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200 Greatest Dance Songs of All Time

From Chic to Skrillex, from Chicago house classics to festival rave anthems, from songs that filled the floor at the Loft and the Warehouse to ones that blew up on TikTok.

Daft Punk

What do we mean by “dance songs”? Good question. In a sense, any song that ever got any one person moving in any perceptible direction is a dance song. The Beatles made great dance songs — as did Slayer. Nearly all the hip-hop and reggae ever made is great dance music. But to make our list of The 200 Greatest Dance Songs of All Time, a song had to be part of “dance music culture.” It’s a more specific world, but an enormous one too, going back nearly fifty years and eternally evolving right up to today and into the future.

After paying homage to the godfather of the extended groove, Mr. James Brown, our story of dance music begins in the mid-1970s with disco, and moves into early Eighties club sounds like electro and Latin freestyle. It gets born again when disco is re-engineered as house music in Chicago and techno in Detroit, and mutates with almost comic velocity into the Nineties rave explosion that produced everything from jungle to trance to gabba to garage, and eventually the EDM and dubstep bonanzas of the 2000s. These sounds all had peak moments of exposure, but they never fade away: drum ”n’ bass is having a new moment right now, and there are house songs here from the past few years.

The list doesn’t attempt to incorporate every ripple in this oceanic confluence of sub-genres. We were looking for tracks that seemed to transcend and feel more universally canonical, and we were especially mindful of the moments where dance music has intersected with the wider musical world– with synth-pop, hip-hop, funk, Miami bass, R&B, indie-rock, Latin music and pop. That’s why you’ll see Prince, Robyn, Britney Spears, Shakira, and Justin Bieber in here bumping up against Adonis, Frankie Knuckles, Moodymann, Goldie, and SOPHIE.

If you’re wondering how we got to a summer where Drake and Beyonce are suddenly releasing house records, this is that story — or, at least, our version of it.

Video Editor, Brian Lynch for Rolling Stone

Visual Credits (in order of appearance): Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman, Beyonce – Blow, Corona – The Rhythm of the Night, Madonna – Sorry, Britney – Till the World Ends, Madonna – Vogue, Daft Punk – Get Lucky, Robyn – Dancing on my Own, Joey Beltram – Energy Flash, Azealia Banks – 212, Rihanna & Calvin Harris – We Found Love, DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down for What, Sylvester – You Make Me Feel, Piri – Soft Spot, Chic – Le Freak, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Donna Summer – I Feel Love, Prince – When Doves Cry, Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full, First Choice – Let No Man Asunder, Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ’Til you get Enough, A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray, Grace Jones – Bumper, Marshall – Move Your Body, Internet sensation kid 1997 in Berlin, Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right. Licensed Tracks/SFX (in order): Biodynamic modulated stutter riser, Dance like crazy – Ikoliks, Our Vibe – Superlative, Dance Out There – Alejandro Molinari, Pineapple Disco – Audiopanther, Bring It – Naems, Blurry Stars – Nbdy Nprtnt, Dark Future – Skygaze, Taika Promo (Rolling Stone VO). Song Samples (in order): Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Madonna – Vogue, Azealia Banks – 212, Sylvester – You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ’Til you get Enough, Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body, DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon – Turn Down for What, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right

From Rolling Stone US


The Chemical Brothers, ‘Chemical Beats’ (1995)

Skeptics griped that techno could never have the scope, dynamics or power of old-school rock & roll. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons blew out of Manchester, England, with an answer on their revelatory debut album, Exit Planet Dust. “Chemical Beats” was the standout throwdown, combining techno squelch and hip-hop breaks to inaugurate a new era of arena electronic music that would get aptly called “big beat” and become one of the transformative sounds in Nineties music. —J.D.


Incredible Bongo Band, ‘Apache’ (1973)

When Michael Viner, the MGM Records producer who had produced Richard Nixon’s 1973 inaugural ball, had a small hit that year with a goofy, modernized instrumental cover of Preston Epps’ 1959 hit, “Bongo Rock,” he went ahead and cut a whole album of covers. Arranger Perry Botkin Jr. brought in rock drummer Jim Gordon of Derek & the Dominos and percussionist King Errisson from the Bahamas. “I don’t recall any instructions as far as structure,” Botkin later said. “He just wanted a loooot of drums.” He got ’em — especially on the Shadows’ 1960 hit, “Apache,” which turned into a percussion duel, which turned into one of hip-hop’s cornerstones — the outlandishly funky record with which Kool Herc codified hip-hop DJ’ing, and one of the most sampled breaks of all time. —M.M.


