Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is “Songs with Dance Moves.” I liked this theme and really had fun with it. And naturally, I went a little crazy (Surprise, surprise). But you know how my posts are usually laid out: Feel free to dive in and read the stories behind the songs (you can click on my Dance Moves playlist at the end of this post for the music to continuously play while you read about the various songs or go through and listen to them one at a time) or just scroll through and cherry-pick what you want to hear or read. In any case, crank up the music and let it move you!
We’re going to start off this dance-themed post with my absolute favorite song about dancing. This one ALWAYS gets me up and movin’.
Dance to the Music by Sly & the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music” is a 1968 hit single by the influential soul/funk/rock band Sly and the Family Stone for the Epic/CBS Records label. It was the first single by the band to reach the Billboard Pop Singles Top 10, peaking at #8 and the first to popularize the band’s sound, which would be emulated throughout the black music industry and dubbed “psychedelic soul”. It was later ranked #223 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Interestingly, the band wasn’t thrilled with this song. They were reluctant to adopt a pop sound. None of the band members particularly liked “Dance to the Music” when it was first recorded and released. The song, and the accompanying Dance to the Music LP, were made at the insistence of CBS Records executive Clive Davis, who wanted something more commercially viable than the band’s 1967 LP, A Whole New Thing. Bandleader Sly Stone crafted a formula, blending the band’s distinct psychedelic rock leanings with a more pop-friendly sound. The result was what saxophonist Jerry Martini called “glorified Motown beats. ‘Dance to the Music’ was such an unhip thing for us to do.”
However, “Dance to the Music” did what it was supposed to do: it launched Sly and the Family Stone into the pop consciousness. Even toned down for pop audiences, the band’s radical sound caught many music fans and fellow recording artists completely off guard. “Dance to the Music” featured four co-lead singers, black musicians and white musicians in the same band, and a distinct blend of instrumental sounds: rock guitar riffs from Sly’s brother Freddie Stone, a funk bassline from Larry Graham, Greg Errico’s syncopated drum track, Sly’s gospel-styled organ playing, and Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson on the horns.
An unabashed party record, “Dance to the Music” opens with Robinson screaming to the audience, demanding that they “get on up…and dance to the music!” before the Stone brothers and Graham break into an a cappella scat before the song’s verses begin. The actual lyrics of the song are sparse and self-referential. The song serves as a Family Stone theme song of sorts, introducing Errico, Robinson, and Martini by name. After calling on Robinson and Martini for their solo, Sly tells the audience that “Cynthia an’ Jerry got a message that says…”, which Robinson finishes: “All the squares go home!” The Stone Brothers and Sly repeat the a cappella portion before the refrain of the repeated title is mentioned over and over with the sound of the instruments dropping out, except for the electric guitar, being played in the upper register, before the song’s fade.
“Dance to the Music” was one of the most influential songs of the late-1960s. The Sly and the Family Stone sound became the dominating sound in African-American pop music for the next three years, and many established artists, such as The Temptations and their producer Norman Whitfield, Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Impressions, The Four Tops, The 5th Dimension, and War began turning out Family Stone-esque material. The Temptations, in fact, rode their first “Dance to the Music”-inspired single, “Cloud Nine”, all the way to the Pop Top Ten and to a 1968 Grammy Award. “Dance to the Music” and the later Family Stone singles also helped lead to the development of what is now known as funk music.
Fun Fact: In case you didn’t notice, the song mentions the line: “Ride, Sally, Ride”, a nod to the lyric from the Wilson Pickett hit song “Mustang Sally” (1966).
Now crank up the volume for this one, get on your feet and Dance to the Music! Or just sit in your seat and groove to this awesome video:
(My favorite part of the song is when they “add some bottom” – I always have had a thing for bass guitarists…)
Boot Scootin’ Boogie by Brooks & Dunn – “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” is the fourth single by American country music duo Brooks & Dunn. Before its 1992 release, the band Asleep at the Wheel recorded it on their 1990 album Keepin’ Me Up Nights. Brooks & Dunn’s version was included on their debut album Brand New Man and originally served as the B-side to its second single, “My Next Broken Heart.” The single was the duo’s fourth release, as well as their fourth consecutive Number One single on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Alvin and the Chipmunks released a cover, done in their signature style, for the 1993 re-release of Urban Chipmunk.
The song is a tribute to the Texas style honky tonk’s line dancing. Its success is cited as having started a renewed interest in line dancing throughout the United States. The song was also their first crossover hit as it reached #50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
The music video was directed by Michael Merriman. It shows the duo performing at a concert. The video was filmed at the Tulsa City Limits nightclub in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There sure is a lot of boot scootin’ boogieing going on here in Texas!
Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus – “Achy Breaky Heart” is a country song written by Don Von Tress. Originally titled “Don’t Tell My Heart” and performed by The Marcy Brothers in 1991, its name was later changed to “Achy Breaky Heart” and performed by Billy Ray Cyrus on his 1992 album Some Gave All. As Cyrus’ debut single and signature song, it made him famous and has been his most successful song. It became the first single ever to achieve triple Platinum status in Australia and also 1992’s best-selling single in the same country. In the United States it became a crossover hit on pop and country radio, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming the first country single to be certified Platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in 1983. The single topped in several countries, and after being featured on Top of the Pops in the United Kingdom, peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. It remains Cyrus’s biggest hit single in the U.S. to date, and his only one to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to the video of this hit, there was the explosion of the line dance into the mainstream, becoming a craze. The song is considered by some as one of the worst songs of all time, featuring at number two in VH1 and Blender’s list of the “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever.”
Vogue by Madonna – “Vogue” is a song by American singer Madonna from her second soundtrack album I’m Breathless (1990). It was released as the first single from the album on March 27, 1990, by Sire Records. “Vogue” later appeared on her greatest hits compilation albums, The Immaculate Collection (1990) and Celebration (2009).
Madonna was inspired by vogue dancers and choreographers Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza from the Harlem “House Ball” community, the origin of the dance form, and they introduced “Vogueing” to her at the Sound Factory club in New York City. Inspired by the style of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the famous model poses of Vogue magazine, voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. This style of dance arose from Harlem ballrooms by African American drag queens of the early 1960s.
“Vogue” is an upbeat dance-pop and house song and set the trends of dance music in the 1990s. However, it has strong influences of 1970s disco within its composition. The song also contains a spoken section, in which the singer name-checks various golden-era Hollywood celebrities. The song’s rap section features the names of 16 stars from the 1920s to the 1950s. In order of mention in the lyrics, they are: Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Lana Turner and Bette Davis.
Ten of the stars mentioned in the song (Davis, Dean, Dietrich, DiMaggio, Garbo, Harlow, Rogers, Turner and both Kellys) were entitled to a royalty payment of $3,750 when Madonna performed “Vogue” at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show in 2012 as their images were used in the ‘set dressing’ of the performance. At the time, Bacall was the lone one still alive. She died at the age of 89 in 2014.
Lyrically, the song is about enjoying oneself on the dance floor no matter who one is, and it contains a theme of escapism. Critically, “Vogue” has been met with appreciation ever since its release; reviewers have praised its anthemic nature and listed it as one of the singer’s career highlights. Commercially, the song remains one of Madonna’s biggest international hits, topping the charts in over 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It became the world’s best-selling single of 1990, selling over six million copies.
The music video for “Vogue”, directed by David Fincher, was shot in black-and-white and takes stylistic inspiration from the 1920s and 1930s. Madonna and her dancers can be seen voguing to different choreographed moves. The video has been ranked as one of the greatest of all times in different critic lists and polls and won three awards at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards out of a total of nine nominations.
