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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.

You’re having a party, you say? Not sure what to cue up on your iPhone? Rest assured, we have you covered. In fact, we’re a little worried that our playlist of the 100 greatest party songs ever recorded by human beings may actually cause your dance floor to spontaneously combust in a firework explosion of pure joy and body-moving ecstasy. That’s how good we think it is.

Our criteria were simple: You hear the intro of the song, and you immediately go skidding toward the dance floor. Nothing less was acceptable. So of course, you’ll find tracks from big hitters like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Beyoncé. And there are one-hit-wonderful tracks galore: “Maniac” by Michael Sembello, “Here Comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze and “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District, to name a few. There are songs your mom likes, songs your cool younger brother likes and above all, songs you like: Party hits so potent, they get you singing along in the supermarket, or air-punching when they come on your running mix at the gym.

In short: all killer, no filler. Let the revelry commence!

100–91

"Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye

"Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye

A boisterous, presumably bell-bottomed crowd, gyrating on the dance floor 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.—Joshua Rothkopf

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"Treasure" by Bruno Mars

"Treasure" by Bruno Mars

We’re the first to admit that when a song borrows heavily from great hits of the past, it’s usually not as good as its forebears. But “Treasure” by Bruno Mars is an absolute gem in and of itself, a joyful amalgam of the best of disco-era MJ with something quintessentially Bruno Mars. No wonder it’s one of the big hits of summer 2013. Top marks for the deliciously retro video, too.—Sophie Harris

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"Rock the Casbah" by the Clash

"Rock the Casbah" by the Clash

This funky hit from the Clash’s Combat Rock LP was an anomaly—honestly, the erstwhile punk godfathers had pumped out an even more propulsive bassline for “The Magnificent Seven” on its previous album, Sandinista!… only nobody heard that sprawling three-LP farrago, whereas “Rock the Casbah,” with its whiff of topical exotica, was inescapable thanks to MTV.—Steve Smith

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"Super Freak" by Rick James

"Super Freak" by 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 dance floor; 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, “Super Freak” will have the entire party on the ground trying to break-dance in no time.—Derek Schwartz

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"All Night Long" by Lionel Richie

"All Night Long" by 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

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"Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae

"Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae

Behind every great song, a great story. In the case of this 1974 disco essential, legend has it that KC and the Sunshine Band approached young singer McRae (who was about to go back to college) and asked him to sing on a track with his wife because the high notes were too much for the KC crew. McRae’s wife couldn’t make the session, so George sang it on his own, and “Rock Your Baby” went on to sell 11 million copies around the world—none of which you need to know to enjoy the whispered “sexy woman” at the beginning of the song, nor the drum-machine beats, nor those delicious high notes.—Sophie Harris

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"Teach Me How to Dougie" by Cali Swag District

"Teach Me How to Dougie" by Cali Swag District

When the cha-cha slide and the cotton-eye Joe just weren’t cutting it anymore, Cali Swag District stepped up to the plate and gave the people exactly what they needed: a choreographed dance that wasn’t vomit-inducing. With its minimalist beat and oh-so-fly rhymes, “Teach Me How to Dougie” quickly became a staple of any successful dance party. Even if the Dougie was just a little too complicated for most people to master, that didn’t stop anybody from proudly screaming, “All my bitches love me / All my all my bitches love me,” and feeling like a player every time the chorus rolled around.—Derek Schwartz

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"Maneater" by Hall & Oates

"Maneater" by Hall & Oates

A No. 1 hit in 1982 for the genre-bending Philadelphia “rock & soul” duo Hall & Oates, “Maneater” offers a warning against a predatory femme fatale, set against a vaguely new wave and faintly ominous landscape of saxophone, drums and synthesizer. (The music video features multiple shots of a jaguar on the prowl.) Put the song on a party mix and there’s a good chance that at least one lady in attendance will start vamping it up like a Catwoman on Halloween.—Adam Feldman

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"Heart of Glass" by Blondie

"Heart of Glass" by 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

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"Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.

