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The 100 best party songs

Party hard with our selection of guaranteed floorfillers

You’re having a party, you say? Not sure what to cue up on your iPhone? Rest assured, we've got you covered. In fact, we’re worried that our playlist of the 100 greatest party songs may actually cause your dancefloor to spontaneously combust in an explosion of pure joy and body-moving ecstasy. That’s how good we think is.

Have we missed out your favourite party tune? Do you think our Number One song deserves to be at the top? Tell us what you think in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

The best party songs: 100-81

100

‘Happy’ – Pharrell Williams

Know what’s so great about this song? The fact that it’s dedicated to simply being happy. If you just got the job, kissed the girl, won a holiday – whatever, then that’s awesome. But on this global chartbuster from 2013 Pharrell is celebrating joy for the sake of joy, so go ahead: shake what you got, turn that frown upside down and relish every delicious move you make on the dancefloor. Sophie Harris

99

‘Crazy’ – Gnarls Barkley

Not exactly a one-hit wonder, since vocalist Cee Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse have many achievements to their names individually… Still, Green’s soaring, gospel-soaked pipes and Mouse’s silky strings combine on this 2006 worldwide smash to irresistibly kinetic effect. Steve Smith

98

‘The Love Cats’ – The Cure

Any song made up almost entirely of ‘do-do-do’s is essentially guaranteed to be a hit (see also ‘Tom’s Diner’ by Suzanne Vega), so The Cure couldn’t go wrong with this oddly bouncy, and slightly creepy, paean to our feline friends. All of its chamber-pop instrumentation and screechy sound effects create an atmosphere that basically forces you to prowl the dancefloor like Cat from ‘Red Dwarf’. Eddy Frankel

97

‘Jungle Boogie’ – Kool & The Gang

The paint-by-numbers pop-funk of ‘Celebrate’ may have brought the Gang to prominence, but it simply isn’t a patch on the wild grooves of ‘Jungle Boogie’. Quentin Tarantino unleashed the track, recorded in 1973, on a whole new generation in 1994’s ‘Pulp Fiction’; unsurprisingly they lapped up its raw, wayward funk and soaring trumpet runs, and the song has been a party staple for many ever since. Tristan Parker

96

‘Inspector Norse’ – Todd Terje

Norse disco-house producer Todd Terje’s hit track ruled the airwaves at countless clubs and festivals in 2014, and justifiably so. It’s a joyful, colourful slab of cosmic disco, showing that upbeat doesn’t have to mean cheesy. Sure, its joyfully wobbly grooves are fuelled by sheer silliness, but let’s be honest: so are all the best parties. Tristan Parker

95

‘Get Busy’ – Sean Paul

Just about every Sean Paul hit follows the same formula: a spare, repetitive riddim collides with that inimitable monotone, which always seems far too chill to concern itself with reaching for any tricky notes. But like Mondrian, this Kingston hit maker achieves something alchemical with his brand of pop-reggae minimalism, so much so that obeying his dancefloor exhortations seems downright compulsory. Shake that thing, you say? Sir, yes, sir. Hank Shteamer

94

‘Sweet Child o' Mine’ – Guns N' Roses

Serial apostrophe abusers Gn’R had their first proper mega-hit with this heartbreaker. Kicking off with Slash’s most famous riff, which was apparently written as a joke (LOL, good one Slash!), it flows into five minutes of pop rock anthemicism, lightning-fast guitar solos and Axl’s endless wailing. Only play this if you are 100 percent down with air guitar. Eddy Frankel

93

‘Need U (100%)’ – Duke Dumont featuring AME

At the forefront of the global resurgence of deep house is this endlessly catchy jack-fest from the funkiest Duke alive – London producer Duke Dumont. Combining oceanic synths and a defiant vocal from AME, it follows in the tradition of great house crossovers like Inner City’s ‘Good Life’ without ever sounding old hat. Oliver Keens

92

‘Rehab’ – Amy Winehouse

This 2006 single found the late, great British soul singer Amy Winehouse at the peak of her talents, even as she sang about the depths of her despair. For her ‘Back to Black’ album, producer Mark Ronson teamed Winehouse with Brooklyn funk musicians The Dap-Kings, resulting in songs that are as groovy as they are dark. ‘Rehab’ became Winehouse’s signature single, finding the tiny vocalist defiant to the end. Sophie Harris

91

‘Debaser’ – Pixies

Led by a dumpy, balding guy screaming about surrealist cinema, on paper this isn't the most promising floorfiller. But ‘Debaser’ has been making shy and retiring alternative types lose their shit for more than two decades now, so Pixies must have done something right. One thick bassline, two guitars grinding up against each other and a double drum fill, and you're plunged into the band’s sexy, scary, psycho world, slicing up eyeballs and shrieking like a demon. Bonkers. James Manning

90

‘September’ – Earth, Wind & Fire

TS Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month. Earth, Wind & Fire proved that September is the funkiest. What exactly happened on that magical twenty-first night of September is still a mystery, and the rest of the lyrics (that ‘baa-dee-ya!’ vocal hook for one) don’t really clear things up. But, as bandleader Maurice White asked his frustrated co-writer Allee Willis: ‘Who the fuck cares?’ It hasn’t stopped ’September’ from soundtracking literally millions of weddings. James Manning

89

‘Killing in the Name’ – Rage Against The Machine

‘Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses.’ Whoa – is it really the case that a protest song about clandestine racism is one of the 100 best ever party songs? Actually, yes it is, because nothing else quite sums up the pure passion of rebellion as well as this monster from LA rap-metallers Rage. Incredibly, it even hit the Christmas Number One spot in 2007, after a social media campaign helped it overtake the effort of that year's 'X Factor' elf. Jonny Ensall

88

‘Heart of Glass’ – Blondie

‘“Heart of Glass” was one of the first songs Blondie wrote,’ Debbie Harry has been quoted as saying, ‘but it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae, but it never quite worked.’ As a machine-tooled disco ode to lost love, featuring crystalline synths, a throbbing rhythm section and, floating above it all, Harry’s icy-cool teen-dream vocals, the 1978 cut more than worked – it slayed. And it still does. Bruce Tantum