Music Video Synopsis: The black-and-white video, set in Art Deco-themed 1920s and 1930s surroundings, starts off showing different sculptures, works of art, as well as Madonna’s dancers posing. Along with this are images of a maid and a butler cleaning up inside what seems to be a grand house. When the dance section of the song starts, Madonna turns around, and, similarly to the lyrics, strikes a pose. The video progresses, and images of men with fedoras, Madonna wearing the controversial sheer lace dress and other outfits, follow. As the chorus begins, Madonna and her dancers start to perform a vogue dance routine, where she sings the chorus as her dancers mime the backing vocals. After this, other scenes of Madonna in different outfits and imitations of golden-era Hollywood stars progresses, after which there is a scene with Madonna’s dancers voguing. Finally, after this scene, Madonna can be seen wearing her iconic “cone bra”, after which she also performs a dance routine with a fellow dancer. As the rap section begins, different clips of Madonna posing in the style of famous photographs or portraits of Hollywood stars, begins, ultimately followed by a choreographed scene with her dancers and backup singers.
Music Video Reception: MTV placed the video at second on their list of “100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made” in 1999. In 1993, Rolling Stone magazine listed the video as the twenty-eighth best music video of all-time. Also, the same magazine listed “Vogue” as the #2 music video of all time in 1999 second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was also ranked at number five on “The Top 100 Videos That Broke The Rules”, issued by MTV on the channel’s 25th anniversary in August 2006. It was the third time Fincher and Madonna collaborated on a video (the first being 1989’s “Express Yourself” and the second being 1989’s “Oh Father”). About.com listed it as the best Madonna video.
Controversy: There was some controversy surrounding the video due to a scene in which Madonna’s breasts and, if the viewer looks closely, her nipples could be seen through her sheer lace blouse, as seen in the picture below. MTV wanted to remove this scene, but Madonna refused, and the video aired with the shot intact.
“Vogue” music video received a total of nine MTV Video Music Awards nominations, becoming her most-nominated video at the award show. It won Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.
Madonna has performed the song on six of her tours, at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, and at her performance during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVI. The song has also been recorded numerous times by other artists, such as the Chipettes on their album Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes; it also featured on the soundtrack of The Devil Wears Prada, as well as in “The Power of Madonna” episode of the Fox show Glee. Writers and critics have noted the video and the song’s influence in bringing an underground subculture into mainstream popular culture through the postmodern nature of her power and influence, as well as the way in which it followed a new trend in which dance music enjoyed widespread popularity.
Footloose by Kenny Loggins – “Footloose” is a song co-written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins. It was released in January 1984 as the first of two singles by Loggins from the 1984 film of the same name (the other one being “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)”). The song spent three weeks at number one, March 31—April 14, 1984 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was the first of two number-one hits from the film. Billboard ranked it at the No. 4 song for 1984.
The song was very well received, and is one of the most recognizable songs recorded by Loggins. When the American Film Institute released its AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs, “Footloose” reached the 96th position. The song was covered by country music artist Blake Shelton for the 2011 remake of the 1984 film. The song has also been parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic (“Hooked on Polkas“).
It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 1985 ceremony, losing to Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You from The Woman in Red.
The single version is slightly shorter in length compared to the album version. It begins with a soloed guitar track instead of a drum intro, and features more prominent backing vocals in the mix, particularly towards the end of the song.
The music video was directed by Brian Grant. It uses the single version and features several scenes from the film, in particular the warehouse where Kevin Bacon’s character performs an unorchestrated dance routine (which was actually performed to a different song in the film itself).
Into the Groove by Madonna – “Into the Groove” is a song by American singer Madonna from the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan. It was featured on the re-issue of her second studio album Like a Virgin (1984) and released on July 23, 1985, by the Sire label as the album’s fourth single.
Madonna had initially written the song for her friend Mark Kamins’ protégée, Chyne, and recorded a demo which Kamins intended to modify later. However, Madonna believed that the song would be more suitable for her film Desperately Seeking Susan, and recorded it with her then-boyfriend Stephen Bray for the film’s soundtrack. When Kamins found out he was furious that Madonna did not inform him that she would use the song for the film. The singer retorted: “I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, that’s okay.”
Madonna’s inspiration behind the song was the dance floor, and she wrote it while watching a handsome Puerto Rican man, across her balcony. The lyrics of the song are simple, written as an invitation to dance with the singer. However, it carries sexual innuendos and undertones in the meaning.
The song was appreciated by contemporary music critics as well as authors, who frequently called it “Madonna’s first great single”. The song was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, where it was Madonna’s first number-one single. In the United States, the song was only available as the B-side of the 12-inch single of “Angel”, therefore it was ineligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 according to the rules at the time. By the end of the 1980s, “Into the Groove” was honored by Billboard magazine as the Dance Single of the Decade.
“Into the Groove” ultimately did not appear on the soundtrack album of the film, but was released on the 1985 worldwide re-issue of Madonna’s second studio album, Like a Virgin. During an interview with Time, Madonna said that she wrote the song while watching a Latin boy across her balcony. Describing the song as “dorky”, Madonna further explained:
“When I was writing it, I was sitting in a fourth-floor walk-up on Avenue-B, and there was this gorgeous Puerto Rican boy sitting across me that I wanted to go out on a date with, and I just wanted to get the song over with. I ultimately did go out with him and the song was finished just before my last date with him, which I’m kinda happy that it did not continue… The dance floor was quite a magical place for me. I started off wanting to be a dancer, so that had a lot to do with the song. The freedom that I always feel when I’m dancing, that feeling of inhabiting your body, letting yourself go, expressing yourself through music. I always thought of it as a magical place – even if you’re not taking ecstasy. Hence that came to me as the primary inspiration for ‘Into the Groove’.”
A music video, consisting of clips from the film, was released to accompany the song. The song has been performed by Madonna in most of her concert tours, including the Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008–09), where she performed it while doing Double Dutch jump rope.
Madonna re-tailored the song in 2003, and developed a remix called “Into the Hollywood Groove”, which replaced the first verse of “Into the Groove” with the first verse of Madonna’s single “Hollywood” (2003). The lyrics of the chorus were also slightly altered and it featured a rap by Missy Elliott. This version of the song was used for a Gap commercial in the summer of 2003, featuring Madonna and Elliot wearing Gap jeans. I don’t remember this commercial. Do you?
Flashdance – What a Feeling by Irene Cara – “Flashdance… What a Feeling” is a song from the 1983 film Flashdance, written by Giorgio Moroder (music), Keith Forsey and Irene Cara (lyrics), and performed by Cara. Flashdance, the movie, is a romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne. It was the first collaboration of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and the presentation of some sequences in the style of music videos was an influence on other 1980s films including Top Gun (1986), Simpson and Bruckheimer’s most famous production. Flashdance opened to negative reviews by professional critics, but was a surprise box office success, becoming the third highest-grossing film of 1983 in the United States. It had a worldwide box-office gross of more than $100 million. Its soundtrack spawned several hit songs, including “Maniac” (performed by Michael Sembello), and the Academy Award–winning “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (performed by Irene Cara), which was written for the film.
In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Cara’s only #1 song, it earned a platinum record, the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2004 it finished at #55 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. The song also kept Culture Club’s song “Time (Clock of the Heart)” off the number one spot.
The song was the #3 single of the year in 1983 on the Billboard year-end chart. In 2008, the song was ranked at #26 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100. In the United Kingdom, the song spent one week at #2 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending date July 9, 1983.