"Funkytown" by 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

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90–81

“Heart of Glass” by Blondie

“Heart of Glass” by 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

Buy Heart of Glass on Amazon

“Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

“Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

Get a huge dose of ’80s nostalgia by blasting this spiteful, synthy song, a poppy take on Gloria Jones’s upbeat, girl-groupy cut from ’65. The one-hit wonder also spawned this super creepy, ancient-Greece-set music video.—Tim Lowery

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“Modern Love” by David Bowie

“Modern Love” by David Bowie

Before Nile Rodgers was bopping around with Daft Punk on “Get Lucky,” he was producing this gem from 1983’s Let’s Dance. Long a favorite on dusty jukeboxes, “Modern Love” has seen a resurgence as of late—its jumpy rhythms make an appearance in Noah Baumbach’s heralded film (and its trailer), Frances Ha. (The New York Times’ Sunday heartbreak column also shares the song’s name.) There’s a serious propulsion to it—Stevie Ray Vaughan handled guitar duties. Bowie opens the tune with spoken word before hitting his unmistakable highs, singing of the concept at hand: “Terrifies me / Makes me party / Puts my trust in God and man.”—Colin St. John

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“Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand

“Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand

The stomping drumbeats and angular guitars of Franz Ferdinand’s first hit drew comparisons to postpunk 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 dance floor.—Amy Plitt

Buy Take Me Out on Amazon

“Song 2” by Blur

“Song 2” by 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 U.S. 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

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“Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen

“Dancing in the Dark” by 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.” (Use this picture to aid your imagination.) Extra points to anyone who knows what that book is that Springsteen’s sittin’ around trying to write.—Sophie Harris

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“Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper

Weirdly enough, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was originally written by a dude, Robert Hazard, and sung from the perspective of a girl-crazy badboy. Cyndi Lauper revised the lyrics and re-recorded the song in 1983, inverting it into a girl-solidarity party anthem that remains timeless some 30 years later.Rohan Samarth

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“Last Nite” by the Strokes

“Last Nite” by 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 & 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 hometown 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

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“Fell in Love with a Girl” by the White Stripes

“Fell in Love with a Girl” by the White Stripes

Jack and Meg White’s 2002 hit was the first indicator that the Stripes were capable of a more polished, radio-friendly version of the raw garage-punk they’d previously perfected. (The ridiculously cool, LEGO-filled video, directed by Michel Gondry, surely helped propel its popularity.) Put this on at a party now and watch as everyone around you immediately begins to pogo.—Amy Plitt

Buy Fell in Love with a Girl on Amazon

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by 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

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80–71

“Love Shack” by the B-52’s

“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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“Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People

“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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“Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?” by Rod Stewart

“Da 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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“What I Like About You” by the Romantics

“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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“Whip It” by Devo

“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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“Straight Up” by Paula Abdul

“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

Straight Up on Amazon

“One, Two Step” by Ciara ft. Missy Elliott

“One, Two Step” by Ciara ft. Missy Elliott

Ciara and Missy Elliott team up for this old-school, “Planet Rock”–inspired hip-hop tune that’s perfect in its minimally produced simplicity. Its laser stabs and handclaps echo the genre’s electro origins without sounding like a history lesson. If only school were this much fun.—Andrew Frisicano

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“Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League

“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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“Rio” by Duran Duran

“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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“Tell It to My Heart” by Taylor Dayne

“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

Buy  Tell It to My Heart on Amazon

70–61

“Take on Me” by A-ha

“Take on Me” by A-ha

Pop-idol pinups 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. Add in the trailblazing animated video (which used rotoscoping), and “Take on Me” became indelibly imprinted on the brain of anyone who saw it.—Sophie Harris

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“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction

“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction

If there was one lesson to be learned from last summer’s monumental Olympic opening ceremonies, it was that boy bands are back and bigger than ever. The members of One Direction may still be fighting through their teen years, but they sure know how to get people dancing. Step aside, Aaron Carter; it’s time for a new generation of boy bands.—Derek Schwartz

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“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by 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, and 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 dance-floor masterpiece for the ages. You can’t not beam when this one’s on.—Hank Shteamer

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“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls

“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls

Every British invasion arrives with an opening salvo. In the ’60s, it was the unmistakable first chord of “A Hard Day’s Night.” In 1996, it was Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown calling out, “Yo, I’ll tell you what I want / What I really, really want,” and Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell responding, “So tell me what you want / What you really, really want.” What followed was three minutes of frenetic dance-pop bliss, with a fierce yet flirty “sisters before misters” message, total world domination, the incredibly useful party icebreaker “Which Spice Girl are you?” and more zigazig-ahs than anyone thought possible. Seventeen years after the invasion, “Wannabe” is still the go-to anthem for many a “girls’ night out” across the globe.—Michael Chen

