The Soundtrack of My Life - College Party Scene

1989 Graduation Eve
Dancing Out, The Night Before Graduation - 1989 - And That's Not Me in the Photo ....

I admit it - my college years were lots of fun. And hard work. Lots of problem sets, long nights (I only pulled one all-nighter and that was towards the tail end of my senior year - I couldn't go through four years at MIT and not have pulled a least one all nighter - heck, they could refuse me my college diploma!), hard work and more hard work.

I know my parents read my blog (Hi Mom!), so of course I'm going to illiterate the long hours and hard work because I don't want them to feel all stressed our about my college years that were so long ago. I turned out OK regardless, so I guess it's OK for them to know now that I did have a good time at school, too.

In spite of the all the hard work, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize, party and DANCE. Things were quite loose back then - alcohol flowed freely and underage drinking was not frowned upon or policed. My perception of the situation - we were smart enough to get into MIT, we were probably responsible enough to have alcohol, regardless of the law. Remember, this was 1985 - the legal drinking age had just been raised from 18 to 21 in 1984, so there were old practices to change.

OK, this was not meant to be a blog post about drinking in college.... I did drink in college - there, I said it (sorry if I just blew anyone's perception of me). So I'm moving on to the music that defined my college party years, because that's really what differentiated those years.

Part One - The Classic Party Dance Music - stuff that's been out for years:

You Make Me Wanna (Shout) by the Isley Brothers
This classic dance song still delivers and brings people on to the dance floor. Even the moves have been passed down through the years (the hands up at "shout", shimmying down to the floor during the "a little bit softer now" bits, then back up on the "a little bit louder now" and general jumping all up and down).
Here's the Animal House version, performed by Otis Day and the Knights. I don't know what could scream College Party scene better. I know this makes you want to get up and dance.

The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Did I see the Rocky Horror Picture Show in College? You bet - at the Harvard Square Theatre, where it played every Saturday at midnight. Yes, people dressed up and re-enacted the movie as it was happening on the screen. We threw toilet paper, brought squirt guns and danced in the aisles. Fun times.

Twist and Shout by the Beatles
This song was experiencing a bit of a renaissance after it was featured in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Does it still attract people to the dance floor now? Not sure, but it was always a crowd pleaser during my college years.

Part Two - Dance Music of the 80s:
Call it New Wave or pre-electronica, these songs defined the era:

Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Nothing transports me back faster to the dance floor than this pulsing electronica song.

Another similar electronica song, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead or Alive

Of course, you have to spin around on the dance floor during the chorus.

New Sensation by INXS
This one is more rock than new wave, but it makes my list because I remember dancing to it - there's something about that opening guitar riff that gets people moving. And I'm pretty sure it's the song we're dancing to in the photo above.

I Want Your Sex by George Michael
Off his first solo album, Faith, this song's titillating subject and lyrics certainly raised eyebrows at the time. OK, it would raise eyebrows now, too. The risque subject coupled with electro pop made it fun to dance to.

What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy) - Information Society
More synth pop from the late 80s - you can't help but bop along with it - it's infectious!

I'm sure there are so many more great songs from that era - I'd love to hear what your college dance soundtrack sounded like - add yours in the comments and dance on!

Other Soundtrack of My Life Posts:
The Early Years
The Middle School Years,
High School Anthems
Love Songs
a Cappella Songs.
Classical, Jazz and Show Tunes

tinajo  – (May 17, 2013 at 7:06 AM)  

Oh, I can SO relate! I played You spin me... the other day to my rascals, they thought it was cool but that the video - and the singer - was weird, haha! :-)

Catherine  – (May 17, 2013 at 7:50 AM)  

What a nostalgic soundtrack Shirley, I love it, esp the Dance Music section! It's always SO hard for me to come up with a 80's faves list simply because there are so many to choose from... I would add (almost anything) from Depeche Mode, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and of course Duran Duran's The Reflex. Have a fantastic time at your block party this weekend :)

shirley  – (May 17, 2013 at 9:21 AM)  

@Catherine - I almost added a New Order song to my list, but it was getting so long! And I love that Duran Duran song too.
Yes, I expect I'll hear some of these songs this weekend!

Sherry  – (May 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM)  

I graduated high school in '89. Great list and I agree with Catherine too. haha. Good times.

Sherry  – (May 17, 2013 at 10:04 AM)  

Loved all those songs -- it was a different time back then. My kids don't like to see me dance around the house - but I could teach them a thing or two on some moves!! Have a good weekend!

Samuel Druker  – (May 9, 2020 at 2:26 AM)  

How did I miss this series until now!?!?

shirley  – (May 9, 2020 at 4:01 PM)  

@Sam - Probably because the post is over 7 years old!

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