Le Freak by Chic – “Le Freak” is a song by American R&B band Chic. It was the band’s third single and first Billboard Hot 100 and R&B number-one song. “Le Freak” scored number one on the disco charts for seven weeks.The single achieved sales of seven million and also scored number seven in the UK Singles Chart. Billboard magazine ranked it as the number 3 song for 1979. The song was ranked number 21 on Billboard magazine’s top 100 songs of the first 55 years of the “Hot 100” chart.
This song commemorates Studio 54, New York City’s popular nightclub at the time, for its notoriously long customer waiting lines, exclusive clientele, and discourteous doormen. According to guitarist Nile Rodgers, the song was devised during New Year’s Eve of 1977, as a result of he and bassist Bernard Edwards’ being refused entrance to Studio 54, where they had been invited by Grace Jones, due to her failure to notify the nightclub’s staff. He said the lyrics of the refrain were originally “Fuck off!” rather than “Freak out!”
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag by James Brown – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” is a song written and recorded by James Brown. Released as a two-part single in 1965, it was Brown’s first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten, peaking at number eight, and was a number-one R&B hit, topping the charts for eight weeks. It won Brown his first Grammy Award, for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording.
Consolidating the rhythmic innovations of earlier James Brown recordings such as “I’ve Got Money” and “Out of Sight”, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” is considered seminal in the emergence of funk music as a distinct style. As Brown sings the praises of an old man brave enough to get out on the dance floor of a nightclub (“brand new bag” meaning new interest, taste, or way of doing something), his band provides a horn-heavy backdrop with a prominent rhythm and an electric guitar riff for a hook. Both singer and musicians place overwhelming emphasis on the first beat of each measure (“on the One”). The song is Brown’s first recording to feature Jimmy Nolen on guitar.
Harlem Shuffle by The Rolling Stones – “Harlem Shuffle” is an R&B song written and originally recorded by the duo Bob & Earl in 1963. In 1986 it was covered by The Rolling Stones on their album Dirty Work.
The Rolling Stones’ cover version, with Bobby Womack on backing vocals, went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #13 in the UK. Keith Richards had been looking for songs to possibly include on the album and had been working up songs with Ronnie Wood and Womack while waiting for Jagger to return to the studio in Paris after doing promo work on his solo album. To Richards’s surprise, Jagger liked the feel and cut the vocals quickly. It became the first cover song the Stones had released as an opening single off a new studio album since 1965. It opens with:
“You move it to the left and you go for yourself
You move it to the right yeah if it takes all night
Now take it kinda slow with a whole lot of soul.”
The Rolling Stones produced an accompanying three-minute music video, which combined live-action and animation. The live-action was directed by famous animation director Ralph Bakshi and the animation was directed by future The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi. Other animators who also worked on the video included Lynne Naylor, Jim Smith, Bob Jaques, Vicky Jenson, Pat Ventura and two other unknown animators. I love the animation in this video. It makes me smile. Hope you like it too.
Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches & Herb – “Shake Your Groove Thing” is a song by disco duo Peaches & Herb. The single reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Billboard R&B Chart. It also reached No. 2 for four weeks on the Billboard Disco chart in 1978. The song spent 22 weeks on the American charts, and became a Gold record.
The song was their first return to the charts in seven years. During the hiatus, the third ‘Peaches,’ Linda “Peaches” Green, was chosen.
You Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing” is a song by the Bee Gees, from the album Children of the World, released in 1976. It hit No. 1 for one week on the American Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 for seven weeks on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart, and in September the same year, reached No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. The song also peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Soul chart. It was this song that first launched the Bee Gees into disco. It was also the only track from the group to top the dance chart.
The song was prominently featured in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever and appears on its soundtrack album. It is one of six songs performed by the Bee Gees in that movie.
Let’s Dance by David Bowie – “Let’s Dance” is the title-track from English singer David Bowie’s 1983 album of the same name. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983 and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks. Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo at the end of the song.
The single was one of Bowie’s fastest selling, entering the UK Singles Chart at No. 5 on its first week of release, staying at the top of the charts for three weeks. Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bowie’s second and last single to reach number-one in the U.S. In Oceania, it narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at No. 2 for three weeks but it topped the chart for 4 consecutive weeks in New Zealand. The single became one of the best-selling of the year across North America, Central Europe and Oceania.
The music video (which uses the shorter single version) was made in March 1983 by David Mallet on location in Australia including a bar in Carinda in New South Wales and the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran. In the beginning it featured Bowie with a double bass player inside the one-room pub at the Carinda Hotel and an Aboriginal couple ‘naturally’ dancing “to the song they’re playin’ on the radio”. The couple in this scene and in the whole video is played by Terry Roberts and Joelene King, two students from Sydney’s Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre. As Bowie opted for real people, some residents of the 194-souls village of Carinda are in the pub too, watching and mocking the couple. They do not believe who David is nor what the take is all about, hence their behavior towards the couple as seen in the video is real.
The red shoes mentioned in the song’s lyrics appear in several contexts. The couple wanders solemnly through the outback with some other Aboriginals, when the young woman finds a pair of mystical red pumps on a desert mountain and instantly learns to dance. Bowie’s calling ‘put on your red shoes’ recalls Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Red Shoes”, in which the little girl was vainly tempted to wear the shoes only to find they could not be removed, separating her from God’s grace – “let’s dance for fear your grace should fall.” “The red shoes are a found symbol. They are the simplicity of the capitalist society and sort of striving for success – black music is all about ‘Put on your red shoes’ “, as Bowie confirmed.
Soon, the couple is visiting museums, enjoying candlelit dinners and casually dropping credit cards, drunk on modernity and consumerism. During a stroll through an arcade of shops, the couple spots the same pair of red pumps for sale in a window display, their personal key to joy and freedom. They toss away the magic kicks in revulsion, stomping them into the dust and return to the mountains, taking one final look at the city they’ve left behind.
Bowie described this video (and the video for his subsequent single, “China Girl”) as “very simple, very direct” statements against racism and oppression, but also a very direct statement about integration of one culture with another.
Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under, a short documentary by Rubika Shah and Ed Gibbs, explored the making of the music video in the Australian outback. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. <http://www.davidbowie.com/news/lets-dance-bowie-down-under-65th-berlinale-biff-54126>
Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind & Fire – “Let’s Groove” is a song by the American band Earth, Wind & Fire from their eleventh studio album Raise! (1981). Written by Maurice White and Wayne Vaughn, the song was chosen as the lead single from the album. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, disco music was undergoing a severe backlash. In spite of this, the band decided to revive the disco sound that was later included on their previous works and records. Musically, “Let’s Groove” is a post-disco, pop and funk song which includes instrumentation of synthesizers and keyboards along with live electric guitars.
“Let’s Groove” received mixed reviews from music critics, where many praised its catchiness, while some felt it was generic within its timeline of the disco era. However, many contemporary reviews have been well-received, many citing it as memorable and a great disco influenced song. The song was a commercial success, with it being their highest-charting single in various territories. The song peaked inside the top 20 in countries including the United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and other component charts in America.
The music video of “Let’s Groove” was the first video ever to be played on Video Soul on BET. The video, rich with vintage electronic effects, was created by Ron Hays using the Scanimate analog computer system at Image West, Ltd.