Buy Wannabe on Amazon

"Jump Around" by House of Pain

"Jump Around" by House of Pain

California hip-hop trio House of Pain's international hit single was produced by Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs, who deftly used samples of rhythm and blues icon Chubby Checker and Motown staple Junior Walker & the All Stars. But never mind all that. Growing up, what was important about this song was what you did when you heard it. Forget the body roll and the butterfly, when "Jump Around" comes on the speakers, it’s time to mosh.—Kristen Zwicker

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“It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

“It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

Since 1988, this high-powered hip-hop jam from Harlem’s MC Rob Base and his turntable wingman, DJ E-Z Rock, has hyped up countless arenas, nightclubs and pool parties the world over. Its instantly recognizable sample of Lyn Collins’ “Think (About It)” inevitably gets the crowd bouncing and shouting, “Woo! Yeah!” in unison. Yet it’s the song’s, um, baser innuendos that lift it to the next stratosphere of party-playlist immortality. Because when you step off the dance floor and begin your approach toward that honey you’ve had your eye on all night, you’ll be mighty glad that the object of your affection is still breathlessly humming the refrain, “It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it out of sight.” Hit it!—Michael Chen

Buy It Takes Two on Amazon

"N**gas in Paris" by Jay Z & Kanye West

"N**gas in Paris" by Jay Z & Kanye West

Pusha T rejecting this massive Hitboy-produced beat might have been for the best (according to him it sounds like a video game) because the star power from the respective husbands of Kim and Bey turned the guaranteed banger into a veritable club anthem. And it's become a necessary party bonding activity, too: trashed guests inevitably screaming "that shit cray!" at each other and somehow still mustering riotous laughter in response to that one Will Ferrell Blades of Glory sample (did anyone actually watch that movie?).—Rohan Samarth

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“Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect

“Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect

There may be more poetic paeans to the female posterior, but few will get those glutes moving on the dance floor quicker than this New Jack Swing duo’s hit about… well, check the title. Credit that saxophone sample lifted from the Lafayette Afro Rock Band or the catchy chorus about wanting to “zoom-a-zoom-zoom in your boom-boom,” but either way, this early-’90s ditty always lives up to its title.—David Fear

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“Here Comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze

“Here Comes the Hotstepper” by 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 naahs. 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 U.S. after being featured in Robert Altman’s fashion send-up, Prêt-à-Porter. All together, now: murderer!—Sophie Harris

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“Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith

“Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith

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

Buy Walk This Way on Amazon

60–51

“Started From the Bottom” by Drake

“Started From the Bottom” by Drake

Drake is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in another enigma wearing sweatpants. On the one hand: multipazillionaire hip-hop star/ladies’ man/Lil Wayne-BFF who curses a lot. On the other: makes super-meta, hilarious, on-point videos like this one from 2013, which mocks the very lifestyle it celebrates. Avoid overheating your brain on conundrums like this by just turning your stereo up really loud, hitching up your low-slung trousers and throwing some shapes.—Sophie Harris

Buy Started From the Bottom on Amazon

“O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature

“O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature

Naughty by Nature’s hits have become a bit of an inside joke as of late, childhood memories of repetitively watching “Hip Hop Hooray” on MTV surging back into contemporary existence. But “O.P.P.” isn’t merely irony catnip for thirtysomethings: It’s a fantastic hip-hop song, complete with a Jackson 5–sampled hook and ribald insinuations. (If you weren’t hip to the New Jersey crew’s inferences back in the day, surely the moans in the background tipped you off.) Arm me with harmony.—Colin St. John

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“Gold Digger” by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx

“Gold Digger” by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx

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

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"Thong Song" by Sisqo

"Thong Song" by Sisqo

No one can be held responsible for what transpires in the four minutes after the opening string melody of Sisqo's breakout single "Thong Song." Released in 2000, the ditty received multiple Grammy nominations and effectively launched the R&B crooner's solo career. For a song about underwear that contains the lyrics "She had dumps like a truck" that's pretty impressive.—Kristen Zwicker

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“In Da Club” by 50 Cent

“In Da Club” by 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

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“Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G.

“Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G.

