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1980s Party Songs

Updated on January 14, 2016

Pop music, rap, heavy metal, and punk rock all developed into sensations during the 1980s. People started to cross over into different music genres, unlike previous decades where many listeners stayed with one kind of music (i.e. rock, rhythm and blues, country, etc.).

The Eighties ushered in the music video, too. Now listeners could watch their favorite artists performing music favorites on television (think MTV). The experience changed the way people listened to their favorite songs.

If you're thinking about having a get-together at your house, providing a music list at your friend's retro party, or just looking for some memorable songs from the 1980s, this is where you'll find songs that will stir memories and make you want to get up and dance.


The soulful sound of Kool and the Gang was popular in the 1970s. Discotheque denizens grooved to the group's funky tunes and, in 1980, they released Celebration, which went all the way to #1 on US charts.

The timeless dance number still is one of the most popular party hits today.

We Got the Beat

American punk rock took the United Kingdom by storm in 1980 when The Go-Go's released their distinctive dance number, We Got the Beat. The all-female band combined a gritty sound with the flamboyancy of a Sixties band and came out with a new act that came to be known as New Wave.

The hit single was released in the United States in 1982 on the Beauty and the Beat album.

I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)

Daryl Hall and John Oates are a duo who made music that appealed to a variety of listeners. Their songs included sounds that danced along rhythm and blues, funk, and rock and roll tempo. Their sound was a new kind of pop, a sort that made people want to boogie and turn up the volume all at the same time.

1981's I Can't Go for That (No Can Do) was ranked #6 on VH1's "The 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980s". It appealed to urban and suburban music lovers and, like many other songs of the 1980s, brought people from all backgrounds together to groove to a different sound. It was common to hear the big-haired pair belting out the cool lyrics to this song at clubs and parties during the Eighties.

(Keep Feeling) Fascination

The Human League's synthesizer-laced (Keep Feeling) Fascination went all the way to #2 on the charts in the United Kingdom and #8 in the USA. The New Wave, technopop sound thrilled party-goers who loved to dance. Originally a single release, the song was included later on the 1983 album, Fascination.

Rock and roll was still strong in 1981 as evidenced by the success of the Canadian band, Rush. Technology heavily influenced the group at this stage in their history as evidenced by the pronounced synthesizer sounds that made Limelight rise to #4 on the US charts.

Limelight has a subdued tone to it, a relaxing melody. But heads still turn at parties and taverns when someone plays it.

Dance Hall Days

Wang Chung's Dance Hall Days was released in 1984 and was a top 25 hit in both the U.S. and U.K. The New Wave single was popular in dance clubs and at parties and was featured on the album, Points on a Curve.

Don't Stand So Close to Me

The controversial subject matter (schoolgirl's crush on adult teacher) of The Police's Don't Stand So Close to Me was overlooked by party-goers for it's amazing beat and rocking sound. The 1984 release went to #1 on the United Kingdom's charts.


The jazzy pop song, Rosanna, by Toto, reached #2 on US charts in 1982. It's a stirring rendition with a gritty, sexy sound that dancers since have loved to swing to.


A drum machine, horns, synthesizer, and Phil Collins's unique vocals made Sussudio a #1 hit in the U.S. in 1985. The driving beat and catchy title complement blaring trumpets and trombones in a way that made party-goers' hearts beat faster in the 1980s and beyond.


Toni Basil's bizarre cheer to Mickey was a #1 hit in the United States in 1982. The video is reminiscent of a scene from 1978's Grease (Paramount), which appealed to music lovers and helped spawn the early 80s 'bubble gum pop' era. The talented former cheerleader directed her own video, too.

She never had another hit crack the Top 40 in the U.S.

Beat It

The late King of Pop's smash hit, Beat It, is perhaps the most sought after 80s dance song for retro parties. Eddie Van Halen is on guitar, providing a rock and roll backdrop to the pop sound and high-pitched lyrics. The timeless track appeared on the 1982 Michael Jackson album, Thriller.

These are just a few nods to a dance party-inducing genre. Please feel free to make suggestions of other 80s songs you'd like to see here. This hub writer will examine song requests and add them to the hub if they are deemed worthy.

Songs that get preferential treatment are those that stir fond memories of that generation, songs that make one want to crank up the volume, and songs that are released on Vevo. Please request songs released from 1980-1989 only. Thanks!

Please don't be offended if your song doesn't make it onto the article, depending on comment response, selections may be limited.


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    • profile image

      Dream Lover 69 4 years ago

      Great song list, I also live near Orlando Florida so you and Sunshine let me know time an place and well have a real party. Jason brings the music, nice hub page look forward to reading more.

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      My pleasure. :)

    • Jason Marovich profile image

      Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States

      How could I forget Toni Basil's Mickey? I've corrected that. Thanks for reminiscing with me, Beth37.

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      I can't help but remember my 8th gd dance... 8675309... Hey Mickey! Angel was a centerfold... so fun.

    • Jason Marovich profile image

      Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States

      Hey Sunshine! I was hoping you'd stop in to have a listen. We would have a great time, wouldn't we? Music lovers are more apt to have fun anywhere, anyway. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Jason...When is the party? Time? Place? What a blast from the past we would have. Celebration by Kool & the Gang is my favorite party song, that would never get old. I'm jamming to it right now! This is one cool hub!

    • Jason Marovich profile image

      Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States

      It was fun putting this hub together. I spent my adolescence in the 1980s and many of these songs brought back fond memories of my youth. I'm glad the tunes brought a smile to your face. Thanks for reading (and listening), randomcreative.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      If these songs won't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. Thanks for the fun flashback! Anyone throwing an 80s party can find a great playlist here.