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Time Warp! A Gnarly List of 1980s Disco Songs

Everyone knows that disco lived and died in the 1970s, right? Well, that’s mostly so, but the truth is that the mirror-ball fad bled over into the new decade, smashing bell bottoms headlong into legwarmer culture. As this list of 1980s disco songs proves, tunes with a good beat that you can dance to never really go out of style.

Super Freak by Rick James

This 1981 funk classic is one of the most popular records in history. Much more than *just* a disco song, Super Freak became a party anthem. Rick James sums it up rather succinctly: “A super freak is someone who’s sexually free…the kind of person that would make you feel alright.”

Funkytown by Lipps Inc.

Released in 1980, Funkytown is a synthpop song about the great escape to dance-opolis. Lipps Inc., one of a few disco groups to carry over into the 1980s, wrote and produced this international hit. Interestingly, Lipps Inc. founder Steven Greenberg wanted to name the group Lip Sync, but changed it when he found out that title wa already in use.

Hot Stuff by Donna Summer

Continuing her success from the 70s and even 1980’s “Bad Girls,” Donna Summer again hit the big time in 1981 with her release of Hot Stuff. The song fit perfectly with Summer’s name and proved that disco still had some legs in the new decade.

She Works Hard For The Money by Donna Summer

Yet another big 1980s hit for Summer, this one was released in 1983. The lyrics are a list of what Summer considers to be the struggles that women go through on a daily basis.

Summer’s comments on these things mirror her own life and have made this song one of her most famous songs in history.

This is the title song from Summer’s eleventh studio album, her most successful of the entire decade.

Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

Released in 1983, this song was written by Michael Jackson and the lyrics tell a story about a woman who claims that the narrator (of the song) is the father of her baby.

Part of the epic Thriller album produced by, fittingly, Epic records, Billie Jean has sold over ten million copies and was spun into one of the most famous and popular music videos of all time.

Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles

Released in 1986, this Bangles song pulled disco deep into the Big Hair era.

The song hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 1987 and became a favorite among the college and high school crowds, prompting many partygoers to don headbands and dance like the ancient Egyptians appeared in hieroglyphs.

Upside Down by Diana Ross

A #24 song on the Billboard Hot 100 list, Upside Down was released in 1982 and hit charts across the world.

This track is outfitted with a catchy beat that made it all too easy to turn upside down at both school dances and house parties alike.

Gloria by Laura Branigan

With its release in 1982, this popular song became the #27 chart-topper of that year. Sung by an American artist with a Russian ancestry, Gloria’s lyrical content is often noted for being about unrequited love. The music video features Branigan singing outdoors while she looks over her shoulder at someone coming towards her.

Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band

The list of 1980s disco songs would not be complete without mention of this song. Released in both 1981 and 1982, this single was one of the most successful songs from this era. The music video features a performance by KC and his band members in front of an audience, with him singing the chorus while wearing a broad-brimmed hat.

(Like 1980s Disco Songs? Then you might like our article on 1980s Inventions, click here.)

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