It’s hard to imagine that a song synonymous with poppin’ bottles on yachts was officially released after the artist died. “Hypnotize” is famous for its fresh beat, to be sure, but Biggie’s rhymes are unstoppable too. What could be more indicative of ’90s hip-hop excess than this: “I can fill you wit real millionaire shit / Escargot / My car go 160, swiftly / Wreck it, buy a new one.” It’s an indelible reminder that you don’t need to be alive to keep the party so.—Colin St. John

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“Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

“Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

Nicki was turning heads with riotously mouthy rhymes for a few years before “Super Bass,” but this was the track where she proved that her pop instincts were as sharp as her kiss-offs. The genius of the song is the way it combines Minaj’s signature loose-cannon loopiness—dig that sudden lapse into a cheesy British accent, or the “Yes, I did; yes, I did” refrain—with a smashingly bubblegum chorus. Nicki, you’ve still got our heartbeats running away.—Hank Shteamer

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“Tightrope” by Janelle Monáe

“Tightrope” by Janelle Monáe

Like Prince before her and Bruno Mars soon after, Janelle Monáe showed that she’d taken the lessons of James Brown to heart: not just with the piled-high pompadour, but with the minimalist beat, sassy brass, urgent bassline and, more than anything, the positively hypnotic urgency of her monotone verses.—Steve Smith

Buy Tightrope on Amazon

“Mo Money Mo Problems” by the Notorious B.I.G.

“Mo Money Mo Problems” by the Notorious B.I.G.

Life didn’t imitate, but rather predated, art when Brooklyn rap maestro the Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down months before the release of his No. 1 smash, “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Brushing aside the bluster, bravado and East-West feudin’ that led to his untimely demise, we choose to focus on this undeniable fact: Big Poppa always got the party poppin’. On “Mo Money Mo Problems,” he is ably assisted by Harlem World rapper Mase and ubiquitous hype man Puff Daddy (in the days before Diddy), but it’s all prologue to Biggie’s verse. And when Poppa implores us, “Throw your rollies in the sky / Wave ’em side to side,” his ability to unite the world under one outrageous all-night bacchanal becomes clear: We all—freaks and geeks, jocks and hipsters, suits and slackers, New Yorkers and Angelenos—know what to do.—Michael Chen

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“Higher Ground” by TNGHT

“Higher Ground” by TNGHT

Even after its short-lived heyday, TNGHT remains one of electronic music's most potent recent matchups. Bass luminary Lunice's club-rattling beats make a viciously ferocious pairing with the recklessly maximalist synth-frenzy of Kanye-affiliated producer Hudson Mohawke. The single which launched them to trap-mainstay-status consists of just a few elements (a looping vocal sample, seismic 808 drums, and a stomping horn riff) but together they can make a party sound undoubtedly enormous.—Rohan Samarth

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50–41

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Few songs are as immediately recognizable as Michael Jackson’s 1983 smash “Beat It.” Those haunting opening synth hits are just dissonant enough to put the listener on edge, baiting them to stay with it, like the entrance music for a professional wrestler. Then that driving guitar riff comes in like an uppercut to the jaw, followed by MJ's opening line, “They told him don't you ever come around here / Don't wanna see your face, you better disappear.” “Beat It” has a unique aggression that not only triggers those primal, competitive instincts, but also makes you want to dance your ass off and sing at the top of your lungs. When Eddie Van Halen’s solo comes in, feel free to unleash the air-guitar hero that lives within us all.—Derek Schwartz

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"Express Yourself" by Madonna

"Express Yourself" by Madonna

No song captures the essence of Madonna’s iconography quite like “Express Yourself,” a girl-power pep talk delivered in an amped-up version of funky 1970s soul. Its unprecedentedly lavish video—directed by a pre-Seven David Fincher in an appropriately Expressionist style—embodies Madonna’s defining persona as a fiercely sexual chameleon. One minute she’s the boss lady in a power suit and a monocle, grabbing her crotch like a butcher version of Michael Jackson; the next, she’s crawling on all fours and lapping a bowl of milk. Even when she’s literally in chains, neither the video nor the singer leaves any doubt as to who’s in charge.—Adam Feldman

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"Celebration" by Kool and the Gang

"Celebration" by Kool and the Gang

As long as the good times keep going, so will the party, and nothing lights up a dance floor quite like a little disco (mirror ball included). So find yourself a drink and a partner—or rather, bring your laughter, too—and toast the good times with this 1980 megahit.—Derek Schwartz

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"Get Lucky" by Daft Punk

"Get Lucky" by Daft Punk

This hugely anticipated (not to mention 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 cowritten by) Chic star and producer Nile Rodgers, and 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 dance-floor phenom, the song also inspired Durex to produce its own line of “Get Lucky” condoms.—Sophie Harris

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"Give Up the Funk" by Parliament

