Top 10 Dance Music Songs of the 80s

When it came to dance music, the 80s was an exciting decade with plenty of hits – be they disco, new wave or funk – which helped define an entire generation.

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper remains an iconic 80s dance track that still gets people moving today. With its upbeat tempo and infectious melody, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” makes an irresistible dance floor choice.

“Genius Of Love” by Tom Tom Club

Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads likely never expected that their side project Genius of Love would become such a sensational success – after all, critics often praise them and alternative fans don’t always make charts; yet Genius of Love hit both dance and R&B charts simultaneously to become one of the most instantly recognizable rhythm tracks ever.

The song’s synthesizer riffs and vocal melodies were inspired by Black music, paying homage to artists like rapper Kurtis Blow, Motown singer Smokey Robinson and reggae icons Sly & Robbie among many others. This combination of contemporary new wave, dancehall and hip hop helped ensure its immense success.

In the UK, it reached number 65 on the Singles Chart but became an international club hit across Europe and New Zealand – where it peaked at 28 and became their first top 40 hit there! Additionally, Japan became hooked, making this song and its animated video (created by Jimmy Rizzi) unforgettable classics.

Due to its immense success, the song led to the release of a full album in 1982 and extensive touring around the world by its band members. They even performed an updated version with gospel choir on Soul Train! Aside from being popular among dance clubs worldwide, the song is one of the most sampled tracks in modern hip hop and R&B; artists such as Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, 2Pac and the Outlawz have used its sound in songs featuring its melody line.

“Conga” by Miami Sound Machine

After embarking on a massive world tour that covered Europe, South America and North America, Miami Sound Machine (originally known as Miami Latin Boys) finally made an impressionful mark in American music with their 1985 release of this song – their first American Top 10 hit and proof that the group could cross over to mainstream audiences. Musically it features full-on Latin dance rhythms with plenty of energy while Estefan’s emotive but heartfelt delivery makes this record unforgettable.

Miami Sound Machine’s success with Gloria Estefan proved its versatility; therefore, their next album Let It Loose (1987) was officially billed as Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine rather than simply Miami Sound Machine.

“Conga” from their 1984 album Eyes of Innocence had already proven immensely popular in Britain; but “Conga” from Eyes of Innocence proved even bigger with American audiences. It became the band’s highest US chart hit ever and hit number 1 simultaneously on Billboard Pop, Dance, and Black charts simultaneously – proving itself an irresistibly catchy take on Latin dance music that still sounds modern today – its title referring to a type of Cuban drum made it popular at weddings and parties to conga line up in front of this track!

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper

In the 80s, pop and dance hits from Duran Duran’s glossy new wave to Janet Jackson’s fiery anthems to Run-DMC’s booming beats to INXS’ sinewy sax rock to Prince’s hyperactive funk to George Michael’s soul music all electrified dance floors–from high-class clubs to streamer-decorated school gymnasiums. However, none had more of an impactful presence than Cyndi Lauper in terms of dance culture.

Lauper made headlines with her 1983 release of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” an original composition written by Robert Hazard, that quickly become an international success. Lauper became known for her signature thrift store fashion and playful music video – which earned her an audience comparable to male rock stars.

Gender inequality was never far away for Lauper. Her early sessions for She’s So Unusual were marred by her inability to write her own songs; producers instead decided on an approach of licensing songs by more established songwriters for production purposes rather than giving Lauper the freedom of composition she desired as an artist. This strategy may have served their business interests more efficiently but denied Lauper their true artistic contribution as musicians.

This article builds upon prior academic writings about MTV by exploring musical aspects of Cyndi Lauper’s recording of Girls Just Want to Have Fun on MTV. By exploring its musical arrangement and her vocal interpretation, this analysis offers a means of reconsidering Lauper as an artistic figure who successfully asserted her agency – this song being both popular and feminist!

“Into the Groove” by Madonna

Madonna made her mark during the 80s as a leader of pop music with her pop-oriented sound, breaking boundaries for what was considered dance music while simultaneously keeping her signature voice intact.

Madonna was beloved by millions, beloved for her catchy melodies, danceable beats and thoughtful lyrics that spoke directly to their hearts. Since her chart debut with “Holiday” in 1983, Madonna has notched 32 singles that reached the Top 40 charts.

Madonna made her mark in music quickly and decisively, becoming one of its biggest sellers with “Material Girl.” The song made waves for its brave and direct approach to serious subjects while simultaneously showing Madonna’s growing mastery in the newly emerging medium of music videography as she expertly channeled Marilyn Monroe into her performance.

Madonna first made a name for herself with this track upon its release on Madonna’s album in 1986, which also saw its music video featuring Madonna floating through Venice canals on a gondola. Her popularity would soon skyrocket into one of the biggest icons of her era – she remains relevant today, continually pushing limits of entertainment industry norms.

“Stomp!” by Brothers Johnson

The Brothers Johnson were legendary R&B musicians from the 70s to the ’80s, known for their sophisticated and stylish funk R&B sound. George “Lightning Licks” Johnson played guitar while bass-slapper Louis Johnson provided bass accompaniment – they supported touring artists such as Billy Preston and God Squad as well as playing on Quincy Jones’ album Mellow Madness; additionally they contributed music foundations for Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall; their 1976 single, “I’ll Be Good to You”, reached #1 on R&B soul chart sales of over 1 Million copies; Right on Time and Blam!! both hit top 10 on Billboard 200 charts while in 1980 Light Up the Night was released – this album went all the way up until #5 Billboard 200 chart and 46 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums list – huge hits with Billboard 200 reaching #5 Billboard 200 chart positions and 46 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums list of 1980!

The Brothers Johnson continued producing music throughout the ’80s, with Louis Johnson producing and playing bass on Quincy Jones’ 1984 album The Dude; George contributed guitar work for Steve Arrington’s Dancing In The Key Of Life album as well as vocals for a Wham! single in 2022. George Johnson currently performs with his special band and has appeared at various festivals; both YouTube and his website host discussion forums where fans can discuss experiences they shared with him. Sadly Louis passed away May 21, 2015. He was 74.

“Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge

DeBarge’s most celebrated hit was “Rhythm of the Night”. Formed at the start of the 80s by Bunny, Mark, Randy and Eldra DeBarge as part of their family singing group known as DeBarge Records under Motown subsidiary Gordy Records, DeBarge released several albums including: The DeBarges (1981); All This Love (1982) and In a Special Way (1983).

DeBarge brothers music was predominantly soft ballads, garnering them an enormous following among urban teens. Additionally, they were impressive live performers; Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds frequently joined as their opening act on tour.

Motown decided in 1985 to give DeBarge a dance single in an attempt to replicate Lionel Richie’s success on their label, producing “Rhythm of the Night”, featuring an infectious calypso beat reminiscent of Lionel. This single became their greatest success and remained on charts for 22 weeks – becoming their greatest hit!

DeBarge’s era came to an end with their 1987 album Bad Boys, which did not reach the same levels of success as earlier hits. Members began leaving and seeking solo careers – Bunny and El left DeBarge altogether for solo projects while El reformed DeBarge with other members to release another album called ‘Impulsive’ in 1994 with more involved songwriters; additionally they collaborated with producers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Babyface on this venture.