytranada on the scene.
What are the Top 10 dance songs of all time?
- "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees
The Bee Gees' 1977 hit "Stayin' Alive" is one of the most recognizable anthems of the disco era, in part because it was featured in Saturday Night Fever's opening credits. Amazingly, the song was never intended to be a single, but it became a massive hit after radio stations were inundated with requests for it following the premiere of the movie trailer.
- Chic's "Le Freak"
Chic's 1978 disco hit "Le Freak" may appear to be a celebration of the Studio 54 scene, but it was actually inspired by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards' refusal to enter the club on New Year's Eve 1977, despite being invited by Grace Jones. The song has long outlasted Studio 54, and it holds the distinction of reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on three separate occasions.
- “Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite
A seamless blend of disco, funk, hip-hop, and house music, "Groove Is in the Heart" by Deee-Lite is one of the most upbeat songs of the early 1990s.
In this clip from the 1991 Rock in Rio festival, the group performs the song with funk legends Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins in the backing band. Everyone onstage appears to be having the time of their lives, but the singer Lady Miss Kier, who is wearing a backless golden jumpsuit, is particularly radiant.
- “'Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is responsible for some of the most popular dance songs of all time; therefore, his relatively low ranking on this list can be partially attributed to vote-splitting.
He is best known for his Moonwalk to "Billie Jean," but "Thriller" received the most votes, possibly because its iconic music video features such memorable group choreography.
- “Shout” by The Isley Brothers
The 1959 single "Shout" by the Isley Brothers didn't have much of an impact on the pop charts when it was first released, but it has since become an inescapable part of popular culture due to its prevalence in movies, wedding receptions, and sporting events.
The song has been covered numerous times, but nothing matches the Isleys' original for raw energy and elemental simplicity.
- “Vogue” by Madonna
As with Michael Jackson, Madonna's placement on this list was somewhat hampered by vote-splitting due to her abundance of top-tier dance hits. ("Into the Groove" just missed the top 10 by a hair, FYI.) Nonetheless, if only one Madonna song could be included on this list, "Vogue" would be the one.
In addition to being one of her signature hits, its music video and live performance at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards showcase some of her most recognizable dance moves.
- "D.A.N.C.E." by Justice
The most recent song on this list is Justice's jubilant tribute to Michael Jackson, but it already seems like a timeless classic. Nonetheless, it is somewhat surprising that the French duo has surpassed the King of Pop in the polls.
- "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles
It is easy to forget that the Beatles got their start in the entertainment industry by performing raucous renditions of R&B songs because they became such a powerful cultural force. Their rendition of "Twist and Shout," written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell, was one of their earliest singles, and it remains a guaranteed dance floor filler.
- "Blue Monday" by The Order
The 1983 hit single "Blue Monday" by New Order is so popular in British dance clubs that it is the best-selling 12-inch single in the history of the United Kingdom. Numerous versions of the song have been remixed, covered, and sampled, but none seem to surpass the original, which strikes the perfect balance of funk, angst, and aloof sexiness.
- “One More Time” by Daft Punk
The overwhelming victory of Daft Punk's "One More Time" in this poll shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has seen the French DJ duo perform live or who has been to a club with the song blaring from the speakers.
The song is essentially a hyper-concentrated blast of euphoria accompanied by a pounding house beat. People cannot help but lose their minds whenever it is played.
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