Recommendations for great dance music.
May 9, 2006 7:55 PM   Subscribe

My friends and I are throwing a large, time-travel themed dance party. I need recommendations for funk, soul, and R&B to play during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as I'm deeply asea in this area.

The basic concept is that we play 1-2 songs a year from 1955 to the present in an attempt to keep people DANCING. the 80s, 90s, and aughts are well covered, but 1955 to 1980 needs to be padded out well, and NOT with cute novelty songs.

I need some recommendations, mainly for great, upbeat, dancy soul, funk, motown, and R&B songs, but really for anything else that would keep people moving.

So far we're talking about Rock Around the Clock, ABC, Dance to the Music, Shake Senora, Give Up the Funk, Apache, and other various and sundry songs. We would love some more.
posted by deafmute to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Serpentine Fire - Earth, Wind and Fire
posted by docpops at 8:00 PM on May 9, 2006

Possibly a bad suggestion, but you could also get a classic song, and play a cover of it from each decade throughout the course of the night, that way people will hear the evolving styles on the same bit of music. Off the top of my head, a few years back there was a hit "Sway" by "Shaft" in the charts, which was the lastest in a series of covers dating back to the 50's and... hey wow, wikipedia has a timeline.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:13 PM on May 9, 2006

Dr. Who theme song perhaps? I'm no dancer, though ;-P heh
posted by vanoakenfold at 8:33 PM on May 9, 2006

For '60s soul, you pretty much can't go wrong with any Motown compilations from the period -- there's a reason they were known as Hitsville, USA. The Impressions "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" is one of the greatest songs on the planet, but Motown produced literally dozens of equal brilliance.

A good Stax hits compilation is a sure thing, too -- some nice gritty Memphis soul to contrast with the "cleaner" Detroit sound.
posted by scody at 9:08 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's nowhere near a complete reckoning, but here are a few tracks to toss into the mix:

1959: "Shout," Isley Brothers
1961: "Night Train," James Brown
1962: "Twistin' The Night Away," Sam Cooke (though I recommend the version from "Live at the Harlem Square Club")
1962: "Bye Bye Love," Ray Charles
1965(ish): "Cry To Me," Solomon Burke
1965: "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," James Brown
1966: "Land of 1000 Dances," Wilson Pickett
1966: "Hold On, I'm Coming," Sam and Dave
1967: "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," The Four Tops
1968: "Hard To Handle," Otis Redding
1969: "Sing a Simple Song," Sly & the Family Stone
1970: "Move On Up," Curtis Mayfield
1970: "Express Yourself," Charles Wright
1971: "Theme from Shaft," Isaac Hayes
1972: "Respect Yourself," Staples Singers
1974: "Take Me To The River," Al Green
1975: "Fight The Power, pts. 1&2," Isley Brothers
1976: "After The Dance," Marvin Gaye
1976: "Rubberband Man," The Spinners
1977: "Strawberry Letter 23," The Brothers Johnson
1978: "One Nation Under A Groove," Funkadelic
1982: "Planet Rock," Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force
posted by Vervain at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2006

1977: "Got to Give it Up" by Marvin Gaye
1978: "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey
1979: "Good Times" by Chic

on preview: I am shamed and awed by Vervain's list. Rubberband Man?! totally forgot.
posted by whatnot at 9:42 PM on May 9, 2006

Stevie Wonder: "Superstition" is great for dancing. ca. 1971.
posted by Rumple at 9:59 PM on May 9, 2006

Looking through this thread on #1 hits by birthdate might give you some ideas.
posted by JMOZ at 10:32 PM on May 9, 2006

"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)/Everybody Is A Star" by Sly and The Family Stone - 1970

"Domino" by Van Morrison - 1971
"Rock Steady" by Aretha Franklin - 1971
"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" by Marvin Gaye -1971
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" by Marvin Gaye -1971
"Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight - 1971
"Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones - 1971

"Hold Your Head Up" by Argent - 1972
"I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers - 1972
"Day Dreamin'" by Aretha Franklin - 1972 (not usually thought of as a dance tune, but try it, you'll like it...)

