A friend of mine is both a teacher at a Catholic Girls high school and a wedding DJ, meaning he gets a constantly updated insight into which songs are popular at both high school dances, and weddings.
Not surprisingly there are a number of songs that straddle both, and have done for years: ‘Love Shack’ after the bridal waltz and late into the silly portion/an hour before parental pick up; ‘Dancing Queen’ or something from Grease whenever the male/female dancefloor ratio is dangerously skewed in either direction; ‘Thriller’ when you want people to skid across the hardwood floor in their suit pants/socks; and whatever ‘Back For Good’ style ballad happens to be ubiquitous at the time, which should be played early in the evening to slow things down and lull people into coupled dancing, but in a PG way. (It’s Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ at the moment).
YouTube have today revealed two separate lists about the tunes populating prom playlists on YouTube: the top ten current songs , and the top ten classic ones.
Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ topped the classics list, not surprising given its meme status, and the fact that it subconsciously conjures ’80s John Hughes high school films despite never appearing in one; a period that a lot of people equate with school dances, given the flood of ’80s films that centre on the drama and tension of these events.
This is so for the entire top four, which also features ‘Take On Me’ by a-ha, the dramatic ‘Carrie’ by Europe, and the boppy ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’. Cyndi’s true high school anthem ‘Time After Time’ is tenth on the list: a pulsing open-hearted song that will still conjure young love and drama a century from now.
The ’80s dominates this list with only ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (a home-run in any scenario), ‘Dancing Queen’ (made for dance-floors) and The Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’ (the ’90s are the new ’80s) falling outside this decade.
The top ten current ones are basically a selection of the more danceable (in which the dance is either a bounce, a boogie or a romantic slow-dance) hit singles of the past eighteen months. It’s basically a So Fresh compilation, which makes sense.
I’m loath to predict which of these will slide into the pantheon of forever prom songs, but at face value, Sheeran’s intense popularity will see ‘Perfect’ played at gatherings for some decades yet, while ‘Finesse’ is such a great new jack swing throwback, that it could even crossover into after-the-speeches high rotation at weddings sooner than you’d think.
The lists are below. Dance carefully.
Top 10 Classic songs used in Prom-related playlists
1.Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”
2. a-ha – “Take On Me”
3. Europe – “Carrie”
4. Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”
5. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
6. Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way”
7. ABBA – “Dancing Queen”
8. Bon Jovi – “Livin’ On A Prayer”
9. Whitney Houston – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
10. Cyndi Lauper – “Time After Time”
Top 10 songs used in Prom-related playlists made in 2018
1. Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”
2. Bruno Mars – “Finesse (Remix)” feat. Cardi B
3. Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
4. Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
5. Sam Smith – “Too Good At Goodbyes”
6. Charlie Puth – “How Long”
7. Eminem – “River” ft. Ed Sheeran
8.Imagine Dragons – “Believer”
9. Kendrick Lamar, SZA – “All The Stars”
10. Drake – “God’s Plan”