25 Best Dance Pop Songs of All Time

Dance Club
Dance Music. Photo by Michele Palazzo / Getty Images

Dance-pop music as a recognized genre dates back to the mid-1970s disco revolution. Dance-pop has played a crucial role in mainstream pop since. These are the 25 best dance-pop songs over more than four decades.​

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Gloria Gaynor - "Never Can Say Goodbye" (1974)

Gloria Gaynor Never Can Say Goodbye
Gloria Gaynor - "Never Can Say Goodbye". Courtesy MGM

Clifton Davis, part of Motown's team of songwriters, wrote "Never Can Say Goodbye," and it was first recorded by the Jackson 5 in 1970. They took the song all the way to #2 on the US pop chart. In 1974, producers reworked the song as a disco record for rising R&B vocalist Gloria Gaynor. Among the producers was Meco Monardo who later hit #1 on the pop singles chart with a disco version of the "Star Wars Theme." Gloria Gaynor's recording of "Never Can Say Goodbye" is part of a 19-minute-long disco suite on the first side of the album of the same name. It was a groundbreaking extended mix that would lay the groundwork for later 12-inch single remixes used in dance clubs.

"Never Can Say Goodbye" hit the top 10 on the US pop chart and soared all the way to #1 on the fledgling disco chart. It is a landmark that paved the way for the disco revolution. Gloria Gaynor returned in 1978 with another career-defining disco hit "I Will Survive" which became a #1 pop smash.

The British group, the Communards, released a version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" in 1987. Their cover went all the way to #2 on the U.S. dance chart. 

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Bee Gees - "You Should Be Dancing" (1976)

Bee Gees You Should Be Dancing
Bee Gees - "You Should Be Dancing". Courtesy RSO

The three #1 pop hit songs that the Bee Gees wrote and recorded specifically for the soundtrack for the hit film Saturday Night Fever helped bring disco squarely into the pop mainstream. "Staying Alive," "Night Fever," and "How Deep Is Your Love" are legendary pop hits of the era. However, the trio's best and most complete disco record "You Should Be Dancing" hit the charts a year earlier. It was incorporated into the Saturday Night Fever film soundtrack for crucial dance scenes.

"You Should Be Dancing" remains the only Bee Gees record to hit #1 on the disco chart where it stayed for seven weeks. It also spent a week at the top of the pop chart. Among the studio musicians appearing on the record are Stephen Stills on the drums. He was in the same studio as the Bee Gees recording the Stills-Young Band album Long May You Run.

"You Should Be Dancing" is the first #1 pop hit by the Bee Gees which features Barry Gibb's trademark falsetto vocals. In an unusual achievement for a group of White musicians, "You Should Be Dancing" hit #4 on the R&B singles chart.

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Vicki Sue Robinson - "Turn the Beat Around" (1976)

Vicki Sue Robinson Turn the Beat Around
Vicki Sue Robinson - "Turn the Beat Around". Courtesy RCA

Vicki Sue Robinson's early performing career consisted of being mostly a bit player in Broadway shows and films. She first appeared on a pop record as a backup vocalist for Todd Rundgren's 1972 hit album Something / Anything? RCA producer Warren Schatz was impressed enough with Vicki Sue Robinson's voice that he thought she could be a disco star. One of the first songs she recorded was "Turn the Beat Around," written by the brothers Gerald and Peter Jackson. They connected with the vocalist via engineer Al Garrison, Vicki Sue Robinson's boyfriend.

The heavily percussive "Turn the Beat Around" quickly became a disco smash. It went all the way to #1 on the disco chart for a month and broke into the pop top 10. The orchestral arrangement with a dense percussion breakdown is emblematic of many early disco hits. Vicki Sue Robinson recorded her lead vocal in a single take on September 26, 1975.

Gloria Estefan returned the song to #1 on the dance chart in 1994 with her cover version. She crossed radio formats as well hitting #4 on the adult contemporary chart and #13 on the pop chart. 

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Thelma Houston - "Don't Leave Me This Way" (1977)

Thelma Houston Don't Leave Me This Way
Thelma Houston - "Don't Leave Me This Way". Courtesy Motown

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes first recorded "Don't Leave Me This Way." Legendary Philadelphia soul team Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff co-wrote the song, and it appeared on the 1975 Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes album Wake Up Everybody. Never released as an official single in the US, it reached #3 on the US disco chart after Thelma Houston's cover version of the song became a legendary smash.

