The 1990s are now long gone. It was a time when ugly fashion, cheesy sitcoms, and pre-911 security reigned supreme. Regardless of these nick picky issues, the 90s were a happy time that had the best dance music. The 90s were the golden age of house music and still reigns today as the ruler of that genre compared to all other decades, pinning the 80s in second place. The 90s dance fad was filled with strong African American voices, old school rap, and European bands. Let’s get nostalgic with some dance tunes that people who were born in the 90s grew up with. We’re counting down The Fifty Greatest Dance Songs of the 90s.
There is one song that I’ve decided to leave out completely because I feel it has been overplayed. After 20 years of analyzing, I’ve realized that Los Del Rio’s “Macarena,” is not that great. Sorry to disappoint anyone who finds that “Macarena” is the best 90s dance tune, but it won’t be appearing on this list. Let’s get to it; we have a lot of ground to cover.
Number Fifty: “We Like The Party” by Vengaboys (1998). This late 90s hit was so catchy it had to be on this list. Vengaboys created a song that would perfectly fly with Six Flags commercials, Fun Zone and any other kid friendly places. This song is extremely light, free, and fun.
Number Forty-Nine: “Where Do You Go” by No Mercy (1996). “Where Do You Go” is essentially a dance ballad performed by Hispanic singers. At the time, this Latin tune was the slow dance song of the 90s. The singer echoes, “Where do you go / my lovely / I want to know,” as backup singers hoot.
Number Forty Eight: “Twilight Zone” by 2 Unlimited (1992). 2 Unlimited were known throughout the 90s for creating dance music that fit perfectly with the NBA, when Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing were the star athletes. This recognizable number is high on the list because it was the least effective one of the bunch.
Number Forty-Seven: “The Sign” by Ace of Base (1992). Ace of Base was a Europop group that dominated the charts throughout the early to mid-90s. “The Sign” made for a better pop song than dance song. It has a slow and steady beat and used to be heard from clubs and roller skate venues. This catchy beat deserves a nod on the list. However, it missed what the 90s dance scene was all about.
Number Forty-Six: “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65 (1998). I remember hearing this when I was in fourth grade. People tended to think that the lyrics were, “I’m blue / if I was green I would die / if I was green I would die” when it was merely just gibberish, “I’m Blue / Da Ba Dee / Da Ba Dee-a / Da Ba Dee.”
Number Forty-Five: “You Got 2 Let The Music” by Capella (1993). This is the first song on the list that has a rap verse. I would certainly get up on the dance floor and go wild. However, the lack of variety in lyrics mixed with the low-quality vibrato is what places this to number forty-five.
Number Forty-Four: “Move This” by Technotronic (1992). Technotronic was another 90s dance conglomerate like 2 Unlimited who composed tunes that could easily be used in the NBA. This song, in particular, reminds me of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. “Move This” has a great bass riff that would only be lower on this list if it wasn’t dwarfed by epic songs that could be sung at stadiums.
Number Forty-Three: “Touch Me (All Night Long)” by Cathy Dennis (1990). Cathy Dennis’ cover of “Touch Me (All Night Long)” can be compared to Madonna’s “Vogue,” with a spin of House. This innocent and pop-friendly track was also sensual. This song could easily be played in 90s teen movies.
Number Forty-Two: “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” by Crystal Waters (1991). It is hard to take this song seriously. The initial opening has a fantastic synthesizer beat that screams the 90s, except when the vocals kick in. The tone of the singer’s voice is lazy and indecent. This tune was even spoofed on In Living Color.
Number Forty-One: “Don’t Call Me Baby” by Madison Avenue (1999). This late 90s dance number fell before the millennium. A lot of songs that year were very celebratory. They played out as if the New Year ball was about to drop. I love the light and party atmosphere that this song creates.
Number Forty: “It Feels So Good” by Sonique (1999). Another late 90s classic, this song would have been better suited for the next decade. Since it came out in 1999, it is on this list. This African Brit brought a soulful approach to dance music. Unfortunately, Sonique wound up staying as a one-hit wonder.
Number Thirty-Nine: “Don’t Stop Movin’’ by Livin’ Joy (1996). Livin’ Joy appeared throughout the 90s dance scene. “Don’t Stop Movin’” is a fast-paced tune that makes me want to do forward and backward flips through my living room. The title says it all.
Number Thirty-Eight: “Runaway” by Real McCoy (1994). This club bumping hit, “Runaway,” was composed by one of the masters of the dance golden age, Real McCoy. The mixture of a quick upbeat, innocent chorus and strong male vocals make for an epic tune. However, the word “runaway” is overused.