The whole style of the music video later went on to influence Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”
Pump Up the Volume by M/A/R/R/S – “Pump Up the Volume” is the only single by British recording act M|A|R|R|S. Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British acid house music and music sampling. The song derives its title directly from a lyrical sample from “I Know You Got Soul”, a hit single by labelmates Eric B. & Rakim, released months prior in that same year.
The single was the product of an uneasy collaboration between electronic group Colourbox and alternative rock band A R Kane, two groups signed to the independent label 4AD. The link-up was suggested by label founder Ivo Watts-Russell after the two groups had independently sounded him out about the possibility of releasing a commercially oriented dance record, inspired by the American house music that was starting to make an impact on the UK chart. When the M|A|R|R|S project was first released early in 1987, the popularity of the style of the song had already started to grow.
Push It by Salt-N-Pepa – “Push It” is a song by the group Salt-n-Pepa. Salt-N-Pepa is an American hip-hop/rap trio from New York City, New York. The group, consisting of Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) and originally Latoya Hanson, who was replaced in 1986 by Deidra Roper (“DJ Spinderella”), was formed in 1985 and was one of the first all-female rap groups.
“Push It” was released as the B-side of the “Tramp” single in 1987, and as its own single in 1988. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988 and, after initially peaking at #41 in the UK, it re-entered the charts after the group performed the track at Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday concert, eventually peaking at #2 that summer. The song has also been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The song is ranked #446 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was ranked #9 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
The music video for “Push It” features a concert performance of the song, along with DJ Spinderella and Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor on keyboards and backing vocals.
The lyrics to “Push It” are really an afterthought, just there to support the beat and add a lascivious flavor. The song was perfect for club play, where lyrics like, “come here, gimme a kiss, better make it fast or else I’m gonna get pissed” can get lost in the groove. The big hook is the “Oooh, baby, baby” section, which complements the percussive production. Another memorable section is the vocal interlude, where Hurby implores us to get on the dance floor, but “only the sexy people.”
The repeated line “get up on this” is a lyrical sample from James Brown track “I’m a Greedy Man” from his 1972 album “There It Is.”
This follows the tradition of edgy-but-ambiguous songs about “it,” which can mean just about anything. When Rick James sang “Give It to Me Baby,” in theory he could have been asking for just about anything. Same thing with “Push It,” which Pepa insisted in an NME interview was “not a sexual song.” No one was buying it, but it was impossible to prove otherwise.
Salt-N-Pepa hated this song, as they thought it undermined their rap credibility and didn’t have any lyrical direction they could support. They didn’t think much of it though, as it was considered just a throwaway cut. Little did they know it would become their most popular song.
I’m Happy Just to Dance with You by the Beatles – “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles for the film soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night. Lead vocals are by George Harrison, whose performance in the film marked the first mass media depiction of Harrison singing lead, giving him some quality screen time.
Typical of the early Beatles, this is a very innocent song – the singer is taking it slow, as he’s OK just dancing with the girl of his dreams. There is an old-time Irving Berlin/Cole Porter feel to the song, focusing on the de-lightful feeling of being smitten.
Last Dance by Donna Summer – “Last Dance” is a 1978 song by American singer Donna Summer from the soundtrack album to the 1978 film Thank God It’s Friday. It was written by Paul Jabara, co-produced by Summer’s regular collaborator Giorgio Moroder and Bob Esty, and mixed by Grammy Award-winning producer Stephen Short, whose backing vocals are featured in the song.
The movie takes place at a dance club, and Jabara played the role of Carl, a clueless club patron. The film didn’t do nearly as well as Saturday Night Fever, which was released a year earlier and was also centered around a Disco. This song, however, was a huge hit and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Donna Summer performed the song in the movie. It was Summer’s first role in a major motion picture, and she played an aspiring young singer named Nicole. In the film, she brings an instrumental track of “Last Dance” to a hot nightclub and tries to convince the DJ to let her sing. After refusing through most of the film, the DJ finally obliges at the end of the night and she gets her chance. Donna Summer’s character and her performance cause a sensation.
The lyrics could be viewed as a woman looking for the love of her life, but in more literal terms, it’s the last song before closing time at the disco and she is looking for someone to go home with for the evening.
“Last Dance” became a critical and commercial success, winning the Academy and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all in 1978.
The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats – “The Safety Dance” is a song by Canadian new wave/synth-pop band Men Without Hats, released in Canada in 1983 as the second single from Rhythm of Youth. The song was written by lead singer Ivan Doroschuk after he had been kicked out of a club for pogoing.
The song entered the Canadian top 50 in February 1983, peaking at no. 11 on May 14. In the meantime, “The Safety Dance” was released in the US on March 16, but did not enter the US charts for a few months. When it finally did, the record became a bigger hit than it had been in Canada, peaking at no. 3 in September 1983. It also reached no. 1 on Cash Box, as well as no. 1 on the Billboard Dance Chart. “The Safety Dance” similarly found success in other parts of the world, entering the UK charts in August and peaking at no. 6 in early November, and entering the New Zealand charts in November, eventually peaking at no. 2 in early 1984.
What is this song all about? The writer/lead singer, Ivan Doroschuk, has explained that “The Safety Dance” is a protest against bouncers stopping dancers pogoing to 1980s new wave music in clubs when disco was dying and new wave was up and coming. New wave dancing, especially pogoing, was different from disco dancing, because it was done individually instead of with partners and involved holding the torso rigid and thrashing about. To uninformed bystanders this could look dangerous, especially if pogoers accidentally bounced into one another (the more deliberately violent evolution of pogoing is slamdancing). The bouncers did not like pogoing so they would tell pogoers to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest and a call for freedom of expression.
In 2003, on an episode of VH1’s True Spin, Doroschuk responded to two common interpretations of the song. Firstly, he notes it is not a call for safe sex. Doroschuk says that is reading too much into the lyrics. Secondly, he explained that it is not an anti-nuclear protest song per se despite the nuclear imagery at the end of the video. Doroschuk stated that “it wasn’t a question of just being anti-nuclear, it was a question of being anti-establishment.”
Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb – “Shadow Dancing” is a disco song performed by English singer-songwriter Andy Gibb that reached number one for seven weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. While Andy Gibb would have three more Top 10 hits in the U.S., this would be his final chart-topping hit in America. The song became a platinum record.
Andy Gibb was the younger brother of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – The Bee Gees – but due to the age difference between Andy and his older brothers, and the fact that Andy didn’t embrace Disco to quite the degree that they did, Andy seldom performed with the Bee Gees, although they did help him write many of his songs, including this one.
Together, the brothers Gibb dominated the US Pop charts in 1978, with Andy and the Bee Gees each scoring three #1 hits – and the Bee Gees contributing to a few others – but “Shadow Dancing” turned out to be the biggest of them all, staying at #1 for 7 weeks and becoming Billboard magazine’s #1 single of the entire year of 1978.
The song was written by Andy and his brothers (Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb) in Los Angeles, while the trio of brothers were working on the film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “And one night,” Andy would recall, “while we were relaxing, we sat down and we had to start getting tracks together for the album” (also titled Shadow Dancing, which would eventually hit #7 on the U.S. album charts). “So we literally sat down and in ten minutes, we had a group going, (singing) the chorus part. As it says underneath the song, we all wrote it, the four of us.”
Unfortunately for Andy, his star fell almost as quickly as it rose. Although he had a few more hits over the next 3 years, by 1982 his career had stalled, due in large part to his addiction to cocaine and a sort of negative-coattails effect with the Bee Gees, whose own stature had fallen with the passing of the Disco era. He eventually got treatment for his drug addiction at the Betty Ford Clinic, but by then the damage to his career, his finances and his health were already done. In 1988 Andy Gibb died from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection, and aggravated by his years of substance abuse.