Kaytranada, ‘Lite Spots’ (2016)

In 2015, Haitian-born Canadian producer Kaytranada took a break from the nonstop touring he had done on the back of a Janet Jackson remix he had released to SoundCloud. “I felt like there were two people inside me,” he says of the time period. “I was trying to be somebody I was not, and I was frustrated that people didn’t know who I was.” He released his album 99.9% the following year, featuring “Lite Spots,” a playfully unpredictable, brightly-hued house track hidden among an otherwise understated album. Its music video, featuring Kaytranada hanging out around L.A. with a dancing robot, feels like his proper reintroduction into the world. —C.S.


Björk, ‘Big Time Sensuality’ (1993)

After leaving her Icelandic band the Sugarcubes, Björk hit the dance floor running. “Big Time Sensuality” remains her bellwether — a song, she told Jon Savage, that she wrote “about when I first met Nellee Hooper,” the song’s co-producer, previously of Soul II Soul, likening their chemistry to “when you meet someone who’s your other half jobwise and enables you to do what you completely want.” That smitten quality comes through vividly — urged forward by church-organ licks and bright hi-hats, Björk sounds ready to burst from joy. And as usual with her, the album version was only the beginning: Remixes of “Sensuality” by Fluke and David Morales also ruled club floors.


AceMo feat. John FM, ‘Where They At???’ (2019)

Brooklyn producer-DJ AceMo has made some of the loosest, sharpest house tracks of the past half-decade. But this one is the anthem. “Where They At???” is an all-inclusive singalong (“Where the Mongolian girls at?/Australian girls at?/Filipina girls at?/Moroccan girls at?/Egyptian girls at?/Eritrean girls at?”) that detonated in clubs a year before the pandemic, shouting out every minority, identification, and underclass group you and they could think of. When the bubbling keyboards from, where else, Robin S’s “Show Me Love” pop into the picture, it’s impossible not to feel the bonhomie. —M.M.


Chaka Khan, ‘I’m Every Woman’ (1978)

“Because I was in a group with guys all the time, I had to overwork a lot to prove I could carry my bucket of water,” Chaka Khan told Rolling Stone in 1979, after releasing her debut album away from the band Rufus. Her first solo single, “I’m Every Woman,” laid down the law with a thrilling four-to-the-floor track that underlined every commanding word. “This is not your basic Helen Reddy song,” Khan once told a concert audience while introducing the song, then added, “But it does celebrate womanhood.” —M.M.


Tom Tom Club, ‘Genius of Love’ (1981)

In the span of just a few years, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads went from never having picked up a bass to writing one of hip-hop and dance music’s most enduring bass line samples. “Genius of Love” resulted from a one-of-a-kind melting pot in Manhattan during the turn of the decade, as the New Wave and post-punk kids caught wind of the emerging rap and DJ collectives from uptown, who in turn were laying down their own renditions of disco. To say that “Genius of Love” transcends that time period would be an understatement: From Mariah Carey to Latto, artists of multiple generations now have channeled the “maven of funk mutation” in their own music. —C.S.


Parliament, ‘Flash Light’ (1977)

1977 was the year of the synthesizer’s permanent incursion into pop, from Space’s “Magic Fly” to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express to Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to this volcanic track. “Flash Light” was Parliament’s most Godzilla-size groove, thanks in large part to its bass line — played not by resident four-string genius Bootsy Collins, but by keyboardist Bernie Worrell, on a Moog synthesizer, which allowed him to stack multiple bass tones on each key, thus creating the heaviest bass sound anybody had heard. Ironically, Collins had worked it up for a Bootsy’s Rubber Band album only for P-Funk majordomo George Clinton to claim it for Parliament. Worrell said, “There was only drums and guitars when I heard it. I listened to what was there and I came up with that Moog bass line. I just said ‘Roll the tape!’ and I played what God sends through me.”