"Give Up the Funk" by Parliament

Where to start among the booty-bumpers and rump-shakers bequeathed upon a grateful nation by Parliament-Funkadelic acid-funk overlord George “Uncle Jam” Clinton? “Flash Light,” “Bop Gun,” “One Nation Under a Groove”—we’re spoiled for choice. This laid-back cut gets the nod for its mantralike vocals: When “we want the funk” rubs against “turn this mother out,” the result is groove nirvana.—Steve Smith

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"Ain’t Too Proud to Beg" by the Temptations

"Ain’t Too Proud to Beg" by the Temptations

We’re don’t want her to leave either, dudes. The Temptations’ 1966 Motown staple boasts a two-chord chorus that’s ridiculously snapworthy. And David Ruffins’s tortured-yet-sweet lead-vocal verses are perfectly suited for drunken sing-alongs.—Tim Lowery

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"What’d I Say" by Ray Charles

"What’d I Say" by 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. It starts out pretty civilized, with that unmistakable keyboard intro, and lickety-split cymbal beats. Then Ray starts singing about lovin’ you all night long with wicked intent, the brass starts up, the backing singers join in, and you have one hot, fine mess. Note 1: Released in 1959, “What’d I Say” is also widely regarded as the first “soul” single. Note 2: The music-making process according to Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records: “We didn’t know shit about making records, but we were having fun.” Check the live video here for evidence.—Sophie Harris

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"Do You Love Me" by the Contours

"Do You Love Me" by the Contours

Ah, the sweet ecstasy of raw ’60s soul music, as perfected on this 1962 hit, written and produced by Motown mastermind Berry Gordy. There are so many things to love, from the spoken-word intro—“You broke my heart / ’Cause I couldn’t dance”—to the explosive groove that hits as our narrator shows off his newfound dance-floor destroying skills: “I can mashed potato! I can do the twist! Now tell me baby, do you like it like this?” You want more? How about a false ending and surprise return? And of course, the song features in Dirty Dancing; “Do You Love Me” is the number that’s playing when Baby carries a watermelon across a writhing dance floor. Writhe on, kids!—Sophie Harris

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"I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown

"I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown

James Brown may not have had the most graceful offstage persona, but the hardest working man in showbiz was a one-man party-starter. “I Feel Good” is dance-floor dynamite, with its tight, funky groove, grin-inducing chorus and that killer saxophone riff by Maceo Parker. Boom!—Derek Schwartz

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"Rehab" by Amy Winehouse

"Rehab" by 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

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40–31

“Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees

“Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees

No matter how late it gets, what better way to keep the party going than the supremely uncool cool of the Bee Gees? With that ultra-funky bassline and the Gibb brothers’ falsetto harmonization, the magnetism of “Stayin’ Alive” will make disco chimps of the best of us. So pop open that top button and dust off your disco moves as you surrender to the groove.—Derek Schwartz

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"Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas

"Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas

"We got five minutes for us to disconnect / From all intellect / Collect the rhythm effect." Will.i.am's opening lyrics pretty much sum up the sentiment of the Black Eyed Peas' hit single, taken from their 2003 album Elephunk. "Let's Get It Started" is a pure and simple party alarm, letting folks know it's time to get up and moving.—Kristen Zwicker

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"We Found Love" by Rihanna

"We Found Love" by Rihanna

A collaboration between Scottish electro house kingpin Calvin Harris and pop superstar Rihanna, "We Found Love" is a perfect storm of massive club sounds and soaring pop hooks. An irrepressible blend of euphoria and despair, the tune sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for ten non-consecutive weeks, establishing it as RiRi's longest running number-one single.—Kristen Zwicker

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“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira

“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira

From its opening bars, this 2006 jam gets it right, appropriately heralding the entrance of Colombian pop royalty with a fanfare of trumpets. Few are able to meld a savvy hook and a globally-influenced beat as seamlessly as Shakira, which she does here with a salsa sample, a reggaeton pulse and a bilingual assist from Wyclef.—Andrew Frisicano

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“Bulletproof” by La Roux

“Bulletproof” by La Roux

One of the great tunes of the past five years was an unexpected one: the third single from the British duo’s debut. Undeniably catchy and fun, “Bulletproof” bathes in a cross-appeal bolstered by singer Elly Jackson’s swagger-laden vocals and 1980s pop-synth muscle. When it’s on, dancing is not optional.—Colin St. John

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“California Gurls” by Katy Perry