87

‘Bulletproof’ – La Roux

One of the truly great tunes of the past five years was an unexpected one: the third single from the debut album by London duo La Roux. Undeniably catchy and fun, ‘Bulletproof’ bathes in a cross-appeal bolstered by singer Elly Jackson’s swagger-laden vocals and ’80s pop-synth muscle. When it’s on, dancing is not optional. Colin St John

86

‘Got to Give It Up’ – Marvin Gaye

A boisterous disco crowd, gyrating on the dancefloor of your imagination, can be heard high in the mix. Take their whoops as your cue: Marvin Gaye supplies the cool falsetto and someone can be heard rocking the cowbell, but the prime directive here is to dance. When Paul Thomas Anderson needed a backdrop for Dirk Diggler’s glory days in ‘Boogie Nights’, this is what he chose. Ditto when Pharrell and Robin Thicke were looking for a vibe to ‘inspire’ ‘Blurred Lines’. Joshua Rothkopf

85

‘Feel the Love’ – Rudimental featuring John Newman

As party songs go, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this heavyweight 2012 hit from London crew Rudimental. There’s hints of Otis Redding-style soul in that vocal, plus a huge all-consuming rave build and a massive drop into D&B beats. We advise laying down a tarpaulin before you drop this one at your next house party. Oliver Keens

84

‘In da Club’ – 50 Cent

Eventually, every teenager reaches the age of feeling too cool to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ on his or her big day. In 2003, 50 Cent filled the natal-celebration void with ‘In da Club’. The now-iconic opening verse, ‘Go shorty/It’s your birthday/We gonna party like it’s your birthday,’ makes ‘In Da Club’ an obvious choice for any party that serves shots instead of orange soda. Derek Schwartz

83

'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go' – Wham!

Some parties are cool. Some have gimmicks. Some mark a special occasion. But the very best parties have a feeling of unbridled joy to them, and this 1984 hit from Wham! is a 100 percent proof distillation of the smiley stuff. It is, of course, utterly ridiculous, from the opening ‘Jitterbug!’ intro, to George Michael’s white trousers and Choose Life T-shirt combo in the video. But sweet Lord, those high notes, the slap bass and that brass breakdown! Too good. Sophie Harris

82

‘Fancy’ – Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX

‘First thing’s first, I’m the realest,’ says Iggy Azalea, the 24-year-old from Mullumbimby (in Australia, duh) who delivers her raunchy raps in a thick Southern drawl. We won’t pretend this is the first time a rapper has built an empire upon a fabricated persona (hi, Rick Ross), and for every one critic of Iggy Azalea, there are scores of emphatic fans ready to drop it low and pick it up every time her mega hit ‘Fancy’ comes pumping through the speakers. Kristen Zwicker

‘Fancy’ also made our list of the best songs of 2014.

81

‘Song 2’ – Blur

Britpop’s foremost ambassadors changed their tune – quite literally – with their self-titled 1997 LP, embracing the crunchy guitars and lo-fi ethos of American grunge and indie rock that frontman Damon Albarn had once railed against. Unsurprisingly, it led to the band’s biggest US hit: ‘Song 2’, a catchy, two-minute blast of Nirvana-esque riffs that became ubiquitous at stadiums and parties across the globe. (But please, don’t refer to it as ‘the woo-hoo song,’ we beg of you.) Amy Plitt

Keep the party going – see 80-61

The best party songs: 80-61

80

‘Dancing in the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen

The only thing better than watching the video to this 1984 anthem – yes, starring a very dewy Courteney Cox – is dancing to the song yourself, as you belt out the lyrics with all the passion you can muster: ‘I ain’t nothin’ but tired / Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself!’. ‘Dancing in the Dark’ is also one of the Boss’s sexiest moments. ‘Hey there baby,’ he sighs. ‘I could use just a little help.’ Extra party points to anyone who knows what that book is that Springsteen’s sittin’ around tryin’ to write. Sophie Harris

79

‘Call Me Maybe’ – Carly Rae Jepsen

For anyone who’s ever relished the delicious longing of a summertime crush (that’s all of you, then), Canadian popstrel Carly Rae Jepsen crowned summer 2012 with this perfect pop anthem. The song inspired parody covers from Justin Bieber (who ‘discovered’ the track), Katy Perry and the US Olympic Swim Team, among about a billion others. Our favourite version, though, is Jepsen singing with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, playing ‘Call Me Maybe’ on kids’ instruments. Sophie Harris

78

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana

The song that defined an era makes most statements about it seem trite. Those echoing opening chords became as familiar to the MTV generation as Pogs and Hypercolor – with a tad more shelf life. As far as partying goes, what’s in a name? ‘Teen Spirit’ is all about anger and angst. (Kurt Cobain was only 24 at the time of the song’s release; he had a pretty good grasp on youthful malaise.) When you pop this one on at a bash, take a cue from the bros in the video’s gym audience: bang your head. Colin St John

77

‘Love Shack’ – The B-52s

After a decade that saw the beehive-topped party band enshrined in the college-rock pantheon – and dealt the group a crippling blow with the death of beloved guitarist Ricky Wilson – the B-52s roared back to their career peak with this ode to a ‘little place where we can get together'. Tin roof, rusted what does it mean? Don’t bother: this Chrysler’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail. Joshua Rothkopf

76

‘I Love It’ – Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX

Though it was a sweaty, coke-fuelled, boobs-flying-every-which-way scene on Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ that bulldozed the Swedish duo’s synthed-up jam to the top of the US charts, it’s been a dancefloor-filler since its release in early 2012. Crank it up and shout, ‘I crashed my car into the bridge/I don’t care!’ at the top of your lungs for ultimate DGAF revelry. Marley Lynch