Twist and Shout by the Beatles – Released on the Beatles’ first UK album, Please Please Me (1963), the complete recording of which on February 11, 1963, was their first album session and is notable for 10 songs recorded in a mere 13 hours. “Twist and Shout”, with John Lennon on lead vocals, was the last song recorded; producer George Martin knew Lennon’s voice would suffer from the performance, so he left it until last, with only 15 minutes of scheduled recording time remaining.
Lennon was suffering from a cold, and was drinking milk and sucking on cough drops to soothe his throat. His coughing is audible on the album, as is the cold’s effect on his voice. Even so, he produced a memorable vocal performance: a raucous, dynamic rocker. He later said his voice was not the same for a long time afterward, and that “every time [he] swallowed, it felt like sandpaper.”
A second take was attempted, but Lennon had nothing left and it was abandoned. George Martin said, “I did try a second take … but John’s voice had gone.”
Released as a single in the US on March 2, 1964, with “There’s a Place” as its B-side, it reached number 2 on April 4, 1964, during the week that the top five places on the chart were all Beatles singles (in the Cashbox singles chart for the same week, “Twist and Shout” was No. 1). In the United States, “Twist and Shout” was the only million-selling Beatles single that was a cover record, and the only Beatles cover single to reach the Top 10 on a national record chart. The song failed to hit #1 because the Beatles had another song occupying the top spot, “Can’t Buy Me Love”.
In the UK, “Twist and Shout” was released by Parlophone on an EP with three other tracks, “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, “A Taste of Honey”, and “There’s a Place”, from the Please Please Me (1963) album. Both the EP and album reached No. 1. In Canada, it became the title track to the second album of Beatles material to be issued by Capitol Records of Canada, on February 3, 1964.
It is regarded as one of the finest examples of British rock and roll for its vocal performance. The song was used as a rousing closing number on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in October 1963 and at The Royal Variety Show in November 1963, the former signaling the start of “Beatlemania”; the latter was included on the Anthology 1 compilation album in 1995. In addition, the group performed it on one of their Ed Sullivan Show appearances in February 1964.
The Beatles continued to play the song live until the end of their August 1965 tour of North America. Additionally, they recorded “Twist and Shout” on nine occasions for BBC television and radio broadcasts, the earliest of which was for the Talent Spot radio show on November 27, 1962.
The Beatles – Twist & Shout – Performed Live on The Ed Sullivan Show February 23, 1964:
Come Dancing by The Kinks – “Come Dancing” is a 1982 song written by Ray Davies and performed by British rock group the Kinks on their 1983 album State of Confusion. The song was inspired by Ray’s memories of his older sister, Rene, who died of a heart attack while dancing at a dance hall. The lyrics, sung from the perspective of an “East End barrow boy,” are about the boy’s sister going on dates at a local Palais dance hall.
When first released as a single in United Kingdom in November 1982, “Come Dancing” failed to chart. Although Arista Records founder Clive Davis had reservations about releasing the single in the United States due to the English subject matter of dance halls, the track saw an American single release in April 1983. “Come Dancing” reached number six on the Hot 100, becoming the band’s highest US charting single in over a decade and tying with “Tired of Waiting for You” as the band’s highest charting single ever. This success was achieved largely with the help of a promotional music video directed by Julien Temple that saw frequent airing on MTV. As a result of its American success, the single was re-released in Britain. Unlike its first release, the single became a top 20 British hit, reaching number 12.
And no dance-theme post would be complete without the gyrating moves of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, right?
Dance the Night Away by Van Halen – “Dance the Night Away” was Van Halen’s first top 20 U.S. hit, peaking at #15, and the second song from their 1979 album Van Halen II. While the rest of the songs from this album had existed in various forms since their days doing demos and playing clubs, this song was possibly the only song written during the recording sessions for the album. The band members conceived the song during the recording sessions while they were standing in a circle humming to each other. It was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”. Eddie Van Halen purposely left a guitar solo out of the final version of the song, replacing it instead with a riff of tap harmonics. David Lee Roth originally wanted to call the song “Dance Lolita Dance”, but Eddie Van Halen convinced him that “Dance the Night Away” was more suitable and the chorus was changed to reflect that.
Roth claimed, during a 2006 performance in San Diego, California, that he wrote this song in tribute to an intoxicated woman who was having sex in the back of a truck and ran with her pants on backwards while escaping police officers into the bar where the fledgling band was playing. This was also mentioned at a 2006 performance in Detroit, Michigan.
And then there were those songs that had their own dance named after them:
Mashed Potato Time by Dee Dee Sharp – “Mashed Potato Time” is a single written and composed by Barry Mann and Bernie Lowe, and performed by Dee Dee Sharp on her debut album It’s Mashed Potato Time. The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. R&B chart in 1962, as well as No. 2 on the pop chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1962. It became a gold record.
The song refers to the Mashed Potato dance move which was a fad at the time. It was one of several that came out at that time, for example, “(Do the) Mashed Potatoes” in 1960. In 1996 the Campbell Soup Company used the song in a $30 million advertising campaign, and commissioned a new, more upbeat recording from Dee Dee Sharp.
The Wah-Watusi by The Orlons – This song was one of the many dance-craze songs of the early ’60s. It was the follow-up to Dee Dee Sharp’s dance-craze hit “Mashed Potato Time.”
This was the Orlons’ first national hit in 1962. Their two previous singles failed to chart.
There were three songs about the Watusi dance. This was the second song and biggest hit about the dance. The first was “The Watusi” (by the Vibrations, US #25), and the third was “El Watusi” (by Ray Barretto, US #17)
The Twist by Chubby Checker – “The Twist” is an American pop song written and originally released in early 1959 (having been recorded on 11/11/1958) by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as a B-side to “Teardrops on Your Letter”. Ballard’s version was a moderate 1960 hit, peaking at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Chubby Checker’s 1960 cover version of the song gave birth to the Twist dance craze. His single became a hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 19, 1960, where it stayed for one week, and setting a record as the only song to reach number 1 in two different hit parade runs when it resurfaced and topped the popular hit parade again for two weeks starting on January 13, 1962.
Interesting history: The song became popular on a Baltimore television dance show hosted by local DJ Buddy Dean; Dean recommended the song to Dick Clark, host of the national American Bandstand. When the song proved popular with his audience, Clark attempted to book Ballard to perform on the show. Ballard was unavailable, and Clark searched for a local artist to record the song. He settled on Chubby Checker, whose voice was very similar to Ballard’s. Checker’s version featured Buddy Savitt on sax and Ellis Tollin on drums, with backing vocals by the Dreamlovers. Exposure for the song on American Bandstand and on The Dick Clark Saturday Night Show helped propel the song to the top of the American charts.
In July 1960, Checker performed “The Twist” for the first time in front of a live audience at the Rainbow Club in Wildwood, New Jersey and just weeks later, on Aug. 6, 1960, the song became a national sensation after Checker performed it on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.
In late 1961 and early 1962, the twist craze belatedly caught on in high society. Sightings of celebrities doing the dance made the song a hit with adults, particularly after a report in the Cholly Knickerbocker gossip column. Soon there were long lines at the Peppermint Lounge nightclub in New York, the most popular celebrity twisting spot. This new interest made “The Twist” the only recording to hit number one on the United States charts during two separate chart runs, and marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.
