Best party songs
Image: Time Out/Andrey Noikolaev/Shutterstock

The 100 best party songs ever made

Put the best party songs on your celebration playlist and you’re guaranteed a body-moving dance explosion

Nick Levine
Contributor: Ella Doyle

There's nothing worse then when you're trying to host a party and the tunes are sub-par. When you've got your outfits on and the drinks flowin', what you need is a proper, curated party playlist that covers all the bases. Well, look no further. Party songs come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some rules: they have to be bangers, and they have to make you want to dance.

Alongside the old classics (Whitney, queen of the party, we're looking at you), we've added some very worthy newbies from 2023 to our list, from Peggy Gou's ‘Nanana’ to Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice's ‘Barbie World’. After all, you need a bit of everything to truly get the party going. Here are the 100 best party songs, ever. 

Contributers: Ella Doyle, India Lawrence, Henrietta Taylor, James Manning, Andy Kryza, Andrzej Lukowski, Nick Levine, Chris Waywell.

🎤 The best karaoke songs
🍻 The best drinking songs
🎉 The best birthday songs
🎶 The best ’80s songs
🕺 The best pop songs

Best party songs of all time

1. ‘I'm Coming Out’ by Diana Ross

Okay, there’s a hell of a lot of Diana Ross tunes that could make this list. That woman knows how to party. But as soon as the intro opens to I’m Coming Out, you simply cannot help but hit the dance floor. The best is when you go for the extended version, and find yourself in the midst of the intro for about 11 minutes. But whichever version you go for, this is the party song, in every way. She wants the world to know, people.
Ella Doyle
Guides Editor

2. ‘212’ by Azealia Banks, ft Lazy Jay

There is something beautiful about seeing a room of people screaming ‘I’mma ruin you, c*nt’ at the top of their lungs. Because this potty-mouthed banger, by problematic fave Azealia Banks, is guaranteed to get people jumping and yelling at any party. With its instantly recognisable bumping house backing track, filthy lyrics and unbeatable vocals from Banks, this track goes off every time. And then there’s the bridge, a sultry, slowed down section with a menacing feel, that launches us straight into the deliciously shouty chorus. Over ten years after it’s release this song is still relevant, a timeless bop.
India Lawrence
Contributing writer

3. ‘Love at First Sight’ by Kylie Minogue

Henrietta Taylor
Contributing writer

4. ‘In Da Club’ by 50 Cent

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


5. ‘1999’ by Prince

‘If you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knockin’ on my door,’ the diminutive Minneapolis genius declared in one of the earliest blockbuster hits of his purple reign. Like Orwell’s 1984 and Kubrick’s 2001, Prince’s ‘1999’ is less a sell-by date than a declarative prediction made timeless by persuasive art. It isn’t possible to party like it’s 1999 every single time – hey, we’re only human – but this song will get even the dullest wedding disco popping. 

6. ‘Poison’ by Bell Biv DeVoe

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


7. ‘Hey Ya!’ by OutKast

OutKast’s future seemed uncertain in 2003 when the acclaimed Georgia duo of André 3000 and Big Boi announced the release of ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’—less a new group album than a pair of conjoined-twin solo sets, with each member making token appearances on the other’s disc. But critics were silenced by the irresistible single ‘Hey Ya!’ A limber funk bassline, a hand-clapping refrain and a simple, unforgettable chorus made this André 3000 vehicle dance-floor catnip, even before you saw the deliciously daffy music video.

8. ‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna

A truly great party has to have drama, and who better to provide this than the Queen of Pop, Madonna. Indeed, there was drama around ‘Like a Prayer’ even before the single came out in 1989—remember that Pepsi ad campaign? And then there’s the song itself: jags of electric guitar followed by a huge, cavernous drum thwack. A waft of angelic choir singing. Then: ‘Life is a mystery / Everyone must stand alone / I hear you call my name / And it feels like…’—wait for it—‘Home.’ And lo, the drumbeat kicks in and we’re thrust right into the chorus.