"Don't Leave Me This Way" was originally assigned to Diana Ross as a follow-up to her disco hit "Love Hangover." However, that recording never came to fruition and instead Thelma Houston, newly signed to Motown, was offered the song. Her elegant performance entranced club audiences, and soon it was a #1 disco smash and also topped the pop chart. It earned Thelma Houston a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal. The song became a significant anthem for the gay community in its battles against the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Communards recorded a cover version of "Don't Leave Me This Way" in 1986. It went to #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart becoming the best selling song of the year there. In the U.S. it went to #1 on the dance chart. 

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Donna Summer - "I Feel Love" (1977)

Donna Summer I Feel Love
Donna Summer - "I Feel Love". Courtesy Casablanca

Co-produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, "I Feel Love" is one of the most influential songs of all time. Before its release, most disco records used acoustic orchestras for backing tracks on their recordings. Moroder and Bellotte used an entirely electronic backing track featuring a Moog synthesizer. The impact was a futuristic sound that profoundly influenced the development of synth-pop and techno. With Donna Summer's breathy, erotic vocals, the recording earned high praise from critics.

"I Feel Love" reached #6 on the pop chart. In 1978, a fifteen-minute remix of "I Feel Love" by San Francisco DJ Patrick Cowley became an underground hit. In 1995, Donna Summer hit the top 10 on the dance chart with a new remix of "I Feel Love."

In 2011, the Library of Congress added Donna Summer's recording of "I Feel Love" to the National Recording Registry. When he first heard "I Feel Love," famed electronic music producer Brian Eno reportedly said, "This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years."

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Chic - "Le Freak" (1978)

Chic Le Freak
Chic - "Le Freak". Courtesy Atlantic

Guitar player Nile Rodgers and bass player Bernard Edwards put together the band Chic in 1976. It was primarily a studio outfit, and they scored a significant disco hit with their first release "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)." However, it was the follow-up "Le Freak" that became the legendary disco classic. The song is a tribute to the glory days of the Studio 54 disco club in New York City. It sold over seven million copies.

With its signature scratchy guitar and rubbery bass line, "Le Freak" became the first song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 three different times. Combined with the tracks "I Want Your Love" and "Chic Cheer," "Le Freak" also topped the disco chart. In 2018, the Library of Congress selected "Le Freak" to add to the National Recording Registry. 

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Lipps Inc. - "Funkytown" (1980)

Lipps Inc Funkytown
Lipps Inc. - "Funkytown". Courtesy Casablanca

By 1980, the peak of disco's presence on the mainstream pop chart was over. Dance music itself was beginning to go underground as new wave synthpop, power ballads, and pop-oriented R&B took over the mainstream charts. "Funkytown" came out of left field put together by Minneapolis-based producer Steven Greenberg. He recruited the 1976 Miss Black Minnesota, Cynthia Johnson, to deliver the distinctive lead vocal. "Funkytown" was a smash hit spending four weeks at #1 on the mainstream pop chart and topping the disco chart. Its use of electronic sound effects influenced later dance recordings.

In 1986, just six years after Lipps Inc. hit #1 with "Funkytown," the Australian band Pseudo Echo released a cover version. The sound is rock music with a guitar solo in the middle of the recording. Pseudo Echo's cover hit #6 on the U.S. pop singles chart and #4 on the dance chart. It was the group's only pop hit in the U.S.

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Yaz - "Situation" (1982)

Yaz Situation
Yaz - "Situation". Courtesy Sire

The synth-pop duo of Depeche Mode founder Vince Clarke and vocalist Alison Moyet recorded as Yazoo in Europe, but, for legal reasons, released their music under the name Yaz in the US. The pair recorded two legendary synth-pop albums before an acrimonious breakup. The first Upstairs at Eric's included two #1 dance hits in the US "Don't Go" and "Situation." The album barely broke into the top 100 in the US but was ultimately certified platinum for sales. 

In addition to Alison Moyet's deeply soulful vocals, "Situation" includes her laugh. That snippet has been used many other times as a sample for other recordings including in the worldwide #1 smash "Macarena." In 1999 a series of remixes brought "Situation" back to #1 on the US dance chart.

Legendary disco remixer Francois Kevorkian created the most famous remix of "Situation." In 1999, a new batch of remixes sent "Situation" back to the top of the dance chart in the U.S. for the second time.

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Shannon - "Let the Music Play" (1983)

Shannon Let the Music Play
Shannon - "Let the Music Play". Courtesy Atlantic

"Let the Music Play," the debut single from singer Shannon, is considered a landmark in the development of both dance pop and the more specific sub-genre high energy. Producer Chris Barbosa, a key figure in the development of freestyle dance music, is given primary credit for the unique sound of the rhythm track on "Let the Music Play."