Checker re-recorded the song numerous times. An updated 1982 recording (from his album The Change Has Come) was retitled “T-82”, and in the 1990s, he recorded a country version. In the late 1970s, he recorded a new version that, except for the sound mix and some minor arrangement changes, was identical to the 1960 original; as a result this later version is often misidentified on compilations as the original recording. In 1988, he joined The Fat Boys on a rap version of the song, bearing the subtitle “Yo, Twist”. This version hit number 2 in the UK, number 16 in the US, and number 1 in Germany and Switzerland. Checker also joined the group to perform the song that summer at a London tribute concert for Nelson Mandela. In addition, he recorded variations on the theme, such as “Let’s Twist Again” to keep the craze alive (although “Let’s Twist Again” was and has remained more popular than “The Twist” itself in the United Kingdom).
Here’s “The Twist”:
And here’s Chubby Checkers re-recording “Let’s Twist Again”:
The Loco-Motion by Little Eva – “The Loco-Motion” is a 1962 pop song written by American songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King. “The Loco-Motion” was originally written for Dee Dee Sharp but Sharp turned the song down. The song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times, each time in a different decade: in 1962 by the American pop singer Little Eva (Eva Boyd), (U.S. No. 1); in 1974 by American band Grand Funk Railroad (U.S. No. 1); and finally by Australian singer Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. No. 3).
The song is a popular and enduring example of the dance-song genre: much of the lyrics are devoted to a description of the dance itself, usually done as a type of line dance. However, the song came before the dance. As the song came before the dance, there was no dance when the song was originally written. When the song became a smash hit, Eva Boyd (Little Eva) ended up having to create a dance to go along with the song. Carole King stated this in her “One to One” concert video. In live performances of the song, Little Eva can be seen doing her version of the dance.
In the United States, “The Loco-Motion” was the sixth most successful single of 1962 according to Billboard. It was also the third most successful single of 1962 in South Africa.
Naturally, I’m most familiar with Grand Funk Railroad’s version but here’s Little Eva. In March 1965, Little Eva sang the song on the ABC-TV series Shindig! and (apparently) this is the only known video of her singing this song.
Shout by the Isley Brothers – “Shout” is a popular American song, originally recorded by the Isley Brothers. Released in 1959, it was written by the brothers themselves as a call and response answer to Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops”, which they would occasionally cover in live performances.
“Shout” has woven itself into many iconic American media such as a dance song in which people progressively crouch down to the dance floor as the song gets quieter.
Hitch Hike by Marvin Gaye – “Hitch Hike” is a 1962 song by Marvin Gaye, released on the Tamla label. Another song Gaye co-wrote (this time with Clarence Paul and William “Mickey” Stevenson), this time instead of confessing to being stubborn, the singer is now hitchhiking on the lookout for his girl, whom he feels has run so far that he has to travel “around the world” thinking of places she could have found herself at including St. Louis, “Chicago City Limits” and “L.A.”
The song sparked a brief dance craze when audience members from American Bandstand performed the “hitch hike” dance. Marvin performed the song on the show and also did the move onstage. The dance was also performed during Marvin’s performance of the song in the T.A.M.I. Show. The single was successful enough to land Gaye his first top forty pop single in 1963 with “Hitch Hike” reaching number thirty on the pop singles chart while reaching number twelve on the R&B singles chart. Again, like “Stubborn”, Martha and the Vandellas accompanied Gaye on this song. Artists including The Sonics, The Rolling Stones, The Mothers of Invention and Alice Cooper covered this song during their early years.
Macarena by Los del Rio – “Macarena” (Spanish pronunciation: makaˈɾena) is a Spanish dance song by Los del Río about a woman of the same name. Appearing on the 1993 album A mí me gusta, it was an international hit in 1995, 1996, and 1997, and continues to be a popular dance at weddings, parties, and sporting events. One of the most iconic examples of 1990s dance music, it was ranked the “#1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of All Time” by VH1 in 2002. The song uses a type of clave rhythm. It ranks at No. 7 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100. It also ranks at No. 1 on Billboard’s All Time Latin Songs. It is also Billboard’s No. 1 dance song and one of six foreign language songs to hit No. 1 since 1955’s rock era began.
Gangnam Style by Psy – “Gangnam Style” is the 18th K-pop (Korean Pop) single by the South Korean musician Psy. The song was released on July 15, 2012, as the lead single of his sixth studio album Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1, and debuted at number one on South Korea’s Gaon Chart. On December 21, 2012, “Gangnam Style” became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views. The song’s music video has been viewed over 2.9 billion times on YouTube, and was the most viewed video on YouTube from November 24, 2012 to July 10, 2017.
The phrase “Gangnam Style” is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul. The song and its accompanying music video went viral in August 2012 and have influenced popular culture worldwide since then. “Gangnam Style” received mixed to positive reviews, with praise going to its catchy beat and Psy’s amusing dance moves (which themselves have become a phenomenon) in the music video and during live performances in various locations around the world. In September 2012, “Gangnam Style” was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most “liked” video on YouTube. It subsequently won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards held later that year. It became a source of parodies and reaction videos by many different individuals, groups and organizations.
By the end of 2012, the song had topped the music charts of more than 30 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. As the song continued to rapidly gain popularity and ubiquity, its signature dance moves were attempted by many notable political leaders such as the British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hailed it as a “force for world peace”. On May 7, 2013, at a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama cited the success of “Gangnam Style” as an example of how people around the world are being “swept up” by the Korean Wave of culture.
Conga by Miami Sound Machine with Gloria Estefan – “Conga” is the first hit single released by the American band Miami Sound Machine led by Gloria Estefan on their second English-language album, and ninth overall, Primitive Love. The song was written by the band’s drummer and lead songwriter Enrique Garcia. The single was first released in 1985.
“Conga” became a worldwide success and is recognized as the Miami Sound Machine and Gloria Estefan’s signature song. According to Gloria Estefan in an interview in the Netherlands television show RTL Late Night, Conga was written after the band had performed “Dr. Beat” in a club called Cartouche in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The single was released in 1985 and became a worldwide hit, reaching #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and winning the Grand Prize at the 15th annual “Tokyo Music Festival” in Japan.
The Hustle by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony – “The Hustle” is a disco song by songwriter/arranger Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. It went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts during the summer of 1975. It also peaked at number 9 on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report) and number 3 in the UK. It would eventually sell over one million copies. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance early in 1976 for songs recorded in 1975.
While in New York City to make an album, McCoy composed the song after his music partner, Charles Kipps, watched patrons do a dance known as “the Hustle” in the nightclub Adam’s Apple. The sessions were done at New York’s Media Sound studio with pianist McCoy, bassist Gordon Edwards, drummer Steve Gadd, keyboardist Richard Tee, guitarists Eric Gale and John Tropea, and orchestra leader Gene Orloff. Producer Hugo Peretti contracted piccolo player Phil Bodner to play the lead melody.
During the summer of 1975, “The Hustle” became a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 21 song for 1975. It also peaked at number 9 on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report) and number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.
If you’d like to listen non-stop to all these songs about dancing , click on the playlist below:
Thanks for dancing with me today! Hope my post got you up and moving. Please let me know your favorite song about dancing in the Comments section. Which of these songs do you like best? Which song is the most likely to get you up and dancing? How often do you dance?
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy. Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.