Number Thirty-Seven: “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited (1993). The second song by 2 Unlimited on this list is a much more accomplished version of “Twilight Zone.” “No Limit,” with its explosive bass, picks up when the female sings, “No no limits we’ll reach for the sky / no valley too deep / no mountain too hide,” followed by, “No no limits / we’ll give up the fight / we’ll do what we want / and we’ll do it with pride.” It seems as if 2 Unlimited were attempting to break the sound barrier.
Number Thirty Six: “Rockin Over The Beat’” by Technotronic (1990). The balanced rap beats and playful sounding vocals make this a treasured gem. “Rockin’ Over The Beat” is a similar, but better version of “Move This.” And this song actually featured at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, when all the turtles were dancing together inside the subway. This song puts a nostalgic image in my head that forces a smile on my face.
Number Thirty Five: “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D. & The Boyz (1991). This is the first hip-hop song on here. The romantic comedy, Hitch, in 2005, made this song famous. The rap lyrics are surprisingly sweet and contrast the sexual or angry lyrics of today’s rap. This song is very fun. I picture myself wearing loose jeans and overalls while dancing in a line of rap artists. And rest in peace, Heavy D.
Number Thirty Four: “Automatic Lover (Call for Love)” by Real McCoy (1994). “Automatic Lover (Call for Love)” has more depth for a dance song than Real McCoy’s “Runaway.” The lyrics are more pronounced. The rhythm sounds like someone is ripping apart a slinky. The constant spasm urges the listener to dance in a light show.
Number Thirty Three: “This Is Your Night” by Amber (1996). Amber’s “This Is Your Night,” appears in the film, A Night At The Roxbury. Amber’s voice electrifies a scene. Although this makes for a great dance song, it is not in the same league as the ones below.
Number Thirty Two: “Love Is Lifting Me Higher” by K. Da Cruz (1995). “Love Is Lifting Me Higher” has a similar tempo and rhythm to all these songs on the list. What makes this song stand out are the wind chimes. The wind chimes, along with the heavy bass beats, create a cosmic bomb of sound. The rap singer has more powerful vocals than the previous singers on this list.
Number Thirty One: “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch (1991). This song that merged hip-hop with the dance genre is Mark Wahlberg’s debut in the spotlight. It is awkward to think that accomplished actor Mark Wahlberg was once an artist in the underbelly of old school rap. Loleatta Holloway, who provides the chorus, deserves more credit. Wahlberg, who used to call himself Marky Mark, sounds amateur compared to other rappers. If you forget the awkwardness that is from Marky Mark, this is actually a good song.
Number Thirty: “Push The Feeling On” by Nightcrawler (1992). This European dance tune is almost entirely instrumental except for some ambiguous vocal sounds. What makes this song so recognizable is the main sample. Hip-Hop artist Pitbull stole this sample from, “Hotel Room Service.” “Push The Feeling On” continues on with a steady and soft ambient noise.
Number Twenty Nine: “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe (1990). You know this is a good song when bars and clubs are still blasting this tune twenty years later. The drums sound like trash cans are smacking into each other. The rap tones are emotional and the verses are revolutionary. The song is about a toxic girl who sleeps with a lot of men.
Number Twenty Eight: “The Scatman” by Scatman John (1995). Who would have thought that scat singing could be so catchy and danceable? Scatman John was able to achieve that with this dance gem. The scat singing, along with a powerful rhythmic riff, is what makes this song so memorable. This is the 90s version of “Gangnam Style.” Sometimes, simplicity is best. Scatman John passed away on December 3, 1999.
Number Twenty Seven: “Tonight Is The Night” by Le Click (1995). Le Click’s “Tonight Is The Night” was made for being played out of large DJ speakers at clubs. Le Click collaborated with La Bouche to make this bombastic club masterpiece. I get excited when a club plays this song, as it is usually rare nowadays.
Number Twenty Six: “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” by Rozalla (1991). This was one of the best “feel good” dance songs of the 90s. A beautiful black female sings with a high falsetto, as if she’s calling out to the skies on top of a mountain peak. This would be a great song to do interpretive dancing towards.
Number Twenty Five: “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex (1995). Midway through our list, we reach one of the most popular line-dancing songs. This country-inspired dance number was played everywhere, from clubs to radio stations to even schools. “Cotton Eye Joe” is best played while square dancing. This is a great song for drunks who try to nail the dance routine down, only to fall flat on their asses.
Number Twenty Four: “Children” by Robert Miles (1996). Robert Miles found a way of making soft ambient music popular. This epic dance tune is more for the listening than the dancing. “Children,” could easily be used as a soundtrack to a movie. The keyboards make this song more unique than the rest. Miles was ahead of his time by composing a song that would eventually sound like all the dance music in the 2000s and early 2010s.