By 1983, much of dance music was driven underground, but the bubbling rhythm line of "Let the Music Play" sounded different to audiences and returned dance music to the pop mainstream. The song hit #8 on the US pop chart and became the first of four #1 dance hits by Shannon.

Dance music historians count "Let the Music Play" as one of the records that ushered in a new golden age for dance-pop music after the end of the disco era.

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Pet Shop Boys - "West End Girls" (1984)

Pet Shop Boys West End Girls
Pet Shop Boys - "West End Girls". Courtesy EMI

"West End Girls," the debut single from Pet Shop Boys, was released twice. The first time was a version produced by dance music veteran Bobby Orlando. The track earned positive attention from dance clubs. In 1985, it a re-recorded version produced by Stephen Hague appeared on the debut Pet Shop Boys album Please. This version became a #1 pop hit in both the US and the UK.  T.S. Eliot's classic poem "The Waste Land" inspired the "West End Girls" lyrics. The Pet Shop Boys record won the Brit Award for Best Single and an Ivor Novello Award for Best International HIt.

Following the success of "West End Girls," the Pet Shop Boys, consisting of the duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, became one of the most successful dance music acts of all time. Their combination of electronic tracks with Neil Tennant's highly stylized and literate lyrics defined their role in the development of dance music. Pet Shop Boys performed "West End Girls" at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

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Herbie Hancock - "Rockit" (1983)

Herbie Hancock Rockit
Herbie Hancock - "Rockit". Courtesy Columbia

"Rockit," by legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, is a landmark in the development of dance music for its use of scratching and other turntabling techniques performed by GrandMixer D.ST. The accompanying music video was as much of a breakthrough as the song itself. Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, formerly of the pop group 10CC, directed the clip. It includes the movement of various kinetic sculptures by artist Jim Whiting in time to the music. It earned five MTV Video Music Awards.

"Rockit" is included on Herbie Hancock's album Future Shock, a groundbreaking collaboration with avant-garde bass player and producer Bill Laswell. Many of the tracks were worked out on tour by Laswell and his collaborator in the avant-garde music outfit Material, Michael Beinhorn. The album Future Shock climbed to #43 on the album chart and earned a platinum certification for sales. "Rockit" topped the dance chart and hit the top 10 on the R&B singles chart.

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Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean" (1983)

Michael Jackson Billie Jean
Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean". Courtesy Epic

"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson is one of the top landmark pop records of the second half of the 20th century. It was also a major dance hit. Many observers referred to it as a post-disco record with a sound that pointed forward to the future. "Billie Jean" was a #1 pop smash for seven weeks while also topping the dance chart.

"Billie Jean" earned Grammy Awards for Best R&B Male Vocal and Best R&B Song. It is also frequently included on lists of the greatest pop hit singles of all time. Michael Jackson says that when he wrote "Billie Jean," it was one of those rare times when you know the song will be a hit. Producer Quincy Jones wanted to drop the instrumental introduction to the song, but Michael Jackson insisted on keeping it because it was the part of the recording that made him want to dance.

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M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume" (1987)

MARRS Pump Up the Volume
M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume". Courtesy Island

"Pump Up the Volume" first came about as an uneasy collaboration between electronic music group Colourbox and alternative rock band A R Kane. 4AD label head Ivo Watts-Russell suggested the collaboration after each act expressed interest in exploring the rising house music genre. The original version of "Pump Up the Volume" came from Colourbox and was a highly percussive nearly instrumental song. A R Kane added additional guitar, and then the samples and scratch mixing of DJs Chris "C.J." Macintosh and Dave Dorrell made it shine. The collaborators never recorded again as M/A/R/R/S because the first record was too much of an unpleasant ordeal.

"Pump Up the Volume" paved the way for the development of British acid house music and the use of sampling in significant recordings. The recording topped the US dance chart and climbed to #13 on the mainstream pop chart.

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C+C Music Factory - "Gonna Make You Sweat" (1990)

C&C Music Factory Gonna Make You Sweat
C+C Music Factory - "Gonna Make You Sweat". Courtesy Columbia

Dance music production and songwriting duo David Cole and Robert Clivilles put together the act C+C Music Company in 1989. "Gonna Make You Sweat" was their first single. After storming to the top of both dance and pop charts, the recording ran into legal troubles for excluding vocalist Martha Wash from both the credits and the music video. Ultimately, an out-of-court settlement solved the legal issues. Rapper Freedom Williams was the other primary vocalist. The song is a defining record of early 1990s dance music introducing an athletic style to the music. David Cole died tragically as a victim of AIDS at the age of 32 in 1995.