75

‘Got Your Money’ – Ol’ Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis

ODB’s spluttery, half-shouted delivery and questionable lyrics in this late-’90s track don’t exactly scream ‘PARTY’ on first listen. But layered over a rock-solid funk beat, a deadly simple bass hook and – crucially – Kelis’s hypnotically catchy chorus, the song transforms into a slow-burning hip hop banger. After a couple of verses it becomes almost impossible for any listener not to indulge in at least a little shaking of one’s booty. Tristan Parker

74

‘Automatic’ – The Pointer Sisters

Classic songs imploring you to ‘do the robot’ are everywhere – from ‘Mr Roboto’ to ‘Robot Rock’. But this ’80s funk bomb gives mechanical moves a soulful surge, thanks to the six massive lungs that belong to the sisters Pointer. From the long, pulsing drum intro to fun, goofy lyrics about getting ‘locked in the circuitry’, it’s the party counterpoint to Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’. Oliver Keens

73

‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ – Arctic Monkeys

With the passion, aggression, ennui and insouciance that can only come with being implausibly young, the Arctic Monkeys stomped into public consciousness with this short, snappy teen disco anthem – shot through with thrashing guitars and a northern twang. I wouldn’t put too much money on that bet though, Alex Turner: you ain’t seen my moves. But it’s nice of you to say. Eddy Frankel

72

'Pass Out' – Tinie Tempah

When it comes down to it, you really shouldn’t ever have a party without playing this early-‘90s firecracker of a choon at least once. The joyful, cluttered piano intro, the mash-up of jungle, house, ragga and rave – even if you weren’t born until years afterwards and even if you don’t know what the hell jungle is, it simply doesn’t matter a jot. Stick this on in any party (posh dinner parties included) and watch people skank like it’s their last day on earth. Tristan Parker

71

‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ – Jackie Wilson

Dancing isn’t all about a big beat – sometimes you just need a driving rhythm and persistent voice, waxing lyrical about the power of luuurve. This 1967 R&B jam set the airwaves on fire, inspiring the world to kick their heels and snap their fingers like never before. Somehow, it still manages to have that same impact 40 years on. Eddy Frankel

70

‘Girls and Boys’ – Blur

Holidays, sex and disco beats – ‘Girls and Boys’ really is a perfect storm of a pop song, built to ignite the dancefloor into an inferno of nostalgia for ’90s hedonism. It’s all squeaky synths, pounding bass, awkward guitar lyrics and, obviously, Damon Albarn’s patented mockney twang. It’s so good that Radiohead’s Thom Yorke says he wishes he’d written it. Don’t we all, mate. Don’t we all. Eddy Frankel

69

‘A Little Respect’ – Erasure

Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ would seem to have the market cornered when it comes to pop’s great pleas for dignity; from a party-centric perspective, though, there’s no question that the edge goes to this absurdly uplifting 1988 fist-pumper. It’s a ‘let’s cut the bullshit’ plea, an emotional ante-up, an unguarded attempt to elicit a clear statement of intent from a vexing lover. Throw this one on about three quarters of the way through your bash, when you need a surefire, hands-in-the-air worldbeater. Hank Shteamer

68

‘Blue Monday’ – New Order

A stunningly simple and incredibly famous kick drum sequence introduces this Mancunian classic. What follows that statement of electronic intent is seven minutes of serpentine basslines and deadpan vocals. The track acts as a bridge between ’70s disco and ’80s house, all the while being both ridiculously catchy and danceable enough to make you think doing the robot is a good idea. But believe us, it isn’t. Eddy Frankel

67

‘Teenage Kicks‘ – The Undertones

Is this the only song about masturbation on our list? We doubt it, but it definitely is the most obvious. This John Peel-championed 1978 punk classic is as simple and direct as they come. Simple chords, pounding drums and a great, lovelorn melody all combine to make one awesome, pogo-inducing wank anthem. Eddy Frankel

66

‘Kiesza’ – Hideaway

On her first single, Canadian ballerina, Navy reservist and pageant girl-turned-deep house revivalist Kiesza knocked it out of the park. With a chorus made up entirely of oohing and ahhing, everything about the track feels intuitive and primal, right down to the irresistible beat. If this song doesn’t get you dancing, give it up: nothing else will. Gabrielle Bruney

‘Hideaway’ also made our list of the best songs of 2014.

65

‘Señorita’ – Justin Timberlake

You don’t have to be Justin Timberlake to seduce with a song, but it sure does help. Other useful tools include a slinky Neptunes beat, a murmured introduction by Pharrell, and a chorus that insists that you just get it, y’know? And, of course, there’s only one way to cap off a baby-making plea like ’Señorita’: a mass guy-girl sing-off to get everyone’s juices flowing. Gentlemen, good night; ladies, good morning. That’s it. James Manning

64

‘Jump Around’ – House Of Pain

‘Jump Around’ has one of the most recognised intros of any dancefloor-slaying number. When its horn fanfare (sampled from Bob & Earl's 1963 track 'Harlem Shuffle') comes on the system, any party will immediately get bouncier than a kangaroo on a trampoline. A large part of the track’s appeal is the scratchy, upbeat production of Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, and the distinctive saxophone squeal he layers 66 times over the beat. Insane in the membrane? Not quite, but this definitely tickles the synapses in incredibly enjoyable ways. Jonny Ensall

63

‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’ – Ini Kamoze

Jamaican dancehall toaster Ini Kamoze burnt up clubs in 1994 with this irresistible groove, which has its roots in the 1964 Wilson Pickett hit ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’. Check that vintage video and you’ll see from where the later single gets its ‘naa na na na naah’s. Still, ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’ has its own laid-back, deliciously funked-up vibe, thanks to an obscenely fat bassline – not to mention the lyrics ‘Extra-ordinary/Juice like a strawberry’. The song hit the top of the charts in the US after being featured in Robert Altman’s fashion send-up, ‘Prêt-à-Porter’. All together, now: murderer! Sophie Harris

