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12 primary school disco songs that defined our youth

Kinderling News & Features

No matter what decade you grew up in or where you grew up in Australia, the primary school disco was THE social event of the year! 

Between the old school hall floor reverberating with the beat of the music in the twilight of a hot Friday evening, the teachers monitoring the behaviour of the over-excited boys who were hopped up on cordial served from the hired McDonalds Orange Bowl coolers, and the bedazzled girls dancing with each other on the dance floor, the school disco was one not to be missed.

But most important of all was the music – and the pretty cool dance moves you could bust out on the night.

To celebrate all the fabulousness that was our primary school disco, here are 12 of the very best, most enduring songs we danced to:

1. Nutbush City Limits by Ike and Tina Turner:

Fun fact: You know that line dance we all grew up doing whenever this song was played? Well, all those cool moves only exist in Australia! No one quite knows how it happened, but we seem to have created a uniquely Australian dance about a place in Tennessee. Who’d a thunk it?! 

2. La Bamba by Ritchie Valens

An oldie but a goodie that found new fans with the release of the movie of the same name in 1986. With a foot-stomping beat and exotic Latino lyrics, there’s still plenty to love about this enduring classic even today.

3. YMCA by The Village People

Here’s a tune with serious disco credentials – first released in 1978, it has pretty much been on every school disco playlist since then. Blame the very cool dance moves that come with the song, or the marching beat, there’s no denying this song ticks all the boxes. Even if we never quite understood what the YMCA was exactly!

4. Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles

This popular tune was very girl-power due to the fact that it’s sung by all-girl band, The Bangles. And it didn’t hurt that it has some pretty cool little moves you could learn too. Walk like an Egyptian indeed!

5. La Macarena by Los Del Rio

No worries that you didn’t know how to pronounce those pesky Spanish lyrics exactly, as long as you could jump and swizzle your backside and follow the dance moves shown in the video clip, you were completely sorted.

6. Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Time Warp has a strange pedigree – coming from the 1975 cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s definitely not G-rated fare but somehow the fun dance moves spelled out in the video clip have managed to make the case for its inclusion in every school disco playlist ever since.

7. The Locomotion by Kylie Minogue

Aah, who didn’t love a Neighbours-era Kylie tune? Pre-gold-hotpants, pre-Nick-Cave-duo, Kylie was just a a cute young  thing from Ramsay Street knocking out an eighties cover version of the Little Eva original. And didn’t we jump up to dance along and make those sweet little train motions with our arms?

8. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jnr

So much eighties action to love with this one – the neon lighting, the rolled sleeves and big ’80s hair-dos … and it didn’t hurt either that it was the theme song for one of the biggest movies of 1984. A song that never gets old apparently.

9. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

A favourite amongst the boys, Eye of the Tiger allowed them to do plenty of mock boxing on the dance floor, thanks to the fact that it was the theme song of the very successful Rocky III. Punch that air, boys!

10. Agadoo by Black Lace

The novelty song of all novelty songs, there’s an insane banana, whacky Hawaiian shirts, white belts, and a simple knee-tapping dance routine that even a five-year-old could get on board with. Total winner!

11. U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer

Sure there were some fairly complicated dance steps that came with this song, but really you could just jump up and down on the same spot and you’d still be getting the job done! And extra points given if you did it in a pair of ‘hammer pants’.

12. Barbie Girl by Aqua

OK, so the boys weren’t big fans of this saccharine number – how could they dance along to a song about BARBIE?! – but the girls sure rushed the floor when this one started up. 

This article originally appeared on Babyology.