Wee, what an exciting montage of dance mewsic! You REALLY out did yourself, girl. You picked some of the same tunes that I did but then that’s bound to happen with such an impressive list of songs. I always loved Peaches & Herb. I did not realize the group had three different female singers but according to Wikipedia, there were seven of them over the years. The formulation began in 1966 with Herb being a constant. That’s new to me, too. I think I feel a new idea forming for a future post featuring the many female voices of this retro duet. What do you think? Anywho, “Shake Your Groove Thing” is a song I forgot about and loved hearing it again. Thanks for turning the heat up on the dance floor with a plethora of dancesational mewsic!
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I forgot to mention that I saw the latest iteration of Peaches & Herb perform this hit at a live show on the grandstand at the York Interstate Fair in September 1979. P&H appeared along with another popular disco act of the period, Sister Sledge.
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Ooh Tom, that sounds like it was a great show! I love Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” — that was a huge hit in 1979. It reminds me of my adventure that summer when I attended an incredibly intense 5-week journalism program at the Blair Summer School for Journalism at Blair University in Blairstown, New Jersey. I remember playing that song over and over on a cassette boom-box on the bus on the way to our Washington DC trip. Great memories!!
Yeah, Herb had a whole orchard of Peaches! I didn’t know that either until I was researching the song. I do love Shake Your Groove Thing. So many good dance-oriented songs. I had so much fun putting this together and started remembering songs that I had long forgotten and hadn’t heard in ages. And hey, I think your idea for a post featuring Herb and all his Peaches would make for a very interesting post. Especially if you could find songs that can be attributed to each individual Peach… Good idea Girl! Let me know when you’re going to do it …
Thanks for coming by Cathy! Hope you’re having a good week and feeling better every day!
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Michele, I certainly will let you know when I pull this post together. I would love to do it in my Monday time slot for mewsic enthusiasts such as yourself but looking at my calendar I may have to wait until October if I do. Oh well…I’ll keep you in the loop, my friend. 🙂
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What a fine selection of songs and vids pertaining to dances! Sly and The Family Stone pegged the excitement meter with their recordings and live performances. I’m sure their psychedelic soul style was influenced by the psychedelic rock of bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Motown’s super girl group The Supremes had already started moving in that direction in 1967, using psychedelic sounds in their summer ’67 hit single “Reflections” and, as you indicated, the success of Sly and the Family Stone and their single “Dance To The Music” inspired Otis Williams of the Temptations to approach producer Norman Whitfield with the idea of having the The Temps record a psychedelic style song resulting in “Cloud Nine.” When “Cloud Nine” – the single and album – became hits, the Temptations got the neon green light to continue in the same vein with the albums Puzzle People and the 1970 hit single and album “Psychedelic Shack.” Getting back to “Dance To The Music,” I agree it was a great idea to incorporate the lyric hook “Ride, Sally, Ride” from “Mustang Sally,” a song penned and first recorded by Sir Mack Rice and successfully covered by Wilson Pickett. Shady’s Pick-To-Click is the version of “Mustang Sally” by The Young Rascals, one of the highest ranked songs on my list of The 200 Greatest Hits of The Shady Dell.
I know about Brooks & Dunn but never heard that country goody of theirs. I enjoyed it. Some people forget or never knew that Miley Cyrus has a famous singing dad. I well remember the splash Billy Ray made with his big hit and signature song. I also remember when Madonna had everyone in the civilized world “Vogueing.” 🙂 I remember when every girl wanted to be Madonna and every guy wanted to date a hip, sassy, stylish, gum chewing girl like her. No, I never before saw that commercial for The Gap featuring Madonna and Missy singing “Into The Groove.” In my opinion spots like that one diminish the artists and the song. I suppose you could say I believe in the separation of art and commerce. I usually don’t react well when I hear a popular oldie used as a commercial jingle. “Flashdance” the song and the film bring back an exciting period of my life, the early to mid 80s. Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” was released the very same month as the Irene Cara single – April 1983. In the last couple of years I have cultivated a greater appreciation for the music of Nile Rodgers and Chic, and I will be presenting a good number of their recordings and performances in my tandem blog series Bandstands in Foreign Lands and Shady Train. Ditto for Salt-N-Pepa and Donna Summer. “The Safety Dance” and “Shadow Dancing” are excellent choices for this theme post, i am also happy to see that you went back to the 60s when dance crazes came and went almost on a weekly basis and posted 5 major hits of the period that had to do with 60s dances: The Twist, The Mashed Potato, The Wah-Watusi, The Loco-Motion and the Hitch-Hike. Whenever I hear “Shout” I think about its use in the comedy movie Animal House. OMG, how well I remember the “Macarena” and “Conga”! You even included a K-Pop dance song and video. You got it all covered, sista! 🙂
Thanks for giving us a fine overview of dances and dance songs throughout the years, dear friend Michele!
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Thanks so much for your great comment. I so appreciate you taking the time to check out my extensive dance post! So glad you enjoyed it.
The Temptations song, Cloud Nine, inspired by Sly & Family Stone’s Dance to the Music style, is a terrific song.
RE: Ride Sally Ride: I remember the version you like from the Time Peace: The Rascals Greatest Hits album. Do you remember that album cover? It’s quintessential 60s pop art.
I’m so excited to have introduced you to Brooks & Dunn’s Boot Scootin’ Boogie! I love that song. It’s so fun. And the video is fun too. Yay, you liked it! 🙂
I don’t know that I feel the way you do about commercials using hit songs. I used to love the car commercial (I think it was Mazda) that used Signed, Sealed, Delivered — it had this very cool animated guy that would pop in from the corners of the screen and I really dug him and it worked well together, the song and the guy. And I also loved the California Raisin’s commercial using I Heard It Through the Grapevine from back in the 70s I think it was. I can see your point as a music purist, but from a creative standpoint, I can see the merit, and often brilliance, in using hit songs to market products and services. I can’t recall the product or service right off the top of my head right now but somebody used some of The Who’s songs and I always liked when those commercials came on. Now with DVRs though I hardly ever see a commercial anymore. I never watch Live TV: I record everything and then watch it later so I can blast through the commercials.
I’ll look forward to your upcoming posts that will feature Chic, Donna Summer and Salt n’ Peppa!
Thanks again for your comment(s)!
Yessum, I certainly do remember the artwork on the Rascals Time Peace greatest hits compilation because I owned that vinyl album for years. I just now reviewed the track list and was reminded of how many great single sides those guys released, one blue-eyed soul classic after another starting with “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” one of the baddest song titles in rock ‘n’ roll history!
I hear ya. Mrs. Shady and I haven’t watched TV in real time in many years. It’s all Hulu, Netflix and on demand sources. The jingles that I find most annoying are the ones produced for “happy housewife” cleaning product commercials over the years using familiar oldies of the 60s. I can’t even think of an example at the moment because I blot them out of my mind. Knowing how advertising works on a subliminal level, I am probably motivated to buy those products w/o knowing why. 🙂 Seems to me the Who song “I Can See For Miles” was used in a Windex spot, or at least it could be. 🙂
I read your comment at BB’s place and hope your mom is getting around splendidly on her motorized chair.
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I didn’t remember the Tascals song you just mentioned and checked it out on YouTube: Love it! Really good song and great lyrics lines. Thanks for the turn-on…
Wow, just wow. I love just about every one of these songs! I’ve saved the playlist to watch later while I’m crafting. Can’t do it now while I have to concentrate on my typing work, but my feet are definitely ready to move! Thanks!
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Hey Janet! I’m so excited that you saved my playlist to listen to while you’re crafting! I bet it won’t just be your feet that will be movin’…. 🙂
There are some great jams in the list! I’m listening to Boot Scootin’ Boogie right now and I’m sitting here but I think just about every body part is moving! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by…
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So much fun today, Michele!