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry

A gaudily saccharine Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg take on the indisputable truth established by Tupac in the mid-’90s with “California Love”: “California… knows how to party.” Yep, as the frosting-expelling pop star confirms in this ode to summer fun, the Golden State is the best place for bikinis, beaches and baking in the sunshine. But its brash beat would whip a dance floor into frenzied energy anywhere in the world.—Marley Lynch

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“Nasty” by Janet Jackson

“Nasty” by Janet Jackson

“I could learn to like this,” Janet Jackson breathily announces over the hammer-blow beat of the second single from 1986’s Control, a declaration of independence and attitude. “Who’s jammin’ to my nasty groove?” she demands while stomping and twisting through Paula Abdul’s choreography in the video. We all are, Miss Jackson, we all are.—Steve Smith

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“(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by Beastie Boys

“(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys' breakout hit was originally meant to poke fun at the drunk antics of meathead party boys, but it ultimately became one of the outfit's best-known anthems. Given the song's expert blend of brazen, juvenile raps and chunky guitar riffs, it's not hard to see why. Although, years later, Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA, famously cautioned, "Be careful of what you make fun or you might become it."—Kristen Zwicker

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"Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap

"Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap

The music industry took a minute to catch wind of Fetty's earworm-machine potential, but once net virality took hold a year after the original release of "Trap Queen," the rise was nothing short of meteoric. The sensitive and soft-hearted love-paean has quickly turned from a quintessential summer soundtrack to a contemporary hits classic—no (trap)house party is complete without it.—Rohan Samarth

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“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga

“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga

No list of party songs would be complete without a head nod to the woman who redefined dance-pop music. Dance parties just weren’t the same before Lady Gaga took the music industry by storm with “Just Dance,” the debut single off of 2008’s The Fame. Reportedly written in just ten minutes, “Just Dance” captures that perfect mix of innocence and craziness that makes people want to cut loose and dive into the madness of the dance floor.—Derek Schwartz

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30–21

“Kiss” by Prince

“Kiss” by 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-ass 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

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“Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol

“Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol

"Dancing With Myself" was originally written and recorded by Generation X, the punk foursome fronted by Billy Idol, before he remixed and re-released the track as a solo effort in 1981. It was a smart move, considering nothing is quite so foolproof as a song about dancing alone (From Robyn to Whitney, it's pretty much a power-pop lay-up.) After all, there's not one among us who has not felt the ache of loneliness on the dance floor. Thankfully, with a song as universally beloved as this, it's pretty well guaranteed you'll never fly solo.—Kristen Zwicker

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“Oh Yeah” by Yello

“Oh Yeah” by Yello

How do you turn a six-year-old Swiss cult act into an overnight sensation? Add Matthew Broderick, apparently. “Oh Yeah”—with its altered vocals and driving pulse—wasn’t so different from plenty of previous singles by this oddball electronica duo, but when it was cleverly used in John Hughes’s 1986 comic masterpiece, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it became ubiquitous.—Steve Smith

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“Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

“Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

Pop starlet Swift speaks words of gleaming truth on this 2014 smash, which suggests that the best way of dealing with life’s haters is to let loose on the dance floor. What’s so charming about her advice is the video, which features Swift dancing poorly with an assortment of professional movers and groovers, but also a bunch of her fans genuinely wigging out, in the way that all of us have done at one point or another while dancing like crazies around the kitchen. Haven’t we?—Sophie Harris

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“I Love It” by Icona Pop

“I Love It” by Icona Pop

Though it was a sweaty, coke-fueled, boobs-flying-every-which-way scene on Girls that bulldozed the Swedish duo’s synthed-up jam to the top of the charts, it’s been a dance-floor starter 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

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“Tik Tok” by Ke$ha

“Tik Tok” by Ke$ha

If you need to rev up the dance party, look no further than the blond popstrel’s first single. On this 2009 banger, Ke$ha’s agenda is simple and straightforward: Get ready with the girls, mingle with the dudes, pound the Jack Daniels, don’t sleep until the sun comes up. Rage on, yo.—Marley Lynch

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“Yeah” by Usher

“Yeah” by Usher

This may be an Usher song, but it bears the unmistakable mark of inimitable Southern rap don Lil Jon. And not just because the hook hinges on one of Jon's signature outbursts; he also produced the track, crafting a seamless blend of crunk and R&B that came to be known as "crunk&b." Velvet-voiced rhymesmith Ludacris also lends a verse, cementing this tune's status as an eternal party starter.—Kristen Zwicker