"Gonna Make You Sweat" is frequently used for sporting events. Along with contemporaries Technotronic, they were part of what came to be known as jock anthems for their ubiquitous presence in athletic competitions.

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Deee-Lite - "Groove Is In the Heart" (1990)

Deee-LIte Groove Is In the Heart
Deee-Lite - "Groove Is In the Heart". Courtesy Elektra

"Groove Is In the Heart" was written in the late 1980s and performed live as early as 1989, but it wasn't recorded until 1990. It was built around a range of samples and released as the debut record from the trio Deee-Lite. The group consisted of two DJs Dmitry and Towa Tei as well as vocalist Lady Miss Kier. The legendary Bootsy Collins, the bass player for Funkadelic, appears on the record and is a featured guest vocalist. Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest contributes a guest rap.

"Groove Is In the Heart" hit #1 on the dance chart and reached #4 on the pop chart. It was the first of a string of major dance hits from Deee-Lite. The accompanying music video includes a memorable appearance from Lady Miss Kier saying, "Deee-groovy!" Bootsy Collins also states, "Groove is in the heart."

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RuPaul - "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (1993)

Rupaul Supermodel
Rupaul - "Supermodel (You Better Work)". Courtesy Tommy Boy

RuPaul was a pioneer introducing drag culture into the mainstream and bringing respectful attention to individuals who choose to step outside of traditional gender roles in their lives. He first had national exposure after appearing in the 1989 music video for the B-52's hit "Love Shack." In 1993 he recorded his debut album Supermodel Of the World.

The major label debut single "Supermodel (You Better Work)" first gained popularity in underground gay dance clubs, but then it broke into the mainstream. The music video received strong support from MTV and an unlikely endorsement by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" went to #2 on the dance chart and broke into the pop chart at #45.

Actress LaWanda Page, known for her appearances in the TV show Sanford and Son, recorded spoken-word segments for "Supermodel (You Better Work)." She also appeared in multiple RuPaul music videos.

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Toni Braxton - "Un-Break My Heart" (1996)

Toni Braxton Un-Break My Heart
Toni Braxton - "Un-Break My Heart". Courtesy LaFace

"Un-Break My Heart" is one of the best examples of using remixing techniques to turn a ballad hit into a riveting dancefloor smash. House music remixes of "Un-Break My Heart" brought Toni Braxton's powerful vocals to clubs. The result was a towering #1 dance hit. 

The original pop-R&B recording was also a massive success. It went to #1 on the pop chart and earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal. The versatility of the vocal allowed the song to have the rare achievement of reaching #1 or #2 across the pop, dance, R&B, and adult contemporary charts.


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Madonna - "Ray Of Light" (1998)

Madonna Ray Of Light
Madonna - "Ray Of Light". Courtesy Warner Bros.

Madonna is easily the most successful dance music artist of all-time hitting #1 on the dance chart more than 45 times. In 1998 she collaborated with electronic music artist William Orbit. Influenced by her growing interest in Eastern mysticism, "Ray Of Light" is an upbeat look at female power. Madonna said the original recording of the song was completely over the top and more than ten minutes in length. She thought it was self-indulgent and beautiful.

"Ray of LIght" received some of the strongest positive critical reviews of Madonna's career. It earned nominations for three Grammy Awards including Record of the Year. It won the Best Dance Recording Grammy.

"Ray Of Light" soared to the top of the dance chart and reached #5 on the pop chart. The accompanying music video, influenced by the experimental film Koyaanisqatsi and directed by Jonas Akerlund, won the MTV Video Music Award for Video Of the Year.

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Cher - "Believe" (1998)

Cher Believe
Cher - "Believe". Courtesy Warner Bros.

Cher's massive comeback hit single "Believe" was one of the first commercial recordings to use Auto-Tune sound effects extensively. The combination of the groundbreaking sound, the upbeat production, and Cher's optimistic vocals turned it into a massive worldwide hit. It became Cher's biggest pop hit of all time reaching #1 on charts around the world including in the U.S. It also hit the top of the dance chart becoming the first of a series of hits that made Cher one of the world's top dance artists late in her career. "Believe" won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording and was nominated for Record of the Year.

"Believe" was the first in a string of three consecutive #1 dance hit songs by Cher in the U.S. In 2002 and 2003, she unleashed three more #1 dance hit songs. By 2013, Cher had eight #1 dance hits in fifteen years.

