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Party playlist for the forgotten era: late 70s/early 80s

by Angelica Catalano   Dec 7, 2013 14:45 PM EST

The 1960s get all the attention for being the golden age of rock, and the late 80s/early 90s for taking music into a strange, "new" territory with random influences thrown into the mix. In between these eras, there are gems from the late 1970s and early 1980s, which deserve to be dusted off the shelf and danced to. Or at least, grooved to. The below "death rattle" songs in the aftermath of the 60s appear in chronological order.

The inspiration for this week's theme comes from the downstairs of ACME in Manhattan, where they play unexpected songs that aren't from this day and age. The (small) dance floor is always filled with people having a blast, with zero vestige of self-consciousness in busting all kinds of ridiculous moves. Maybe it's precisely because the music isn't current -- you can take yourself less seriously with it. Also note: most of these are excellent karaoke songs for the same reason.

Iggy Pop, "Passenger," Lust for Life (1977)
Former Stooges singer sets up the night: I see the stars come out of the sky/Yeah, the bright and hollow sky/You know it looks so good tonight.

Peter Gabriel, "Solsbury Hill," Peter Gabriel 1 (1977)
So feel-good they brought it into a modern-day movie with Topher Grace.

Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Blue Sky," Out of the Blue (1977)
Karaoke song. Please ensure one member of the group can sing falsetto.

Cheryl Lynn, "Got to be Real," Cheryl Lynn (1978)
This is where the real dancing starts.

Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated," Road to Ruin (1978)
Not a real dancer? Just jump up and down, you're golden.

Led Zeppelin, "Fool in the Rain," In Through The Out Door (1979)
* Spotify doesn't haven't Led Zeppelin so enjoy the video at the end.

The Sugarhill Gang, "Apache," 8th Wonder (1981)
OK, you really better be jumping (on it) at this point.

The Clash, "Rock the Casbah," Combat Rock (1982)
It appeared in a commercial, so this is mainstream enough for any party audience.

David Bowie & Queen, "Under Pressure," Hot Space (1982)
Needs no introduction. Will spur all kinds of Vanilla Ice jokes.

Michael Jackson, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," Thriller (1982)
The King of Pop can save your party night if it's beginning to die down.

Toto, "Africa," Toto IV (1982)
Explosive sing-along chorus. Good voice is not necessary. Especially at this point in the evening.

Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House," Speaking in Tongues (1983)
David Byrne is still burning it up, check out Love This Giant with St. Vincent for more unconventional party tunes.

Hold tight, wait till the party's over!

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