Decades — DC’s only retro-themed nightclub — has three floors, it’s the 90s floor with its arcade room and black-lighted wall art that truly excited many of the club’s patrons in the club’s debut month. Alongside the decor and unique activities, the music as well has blown people away. Regarding the music, the 90s were actually not the biggest-selling era for pop/dance music. However, the top-selling dance songs from the 90s may be some of the most beloved dance songs of the modern era. Within the top five songs, there’s a mix of floor-fillers, sing-alongs and well-beloved guilty pleasures.
5. Ace of Base – The Sign (purchase here)
#1 single in 8 countries, 2 million singles sold
Swedish pop dynamos Ace of Base had a huge 1994, placing three songs in America’s top ten songs of the year. “The Sign” was the #1 overall hit of the year, as well as a top 10 single of the decade overall. Denniz Pop, the song’s producer, crafted hits for not just Ace of Base, but the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and N’Sync. When a song is so popular that it’s appeared on shows including South Park, American Dad, Full House, and more, it’s on another level as a pop smash.
4. Ace of Base – Don’t Turn Around (purchase here)
#1 single in 11 countries, 2.5 million singles sold
Ace of Base’s second massive hit of 1994 was “Don’t Turn Around,” which, amazingly enough, has a prior history some five years prior. The dancehall-style synth pop that drives the track isn’t by accident. In 1988, the song was a #1 UK hit for British reggae quartet Aswad. As well, it’s written by eight-time Academy Award-nominated, Grammy, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning, six-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year songwriter Diane Warren. With that pedigree, there’s no wonder why the Swedes’ take was so popular.
3. Los Del Rio – Macarena (purchase here)
#1 single in 13 countries, 6 million singles sold
What you may call a “cheesy dance song” Billboard ranks as the number 7 All-Time on its list of Top 100 songs, as well as number 1 on Billboard’s All-Time Latin songs. Wikipedia refers to the single as “one of the most iconic examples of 1990s dance music.” Furthermore, it was an international top-10 hit in 1995, 1996, and 1997. From weddings, parties, sporting events, at Decades, and more, it’s a song that given that it has a dance attached, always guarantees a response.
2. Madonna – Vogue (purchase here)
#1 single in 30 countries, 4 million singles sold
Disco-met-house and pop on Madonna’s highly influential 1990 number one jam. Not only is it one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll,” MTV’s #2 “Greatest Video Ever Made,” and Rolling Stone’s best song of 1990, but it also won an American Music Award for 1990’s Best Dance Single. One of the singles most often attributed to being key to Madonna’s mainstream superstar success, it, like the aforementioned “Macarena,” inspired a worldwide dance craze that’s still well-regarded in the modern age.
1. Cher – Believe (purchase here)
#1 in 17+ countries, 11 million singles sold
Impressively enough, after 37 years as a pop superstar, Cher had her biggest hit single with 1998’s dance smash “Believe.” In over five decades, she’s had 34 top-ten singles, but this one in particular entirely re-set a standard of pop success for her career. In the current era, Auto-Tuned voices are fairly common, but in 1998, this song set a unique progressive vocal standard in using the technology.