Number Twenty Three: “Be My Lover” by La Bouche (1995). We finally come to a song on the list that helped define the 90s dance age. La Bouche were at the forefront of that decade, singing in a deep register that seeped inside your soul. Melanie Thornton’s voice is as distinct as a bass instrument. Her duet with Lane McCray gives the song more variety. This song was played in every club and featured at every family gathering. A tragic plane crash ended Thornton’s life on November 24, 2001.
Number Twenty Two: “Dreamer” by Livin’ Joy (1994). Livin’ Joy’s quick vocals, along with an endless beat, makes anyone want to join the dance floor. “Dreamer” is on the same level as, “Be My Lover,” but with a more powerful feel.
Number Twenty One: “Beautiful” by Ace of Base (1995). Even if you are sick of hearing this song, Ace of Base combined their European roots with the dance vibes to create their most joyous tune, “Beautiful.” The last two songs may have been playing constantly, but this song will always be remembered. This is another “feel good” song that engulfed my ears as a child.
Number Twenty: “Get Ready For This” by 2 Unlimited (1992). “Get Ready For This” is 2 Unlimited’s best song, as it created the NBA’s anthem track. Since this song came out, the NBA has been using this track for every basketball player introduction. Each cheerleader most likely danced to “Get Ready For This” in their routine. The bass drop, followed by the cries, describes a group preparing for battle.
Number Nineteen: “I Like To Move It” by Reel 2 Real (1994). Reel 2 Real made the 90’s most memorable comedic dance song. “I Like To Move It” was even used in Madagascar for a wild party scene. The animalistic and African influenced beats would stir up any boring crowd into frenzy. The lyrics, “I like to move it move it” repeat continuously throughout the song. Are they trying to hypnotize us?
Number Eighteen: “Finally” by Ce Ce Peniston (1991). In 1991, Ce Ce Peniston created the female empowerment anthem with “Finally.” As a guy, this is a guilty pleasure that teleports me back to the time of the late 80s and early 90s, when things were not taken so seriously. Besides this being a loose dance tune, “Finally” would be one of the few 90s dance songs that could be listened to daily. I think there are some sexual innuendos in the lyrics, but we’re just going to ignore that.
Number Seventeen: “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters (1994). Unlike “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” which seemed to make Crystal Waters a laughable artist, “100% Pure Love,” shows their true potential. Crystal Waters made one of the most lustful tracks of the 90s. Light dance beats skip behind a soulful voice.
Number Sixteen: “Missing” by Everything But The Girl (1994). It is hard to believe that this jazz inspired single, “Missing,” came out in 1994. Everything But The Girl combines smooth beats with a soft voice. This was a more unique sound for the time because it strayed from the grandiose tempo of the popular dance hits. This would be a nice song to go slow dancing with a partner. It was also ahead of its time.
Number Fifteen: “Everybody Everybody” by Black Box (1990). “Everybody Everybody” is one of the most powerful dance songs on this list. With the added horns, phenomenal female vocals, and psychedelic keyboards, Black Box composed a stellar 90s tune.
Number Fourteen: “Groove Is In The Heart” by Deee-Lite (1990). The 90s opened up with “Groove Is In The Heart.” Deee-Lite used a 60s-inspired melody to create a humorous song that defined the decade. This was one of the first dance songs people heard in the 90s. I instinctively remember dancing to this song at family events.
Number Thirteen: “You Sure Do” by Strike (1995). “You Sure Do” was not as popular, but should have received more recognition. This europop masterpiece begins with an innocent girl’s voice when it suddenly drives the beat of the song. The vocals eventually get deeper as the song progresses. The beat gets more elaborate. This is the most 90s-esque dance song that people do not know about. I just want to get up and dance when I hear this.
Number Twelve: “Show Me Love” by Robin S. (1993). Robin S. breathes life into the catchy R&B beats of “Show Me Love.” The emotions expressed in the lyrics give the song depth. This song has been so effective, that it is still used in clubs today.
Number Eleven: “The Power” by Snap! (1990). “The Power” makes you want to punch something. The hip-hop beats, along with the composition of a powerful female voice, and controversial rap verses, makes “The Power” one of the most memorable songs of the 90s. “I’ve got the power” screams and echoes as loud as thunder. This is the most confident song of the 90s.
Number Ten: “Mortal Kombat” by Immortals (1995). Mortal Kombat was one of the most prevalent video game franchises in the 1990s. When the film came out in 1995, it needed a song that would live up to its hype. The Immortals’ take on the theme to the Mortal Kombat movie was the perfect rendition. Besides being one of the greatest soundtracks, the theme song also made for one of the best 90s dance tunes. I cannot count how many times I’ve played this song while fighting the air or punching the heavy bag. This is the 90’s highest energy dance tune and deserves to be in the top ten.