Model 500, ‘Night Drive (Time, Space, Transmat)’ (1985)

Juan Atkins made this track first after going solo in 1985 under the name Model 500, but held off releasing it until after “No UFOs,” because, quite frankly, people weren’t ready yet. Decades later, “Night Drive (Time, Space, Transmat)” still slithers out of the speakers with commanding swagger. You could merely call it electro, but Atkins’ groove was too full-bodied and his tone too quizzical — its refrain, the subtitle, now conjures the global techno community for which Atkins is the cornerstone. —M.M.


Daft Punk, ‘Da Funk’ (1995)

Other Daft Punk songs may be catchier but none are more significant. Issued on a 12-inch with a 2,000-copy run on a small dance label in 1994, “Da Funk” set off a yearlong major-label signing frenzy (Virgin won) and gained instant favor with DJs far and wide: First the Chemical Brothers, then Supa DJ Dimitry of Deee-Lite, then Richie Hawtin, then everyone. As the title indicates, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo were tipping their hats to hip-hop’s cresting G-funk sound. “Tracks like Warren G’s ‘Regulate’ and some Dr. Dre stuff were playing on the radio,” Bangalter said. “The original riff was originally a siren. But we wanted to make it more of a gangsta-rap thing, more dirty, so we changed the sound a little bit.” The result was a siren sounding dance music’s future.–M.M.


DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon, ‘Turn Down for What’ (2013)

“I’m creating sounds that have tapped into a lot of people’s primal zone that hasn’t been felt since the early grunge or heavy metal eras,” DJ Snake told Rolling Stone in 2014. Indeed, the Parisian producer’s gloriously over-the-top collaboration with shout-rap assassin Lil Jon was that rare thing — an obnoxiously hard-hitting dance-music party grenade that also became a pop culture phenom so ubiquitous, Michelle Obama could riff on it in a nutrition PSA. At a time when the EDM boom was feeling plastic and tired, this track came out of nowhere to give it a dose of agro energy. —J.D.


Lil Louis, ‘French Kiss’ (1989)

Is this the sexiest of all house records? It may very well be. When Chicago producer Lil Louis decided to slow things down a little bit in the middle of this 10-minute epic, dancers didn’t leave the floor, they got closer, and when he sped it back up, they lost it completely — and still do. The track’s simple pulsating synthesizers also pointed straight toward the forthcoming trance wave. —M.M.


Kylie Minogue, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ (2001)

One of the defining club anthems of the 21st century, Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” is pop perfection engineered in a lab in the best possible way. Cathy Dennis — who would go on to write Britney Spears’ similarly exquisite “Toxic” — reportedly improvised the song’s hook after hearing a simple computer loop written by her songwriting partner, Rob Davis. The duo completed the track in just over three hours. “We know how hard we work sometimes to write songs and then spend months picking them to pieces, but this was the easiest process, the chemicals were all happy and working together,” Dennis would say years later. —C.S.


Prince, ‘Controversy’ (1981)

Prince’s songs developed in specific ways depending on what instrument he composed on. “When I start with drums,” he explained, “I get ‘Controversy.’” Dancers have been getting “Controversy” ever since — you name a big (or even good) DJ, they’ve played it. It’s Prince’s most outright stomping groove, with quicksilver guitar flurries at the groove’s edges that make everything glide. The full LP version is a veritable feast, complete with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and a dirty little round that summed up both Prince’s earthly aspirations and that of the communally ecstatic dance floor: “People call me rude/I wish we all were nude/I wish there was no black or white/I wish there were no rules.”


New Order, ‘Blue Monday’ (1983)

“The thing with New Order is that you get a thoughtful thing, you get an irreverent thing, and then you cross the two,” bassist Peter Hook once said. “‘Blue Monday’ is a ‘serious disco’ song, in some ways.” But rather than undermining the groove with its sad-stern vocals (“How does it feel to treat me like you do?”), this “robot song,” as drummer Stephen Morris called it, pushed its buried emotions to the boiling point. With its instantly identifiable opening drum-machine beat, “Blue Monday” did a lot to turn rock fans into dancers, though Morris also noted the band’s more purely practical intentions in making it: “People always asked us to play encores, so we wrote this song that played itself so we didn’t have to.”