62

‘Walk This Way’ – Run-DMC featuring Aerosmith

Steven Tyler and his Boston hard-rock road dogs were pretty funky during their prime. However, the idea that Aerosmith could fill a dancefloor without passing out on it during the after-party didn’t happen until Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC’s slashing DJ, pulled the grooves clear off the vinyl in 1986. Steve Smith

61

‘Brown Eyed Girl’ – Van Morrison

Breezy, tropical guitars set the tone for this strum-along classic by Northern Irish rock ’n’ soul maestro Van Morrison. It’s a lovely, easy, calypso-tinged island tune about simple love. Don’t let the fact that it's been covered by a thousand morons with acoustic guitars put you off – this is guaranteed sing-along perfection. Eddy Frankel

Keep the party going – see 60-41

The best party songs: 60-41

60

‘Take Me Out‘ – Franz Ferdinand

The stomping drumbeats and angular guitars of Franz Ferdinand’s first hit drew comparisons to post-punk forebears like Gang Of Four or Wire. But the Scottish revivalists have a much poppier sensibility, and this 2004 track is a hook-laden toe tapper, sure to entice even your snootiest ‘I don’t dance’ friend onto the dancefloor. Amy Plitt

59

‘Take on Me’ – a-Ha

Pop-idol pin-ups they may have been, but the members of Norwegian trio a-Ha also made great, genuinely inventive music in their mid-’80s heyday. The jewel in a-Ha’s crown, of course, is the dazzling debut single ‘Take on Me’. This synth-pop gem is chiseled like a diamond, with a perfect keyboard riff and a melody that moves in and out of major keys just as singer Morten Harket’s voice turns from desperate to hopeful and back again. Sophie Harris

58

‘Latch’ – Disclosure featuring Sam Smith

Howard and Guy Lawrence from Disclosure originally reckoned that their 2012 single ‘Latch’ was too odd to find mainstream success. How wrong they were. Mixing garage-infused house with a shuffle beat and Sam Smith’s velvety croon made for a party classic. So thanks Disclosure, and sorry to anyone that’s been nearby when we’ve attempted to hit those high notes. Kristen Zwicker

57

‘Tainted Love’ – Soft Cell

Get a huge dose of ’80s nostalgia by spinning this spiteful, synthy song. It's actually a take on Gloria Jones’s more upbeat soul cut from ’65, but the warmth has been sapped from the Northern soul original, to be replaced by quintessentially New Romantic icy cool. It's still Mark Almond's finest moment. Tim Lowery

56

‘Why’ – Carly Simon

Remember the 1982 film ‘Soup for One’? Nope, no one does, because it was terrible and it tanked. The film’s only redeeming feature was a stunning soundtrack composed by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic. Carly Simon’s reggae-flecked ballad was the pick of the bunch. With one of the catchiest choruses in the history of catchy choruses, the only ‘why’ worth asking is ‘why does it have to stop?’ We suggest putting on the 12-inch edit and letting everyone get their groove on for as long as possible. Eddy Frankel

55

‘Hypnotize’ – Notorious BIG

‘Slicker than your average.’ No, not Craig David, but Notorious BIG, whose defining hit proves just how well-lubricated the Brooklyn rapper’s rhymes could be. Christopher George Latore Wallace (Biggie Smalls’s less notorious real name), simply lulls the listener into a groove. Biggie was the victim of a drive-by shooting in 1997, just a year after ‘Hypnotize’ came out. In truth, party-friendly hip hop of this quality might never be heard again. Jonny Ensall

54

‘Word Up’ – Cameo

Sucker DJs who think they’re fly get put in their place with the title track of this trio’s best-selling album – and we grab ourselves a prime spot on the dancefloor every time this comes blaring out of our boombox. Blessed with a sleazy synth beat that’s bouncier than a rubber band and funkier than the codpiece singer Larry Blackmon is wearing in the video (no, really), this ’80s nugget still has the power to please crowds. Word. David Fear

53

‘Uptown Funk’ – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

It may have more writing credits than the Bible, but Mark ’n’ Bruno’s voyage into ’80s power-funk is still a ticket to packed dancefloor. Simply drop it at your next shindig and watch as your friends become a huddle of finger-clicking, collar-popping strutters. Don’t believe us? Just watch. Oliver Keens

Listen to our playlist of songs that sound like ‘Uptown Funk’.

52

‘Last Nite’ – The Strokes

They may have thrown us off the scent with their greaseballs-in-leather-jackets shtick, but one of The Strokes’ greatest achievements was reminding the world that rock ’n’ roll originally functioned as dance music. Few contemporary songs make us yearn for the days of the sock hop more than the single that catapulted these New York faves into the big time. Nitpick re: the ‘American Girl’ similarities all you want, but the combination of Julian’s disaffected yowl, Albert and Nick’s chirpy chords, Nikolai’s humble throb and Fab’s unflappable bounce still carries a rare boot-scootin’ charge. Hank Shteamer

51

‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ – Prince

You’d better be prepared, because the great purple one always gets what he wants. On this 1979 disco-pop smash, he wants you to be loved, and he especially wants you to get funky. A single snare hit kicks it all in before a constant barrage of incessant funk guitars and deliciously sexy falsetto vocals take you on a groovy trip around the bedroom. Eddy Frankel

50

‘Beat It’ – Michael Jackson

The haunting opening synth hits here function like the entrance music for a professional wrestler, putting the listener on edge, baiting them to stay with it. Then that driving guitar riff comes in like an uppercut to the jaw, followed by MJ’s unforgettable opening couplet: ‘They told him don’t you ever come around here/Don’t wanna see your face, you better disappear.’ When Eddie Van Halen’s solo finally comes in, feel free to unleash the air-guitar hero that lives within us all. Derek Schwartz

49

‘All My Friends’ – LCD Soundsystem

It’s your party and you can cry if you want to – and there’s no better catalyst for a few cathartic tears than James Murphy’s eight-minute, one-chord ode to life and loss. The piano line at the beginning (a big shout out to Steve Reich) is your cue to grab your real friends, pull them in a big sticky huddle and never, ever let them go. James Manning

