8 Iconic Dance Songs from the 1980s

It’s a flashback to the 1980s. Put on your tie-dye T-shirt and your extra-long leggings, get your endurance up with some home workout tapes and let’s get ready to dance. Yes, the decade, known for synthesizers and big hair is back!

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Below, we dive into some of the high-energy songs of the decade. The songs that get us out of our chairs and dancing in the living room like we’re in a Michael Jackson music video. Here are eight iconic dance songs from the 1980s.

1. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” Whitney Houston

Not just the title of the 2022 biopic about the life of big-voice singer Whitney Houston, but this 1987 song is also one of her most famous. It’s lively, energetic and, well, is all about dancing. It’s a call to action! How could you not dance to it?

2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Wham!

Featured in the 2023 documentary WHAM!, this song began when George Michael saw a note on the door that included something of a handwritten typo. Taking the “go-go” typo into the studio, Michael wrote a pop hit that, when dropped in 1984, went to the hearts and dancing feet of thousands of listeners.

3. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper

How could this not be a dance hit? Released in 1983, this track by Lauper, which was a cover of a song released four years earlier by Robert Hazard, made Lauper a star. With her electric voice and dazzling demeanor, “Girls Just Want To have Fun” got many people moving on the dance floor.

4. “Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson

Not only is “Billie Jean” an iconic song from Michael Jackson and his 1982 album, Thriller, which reads as much like a greatest hits record as a normal LP, but when he performed the song live at the Motown 25 celebration, he showcased his moonwalk and tip-toes dance pose. He likely inspired millions to move in just a few minutes of performance.

5. “Footloose,” Kenny Loggins

“Footloose” is a song about dancing from a movie about dancing. A legendary guitar line that gets your hips moving, what else could you want from this 1984 song from Kenny Loggins?

6. “Super Freak,” Rick James

We all like to get a little freaky on the dance floor, so this funky track from Rick James gives us that license. Released in 1981, “Super Freak” used bass and lingo get to get your toenails tapping.

7. “Jump,” Van Halen

“Jump” from the 1984 album, 1984, even tells you what to do. Get all that pent-up energy and use it to, well, JUMP! The synth powers are strong in this song. And the charming Eddie Van Halen knows how to nudge you onto the dance floor. So, you might as well, JUMP!

8. “Kiss,” Prince

Has there ever been a more suggestive guitar strum? It’s like the sonic equivalent of your hips swaying. It’s suggestive and it’s enticing in this 1986 track. So, get on the boogie and let it rip.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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