‘Like a Prayer’ is a crazy, outlandish, imaginative, absurd song, which makes its success as a dance-floor filler all the more ridiculous and wonderful. Add in a dollop of worldwide scandal, objections from the Vatican and the sickest gospel coda ever to feature in a pop song—and you have the greatest party song ever recorded. Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you.


9. ‘Nanana’ by Peggy Gou

Her fans have loved her for a while, but this year was the year TikTok became utterly obsessed with Peggy Gou (aka, she went mainstream). By the time her iconic party track Nanana came out in June 2023, half the world had already listened to a TikTok clip of it 100 times over. And were we disappointed? Absolutely not. Nanana is light, catchy, and makes you wish you were dancing on a boat in Ibiza. Of course, a rightful shout out to ‘Starry Night’ while we’re here. Long live Peggy. Ella Doyle

10. ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang

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

15. ‘Groove Is in the Heart‘ by Deee-Lite

It’s considered one of the best one-hit wonders ever, but that may be too limited of a superlative. In truth, ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ is an all-time great dance jam, standing up to just about anything put out by the genre’s towering icons. Hitting the same year Madonna brought house music to the masses, the song shot out of the East Village club scene like a rainbow-coloured Bat signal, a confectionary whole made out of several delicious ingredients: a slinky bassline and charismatic asides from Bootsy Collins, a flirty lead vocal from Lady Miss Kier, a rap cameo from Q-Tip – shoot, even the slide whistle is funky as hell. It can still turn dancefloors inside-out today.

16. ‘Got to Be Real’ by Cheryl Lynn

The opening horn riff of Cheryl Lynn's first and best-known single is so certain to trigger a flood of dopamine in your brain, it could rightly be described as Pavlovian. What follows is a headlong fall into disco heaven—one that no one was in a hurry to get up from: The tune reappeared on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2010, more than 30 years after its release. It’s also been embraced as a bona fide – and utterly joyous – LGBTQ+ anthem.


17. ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ by Wham!

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

18. ‘Don’t Start Now’ by Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa claimed a space on the pop A-list with her superb 2020 album ‘Future Nostalgia’, a stylish collection of bangers that lived up to its elastic title concept. ‘Don’t Start Now’, the album’s lead single, is a defiant breakup song par excellence: all sass, attitude, and the irresistible sound of your confidence re-building. If it doesn’t tempt your most reluctant friend onto the dancefloor, nothing will.


19. ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx

We want prenup! It’s a testament to the sheer infectiousness of the biggest hit from Ye’s classic ‘Late Registration’ album that this funny, whip-smart and completely unromantic song was a staple at wedding receptions in the mid-aughts. Seventeen years after it dropped in 2005, it remains absolutely blistering.

20. ‘The Power’ by Snap!

‘The Power’ might be most famous as a snippet in service of jock jams, but the tune is a force: It’s a paranoid, rushing affair, anchored by the appropriately named American emcee Turbo B. His rhymes only take the silver when compared to Jackie Harris’s cries of ‘I’ve got the power!’ Nostalgic, yes, but still alive enough to get the crowd ultra-pumped. Oh snap!


21. ‘Pump Up the Jam’ by Technotronic

Incessant use of the word booty, a driven four-on-the–floor drumbeat and a psychedelic music video featuring divas in neon spandex suits spinning like propellers. It’s no wonder “Pump Up the Jam” became a massive hit in 1989, pretty much kick-starting the mainstream hip-house movement. Who could resist those insouciant vocals (supposedly uttered by Congolese model Felly Kilingi), littered with slang phrases that you haven’t heard in at least 15 years? Also note: Pump up the jam became a slang term for masturbation in Flemish. The more you know, people.

22. ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer

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


23. ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-a-Lot

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

24. ‘Relax‘ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Frankie’s 1983 debut single didn’t just spawn an iconic T-shirt – it also became one of the decade’s most transcendent club hits. Nearly 40 years later, it remains a hypnotically potent combination of Hi-NRG dance-pop and swaggering disco-rock that hits the spot whether you realise Holly Johnson is singing about gay sex or not. It’s a banger that adds bite to any party.