48

‘I’m Coming Out’ – Diana Ross

Diana Ross’s most ebullient hit is the perfect song to turn any party from tentative into full-on fabulous. Part of its potency is that it harks back to the days when disco was taking over the world, and dancers found new acceptance and openness on the floor: ‘I'm coming out – I want the world to know, got to let it show,’ goes the chorus. Small wonder it became a gay pride anthem. This 1980 track is yet another smash that Chic’s Nile Rodgers had a hand in – the prolific sod. Jonny Ensall

47

‘Never Too Much’ – Luther Vandross

Long before Luther’s waistline took a severe pounding from countless ‘Luther Burgers’ (a hamburger that replaces the bun with a glazed donut – whoa), he was busting out even sweeter jams like this. An incredible medium-pace groove, lush vocals and tight funk guitars all built for getting frisky at the disco. It really is never too much. Except for Luther burgers. You can probably have too much of those. Eddy Frankel

46

‘What’d I Say’ – Ray Charles

Yeah, yeah, it’s over 50 years old and your grandparents might’ve made out to it – but good gosh if this isn’t one of the sexiest, wildest songs on this list. Released in 1959, ‘What’d I Say’ is widely regarded as the first ‘soul’ single. The music-making process according to Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records: ‘We didn’t know shit about making records, but we were having fun.’ Do likewise. Sophie Harris

45

‘Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine’ – James Brown

James Brown is a sex machine. Not in the sense of a latex gizmo you order online (and inevitably offers disappointing results), but in his sweating, grunting, thrusting human form he’s made himself a ruddy rogering robot! It's impressive to say the least. But, more than that, it provides the energy that drives this funk masterpiece, backed with taut guitar picks, undulating bass and a fantastically minimalist yet totally titillating drum break. There are other classics we could have picked to honour the Godfather of Soul, but you won't find a more pneumatically powerful example of a funky good time than this. Jonny Ensall

44

‘Funkytown’ – Lipps Inc

Composed by Minnesota’s Steven Greenberg for his jokily named studio band, Lipps Inc, ‘Funkytown’ expresses a simple, repetitive yearning for the pulse of a bigger city, goosed by a killer ten-note synth riff. ‘Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me,’ sings Cynthia Johnson in a robotic, vocoderized voice (a precursor to the Auto-Tune sound) before busting out an unmodified, soulful wail, pleading for a trip to the party destination of her dreams. Released in 1980, ‘Funkytown’ came late to the disco party, but gave it a jolt of electricity. Adam Feldman

43

‘1999’ – Prince

‘If you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knockin’ on my door,’ the diminutive Minneapolis genius declared in one of the earliest blockbuster hits of his purple reign. Like Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and Kubrick’s ‘2001’, Prince’s ‘1999’ is less a sell-by date than a declarative prediction made timeless by persuasive art. Steve Smith

42

‘Drunk in Love’ – Beyoncé featuring Jay Z

‘Drunk in Love’ has exactly none of the key elements of a great party jam (giddiness, surefire danceability, and so on). But thanks to Jay and Bey’s sizzling chemistry on this 2013 hit – whatever, divorce-rumour-mill haters – it just so happens to be the sexiest song of our time. Expect the floor to turn into a writhing, vogueing, lip-synching mess as soon as that high-pitched eastern riff kicks in. Hank Shteamer

41

‘Intergalactic’ – Beastie Boys

The robot voice at the start of this unstoppable Beasties classic says it all: ‘Another dimension’ is the level these three NYC heroes like to party on. A collision of perfectly bouncy beats, posse vocals and wicked rhymes, this one never fails to get a crowd higher than the stars. Eddy Frankel

Keep the party going – see 40-21

The best party songs: 40-21

40

‘Rapper’s Delight’ – The Sugarhill Gang

Back in the days when sampling wasn't such a legal quagmire, having a colour TV was something to boast about and rappers had names like Hank, New Jersey’s Sugarhill Gang were the first group to show that a rap track could also be mega-hit. The 14-minute-35-second-long full-length version had to be edited down a little, however, before ‘Rapper’s Delight’ could break into the charts. The track works silky rhymes and elements of Chic’s ‘Good Times’ into an epic and (by today’s standards) very modest picture of hip hop excess. A Holiday Inn, you say? How swanky. Jonny Ensall

39

‘Shake It Off’ – Taylor Swift

The pop starlet speaks words of gleaming truth on this 2014 smash from her ‘1989’ album, which suggests that the best way of dealing with life’s haters is to let loose on the dancefloor. What’s especially charming about her advice is the video, which features Swift dancing (badly) with an assortment of professional movers and groovers, but also a bunch of her fans genuinely wigging out – just like all of us have done at one point or another around the kitchen. Haven’t we? Sophie Harris

‘Shake It Off’ also made our list of the best songs of 2014.

38

‘Toxic’ – Britney Spears

The main lesson to take from the video to Britney’s eastern-tinged 2003 mega-hit is that she would make a truly terrible air hostess. And also that her skin is diamond-encrusted, which is actually pretty awesome and allows her to dance her way through laser sensors (and kill you). All that aside, however, pop hits don’t get much bigger than this. It really is Britney at her best. Eddy Frankel

37

‘212’ – Azealia Banks

With a beat that’s bouncier than flubber and a ridiculous collision of rapid-fire, ultra-offensive rap verses and super poppy, husky-voiced lyricism, ‘212’ was a pretty incredible way for Banks to announce herself to the world back in 2011. The number of C-bombs she drops means this isn’t for the faint of heart, but then neither is getting wild in a club, amirite? Eddy Frankel

36

‘This Charming Man’ – The Smiths

Guaranteed to blow the roof off any indie disco between John O’ Groats and Land’s End, ‘This Charming Man’ is kicked off by Johnny Marr’s jangly, drawn-out guitar line. It’s the funk-trained rhythm section of Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, however, which keeps it pogoing along relentlessly. When the chorus hits, you’ll be hard pressed not to swing your gladioli and belt it out in your best Moz voice. James Manning