Beltram, ‘Energy Flash’ (1990)

Brooklyn’s Joey Beltram ushered in a new era of rave extremism with his explosive 1991 track “Energy Flash,” delivering a rave anthem that was rawer, harder, and meaner than anything that had come before it. “Energy Flash” is pure visceral assault, a maelstrom of diabolic synth throb, gut-punch drum programming, bad-trip strings, and the distant voice of a dealer at the margins of the party, offering “Ecstasy, Ecstasy.” It’s at once Dionysian and diabolical. “The greatest techno track of all time,” according to critic and historian Simon Reynolds. It can still snap your synapses like dry twigs. —J.D.


Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, ‘We Found Love’ (2011)

The term “EDM” became as reviled as “disco” had once been, but not to Calvin Harris. “I love EDM,” the British dance producer told GQ, comparing it favorably with Nineties rave. “Everything going on now is all from that. It’s just the newer, shinier, American version.” And Harris’ first collaboration with Rihanna would become EDM’s definitive anthem, thanks to the singer’s touch of melancholy, which undercuts Harris’ circus-ready keyboards. “We Found Love” went to Number One in the U.S. for 10 weeks, leading to Harris’ exclusive deal to DJ at the Wynn Las Vegas, making him 2013’s highest-paid DJ in the world. —M.M.


James Brown, ‘Get on the Good Foot’ (1972)

James Brown is the Promethean figure of this list — none of it is possible without him, but “dance culture” takes off right around the time his heyday ends, and its DJ-focused communalism ran in the opposite direction from his showman’s egomania. So why “Get on the Good Foot”? Quite simply, it changed the way people danced. Specifically, at the outdoor parties thrown by DJ Afrika Bambaataa in the South Bronx, the song’s crafty polyrhythms, arranged by trombonist Fred Wesley, inspired an intricate movement dancers dubbed the Good Foot — which would soon become better known as the B-boy, and then breaking. Bam would throw the song on to quell potential violence: “Certain James Brown music just seems to chill the mess out,” he said.


Adonis, ‘No Way Back’ (1986)

A young bass player from Chicago’s West Side, Adonis Smith was intrigued by the first local house records, like Jesse Saunders’ “On and On.” “Before that, I didn’t know jack-shit about the underground clubs,” Smith said — because, like many, he felt he could do better. Did he ever. “No Way Back” remains the model for house as a forum for obsessive mantras: “Too far gone/Ain’t no way back,” intones vocalist Gary B. in his sleaziest whisper, over hopscotching bass and a forest of electro-claps. Fellow Chicagoan Marshall Jefferson remembered hearing it at a party for the first time: “Everybody went wild, shouting, ‘Oh, man, oh, man, this is hot.’” —M.M.


First Choice, ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ (1977)

A gospel-flavored cut from the Philly girl group’s 1977 album Choices, this was house-music icon Frankie Knuckles’ favorite record, and in 1983, when “Asunder” finally got its own 12-inch, Knuckles’ remix became his first-ever recording credit. He’d turned it into an anthem in Chicago. “We stole ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ a million times,” fellow DJ Farley “Jackmaster” Funk said. “We went down a note. We went up a note. We transposed it.” The foundation of early Chicago house music rests on this song. And Knuckles’ remix isn’t even the best one: Take a bow, Shep Pettibone, for the eight greatest minutes of your life.–M.M.


Kraftwerk, ‘Trans-Europe Express’ (1977)

“I remember we went to a loft club in New York around the time of Trans-Europe Express, and the DJ had pressed his own record, using our tapes of ‘Metal on Metal,’ but extending it on and on and on,” Kraftwerk’s co-founder Ralf Hutter said. “We were fascinated.” But of course: Kraftwerk’s clean-lined synthesizers-only grooves were both cuddly and powerful, and every subsequent electronic musician owes them, full stop. Not only was “Trans-Europe Express” big with New York hip-hoppers — it forms the bedrock of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force’s “Planet Rock” — it was a key blueprint for the dance music, and pop, of the future. “The spirit and language of what we do is also understood in Detroit’s techno scene — Derrick May, Underground Resistance, and Rolando,” Hutter noted proudly.–M.M. 


