Dance-party playlist: 100 greatest songs for an epic party

House party, BBQ, wedding party or just a bedroom disco, we have the party playlist you need to get the place moving.

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80

"Love Shack" by the B-52's

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

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79

"Y.M.C.A." by the Village People

The widespread success of the Village People may be the most dramatic example of how gay culture went mainstream in the disco era. Dolled up in costumes that camped on masculine archetypes, the quintet sang paeans to sailors, cops and macho men in lyrics carefully crafted to pass. To those in the know, “Y.M.C.A.” was a coded celebration of cruising hot guys at a public gym. But to the rest—dancing along to the chorus at weddings, vacation resorts and sports events around the world—it’s just a great excuse to shape your body into letters of the alphabet.—Adam Feldman

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78

"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart

Nicking a chorus from Brazilian cult star Jorge Ben Jor’s “Taj Mahal,” scruffy-voiced English journeyman rocker Rod Stewart struck dance-floor gold at the height of the “Disco Sucks” era. Today, Ben Jor’s still a cult hero, Stewart’s hawking pop oldies on TV, disco has been determined to not suck, and this louche, seductive cut is Stewart’s crowning glory.—Steve Smith

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77

"What I Like About You" by the Romantics

Less a conventional dance smash than a fizzy burst of all-American garage rock straight out of the Motor City, “What I Like About You” has the kind of no-brainer verse, sing-along chorus, bratty attitude and no-nonsense backbeat (courtesy of singing drummer Jimmy Marinos) that makes resistance futile.—Steve Smith

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76

"Whip It" by Devo

Akin to Poindexter and Booger throwing a better shindig than the jocks in Revenge of the Nerds, Devo whipped out a full, hot party on this classic synth blast from 1980. The video became an instant piece of pop-culture history as the band donned its trademark red energy domes and cofounder Mark Mothersbaugh snapped women’s clothes off with a whip in a land reminiscent of the group’s native Ohio. Take that, Ogre and Stan.—Colin St. John

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75

"Straight Up" by Paula Abdul

Leave it to Abdul—a well-known choreographer before she began her singing career—to know what makes a perfect dance-party tune. Pulsating beat, check; funky bassline, check; earworm chorus, check and check. (Oh, oh, oh!)—Amy Plitt

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74

"I Think We’re Alone Now" by Tiffany

Chalk it up to nostalgia, but the queen of mall pop’s biggest hit remains a beloved party jam. Part of it is due to the fact that the original tune by Tommy James and the Shondells is just so darn upbeat; it’s a perfect encapsulation of young love in under three minutes. But it’s Tiffany’s bubbly delivery—and, sure, the sort of cheesy synth-driven ’80s-ness of the whole thing—that makes the cover perennially popular.—Amy Plitt

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73

"Don’t You Want Me" by 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 gal who’s outgrown a guy, and a guy who implies (somewhat disturbingly) that something bad will happen if the gal doesn’t come back.—Bruce Tantum

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72

"Rio" by Duran Duran

The band described itself as Chic meets the Sex Pistols, but its bouncy sound was all its own: skittering drum beats, aqua-blue synth burbles and a galloping bassline courtesy of king pinup John Taylor. Less a slice of ’80s cheese than a functioning time machine to that decade, this song will add gel to your hair, shades to your eyes and a sandy beach beneath your feet.—Joshua Rothkopf

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71

"Tell It to My Heart" by Taylor Dayne

The Long Island native born Leslie Wunderman sounds positively voracious on her 1987 signature hit. Few dance-pop classics feel more urgent or fierce than “Tell It to My Heart”; you can see that Dayne’s been waiting her whole life to belt out lines like “Body to body / Soul to soul / Always feel you near.” The lyrics might read like bad sophomore-year poetry, but blend them with unabashedly hammy ’80s synths and a so-passionate-it’s-a-little-scary delivery, and the result is a sonic Roman candle, blasting fireballs of fun onto the dance floor.—Hank Shteamer

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Users say

10 comments
michaelbovh
michaelbovh

There are many good songs currently topping the charts and there will always be newer greater songs, but as the article says, house parties, weddings ect, this playlist is awesome and should be compulsory for these type of parties, since you got to remember, you are playing for a broad audience. This list garrentees a dance response from your crowd.

Jill
Jill

I don't know WHAT these other reviewers are thinking! This is the greatest list ever.... I've been dancing around the house all night to it! Yeah -- it might be a tad nostalgic but these songs have stood the test of time folks! That's the mark of a true hit. Someday you'll have your moment in the sun... why not enjoy these classics instead of whining??

Oven
Oven

This really is awful. Maybe you should have said top 100 songs for a party full of 45 year olds with kids who will have "a glass of wine" because it's Friday! Might have to push the trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond back tomorrow morning!

Ash
Ash

This music is terrible...

richard
richard

and we danced by malcamore IF YOU HANT LISTENED TO IT YOU HAVE NOT LIVED LIFE

niger
niger

terrible playlist this is retarded if your going to put something out there like this put something good

Kiriakos
Kiriakos

that was some great songs

lex
lex

This wasn't at all what I was looking for... A little disappointed :|

doug
doug

This is so pathetic! TimeOut NY - seriously - you're in the new music center of the world! Did you rip this list off of a yahoo search or something?

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