‘This Charming Man’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

35

‘SexyBack’ – Justin Timberlake

‘I’m bringing sexy back,’ former Mouseketeer and boy band escapee Justin Timberlake declares at the start of his 2006 single, making the case that he’d grown up more bluntly than a you-know-what in a box. Add Timbaland’s slinky groove to Timberlake’s come-hither ’tude, and your post-dancefloor destiny is unquestionably horizontal. Steve Smith

34

‘Common People’ – Pulp

Only the English could turn class struggle into one of the greatest moments in modern pop history. Jarvis Cocker’s cutting critique of British society is propelled along by tinny Casio keyboard sounds and a pile-driving 4/4 beat, all coupled with lyrics that you can’t help but shout along to. Eddy Frankel

33

‘Modern Love’ – David Bowie

Before Nile Rodgers was bopping around with Daft Punk on ‘Get Lucky’, he produced this gem from 1983’s ‘Let’s Dance’. Long a favorite on dusty jukeboxes, ‘Modern Love’ has seen a resurgenceof late partly thanks to an appearance in Noah Baumbach’s ‘Frances Ha’. Bowie opens the tune with spoken word before hitting his unmistakable highs: ‘Terrifies me/Makes me party/Puts my trust in God and man!’ Colin St John

‘This Charming Man’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

32

‘Pump Up the Jam’ – Technotronic

Incessant use of the word ‘booty’, a driving four-on-the-floor drumbeat and a psychedelic music video featuring divas in neon spandex suits spinning like propellers. It’s no wonder 'Pump Up the Jam' became a massive hit in 1989, pretty much kickstarting the mainstream hip-house movement. Also note: ‘pump up the jam’ became a slang term for masturbation in Flemish. The more you know, people. Derek Schwartz

31

‘Born Slippy (Nuxx)’ – Underworld

If any lyric better sums up British joie de vivre than ‘Shouting lager, lager, lager, lager,’ we have yet to hear it. After being featured in the ‘Trainspotting’ soundtrack of 1996, this relentless techno assault became as much a part of the British cultural landscape as the Queen and Marmite. Eddy Frankel

‘Born Slippy (Nuxx)’ also made our list of the best London songs.

30

‘Two Can Play that Game’ – Bobby Brown

We don’t know who the harlot was that broke Bobby’s heart, but we’re glad she did. In cooking up a dish of sweet revenge, Boston’s Robert Brown unwittingly created one of the biggest party tunes of all time. The track may have started out as a smooth R&B gem, but less than a year after its release it was transformed by Welsh producers K-Klass into the piano house banger we’ve all been doing the running man to ever since. Danielle Goldstein

29

‘Superfreak’ – Rick James

What is a party if not an excuse to unleash your inner freak? Rick James’s 1981 hit won’t just get people on the dancefloor; it will have them bouncing off the walls. With one of the catchiest basslines of all time, an irresistible vocal hook (‘She’s a very freaky girl’) and killer backup vocals from the Temptations, ‘Superfreak’ will have the entire party on the ground trying to break-dance in no time. Derek Schwartz

28

‘Kiss’ – Prince

The omnisexual twirls and splits Prince busts in the official video for this sleek 1986 jam might convert the most hardened disbeliever, but honestly, he had us at the tingly guitar licks, the tighter-than-a-duck’s-arse beat and the instantly memorable chorus: ‘You don’t have to be rich to be my girl/You don’t have to be cool to rule my world.’ You don’t believe him, of course – but you want to. Steve Smith

27

‘Twist and Shout’ – The Beatles

This rock ’n’ roll song had been recorded at least four times before The Beatles got their hands on it, but it’s their version that has become definitive. They cut it in a single take at the very end of a 12-hour recording session, with John Lennon suffering from a bad cold and stripped to the waist. ‘That last song nearly killed me,’ he said afterwards – but his hoarse, frantic vocals and the rest of the band's intense, spot-on performance make ‘Twist and Shout’ The Beatles’ most dependable roof-raiser. (Oh, and thanks to John Hughes and Ferris Bueller, a new generation of kids picked up on the song as an anti-school soundtrack 20 years later). James Manning

26

‘Mr Brightside’ – The Killers

The soundtrack to a thousand student-night trysts, The Killers’ debut single is the quintessential mid-noughties indie anthem. Few tracks better encapsulate the guyliner-and-winklepicker-driven sound of the forlorn, romantic, pop-rockin’ mid-2000s. Which were great, in case that sounds in any way ambivalent. Eddy Frankel

25

‘Like a Prayer’ – Madonna

A truly great party has to have drama, and who better to provide this than the Queen of Pop, Madonna? Jags of electric guitar followed by a huge, cavernous drum thwack. A waft of angelic choral singing. Then that first verse – ‘and it feels like…’ – wait for it – ‘…home.’ Add in a dollop of worldwide scandal, objections from the Vatican and the sickest gospel coda ever to feature in a pop song, and you have one of the greatest party songs ever recorded. Sophie Harris

24

‘This Is How We Do It’ – Montell Jordan

If ever a song was guaranteed to make you break a hip while doing the running-man on a booze-drenched dancefloor, Montell’s 1995 new jack swing classic is the one. We all know what he’s on about: it’s Friday night, you feel alright, you reach for the 40, the party is up on the west side – it’s the universality of the lyrics, and that big ol’ bouncy groove, that makes this such a disco destroyer. Eddy Frankel

‘This Is How We Do It’ also made our list of the best R&B songs.

