What Is The Ultimate 1980s Floorfiller?

Here’s a quandary. If you had to choose one 1980s song to get people on the dancefloor – maybe you’re the last-minute guest DJ at a wedding disco – what would you go for?

The track probably needs a few things going for it:

1. A great intro – a ‘call to arms’.

2. Cross-generational appeal, one for the kiddies and grandparents alike.

3. It has to be a total hit – no cult favourites.

4. Loudness and ‘impact’.

5. It’s probably ‘pop’ and pretty genre-less – no heavy metal or R’n’B.

6. A soundtrack hit might be good – something from a John Hughes joint or ‘Dirty Dancing’?

7. A flavour of the ‘novelty’ hit/one-hit wonder might help.

In his (great) book ‘Nothing Is Real’, David Hepworth comes up with five ultimate floorfiller contenders including two from the 1980s: Brucie’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ and Madonna’s ‘Open Your Heart’. Both choices strike this correspondent as a little odd. Rather I’d posit the following (feel free to chime in with any omissions):

Michael Jackson: ‘Billie Jean’

Prince: ‘Kiss’

Dexys Midnight Runners: ‘Come On Eileen’

Simple Minds: ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’

Toni Basil: ‘Mickey’

Musical Youth: ‘Pass The Dutchie’

Roxy Music: ‘Same Old Scene’

Cyndi Lauper: ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’

Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes: ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’

De La Soul: ‘Say No Go’

Young MC: ‘Know How’

Wham!: ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’

Human League: ‘Don’t You Want Me’

ABC: ‘Poison Arrow’

Madonna: ‘Into The Groove’

But the one 1980s track I’d choose to get people onto the dancefloor is…

David Bowie: ‘Let’s Dance’

I’ve rounded up most of these and some others into a playlist. Happy groovin’.

The Movers And Shakers Of 1980s Music: Their Real Names Revealed

Captain Sensible, AKA…

During the punk era, musicians often chose stage names so that the dole office wouldn’t identify them from album covers or gigs when they came in to sign on.

One wonders how much of an issue that was for Gordon Sumner, Paul Hewson and David Evans, AKA Sting, Bono and The Edge, but you never know.

But as the 1980s wore on and the post-punk era became the hip-hop era, a whole new generation of rappers, DJs, producers and musicians felt the need to create pseudonyms.

But what did their mums call them? Here, for your dubious pleasure, are some of the most intriguing real names. It’s fair to assume that most probably don’t like being reminded of these, for various reasons. YOU go taunting Ice-T with his real name (Tracy Marrow). But, on the other hand, kudos to The Cure’s Robert Smith for NOT using a pseudonym…

Terminator X (Public Enemy DJ): Norman Rogers

Melle Mel (Furious Five rapper): Melvin Glover

Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz vocalist): Rita Crudgington

Grandmaster Flash (superstar DJ): Joseph Saddler

Kidd Creole (Furious Five rapper): Nathaniel Glover

KRS-One: Lawrence Parker

Siouxsie Sioux: Susan Ballion

Sebastian Bach (Skid Row singer): Sebastian Bierk

Marilyn (‘Calling Your Name’ star): Peter Robinson

Don Was (Was Not Was co-founder/superstar producer): Don Fagenson

Falco (‘Rock Me Amadeus’ one-hit wonder): Johann Holzel

Steve Severin (Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist): John Bailey

Budgie (Siouxsie drummer): Peter Clarke

Flavor Flav (Public Enemy rapper): William Drayton

LL Cool J: James Smith

Tone Loc: Anthony Smith

Bonnie Tyler: Gaynor Hopkins

Yngwie Malmsteen: Lars Lannerback

Young MC: Marvin Young

Ice Cube: O’Shea Jackson Sr.

Shakin’ Stevens: Michael Barratt

Donna Summer: LaDonna Gaines

Captain Sensible: Raymond Burns

Rat Scabies (Damned drummer): Christopher Millar

Vanilla Ice: Matthew Van Winkle

MC Hammer: Stanley Burrell

DJ Kool Herc (hip-hop pioneer): Clive Campbell

Duke Bootee (hip-hop pioneer): Edward Fletcher

Afrika Bambaataa: Lance Taylor

Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue bassist): Franklin Ferrana

Skip McDonald (On-U Records/Sugar Hill guitarist): Bernard Alexander

Billy Idol: William Broad

Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones bassist/solo artist): William Perks

Fish (Marillion singer): Derek Dick

Fee Waybill (The Tubes vocalist): John Waldo

Billy Ocean: Leslie Charles

Posdnuous (De La Soul rapper): Kelvin Mercer

Maseo (De La Soul rapper): Vincent Mason Jr.

Chris De Burgh: Christopher Davidson

Kool Moe Dee: Mohandas Dewese

Youth (Killing Joke bassist/superstar producer): Martin Glover

Geordie (Killing Joke guitarist): Kevin Walker