Workout Guru Richard Simmons’ 11 Favorite Songs to Sweat to

For people of a certain age, the name Richard Simmons evokes memories of sweating, working out, and the bright, bubbly personality of the fitness fiend.

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Simmons, born July 12, 1948, brought health and exercise into the homes of thousands with his Sweatin’ to the Oldies videos and workout tapes, in the ’80s. He famously talked about being overweight as a kid, saying the only exercise he got as a young person was twisting the top of a mayonnaise jar. Later, Simmons made appearances on popular television talk shows and radio programs and became an international celebrity thanks to his positive energy and effective routines.

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons, who had receded from the public eye for the past decade, or so, began to upload his material to his YouTube page, bringing his flare for aerobics back to the masses.

But since one of his most important tools for helping people lose weight was music, we thought we’d highlight some of the now-74-year-old Simmons’ favorite “oldies” workout songs. Just in case you might need a musical push to get up off your sofa and work out to feel better and improve your health.

1. “Dancing in the Street”

The 1964 song, recorded by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.

2. “It’s My Party”

Recorded by Lesley Gore for her 1963 debut studio album, I’ll Cry If I Want To.

3. “Great Balls of Fire”

Recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1957.

4. “Wipe Out”

The 1963 single was recorded by the Surfaris.

5. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

The 1966 song was made famous by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell before becoming an even bigger hit for Diana Ross in 1970.

6. “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Recorded by the Four Seasons, the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962.

7. “Summer in the City”

Released in the summer of 1966, “Sumer in the City” was recorded by the pop band The Lovin’ Spoonful.

8. “Rescue Me”

“Rescue Me” was recorded and released in 1965 by soul singer Fontella Bass.

9. “Rockin’ Robin”

Written by Leon René, “Rockin’ Robin” was recorded by Bobby Day in 1958.

10. “Shout”

“Shout” was written and recorded by the vocal group the Isley Brothers in 1959.

11. “These Boots Were Made For Walkin'”

Written by Lee Hazlewood, “These Boots Were Made For Walkin'” was recorded by Nancy Sinatra in 1966.

Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

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