23

‘Groove Is in the Heart’ – Deee-Lite

In this tale of New York’s anything-is-possible East Village of the late ’80s, a trio of candy-coloured club kids – Super DJ Dmitri, Lady Miss Kier and Towa Tei – decide to form a band. The threesome (with a little help from ringers Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins) come up with ‘Groove Is in the Heart’, a sweetly innocent percolator of a tune that, against all odds, becomes the worldwide club smash of 1990. True story! Bruce Tantum

22

‘Superstition’ – Stevie Wonder

Pop music may not be the obvious place to call out phoney beliefs, but in the hands of Stevie Wonder and his crunchy funk jam, it just works. Superstition ain’t the way, people – Stevie said so. And when rock-hard riffs are doused in Clavinet keyboard flourishes and horn section licks, it’s hard not to agree. Eddy Frankel

21

‘Regulate’ – Warren G and Nate Dogg

Recite the lyrics from this summer-of-’94 masterpiece and you’ll be crowned an instant playa. Or so we’d like to imagine. Originally released for the soundtrack of basketball movie ‘Above the Rim’, the track features Warren G flossing gangsterisms above a groovy beat that samples – gasp! – the perennially uncool Michael McDonald. Nate Dogg’s deadpan sideman verses complete the epic tale and are the highlight of a tune that turns triumphant toward the end. The next stop is the Eastside Motel. Colin St John

Keep the party going – see the Top 20

The best party songs: The Top 20

20

‘Rock With You’ – Michael Jackson

MJ’s hits grew increasingly shrill and even aggro as he entered the ‘Bad’ zone, but earlier triumphs – like this ‘Off the Wall’ masterpiece – still feel almost impossibly cushy, like easing onto the plushest sofa imaginable. It’s a safe bet that Daft Punk had the ultra-luxurious disco groove of ‘Rock With You’ in mind when they crafted ‘Get Lucky’: strings, horns, that perfectly calibrated tempo and those irresistible come-ons from the future King of Pop. This one is pure class. Hank Shteamer

19

‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ – Beyoncé

Sure, it’s responsible for one of the most irritating dance moves of recent times (no one should ever do that ridiculous flippy hand thing in public. Or in private. Just stop). However, it’s testament to how much of an impact this minimal, stark, melodically-ambiguous pop hit is. Made up almost entirely of drums, vocals and atonal synths it shouldn’t work, but it’s somehow totally addictive. Eddy Frankel

18

‘Don’t You Want Me’ – The Human League

The Human League’s groundbreaking 1981 album, ‘Dare’, helped usher in the age of electropop – and the track most responsible for that paradigm shift was ‘Don’t You Want Me’. But despite the song’s obvious pleasures (its sauropod-size synth riffs and the chorus’s devastatingly effective vocal hook among them) it’s a bit strange that ‘Don’t You Want Me’ has become one of the world’s most played party tunes: lyrically, it’s the rather depressing tale of a girl who’s outgrown a guy, and a guy who implies (somewhat disturbingly) that something bad will happen if the girl doesn’t come back. Bruce Tatum

‘Don’t You Want Me’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

17

‘1 Thing’ – Amerie

A tiny, ten second sample of an obscure funk track (‘Oh, Calcutta!’ by The Meters) and one hell of a hook is all it took to make one of the most original, unforgettable and groovetastic R&B songs in living memory. Amerie’s dizzy, lovelorn wailing, combined with the sparsest of beats, makes for a totally killer dancefloor-filler. Eddy Frankel

‘1 Thing’ also made our list of the best one-hit wonders.

16

‘Good Times’ – Chic

Nile Rodgers pops up on this list yet again, this time with his own band of disco dominators, Chic. His choppy and melodic guitar work is all up at the front with handclaps and big group vocals celebrating just how damn good life can be. It’s also the sample for one the earliest hip hop classics, The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ (number 40 on this list). Eddy Frankel

15

‘No Diggity’ – Blackstreet featuring Dr Dre and Queen Pen

It’s a fact that no one on earth, save for the members of Blackstreet (who guard the secret tightly), actually knows what ‘no diggity’ means. It’s one of the great mysteries of our time, like who built the pyramids or how magnets work. All that aside, there’s something hypnotic about the fusion of low piano stabs, huge beats and the super smooth harmonies that only Blackstreet can kick out. You wanna know how good this song really is? It knocked the ‘Macarena’ off the top of the charts. That’s how good it is. Eddy Frankel

‘No Diggity’ also made our list of the best R&B songs.

14

Beyoncé – ‘Crazy in Love’

From the funky-ass cowbell breakdown to the frenetic way the former Destiny’s Child frontwoman chants the phrase ‘craaazy right now’ against the beat, Queen B’s first big solo hit is engineered to make the most inhibited listener lose their mind. And that’s before the song’s inspiration – famous beau Jay Z – drops by for a white-hot verse about being ‘in the Range/Crazy and deranged’; after that, resistance is simply futile. David Fear

13

‘Push It’ – Salt-N-Pepa

You’re not just encouraged to dance during this jam, one of the all-lady rap crew’s first and biggest hits; you’re actually ordered to hit the dancefloor and work up a sweat. Given the song’s thumping beats, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore that request. (We’ll ignore the ruling from Hurby ‘Luv Bug’ Azor, who guests on the song, that pushing it is ‘only [for] the sexy people’). Amy Plitt

‘Push It’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

12

‘I Feel Love’ – Donna Summer

Sometimes a song comes along that’s so innovative that it changes the shape of the musical landscape for decades, whilst also getting you to shake yo bootay. This timeless, Giorgio Moroder-produced disco anthem from 1977 did exactly that, becoming the first purely electronic jam to make it big and pretty much inventing dance music in the process. Eddy Frankel

11

‘You Can Call Me Al’ – Paul Simon

Sure, you can call him Al, but you’d be better off calling him one of the greatest songwriters of the past 50 years. Not just great, but adventurous too – dashing off to apartheid-era South Africa to work with a bunch of incredible township musicians and creating one of the funkiest pop opuses of recent times in the process. Plus, there’s a bass solo. A backwards one. Just think about how great that is. Eddy Frankel

10

‘Gold Digger’ – Kanye West

We want a prenup! It’s a testament to the sheer infectiousness of the biggest hit from Kanye’s ‘Late Registration’ that this funny, whip-smart and completely unromantic song was a staple at wedding receptions in the mid-noughties. Tim Lowery