Madonna, ‘Vogue’ (1990)

Madonna had engendered so much controversy by the time she released “Vogue” in the spring of 1990 that, she explained, “I thought MTV might not play my ‘Vogue’ video. You can see my breasts through my dress.” But the song, inspired by the Black drag balls in Harlem immortalized in Paris Is Burning, and later fictionalized in Pose, was and is irresistible. Producer Shep Pettibone fashioned the track on spec and Madonna snapped it up. “She came into the studio and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to call it ‘Vogue,’” Pettibone recalled. Her lyrics inspired Pettibone to add the arrangement’s crowning touch, the insistent piano. “She wanted to keep it very underground, and I was like, ‘Just trust me. Let me do what I do.’ Which she did.” Good move.–M.M.


Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, ‘Latch’ (2013)

“Most things lead back to disco,” Howard Lawrence of the London house duo Disclosure said in 2014. “People like Nile [Rodgers] and Chic, the way they structure songs, with verse and chorus, [reflects] the way we produced the songs for Settle.” That 2013 debut became an instant classic, in no small thanks to Howard and his brother Guy’s sharp taste in vocalists — Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge, and most famously Sam Smith, the latter making his recorded debut as the star of the album’s first single, “Latch,” belting the smooth refrain in a taffy-like falsetto over equally stretched-out bass. “He was born a famous singer,” Howard Lawrence said of Smith. “His personality doesn’t suit not being famous.”–M.M.


Robin S., ‘Show Me Love’ (1992)

Beyoncé knows it, Charli XCX knows it, and if you don’t know it by now, put a pause on this list and go listen to it. “Show Me Love” brought house music into a whole new era when it rose into the mainstream in the early 1990s, made all the more impressive by the fact that diva vocalist Robin Stone had the flu when she recorded her lines. “You hear all of that emotion because I was struggling,” she told Jezebel in 2014. “That’s what you hear, frustration.” Her rawness cuts through the song’s ice-cold 4/4 beats, cementing it as one of house’s most iconic (and most sampled) anthems. —C.S.


On the House and Marshall Jefferson, ‘Move Your Body (The House Music Anthem)’ (1986)

With vocalist Ricky Dillard belting “Gotta have house! Music! All night long,” the rising sound of Chicago got its defining anthem early. Cut in the summer of 1985 and subtitled “The House Music Anthem” as a tweak to Trax Records owner Larry Sherman, who didn’t think house music and pianos went together (!), writer-producer Marshall Jefferson watched as the song detonated clubs from New York to Ibiza to London, from dubbed cassette copies traveling from DJ to DJ. People were already singing along to it by the time Trax Records released the 12-inch in 1986. Jefferson had gotten a hint of it when he brought the demo to DJ Ron Hardy of the Chicago club Music Box: “He played it six times in a row. He told me not to take it to anybody else. He wanted an exclusive on it.” But nothing this catchy stays a secret for long. And nobody doubted that house music and pianos belonged together ever again.–M.M.


Robyn, ‘Dancing on My Own’ (2010)

Heartbreak on the dance floor has been a running theme in pop from the beginning, but few songs have combined groove power and bittersweet emotion with the precision of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” Robyn and co-writer Patrik Berger worked on the song diligently, filling a notebook with lyrics until they had what they wanted: “Every single word needed to feel right,” Berger said. Robyn was after something that had the feel of “Prince songs, Eighties rock ballads and queer electronica.” A number of TV syncs, including Girls, Orange Is the New Black, and The Masked Singer, and covers by Kings of Leon and Kelly Clarkson have kept it in the spotlight. But it’s Robyn’s powerhouse original that never quits. Somewhere right now, somebody on a dance floor is singing along with it.–M.M.


Shannon, ‘Let the Music Play’ (1983)

When Shannon Green, an opera-trained vocalist from Washington, D.C., who had fronted a jazz combo in the late Seventies, first heard “Let the Music Play,” she said: “The first demo tape of it that producer Mark Liggett played me was very different. The singing was the pits! In the studio I just tried to be creative and put my own feelings and ad-libs over the music, which I could tell was smokin’ hot.” Shannon made it even hotter. A classic romance-on-the-dance-floor narrative, “Let the Music Play” was the breakout hit for freestyle, the largely Latino-driven cross between disco, R&B, and hip-hop. Producers Liggett and Chris Barbosa made a state-of-the-art groove using Roland’s TR-808 drum machine and the TB-303 bass synthesizer (minus the “acid” filtering). And the song’s near-instant leap from club hit to radio favorite — it went Top 10 pop — announced that dance music, and pop, had entered a new era.–M.M.