26. ‘I Love It’ by Icona Pop

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

27. ‘SOS’ by ABBA

Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Anni-Frid have earned a place in the pop pantheon dozens of times over. So how do you pick their greatest song? In our book, it's ‘SOS’: sheer heartache, fizzing synths, hauntingly downbeat vocals and not one but two unforgettable choruses back-to-back. It's great because it's the ABBA song you're least likely to hear at a wedding reception (except maybe ‘The Winner Takes It All’), but it actually is a party banger. 


28. ‘Kiss’ by Prince

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

29. ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace Of Bass

From Abba to Avicii via The Cardigans and Robyn, Sweden has always had a knack for turning out some of pop music’s biggest acts and most memorable moments. In 1992, it was Ace Of Bass’s turn to take Swedish pop from Stockholm to the world, hitting Number One in ten countries with an unlikely slice of hook-laden digital reggae that was so catchy, you still hear workmen whistling it almost 25 years later.


30. ‘Dancing With Myself’ by Billy Idol

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

31. ‘California Love’ by 2pac

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


32. ‘Yeah’ by Usher

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

33. ‘Hella Good’ by No Doubt

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


34. ‘SexyBack’ by Justin Timberlake

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

35. ‘Oh Yeah’ by Yello

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

36. ‘Nasty’ by Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson’s first two albums were wholesome affairs, her image tightly controlled by her famously domineering father. Appropriately, it was with 1986’s Control that she finally took the reins of her own career, hooking up with producers Jam and Lewis for a set of cutting-edge funk and R&B, highlighted by this clattering, hard-hitting mission statement of a second single. We’ve been calling her Miss Jackson ever since.

37. ‘Bulletproof’ by La Roux

One of the biggest hits of 2009 was an unexpected one: the third single from the British duo’s eponymous debut album. Undeniably catchy and fun, ‘Bulletproof’ bathes in a cross-appeal bolstered by singer Elly Jackson’s swagger-laden vocals and 1980s pop-synth muscle. When it’s on, dancing is not optional.


38. ‘Just Dance’ by Lady Gaga

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

39. ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ by Shakira

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


40. ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna

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

41. ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ by Beastie Boys

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


42. ‘Trap Queen’ by Fetty Wap

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

43. ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by Bee Gees

No matter how late it gets, what better way to keep the party going than the supremely uncool cool of the Bee Gees? With that ultra-funky bassline and the Gibb brothers’ falsetto harmonisation, the magnetism of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ will make any party feel like the golden age of Studio 54. So pop open that top button and dust off your disco moves as you surrender to the groove.


44. ‘Let’s Get It Started’ by The Black Eyed Peas

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

45. ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson

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

46. ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles

Yeah, yeah, it’s over 50 years old and your grandparents might’ve made out to it. But good gosh if this isn’t one of the sexiest, wildest songs on this list. It starts out pretty civilised, with that unmistakable keyboard intro, and lickety-split cymbal beats. Then Ray starts singing about lovin’ you all night long with wicked intent, the brass starts up, the backing singers join in, and you have one hot, fine mess.


47. ‘Express Yourself’ by Madonna

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

48. ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk

This hugely anticipated (not to mention hyped) comeback single from Daft Punk became the summer anthem of 2013. ‘Get Lucky’ finds the French duo switching its modus operandi from referencing classic disco music to actually creating it: The single features (and was co-written by) Chic star and producer Nile Rodgers, and hip-hop mastermind Pharrell Williams—who, you may be interested to know, heard about the project from Daft Punk at a Madonna party.


49. ‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse

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

50. ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang

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


51. ‘Give Up the Funk’ by Parliament

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

52. ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ by the Temptations

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


53. ‘Do You Love Me’ by the Contours

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

54. ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ by James Brown

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

55. ‘Tightrope’ by Janelle Monáe

Like Prince before her and Bruno Mars soon after, Janelle Monáe showed that she’d taken the lessons of James Brown to heart: not just with the piled-high pompadour, but with the minimalist beat, sassy brass, urgent bassline and, more than anything, the positively hypnotic urgency of her monotone verses on this 2010 R&B banger. Truly euphoric stuff.

56. ‘Super Bass’ by Nicki Minaj

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


57. ‘Hot Girl Summer’ by Megan Thee Stallion

What’s a hot girl summer? Well, regardless of the season, it’s about doing your thing and not caring what other people think. Megan Thee Stallion and her 2019 summer anthem embody that ideal. She brings the heat, and this song will make you want to just have a good time and not give a damn. Put on this track and everyone can feel like the life of the party.

58. ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ by the Notorious B.I.G.

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


59. ‘In Da Club’ by 50 Cent

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

60. ‘O.P.P.’ by Naughty by Nature

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


61. ‘Thong Song’ by Sisqo

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

62. ‘Higher Ground’ by TNGHT

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


63. ‘Started From the Bottom’ by Drake

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

64. ‘Take on Me’ by A-ha

Pop-idol pinups they may have been, but the members of Norwegian trio A-ha also made great, genuinely inventive music in their mid-’80s heyday. The jewel in A-ha’s crown, of course, is the dazzling debut single ‘Take on Me’. This synth-pop gem is chiseled like a diamond, with a perfect keyboard riff and a melody that moves in and out of major keys just as singer Morten Harket’s voice turns from desperate to hopeful and back again. Add in the trailblazing animated video, and ‘Take on Me’  became indelibly imprinted on the brain of anyone who saw it.

65. ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls

Sure, there are probably ‘better’ Spice Girls songs – the disco update ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, the Motown tribute ‘Stop’ – but this rollicking debut single still feels like an electric shock to the soul. It’s a fearless statement of intent from a feisty five-piece who rewrote pop’s rule book in the ’90s by proving that girls could claim spaces traditionally occupied by the boys. If you were there, you’ll still remember every word – right down to ’Zigazigah!’


66. ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ by Whitney Houston

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

67. ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’ by Ini Kamoze

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


68. ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain

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

69. ‘It Takes Two’ by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

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


70. ‘Rump Shaker’ by Wreckx-N-Effect

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

71. ‘Walk This Way’ by Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith

However funky Steven Tyler and his Boston hard-rock road dogs might have been during their prime, the idea that Aerosmith could fill a dance floor without passing out on it during the after-party didn’t happen until Jam Master Jay, Run-D.M.C.’s slashing DJ, pulled the grooves clear off the vinyl in 1986. It’s a genre-busting collaboration that still feels thrilling more than 35 years later.

72. ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ by Rod Stewart

Borrowing a chorus from Brazilian cult star Jorge Ben Jor’s ‘Taj Mahal,’ Rod Stewart struck dance-floor gold at the height of the ‘Disco Sucks’ era. Today, Ben Jor’s still a cult hero, Stewart’s still going strong, and this louche, seductive cut has long since transcended its guilty pleasure status.

73. ‘Y.M.C.A.’ by the Village People

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


74. ‘One, Two Step’ by Ciara ft. Missy Elliott

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

75. ‘Whip It’ by Devo

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


76. ‘Straight Up’ by Paula Abdul

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

77. ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52’s

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


78. ‘Don’t You Want Me’ by the Human League

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

79. ‘Rio’ by Duran Duran

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


80. ‘Tell It to My Heart’ by Taylor Dayne

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

81. ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie

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

82. ‘Last Nite’ by the Strokes

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


83. ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell

Early ’80s synth-pop rules – fact. Soft Cell, a U.K. duo comprising singer Marc Almond and beatsmith Dave Ball, also rule – check out their greatest hits on Spotify for proof. ‘Tainted Love’, their indelible update of an old Gloria Jones tune, still slaps more than 40 years after it was released – fact. Altogether now: ‘Take my tears and that’s not nearly aaaaaalll.’

84. ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand

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


85. ‘Song 2’ by Blur

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

86. ‘Dancing in the Dark’ by Bruce Springsteen

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


87. ‘Modern Love’ by David Bowie

Before Nile Rodgers was bopping around with Daft Punk on ‘Get Lucky’, he was co-producing this gem from David Bowie’s 1983 album ‘Let’s Dance’. There’s a serious propulsion to this song, which makes it one of Bowie’s most undeniable crowd-pleasers. The great mean opens the tune with a iconic spoken-word bit  before hitting his unmistakable high notes and singing of the concept at hand: ‘Terrifies me / Makes me party / Puts my trust in God and man.’ Well said, David, well said.

88. ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper

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


89. ‘Fell in Love with a Girl’ by the White Stripes

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

90. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana

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

91. ‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Richie

The Commodores singer with the voice as smooth as an eel in oil released ‘All Night Long’ in 1983, and it still sounds perfectly crisp. Watch Richie’s face light up in the video as he sings, ‘Fiesta, forever’, and you’ll know exactly what to do. He’s known for being one of the nicest men in pop, and on this song his natural warmth and effervescence are utterly infectious.

92. ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears

Bollywood strings, twangy surf guitar, a killer chorus and a video which features Britney as an air hostess: so, three great things and something you really don’t want to see when your 737 suddenly loses altitude. ‘Toxic’ was rejected by Kylie (what was she thinking?) and ended up as Britney’s peak: a sonic mish-mash with a lyric about addiction, it neatly previewed what lay ahead. Chris Waywell


93. ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd

Too many ’80s-inspired songs fall into the trap of sounding like a weak pastiche. This euphoric 2019 effort from The Weeknd is very much an exception to the rule. Co-written with Swedish songwriting genius Max Martin, its synthy shimmer manages to feel retro and contemporary at the same time – a tricky sweet spot to it. Ed Sheeran, who dominated 2021 with his own ’80s-inspired bop ‘Bad Habits,’ was definitely paying attention.

94. ‘Rock the Casbah’ by the Clash

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


95. ‘Super Freak’ by Rick James

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

96. ‘Africa’ by Toto

Sometimes you want a party song to serve up ineffable cool, and sometimes you just want to bellow along to a bunch of anonymous-looking white dudes singing awkwardly phrased post-colonial nonsense about Mount Kilimanjaro. It may be tacky as fuck, but there’s something about the warm glow of ‘Africa’ that unites a room like little else.


97. ‘Got to Give It Up’ by Marvin Gaye

A boisterous, presumably bell-bottomed crowd, gyrating on the dance floor of your imagination, can be heard high in the mix. Take their whoops as your cue: Marvin Gaye supplies the cool falsetto and someone can be heard rocking the cowbell, but the prime directive here is to dance. When Paul Thomas Anderson needed a backdrop for Dirk Diggler’s glory days in Boogie Nights, this is what he chose.

98. ‘Pon De Floor’ by Major Lazer

When ‘Pon De Floor’ first dropped, Major Lazer still consisted of both Diplo and Switch—the latter dance-commander compatriot soon dipped out to focus on his solo stylings. On his own, Diplo’s done pretty well (in 2015, Spotify announced ‘Lean On’ as its most played track ever) but the newly pop-ified bent he’s taken with the project just can't match its dancehall-centered, dance-floor-shattering origins.


99. ‘Lifestyle’ by Rich Gang

Despite being a rambunctious party tune, Rich Gang's celebratory ode to well-earned fame (‘I did a lot of shit just to live this here lifestyle’) coasts along lightly on a sparse beat of relaxed piano chords and sub-bass. The collected cool of it all notwithstanding—and even if you’ve made little headway deciphering the actual lyrics to Thugger's mumble-rap chorus—it's difficult to resist screaming along when you're wasted.

100. ‘Maneater’ by Hall & Oates

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

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