You included quite a few that I had thought about as well, maybe sometime in the future I’ll do a followup post, or we’ll have this theme again and I’ll include more then. Thanks for your intensive playlist. That will be quite the workout today!
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Workout?? Who, me?? Nah! I used to workout all the time but shit, I’m getting too old to do that anymore! 🙂
I loved this dance theme! I used to dance all the time too… Geez, this is kinda depressing, this comment. I used to do a lot of shit that I don’t do anymore! Damn unfused ankle! 😦 On a good pain-day, if the right song comes on, I will let loose, crank it up and dance around the living room…
Thanks for coming by Mary!
I didn’t know that David Fincher directed the Vogue video. No wonder it’s so good. I’ve never been a Madonna fan, but I love certain songs of hers and Vogue is one of them. I think it’s her best dancing, too. I do not remember the Gap commercial. Achy Breaky Heart is awesomely bad, but oh my goodness, Billy Ray Cyrus was a sexy young thing–in spite of the mullet. There’s no denying that the song is catchy. I waited until today to read this post because I knew I’d want to spend a lot of time on it. My son and I spent much of yesterday running errands and dealing with a clogged kitchen sink. While we were out and about during the afternoon, I was telling him about you, though, and your involvement with greyhound rescue. I said that in addition to having your own dogs that you run a “hotel for rescued greyhounds.” He thought that was cool. Talking about you led to us recalling our long ago visit to Austin and what a good time we had. See how important you are? Another excellent post, Michele.
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Aw!!!! I love that Janie! I wondered why my ears were ringing yesterday!
Hey, you and Favorite Young Man have to make another trip to Austin so we can all hang out!
How’s the sink? Hey, I have a great cure for clogged, slow draining sinks. I bought a bottle of it from my plumber. He said it’s the best and I just used it in my master bathroom a few weeks ago on a sink that was draining slow. It’s called “Thrift – Odorless Drain Cleaner” It’s weird: it’s not a liquid. It looks like little shards of shale or something. you run your water until it gets real hot and then you sprinkle these chips around the drain and then let the hot water melt them. Once they’re melted, you run the hot water for a few minutes. It works great.
I’m going to go check and see if it can be ordered on ebay or something…
Found it! Here’s a link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/THRIFT-MARKETING-GIDDS-TY-0400879-Drain-Cleaner/dp/B00E1N07LY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504068072&sr=8-1&keywords=thrift+odorless+drain+cleaner
It’s also available on ebay (search for “Thrift Drain Cleaner”). Apparently it might also be sold at Walmart?? I don’t know about that but I get everything online anyway. So there you go… Good luck!
And think about that Austin trip… 🙂
Thanks for checking out my dance theme post!
I’ve always enjoyed dancing. Twists, disco, line dancing and just rocking on. My ankles can’t take it any more.
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I hear ya Girl. Mine either. I’ve had 2 triple-arthrodesis surgeries on the left foot and a triple arthordesis plus two ankle fusions on the right…and neither one of those fusions worked so I’m left with an unfused ankle. Not fun!
Wow! A bunch of fun on this one. Chic, James Brown and so much more!
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Thanks for coming by Mike! Glad you liked it!
Can’t say that I love all of these songs, but it’s a good list for the genre. Flashdance is a favorite film of mine with some great songs and dance numbers. I’ll have to admit that I do like the music of Madonna an awful lot. Too bad she’s such a flake with so many wacky ideas and affinities.
Tossing It Out
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I love Flashdance, both the song and the movie. And Madonna sure did pave the way for most female artists that came after her. No matter your opinion of her, you have to admit her positive and impact on the music industry, not to mention the sheer magnitude of her cultural impact. She is the ultimate pop icon for sure. Back when she was all the rage, her music was instrumental in giving me the confidence to explore full-figure modeling. I even put a mix tape together to play while I was getting my portfolio shot and her songs helped loosen me up and pose uninhibited (Borderline, Into the Groove, Express Yourself, Lucky Star). Paula Abdul’s Straight Up was on that tape too. You don’t hear much about her anymore…
And Jody Whatley’s Lookin’ for a New Love and Janet Jackson’s Nasty.
There’s another song that was on there and for the life of me I can’t think of it or the artist and it’s driving me crazy…
1986-1988 produced some great dance hits.
MICHELE, I really liked those songs “Dance To The Music” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”. I’d never heard of the songs before, nor of the artists. Because to say I had would be confessin’ that I’m old. And I ain’t! (Thanks for introducing me to them ;o)
I just say NO to Madonna and to Billy Ray Cyrus and his offspring. “NO!!!”
“Gangnam Style” — both the song and its video — are the worst things that have ever been created by human beings in the entire history of the world. Now… would you like me to tell you how much I REALLY hate them?
But… “FOOTLOOSE” by Kenny Loggins… now that’s a brand new bag!
Honestly, I really liked Kenny when he was with Messina. And I think his first solo album, “CELEBRATE ME HOME”, is absolutely fantastic. It’s probably one of my top ten most frequently played CDs. But after that, he went pretty commercial and I really didn’t care for any of his big hits…. EXCEPT FOR… “FOOTLOOSE”.
I gotta admit, I really like “Footloose”. I also gotta admit that I can’t dance a lick. Not a lick! HOWEVER… back in ’84 when “Footloose” was a hit, my drinkin’ buddies and I used to sometimes go to a dance club right on the Pacific Coast Highway, just North of Santa Monica. It was called “THE SUNSPOT”. (I won’t mention the nasty nickname that the other blokes used to call it by. But you can probably imagine it.)
But I really liked The Sunspot. If you wanted to take a break from the club, you could just walk across the P.C.H. and you’d be right on the beach at night. How cool is THAT?
THE SUNSPOT regularly played “FOOTLOOSE”, and that was one song I honestly felt I could dance to. (Not sure now if I really could. I was probably just making a fool of myself without knowing it.) Something about that rhythm really made my body move, and I almost always found myself on the dance floor with some girl.
More than any other song I can think of, “FOOTLOOSE” is the one that most makes me want to dance, and most convinces me that I actually can. (Of course, Tequila helps. Tequila ALWAYS says: “Trust me. You CAN dance!” …The phuqin’ liar!! ;o)
Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
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Oh I bet you can dance better than you give yourself credit for Stephen. You just let the music take control and move you… Feel the music. Oh how I love to dance!
I was just responding to Lee’s comment and listed a few of my favorite songs to dance to, at least for that particular period in my life (1986-1988). There are tons others…
Footloose is absolutely one of my favorites — both the song and the movie. It’s such a feel-good song. And I bet you wouldn’t even need tequila to get down on the dance floor to that one! I bet the G-Spot, er, ah, Sunspot, really rocked when Footloose was playing. 😉 Sounds like a cool place, especially being right across the road from the ocean. Nice! No doubt there were lots of after-hours beach parties and bonfires sparking up after last call… I’m sure you have stories there, eh?
I’ll have to check out Kenny Loggin’s first solo album that you mentioned. What is your favorite Loggins & Messina song? Mine is Angry Eyes. I LOVE that song. Here’s a fabulous live performance of it. Not sure when or where but it’s definitely in the later years:
I got a good chuckle from the first paragraph of your comment. Fess up! You be old, dammit! Hey, speaking of Sly & the Family Stone, I used one of their songs in the Monday’s Music Moves Me post for today. Check it out if you have a chance: it’s about summer and Labor Day.
You have yourself a great Labor Day today. Enjoy the day off! Peace, brother…
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