9

‘You Got The Love’ – The Source featuring Candi Staton

Sometimes, Candi Staton feels like throwing her hands up in the air, as she says in the first line of this 1991 dance anthem. And the minute that Frankie Knuckles beat kicks in, you feel exactly the same way. That’s the power of brilliant pop music. Eddy Frankel

8

‘Let’s Dance’ – David Bowie

If there’s one thing this list makes crystal clear, it’s that Nile Rodgers is the undisputed god of all partying. He’s appeared on this list in a host of different ways (sampled on ‘Rapper’s Delight’, writer of Diana Ross’s ‘I’m Coming Out’, playing guitar with Daft Punk) and here he is again, helping David get his groove on with this 1983 classic. A perfect hybrid of rock drums and disco bass, it’s the ideal song to keep you grooving till moonlight. Serious moonlight. Oliver Keens

7

‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ – Whitney Houston

In the wake of Houston’s tragic death, we heard this immortal jam, more than any other single by the pop queen, blasting at parties and bars. It wasn’t hard to see why. A hit in 1987, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ embodies Houston as we all want to remember her: carefree, upbeat and bursting with exuberant emotion. The song itself embodies all those qualities and endures as a quintessentially ’80s dancefloor masterpiece for the ages. You can’t not beam when this one’s on. Hank Shteamer

‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

6

‘Get Lucky’ – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams

This hugely anticipated (not to say hyped) comeback single from Daft Punk became the summer anthem of 2013. ‘Get Lucky’ finds the French duo switching its modus operandi from referencing classic disco music to actually creating it: the single features (and was co-written by) Chic star and producer Nile Rodgers (yep, him again), as well as hip hop mastermind Pharrell Williams – who, you may be interested to know, heard about the project from Daft Punk at a Madonna party. (Yeah, Pharrell, they asked us, too.) Besides becoming a dancefloor phenomenon, the song also inspired Durex to produce its own line of ‘Get Lucky’ condoms. Sophie Harris

5

‘Ignition (Remix)’ – R Kelly

Robert Sylvester Kelly has assumed a special status in the cultural canon. Just watch his dissection by comedian Aziz Ansari for a sense of out-there the star has become.. The ‘Ignition’ lyrics are as dirty as you’d expect, but couched in a hook tailor-made for the club. Its release in 2003 saw plenty of smiling ladies dancing along to couplets like ‘I’m about to take my key/And stick it in the ignition.’ Aware of Kelly’s lecherous nature or not, they were having a great time. Colin St John

4

‘Everywhere’ – Fleetwood Mac

A sound like the tinkling of a thousand magical waterfalls ushers in the Mac’s greatest pop song. Keyboardist and singer Christine McVie’s 1988 hit is so close to perfect, so uplifting and filled with neat musical twists, that no one can resist drunkenly singing along to the near endless ‘oh-ahs’ of the chorus. Eddy Frankel

‘Everywhere’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

3

‘All Night Long (All Night)’ – Lionel Richie

‘Tam bo li de say de moi ya!’ Do you know what that means? Of course not! Will that stop you from singing along and following up with a joyous ‘Hey jambo jumbo!’ in the middle-eight section of this ecstatic party anthem? Oh hell, no! The Commodores singer with the voice as smooth as an eel in oil released ‘All Night Long’ in 1983, and it still sounds perfectly crisp. And who cares what all the words mean? Watch Richie’s face light up in the video as he sings, ‘Fiesta, forever,’ and you’ll know exactly what to do. Sophie Harris

‘All Night Long (All Night)’ also made our list of the best ’80s songs.

2

‘Don't Stop ’Til You Get Enough’ – Michael Jackson

We’re not entirely convinced MJ himself quite knew what enough was; otherwise he might have stopped, eh? But it’s a damn good thing he stuck around for long enough to spread the gospel of pop with this totemic 1979 disco jam. The shakers lead you into the track with Michael muttering about how the force ‘makes me feel like… makes me feel like… WOO!’ – and the minute it kicks in, you know exactly what he’s talking about. It’s not gibberish. It’s the language of funk. And somehow, when Michael speaks it, we’re all fluent. Eddy Frankel

1

‘Hey Ya’ – Outkast

It’s official. The ‘party-o-meter’ has spoken, and ‘Hey Ya!’ is Time Out’s top tune. Why? Just try not dancing to this song when it comes on. Get through the whole four minutes without as much as a toe tap, and your soul is clearly as stale and shrivelled as a weeks-old jacket potato.

Produced and sung by Andre 3000 (the more flamboyant half of the Atlanta hip hop outfit), ‘Hey Ya!’ is a leftfield R&B masterpiece – on the one hand, a sexual statement of intent, and on the other a passionate lament for the death of love. But more than any of this, it’s a bona fide groover that makes us asthmatic with dancefloor appreciation. Here, more specifically, are the five elements that make up ‘Hey Ya!’s mojo.

Sex
Andre takes a leaf out of Prince’s sticky book by, simply, putting it all out there. ‘Don’t want to meet your momma,’ he states. ‘Just want to make you come-ah!’ Orgasms all round!

Shaking it
Specifically in the manner of a Polaroid picture. Boringly, this won’t actually hasten the speed at which your film develops, so why not simply jiggle with your Instagram app instead?

Nonsense
A great party tune relies on the three ‘R’s: repetition, repetition and repetition. ‘Hey Ya!’ features its titular holler 25 times, as well as 19 ‘uh oh’s and 14 consecutive ‘alright’s. You just can’t argue with those numbers.

Funk
The song’s gently strummed guitar and lovelorn lyrics touch the heart. But, it’s the body-shaking, P-funk bassline which bites the booty, reminding you to ‘get on the floor’.

Audience interaction
Hand claps; call-and-response yowling; an invitation to the neighbourly lending of sugar: ‘Hey Ya!’ is as keen as a Butlin’s Red Coat to get you involved. Even the late, great LouReed was a fan, calling it ‘the perfect rock ’n’ roll song’. And what Lou says goes. Jonny Ensall

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Pete H
Pete H

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