Your name was on the list, you're inside and on your second drink. You've already spotted some old pals and laughed at quite a few jokes (“have you lost weight?”) and checked out the newly-tiled deco toilets. The background music is groovy, reggae and gentle funk, Talking Heads and cool jazz. You head back to the bar and buy a round, feeling generous, glowing from within. And then you hear the song that you simply have to dance to, because – well – because....
Dancing is primal and Benny Goodman's version of Louis Prima's Sing Sing Sing sets us up nicely for some physical abandon with the irresitible drums of the great Gene Krupa. Foot bone connected to the ankle bone, now hear the word of the Lord.
The brave and foolish are already on the dance floor and to pull the wallflowers Off The Wall is a simple matter for the king of pop Michael Jackson, who knew a little about dancing himself. Let the madness in the music get to you, life ain't so bad at all.
A good DJ knows that the first few bars of a song will make or break it – dancers are quick, they're moving, they make instant decisions. The handclaps and piano at the start of dear departed Natalie Cole's This Will Be keeps everyone happy and bouncing. The room is pulsating with life.
Time to slip in some samba ! Mas Que Nada is familiar yet foreign to the north-western palate – nobody knows how to do the samba – oh wait – there's someone who looks like they can twitch their hips – dancers gather round and pick up the movement and like wildfire it spreads through the party. Sergio Mendes shoots, and he scores !
Across the Atlantic we go to the great grooves of Congo, so much beautiful music, and one genius recommended one song, which was enough for the Magic DJ. Pablo Lubadika Porthos created Madeleina in 1981 in Paris with other Congolese soukous stars and Island records released it in the UK. Made for dancing, move how you want to, spin, now sweaty faces and unlikely leg movements compete for space. Give us a break DJ !
No chance : a break in styles maybe but boogie woogie and sheik yerbouti to this – the magnificent vocal cords of Little Richard can make you dance on their own, on this rock and roll dance-hall classic Long Tall Sally. Everyone remembers their mum and dad spinning round in a rockabilly rhythm and tries drunkenly to replicate.
Before Sly & The Family Stone lift us even higher. Dance To The Music is a stand-alone classic, infectious and pulsating. Sly invites the instruments to the party one by one. Cynthia Robinson was the band's trumpeter : If I could hear the horns blow - Cynthia on the throne !
Now we're rolling, cruising, grooving, why not slap on one of the finest dancefloor anthems of all time, the ripe low-hanging fruit you can smear all over your booga-wooga YES I can only be talking about the mighty mighty Earth Wind & Fire and their collaboration with The Emotions called Boogie Wonderland. Just fantastic. And another recent loss, dearly missed compadre, Maurice White.
The serious dancers are still there, far from tired, they are re-energised for they have understood deep in the marrow of their bones that Energy is Eternal Delight (thanks Bill Blake) so DJ slips on some classic Chicago house in the shape of Where Love Lies by Alison Limerick, remixed to perfection by legends Frankie Knuckles and David Morales.
These are serious grooves and so it's time to let go again, go bit mental and House Of Pain can help us here. The drinks are truly kicking in and the joint is jumping – where's Fats Waller when you need him – time to Jump Around ! I have never been to a party where this tune didn't totally bring the house down – all hands on deck, a throbbing bass line, a mental lyric, paaaaarty time, if you got the feeling jump across the ceiling Jump up Jump up and get down !
Can we get more mental than that ? YES WE CAN. By desperately drunkenly trying to remember the Korean lyrics to Gangnam Style by Psy now we all surround Song Bar reader Hoshina Sakuro because although she is Japanese Surely She Speaks Korean ??? Huh ?? Heyyyyyyyy sexy lady !!? I think everyone can just about manage that line. Even granddad is dancing – did the landlord spike the drinks ? Good lad !!
There's a bucketful of 12-inch glories still to play but it's nearly dawn, so it's time to choose your partner, or someone else's husband and start counting one-two-three, one-two-three because we are going out with a waltz OH YES YOU CAN. They shyness lasts but a second, we're twirling into the sunrise to An Der Schönen Blauen Donau by Johann Strauss – a big pop hit in 1867 - and on the beautiful blue Danube we revolve gracefully or not around the room, faces blurring and losing their distinction, what a blessing, and so spinning together in couples we leave our friendly bar until the next time. Memo to self : Dancing is good for you.
1. Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman
2. Off The Wall- Michael Jackson
3. This Will Be - Natalie Cole
4. Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
5. Madeleina - Pablo Lubadika Porthos
6. Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
7. Dance To The Music - Sly & The Family Stone
8. Boogie Wonderland - Earth Wind & Fire ft The Emotions
9. Where Love Lives - Alison Limerick (Frankie Knuckles/David Morales remix)
10. Jump Around - House Of Pain
11. Gangnam Style - Psy
12. Blue Danube Waltz - Johann Strauss – Vienna Phil cond. Karl Böhm
1. La Bamba - Richie Valens
2. Happy - Pharrell Williams
3. Together - Ray Barretto
4. On The Radio - Donna Summer
5. Thinking Of You - Sister Sledge
6. Soulful Strut - Young-Holt Unlimited
7. Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
8. Move Closer - Phyllis Nelson
9. The Irish Washerwoman - Andre Rieu & The Dubliners
10. Stir It Up - Bob Marley
11. Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder
12. Don’t Look Any Further - Dennis Edwards
Guru's wildcard pick:
Flawless- The Ones
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic Songs that trigger dancing. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.