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“Hella Good” by No Doubt

“Hella Good” by No Doubt

Gwen Stefani dropped her go-to quirky and emo poses on this one, in the process outing herself as a seriously badass dance-floor commando. It didn’t hurt that she got a writing assist from Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, or that the band chose to lead off with a spiffy homage to the ever-deadly “Billie Jean” beat. You’ll detect snarly guitars, a bangin’ drum fill or two, and other subtle nods to No Doubt’s alt-rock pedigree, but in the end, this is simply an early-aughts update on what the Parliament crew liked to call “uncut funk.”—Hank Shteamer

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“SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake

“SexyBack” by 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-dance-floor destiny is unquestionably horizontal.—Steve Smith

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“California Love” by 2pac

“California Love” by 2pac

Just out of prison and newly signed to Death Row Records, California rapper 2pac was in need of a comeback hit, and he found one in "California Love." Produced by West Coast beat overlord Dr. Dre, it was one of the most successful songs of 2pac's career, and left no doubt in anyone's mind that California most certainly knew how to party.—Kristen Zwicker

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20–11

“Gangnam Style” by Psy

“Gangnam Style” by Psy

The least likely runaway smash of all time? With a video now closing in on 2 billion views, Psy is without question a juggernaut-size quirk complete with his natty couture and pony-gallop signature dance. Still, he could hardly fail with this song’s thumping beat and “hey, sexy lady” refrain. Simply brilliant.—Steve Smith

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“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite

“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite

In this tale of the anything-is-possible East Village of the late ’80s, a trio of candy-colored 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

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“Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé

“Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé

"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-rumor-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

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“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Pure comedic genius isn’t exactly what comes to mind when thinking about early ’90s rap, but controversy sure is. Sir Mix-a-Lot’s love letter to round behinds was—to the Tipper Gore crowd—super sexual filth. But it’s a subversive, tongue-in-cheek send-up of the hip-hop lifestyle: a black man’s counterpart to Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom.” It was even prescient: How many “serious” rap videos followed with tight shots of the bottom half of curvy ladies? Most have a favorite line from the cut, Mix-a-Lot’s euphemisms and analogies rolling off the line like the Barbies he laments. “Baby Got Back” was the second best-selling song of 1992. The No. 1 slot went to quite a different display of amorous intentions: Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”—Colin St. John

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“The Power” by Snap!

“The Power” by Snap!

Everyone who Angela Merkel has loaned money to knows the song, but a look beneath the surface reveals awesomeness on another level. A German group with the album name World Power? Who uses an exclamation point in their moniker? “The Power” might be most famous as a snippet in service of jock jams, but the tune is a force: It’s a paranoid, rushing affair, anchored by the appropriately named American emcee Turbo B. His rhymes only take the silver when compared to Jackie Harris’s cries of “I’ve got the power!” Nostalgic, yes, but still alive enough to get the crowd ultra-pumped. Oh snap!—Colin St. John

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“Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic

“Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic

Incessant use of the word booty, a driven 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 kick-starting the mainstream hip-house movement. Who could resist those insouciant vocals (supposedly uttered by Congolese model Felly Kilingi), littered with slang phrases that you haven’t heard in at least 15 years? Also note: Pump up the jam became a slang term for masturbation in Flemish. The more you know, people.—Derek Schwartz

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“U Can't Touch This” by MC Hammer

“U Can't Touch This” by MC Hammer

If you want to turn your ego-boosting novelty tune into a dance-floor sensation, you can do far worse than to start with an already-proven funk smash like Rick James’s “Super Freak” as your backing track like Stanley Kirk Burrell did. The official video seals the deal: Even Hammer’s baggy trousers scream confidence.—Steve Smith

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“Got to Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn

“Got to Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn

The opening horn riff of Cheryl Lynn's first and best-known single is so certain to trigger a flood of dopamine in your brain, it could rightly be described as Pavlovian. What follows is a headlong fall into disco heaven—one that no one was in a hurry to get up from: The tune reappeared on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2010, more than thirty years after its release.—Kristen Zwicker

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“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by 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% 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

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“Blurred lines” by Robin Thicke

“Blurred lines” by Robin Thicke

These days, Robin Thicke is about as beloved as stray sidewalk phlegm, and we can pretty much all agree that the lyrics to and music video for “Blurred Lines” are dumb at best and blatantly misogynistic at worst. Also, the track is a complete rip-off of our #100 party tune, Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” So why a spot on this list? Despite everything, “Blurred Lines” is one of the catchiest songs of last few years, grudgingly beloved by almost everyone and a must-have for any party playlist. If you can't get past the sexism, try singing along with your own lyrics—“I hate these tan lines, land mines, parking fines,” etc.—Gabrielle Bruney

