Music and dance go hand-in-hand. You rarely have one without the other!
Modern music’s long history features dance crazes, artists whose careers were built around signature moves, and entire eras dedicated to one genre.
Whether you’re dancing the night away, dancing by yourself, or dancing with your partner, take a waltz through the decades with this list featuring songs about dancing.
Table of Contents
- Le Freak – Chic
- Let’s Twist Again – Chubby Checker
- Push It! – Salt-N-Pepa
- Dance to the Music – Sly and the Family Stone
- I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston
- Twist and Shout – The Beatles
- Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
- Dancing in the Streets – Martha & The Vandellas
- Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
- Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney ft. Natalie Portman
- Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira
- Footloose – Kenny Loggins
- Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) – C+C Music Factory
- Let’s Dance – David Bowie
- You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
- Just Dance – Lady Gaga
- Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
- Dancing Queen – ABBA
- Flashdance…What a Feeling – Irene Cara
- One More Time – Daft Punk
- Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
- Dancing on the Ceiling – Lionel Richie
- Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung
- Dancing with Myself – Billy Idol
- Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon
- Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
- I Can’t Dance – Genesis
- The Loco-Motion – Little Eva
- Everybody Dance – Chic
- Macarena – Los Del Río
- Boot Scootin’ Boogie – Brooks & Dunn
- U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
- I Don’t Dance – Lee Brice
Le Freak – Chic
Written after Le Freak band members were denied entry into the famous Studio 54 club due to their no-name status, the musicians sat down and used their frustration to pen this grooving tune. It reached the number one spot on the charts and shot Chic to instant fame. They never had trouble getting into Studio 54 again.
Let’s Twist Again – Chubby Checker
Long before Tik Tok inspired dance trends, we had classic moves like “the twist.” Originally performed by The Midnighters, they started performing the move on stage, and it made some waves in the crowd. When Chubby Checker covered the song, his dance moves honoring “the twist” made it catch on nationwide. The move soon became a household staple.
Push It! – Salt-N-Pepa
You couldn’t visit a club in the 1990s without hearing Salt-N-Pepa’s dance classic ‘Push It!.’ The tune centers around drawing people to the dance floor who are ready to party. Not particularly lyrically dominant, the beat really drives the song. It’s the perfect mix between early hip hop and club music.
Related: This song features on our playlist of the best workout songs of all time.
Dance to the Music – Sly and the Family Stone
‘Dance to the Music’ made Sly and the Family Stone a sought-after group. The single helped shape the rest of their musical career. The song featured a toe-tapping funky beat and was the perfect introductory song with each band member introducing themselves in the track. The single kickstarted the movement of the early ’70s we now know as “psychedelic soul.”
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston’s dance that accompanied this song made it all the more enticing to consumers. Though her production team had high hopes for the single, they had no idea just how well it would do. It received a record amount of airplay and sold 3 million copies of the single alone. The album, titled Whitney, sold 9 million copies.
Related: Keep the party going with the best party pop songs.
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
If you’ve ever seen the classic ’80s movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you’re quite familiar with The Beatles’ hit song ‘Twist and Shout.’ In the movie, Ferris performs this song karaoke-style during a parade while ditching school. This song was actually a cover of The Top Notes. The Beatles’ version quickly became the most popular rendition.
Related: Check out these other easy karaoke songs for guys.
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
Though this was the last song Springsteen wrote for his 1984 Born in the U.S.A. album, it became the highest-charted single for him after it was released. He was under significant pressure from his label to pen a commercial-sounding track when he wrote it. His lyrics focus on him feeling like a “hired gun” in an industry hellbent on leaving him hungry.
Related: You can find this one on our list of the best karaoke songs.
Dancing in the Streets – Martha & The Vandellas
This feel-good tune was originally written by Mickey Stevenson, who did a lot of work with soul/R&B singer Marvin Gaye. While riding through town, they noticed kids playing in open fire hydrants spraying water, and Stevenson thought it looked like they were dancing. During the civil rights movement, the song went on to take a deeper meaning for African-Americans.
Related: See more songs about equality.
Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
Featured in the ’70s movie Saturday Night Fever, it’s a hit song about much more than dancing. Like the movie’s main character, the song deals with feelings of inadequacy and having to fight to make your way in the world. It mirrors John Travolta’s struggles in the movie as he works a dead-end job and uses dancing as a way to blow off steam.
Related: Stay alive with the best fight songs.
Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney ft. Natalie Portman
Paul McCartney went in a different direction with his 2007 tune ‘Dance Tonight.’ He had been out shopping in London and saw a Mandolin for sale at a music shop. He bought it and started jamming on it at home. He sang the line “everybody gonna dance tonight” repeatedly while his young daughter danced by him. Actress Natalie Portman starred in the music video for the song.
Related: Shop until you drop with these songs about shopping.
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira
‘Hips Don’t Lie’ was the first in a long line of hit singles for Columbian singer and dancer Shakira. For weeks, her music video featured her moves and helped keep the song in the top spot on music video countdown shows. She still often performs the song, including a stunning performance for Super Bowl 55 with Jennifer Lopez.
Footloose – Kenny Loggins
The 1980s wouldn’t be complete without Kenny Loggins’s earworm of a song, ‘Footloose.’ The rockin’ song will have you dancing in no time. Its infectious beat and melody feature in the film that launched Kevin Bacon’s career also titled Footloose. The movie is an ’80s classic about a boy who moves to a town where dancing is outlawed.
Related: Walk over to our list of songs about shoes.
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) – C+C Music Factory
This empowering dance number is a siren song beckoning everyone to the dance floor. Aside from its tempting beat, powerful vocals were added to the mix to spark emotion in the listener. Maratha Wash’s guest appearance on the song and her powerful vocals are a memorable part of this track. She was a member of the group The Weather Girls, who had another hit on their hands with ‘It’s Raining Men.’
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
Though this song has a deep philosophical meaning, as many Bowie songs do, his production crew ensured the mix would get people moving since “dance” was in the song’s title. Though ‘Let’s Dance’ is a fun song to groove to, it’s about much more than moving your body. It’s about the dance of life and getting through tough times with a smile.
You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
‘You Should Be Dancing’ is a tune that is synonymous with the era of disco. It was a number one hit that captured the essence of the times in the 1970s. The hit’s popularity brought a fringe movement to the mainstream and helped everyone feel like they were a part of the disco craze. At one point, clubs across the country played the song at least three times a night.
Just Dance – Lady Gaga
Is life getting you down? Popstar Lady Gaga has a solution for you. ‘Just Dance.’ After spending years penning hit songs for other groups like The Pussycat Dolls, Gaga decided to take center stage and released this as her first single in 2008. She wrote the hit during her move from New York to L.A. when she felt disoriented and thought the only thing left to do was shake it off and dance.
Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
Will Smith brought a whole new meaning to the word “cool” with his single ‘Gettin’ Jiggy With It,’ which features the term “jiggy” as a reference to someone trendy. The song features samples from a few different well-known groups, including Sly and The Family Stone. The song had a big production crew working on it, including 12 different writers credited as taking part in the writing process.
Dancing Queen – ABBA
While working on their mid-’70s album Arrival, a few Abba bandmates started writing a song they thought would be a guaranteed mood-elevating dance hit. It turns out they were right. ‘Dancing Queen’ started a “Europop” music revolution. Though their single ‘Fernando’ saw modest success on the radio, ‘Dancing Queen’ became an international number one hit.
Related: Sing along with these good sing-along songs.
Flashdance…What a Feeling – Irene Cara
Irene Cara’s ‘Flashdance…What a Feeling’ is featured in the 1983 movie by the same name. The song is a metaphor for the connection between dancing and life. If you are in control of one, you can be in control of the other. The movie was a part of a new genre of films during the ’80s that centered around the movie not being a musical but still being deeply connected to its soundtrack. Other films include Footloose and Dirty Dancing.
One More Time – Daft Punk
This house track has been included in lists detailing some of the greatest dance songs of all time. ‘One More Time’ was significantly more popular in Europe than the US when it was released in the early 2000s. Its message is a relatable one. Life can get busy, and it’s important to stop and take time to celebrate.
Related: Celebrate your victory with some songs about success.
Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake’s bubblegum-pop tune written for the Trolls movie he also stars in is a hit among kids and adults. Its highly synthesized production and Timberlake’s emotionally-driven falsetto make it a perfect animated movie addition. ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’ is a dance number focusing on positivity and dancing through life.
Related: Keep the good vibes going with these songs about being happy.
Dancing on the Ceiling – Lionel Richie
How one could ever dance on the ceiling is a question for physicists. However, that’s exactly what this fun Richie tune is about. His dynamic, lyrical delivery helps make the song memorable for listeners. Decades later, people are still talking about the music video, which featured people walking on ceilings via special effects still in their infancy at the time.
Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung
Wang Chung had a few ’80s chart-topping songs, including ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ and ‘Dance Hall Days.’ The band was good at producing classic ’80s songs featuring synthesized beats and feel-good lyrics—a formula popular at the time. Though their music gained a modest following in the UK, Wang Chung found much success in the American market.
Related: You’ll love these classic feel-good songs.
Dancing with Myself – Billy Idol
‘Dancing with Myself’ made Billy Idol a major player in the American recording industry. He originally recorded the song with his band Generation X but soon went solo after completing the project. At his manager’s advice, he traveled to New York and released the single as a solo artist. It’s an easy song to dance to, and though its production is upbeat, its lyrics focus on a generation who feels disenfranchised.
Related: Feel comforted with these songs about feeling alone.
Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon
Frontman Nicholas Petricca found inspiration for his band’s single ‘Shut Up and Dance’ when he visited a busy nightclub in L.A. He waited at the bar for a long time for his drink and began to get frustrated. Suddenly a girl he’d never met walked up to him and dragged him out on the dance floor, saying, “Just shut up and dance!” Walk The Moon finished writing the song while recording their critically acclaimed album Talking is Hard.
Related: Waiting for someone? Listen to these songs about patience and waiting.
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars’ high-energy dance track ‘Uptown Funk’ is a masterfully produced hit song. The layered production creates an exhilarating vibe while his over-the-top party lyrics and thunderous beat keep you moving from start to finish. Mars and his crew came up with the song idea while on tour and knew they had something special.
I Can’t Dance – Genesis
Songwriting master and Genesis member Phil Collins had a hand in writing this tune about the wild world of male modeling. They penned it as a cheeky tune about jeans commercials who feature models who are good looking but unable to have a meaningful conversation. After its release, some listeners thought it was a song about not being a good dancer, so the band had to clear up the misconception.
The Loco-Motion – Little Eva
This 1962 dance tune charted well in both the US and the UK. It reached the top spot in America while coming close across the pond, as well. A young songwriting couple (Carole King and Gerry Goffin) were writing the song while their babysitter, Eva, watched their daughter. When Goffin saw Eva and his daughter dancing to it, the locomotive theme was born, and they quickly finished the song. They even hired Little Eva for the song’s recording.
Related: All aboard our playlist of songs about locomotives.
Everybody Dance – Chic
Chic bandmates Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards penned this early ’70s song about dancing the night away. It was the first song they co-wrote together. Rogers thought the overall beat he had for it sounded a bit too jazzy. Edwards sat down with the song and tweaked it to align with the disco era.
Related: Dance all night with the best songs about good times.
Macarena – Los Del Río
You couldn’t go to a skating rink in the ’90s without hearing the ‘Macarena’ song. It was a hit at parties of all kinds, featuring an easy-to-remember choreographed dance and a fun beat. Though the song has been covered many times, Los Del Rio’s version is the most popular rendition.
Related: Mosey on over to our playlist of popular line dance songs.
Boot Scootin’ Boogie – Brooks & Dunn
Boot Scootin’ Boogie’ is one of the 1990s many line dance songs with its own choreographed moves. A line dance craze surfaced for several years in mainstream country music resulting in hits like ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie,’ Shania Twain’s ‘Any Man of Mine,’ and Alan Jackson’s ‘Chattahoochee’ getting their own easy-to-follow dance numbers.
Related: Need more country music? See our playlist of classic country songs.
U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
The world was introduced to what is now known as ‘The Hammer Dance’ with MC Hammer’s mega-hit ‘U Can’t Touch This.’ Because it was recorded with a younger crowd in mind, many listeners didn’t realize it was a sample of Rick James’ hit ‘Super Freak.’ MC Hammer’s signature parachute pants started a fashion trend after the release of this song as well.
Related: Parachute pants were a statement! Get inspired by these fashion songs.
I Don’t Dance – Lee Brice
Country songwriter Lee Brice’s single ‘I Don’t Dance’ is a moving ballad that plays like a love story. The story-driven song features a man who doesn’t dance, but when he meets the right woman, he decides he’ll do anything for her, including spinning her around on the dance floor. It’s perfect for first dances at weddings and often used at ceremonies and receptions.
Related: Feel the romance with these best songs about falling in love.
More songs about dancing:
- Conga – Miami Sound Machine
- Private Dancer – Tina Turner
- Hoedown Throwdown – Miley Cyrus
- Dancing Machine – The Jackson 5
- Last Dance – Donna Summer