"Right Place, Wrong Time" - Dr. John - 1973
"Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" - Johnny Rivers - 1973
"Crocodile Rock" by Elton John - 1973

"Rock the Boat" by The Hughes Corporation - 1974
"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd - 1974

"Lady Marmalade" by LaBelle - 1975
"Philadelphia Freedom" by The Elton John Band - 1975

"That's The Way (I Like It)" by K.C. and The Sunshine Band -1976
"Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry - 1976

"Brick House" by The Commodores - 1977
1977 was all disco, all polyester, all the time, by The Bee Gees - the whole "Saturday Night Fever" sound track.

"Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste Of Honey -1978 (sorry, but it's infectious)
"On Broadway" by George Benson - 1978

"Shake Your Groove Thing" by Peaches & Herb - 1979
"Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac - 1979
posted by paulsc at 10:52 PM on May 9, 2006

Vervian rocks the funky beat!

1954: "I Got a Woman" by Ray Charles
1958: "Yakety Yak" by the Coasters
1961: "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee & the Starliters
1962: "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva
1962: "The Mashed Potato Time" by Dee Dee Sharp
1963: "The Harlem Shuffle" by Bob & Earl
1964: "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas
1965: "Ride Your Pony" by Lee Dorsey
1965: "Pass the Hatchet" by Roger and the Gypsies (careful with this one, it's some real heavy shit)
1967: "Sweet Soul Music" by Arthur Conley
1967: "Soul Finger" by The Bar-Kays
1968: "Ain't Nothin' But A Houseparty" by The Show Stoppers
1968: "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell & the Drells
1969: "Hook & Swing" or "Hook & Swing Pt. 2" by Eddie Bo
1971: "Hip Drop" by The Explosions
1971: "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight
1972: "Use Me" by Bill Withers
1973: "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder
1974: "Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae
1975: "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate
1977: "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps
1979: "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson
1980: "Dirty Mind" by Prince
1980: "More Bounce to the Ounce" by Zapp
posted by hydrophonic at 11:41 PM on May 9, 2006

I'm more interested in what your Time Travelling guests are bringing from the future...
posted by Dunwitty at 12:43 AM on May 10, 2006

cause we're rockin' and poppin' and sockin' and lockin' and where we're goin' there ain't no stoppin'...

I of course will be firing up my friendly P2P-ware in order to expand my musical mind, man, much like I think we all did in the wake of the best breakdance tracks thread. Mostly because hydrophonic's list reminded me of very full of holes my pre-'66 R&B is.
posted by Vervain at 1:14 AM on May 10, 2006

"Machine Gun" by the Commodores if only for that groovy dance scene in Boogie Nights. In fact, that whole soundtrack (both discs) can probably be mined for some 70's stuff.

1966: "Hold On, I'm Coming," Sam and Dave

Nice but I prefer "Wrap it Up" by Sam & Dave...just a hotter track!
posted by fishbulb at 1:57 AM on May 10, 2006

"The Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show is a classic and eminently danceable.... it would make a great last song of the party as it has that encore theme - Let's Do the Time Warp Again!
posted by tweak at 2:00 AM on May 10, 2006

The "Soul Train" year-by-year CD compilations may come in handy.

There a super-cheapie "100% Funk" compilation that they've been selling at Target that might come in handy as well. Look for the purple CD cover with the Isaac Hayes-ish guy on it.
posted by gimonca at 5:37 AM on May 10, 2006

Damn, Vervain and paulsc already listed almost all my fav's, though i'll add

Rare Earth - I Just Want to Celebrate
Stevie Wonder - I Wish
Isley Brothers - It's Your thing

And Play that Funky Music is a must.
posted by quin at 4:11 PM on May 10, 2006

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