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10–1

“Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C Music Factory

“Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C Music Factory

“Everybody, dance now!” So goes the song’s yelled refrain, and we’ll wager you’ll have a hard time not shaking what your mama gave you when the beat kicks in. Masterminded by American production duo C+C Music Factory (David Cole and Robert Clivillés), “Gonna Make You Sweat” paved the way for a slew of chart-friendly house hits in the early ’90s, and made wearing cycling shorts okay. Rejoice!—Sophie Harris

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“Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe

“Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe

Bop bop-bedop bop-bedop-bedop pow! If there’s a more indelible drum sample than that one that leads off this 1990 marvel, we’ve yet to hear it. The tune that follows is a clinic in new-jack-swing excellence, a classic caveat-emptor tale concerning an irresistible femme fatale (“cut,” as it were, “like an Afro”), set to a staccato shuffle beat and crowned with that heavenly Ricky Bell hook. Yep, pure dance-floor venom.—Hank Shteamer

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“Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa

“Push It” by 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 dance floor 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

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"Inspector Norse" by Todd Terje

"Inspector Norse" by Todd Terje

The disco-inflected vibes on house goon Todd Terje's most infamous single make it a versatile party tool. But there's no vocals, 909s or lush instrumentation going on here: His quirky, colorful synth jam, which turned into an unexpected underground-club anthem in 2014, was constructed entirely from the squishy sounds of a single Explorer ARP2600 synthesizer. Now, that's doing a lot with the little. —Rohan Samarth

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“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

There's something beautiful about the purity of EDM-rap duo LMFAO's music. Words like "conscious" or "progressive" or "future" do not adhere to it. They have fun. You have fun. We all have fun. This song hinges on the phrase "Every day I'm shufflin," for Christ's sake. Don't overthink it. Relax, raise a glass, and heed their request to "just have a good time."—Kristen Zwicker

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“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

“Call Me Maybe” by 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 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, among about a billion others. Our favorite version though is Jepsen singing with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, playing “Call Me Maybe” on kids’ instruments. Physically impossible to watch without smiling. And that’s a fact.—Sophie Harris

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“Hey Ya!” by OutKast

“Hey Ya!” by OutKast

OutKast’s future seemed uncertain in 2003 when the acclaimed Georgia duo of André 3000 and Big Boi announced the release of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below—less a new group album than a pair of conjoined-twin solo sets, with each member making token appearances on the other’s disc. But critics were silenced by the irresistible single “Hey Ya!” A limber funk bassline, a hand-clapping refrain and a simple, unforgettable chorus made this André 3000 vehicle dance-floor catnip, even before you saw the daffy video OutKast made for it. (And speaking of videos, don’t miss the version by dancing twin toddlers Justin and Jeremy.)—Steve Smith

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“1999” by Prince

“1999” by 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 1984 and Kubrick’s 2001, Prince’s “1999” is less a sell-by date than a declarative prediction made timeless by persuasive art.—Steve Smith

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“Rock with You” by Michael Jackson

“Rock with You” by 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

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“Like a Prayer” by Madonna

“Like a Prayer” by Madonna

A truly great party has to have drama, and who better to provide this than the Queen of Pop, Madonna. Indeed, there was drama around “Like a Prayer” even before the single came out in 1989—remember that Pepsi ad campaign? And then there’s the song itself: jags of electric guitar followed by a huge, cavernous drum thwack. A waft of angelic choir singing. Then: “Life is a mystery / Everyone must stand alone / I hear you call my name / And it feels like…”—wait for it—“Home.” And lo, the drumbeat kicks in and we’re thrust right into the chorus. “Like a Prayer” is a crazy, outlandish, imaginative, absurd song, which makes its success as a dance-floor filler all the more ridiculous and wonderful. 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 the greatest party song ever recorded. Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you.—Sophie Harris

Buy on Like a Prayer on Amazon

Listen to Time Out’s 100 greatest songs for an epic party playlist on Spotify

Comments

1 comments
Larry B
Larry B

This list is INVALID if you couldn't find somewhere to get Rock Lobster in there, even if you did get the B52s in with Love Shack. Also, no Beastie Boys? Not one? Come on!