Indeep, ‘Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life’ (1982)

Dance music is full of one-shot hitmakers, chancers who caught a groove at the right time and rode it for everything they could. Indeep’s “Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life,” written by producer-musician Michael Cleveland and sung by the tart Reggi Magloire and sweet Rose Marie Ramsey, is one of the greatest examples: Cleveland’s monomaniacally grinding rhythm guitar and bass tandem, accompanied by deliciously behind-the-beat claps, are catnip unto themselves. But the lyric and vocal really put it over — this is a DJ capable of fixing “broken hearts with a song.” “I write the songs,” Cleveland once explained to Billboard, “but my sensibility is rooted in what women tell me.”–M.M.


Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle, ‘Your Love’ (1986)

Frankie Knuckles was already the most powerful DJ in mid-Eighties Chicago, and a burgeoning remixer, when he began to take record making seriously. “The turning point was Jamie Principle,” he said in 2011. The young singer-songwriter, convinced by the creativity of Knuckles’ DJ’ing, asked Frankie to produce him. “He was like, ‘This is all new for me, too. I’ve got patience, I trust you. I know you’ll know what to do,’” Knuckles recalled. The instinct proved correct: Knuckles got to the heart of Principle’s “pages and pages and pages of lyrics for one song.” “I just figured, ‘Let me try and thin this out and concentrate on what’s sweet about it, what’s innocent about it, what’s natural about it,’” Knuckles said. The result was “Your Love,” the pinnacle of house music’s heartfelt early years, created not in a studio, but in the DJ booth of Knuckles’ mid-Eighties club, the Power Plant. “I’ve had so many people tell me it’s probably the single most influential song in house music,” Knuckles said proudly.–M.M.


Chic, ‘Good Times’ (1979)

Disco’s greatest party anthem still gets anyone and everyone out on the floor. Chic’s 1979 classic instantly connects on every level — a lyric whose euphoria consistently undercuts itself, never becoming bland; wire-taut strings that give wings to Raymond Jones’ celebratory piano and Nile Rodgers’ jangling funk strut; and the bass line of all bass lines. Bernard Edwards’ low end is a crawling king snake that darts and slithers through the metronomic beat — and it gets an extended showcase. “What we do is we break it down to almost nothing, and then we rebuild the track in the listeners’ ears. You hear one instrument coming in at a time,” Rodgers said years later, adding: “You really hear us take it to a higher art form in the song ‘Good Times.’” The string slices over Edwards’ extended bass solo made it irresistible to DJs (start with Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”), rockers (Queen’s outright rip-off “Another One Bites the Dust”), and everybody else — numerous other tracks rewrote that bass line throughout the early Eighties. The early Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis catalog is heavy on Chic rewrites. May the “Good Times” never end.–M.M.


Daft Punk, ‘One More Time’ (2000)

Daft Punk showed that house and techno could have elastic pop appeal with their classic 1997 debut, Homework, still the greatest dance-music album ever made. When Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo returned, they raised the stakes even higher with 2001’s Discovery and its rapturous lead single, “One More Time.” It’s their most beloved track, piloting the filter-house thump of their previous music into a whole new stratosphere or triumphal pop excess and eventually becoming a platinum single in the U.S . For the song’s vocal, the duo turned to New Jersey house music artist Romanthony, drenching his impassioned performance in Auto-Tune in a bold, somewhat contrary move that would end up having an enormous influence on the next couple of decades of pop music. “One More Time” felt euphoric but elegiac, a reassuring disco classic for a weird new century, and it helped turn the French robots into two of the most unlikely stars in music history. —J.D.


Donna Summer, ‘I Feel Love’ (1977)

The impetus was simple: For their fourth collaboration, Donna Summer and her producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Belotte were making I Remember Yesterday, a pastiche of past musical styles, so to finish it off, they needed a track that would signify the future. Moroder decided to create every instrument using a Moog synthesizer, and he brought in an engineer named Robbie Wedel to generate each individual sound, from bass to hi-hat. Summer, too, got into the robotic swing of things, stretching her long vowels around the pulsating track, until “I Feel Love” ignited. It’s simply impossible to imagine the future sound of dance music without it. “This is it — look no further,” Brian Eno said as he thrust this seven-inch single into David Bowie’s hand while they were working in Berlin in 1977. “This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next 15 years.” More like all of pop, forever.–M.M.