Number Nine: “Gonna Make You Sweet (Everybody Dance Now)” by C&C Music Factory (1990). The lyrics, “Everybody dance now,” would cling to your eardrum and stay inside your head. If you weren’t dancing to this song, then something was wrong with you. The similar voice to Aretha Franklin, along with the old school rap makes for an epic 90s tune. This 1990 track introduced us to the world of the 90s. If you weren’t dancing, you were left in the 80s.
Number Eight: “Sweet Dreams” by La Bouche (1994). At Number Eight, La Bouche sings their greatest song with “Sweet Dreams.” The passionate vocals and interchangeable beats make this one of the best dance songs to date. The intense clacking rhythm makes me want to get up and shake my body. This song is best played while drunkards surround and cheer for a dancer.
Number Seven: “Rhythm of the Night” by Corona (1994). I am not talking about the Mexican beer beverage, but the 90s artist. Corona starts off with a slow intro, repeating, “This is the rhythm of the night / the night / oh yeah / the rhythm of the night / this is the rhythm of my life / my life.” The song then escalates to the catchiest beat. Poppy basses echo throughout the song like a tidal wave. This tune highlights music’s quintessential purpose to breathe rhythm and create life. This song was so influential that Rockstar Games used it in the video game, Grand Theft Auto V.
Number Six: “Strike It Up” by Black Box (1990). Black Box combined the positive parts from “Everybody Everybody” with a basketball dance beat that made for one of the best dance songs ever. There was some controversy over the music video, since they replaced the actual singer with a skinny female. No matter how discriminating Black Box may have been, this song still reigns supreme as the NBA’s second-best song.
Number Five: “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic (1989). If “Strike It Up” was the number two pro basketball theme, then “Pump Up The Jam” is number one. Although this single came out in 1989, the sounds of Technotronic crossed over into the early 90s. The two other jams on this list were all from the same album, titled, Pump Up The Jam: The Album. It is easy to listen to this song while working out.
Number Four: “Another Night” by Real McCoy (1994). Real McCoy’s “Another Night” is the dancer’s anthem of the 90s. It combines all the essence of the decade; fast-pace beats, powerful vocals, and a catchy rhythm. The lyrics describe a night out on the town. The drums, synthesizers, and bass collide to form a masterful dance tune. “Another Night” incorporates inspiration from the 80s.
Number Three: “What Is Love” by Haddaway (1993). Haddaway’s “What Is Love,” defined the club generation. The film, A Night At The Roxbury, made this tune famous. Music would not be as exciting if “What Is Love” never existed. Haddaway gives a fluid performance. This is usually the favored song in the clubs. When I shake my head to this song, I know that life is merry.
Number Two: “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by Snap! (1992). Haddaway’s impressive dance beats may have been exciting, but the instruments played throughout Snap!’s “Rhythm Is A Dancer” are omega. I believe a song like this is being played at clubs in heaven. The lead singer gives a darker tone to her vocals than “The Power.” This song is what the 90s dance era was all about.
Before we reveal the greatest dance song of the 90s, I would like to tip my hat to those songs that missed the mark. Let’s not forget, Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This,” “Whoomp There It Is” by Tag Team, “Getaway” by Maxx and “Call Me” by Le Click. A few other honorable mentions are, “Boom Boom Boom” by Outhere Brothers, “Dreams (Will Come Alive)” by 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor and two singles from Quad City DJs, “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” and “Space Jam.”
Number One: “More And More” by Captain Hollywood Project (1993). The early 90s was a magical time. “More And More,” performed by Captain Hollywood Project, delivers dance music that is on par with Titans. The instruments, chorus, and rap verses come together perfectly to create a beat that is both scattered and united. Although this was not the most popular dance song of the 90s, the musical content in this masterpiece awards to one of the best dance songs in history. This track is the easiest song to dance to and can be listened to over and over again. This legendary 90s dance epic could be blasted from today’s speakers without anyone knowing it is over twenty years old. Captain Hollywood Project could exist for us in the past, present and future. The beats thrive on an energy that seems infinite. The beautiful voice echoes like a shock wave that can penetrate the furthest reaches of the galaxy. The added male vocals give the song enough variety without going overboard. The lyrics have a message about human nature. Humans tend to keep wanting more and more of something. We tend to overlook what we have and take things for granted. “More And More” explains that people constantly consume. Ironically, the music consumes the listener. If you listen to this tune in your headphones and close your eyes, you can see another world, full of night crawlers. Listen to this song for yourself and experience the phenomenon.
There you have it, The Fifty Greatest Dance Songs of the 90s. Do you agree with this list? Or are there other songs that weren’t on this list that deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments. Until then, keep moving to the beat.