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Daft Punk - "One More Time" (2000)

Daft Punk One More Time
Daft Punk - "One More Time". Courtesy Virgin

French electronic music duo Daft Punk are known for their blend of house music with elements of classic disco. "One More Time" is a definitive song in their catalog. It features a vocal from American R&B singer Romanthony that is heavily altered by Auto-Tune. Dance music fans immediately embraced the record. It hit #1 on the US dance music chart and broke into the US pop chart. In the UK, "One More Time" reached #2 on the mainstream pop chart.

Daft Punk became international pop superstars in 2013 with the release of the album Random Access Memories and the hit single "Get Lucky." They brought the sound of disco back to the pop mainstream in the U.S.

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Bob Sinclar featuring Steve Edwards - "World Hold On" (2006)

Bob Sinclar Steve Edwards World Hold On
Bob Sinclar featuring Steve Edwards - "World Hold On (Children Of the Sky)". Courtesy Tommy Boy

Bob Sinclar is a French DJ and producer who helped bring worldwide attention to the French house music scene. Among the critical elements of his work are the use of disco strings and samples. His single "World, Hold On" became a smash in dance clubs around the world. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Remixed Recording. The song topped the US dance chart and reached the top 10 on pop charts across Europe. Singer Steve Edwards in a British house singer who has appeared on a wide range of dance recordings. "World Hold On" was the second of four consecutive #1 dance hits by Bob Sinclar in the U.S.

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David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland - "When Love Takes Over" (2009)

David Guetta Kelly Rowland When Love Takes Over
David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland - "When Love Takes Over". Courtesy Virgin

"When Love Takes Over" was first conceptualized as an instrumental by French house music DJ and producer David Guetta. However, American R&B singer Kelly Rowland fell in love with the track and asked to write and record vocals for it. She wrote the lyrics with the Nervo Twins, Miriam and Olivia Nervo.

Before the release of the single, David Guetta had significant pop chart success at home in France and two top 10 hits in the U.K. "When Love Takes Over" sent him into the top 10 on pop charts around the world. It also appeared in the top 30 of mainstream pop radio giving American pop audiences their first real taste of the work of David Guetta. "When Love Takes Over" topped the U.S. dance chart. Two years later in 2011, David Guetta became a pop superstar in the U.S. with three consecutive top 10 pop hit singles. 

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Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance" (2009)

Lady Gaga Bad Romance
Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance". Courtesy Interscope

Lady Gaga came to prominence fully embracing dance music with her #1 smash hit "Just Dance." In late 2009 she reached an artistic peak with the grandly ambitious "Bad Romance." The song had its first introduction as part of the soundtrack for a Paris Fashion Week runway show by designer Alexander McQueen. "Bad Romance" is a close collaboration with dance-pop producer RedOne. 

The lyrics of "Bad Romance" explore Lady Gaga's tendency to select romantic partners for relationships that never work. The song also reflected the paranoia she felt while touring. "Bad Romance" also includes some lyrics in French.

"Bad Romance" was showered with critical acclaim as it hit #1 on the dance chart and #2 on the pop chart. It earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal, and the celebrated accompanying music video earned the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.

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Avicii - "Wake Me Up" (2013)

Avicii Wake Me Up
Avicii - "Wake Me Up". Courtesy Columbia

Swedish DJ Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, was one of the hottest young artists in dance music when he took the stage to play "Wake Me Up!" live at the 2013 Ultra Music Festival. His track "Levels" was a major pop and dance hit around the world in 2011. However, "Wake Me Up!" was something different with a live band, an R&B vocalist Aloe Blacc, and even influences from country music. Although some were angry with the new direction, Avicii soon won over the vast majority of fans.

"Wake Me Up!" became a huge smash hit topping the US dance chart and mainstream pop radio chart. It also hit #1 in many other countries around the world. Avicii's innovations opened up the gates for other artists to broaden the palette of their dance club sound. "Wake Me Up!" appears on Avicii's first studio album True. It reached the top 5 on the album chart in the U.S.

Avicii died at age 28 in 2018. 

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Royskopp & Robyn - "Do It Again" (2014)

Royskopp Robyn So It Again
Royskopp & Robyn - "Do It Again". Courtesy Dog Triumph

Royskopp is a Norwegian electronic music duo. They reached the top 5 on the Norwegian pop chart three times between 2005 and 2009 as well as scoring a series of minor pop hits in the UK. Robyn is a Swedish pop artist who scored a series of pop hits around the world but failed to hit the US pop charts after two top 10 pop hits in 1996-1997 as a teenager. In 2014, the two Scandinavian acts joined forces. 

"Do It Again" was reportedly written by the trio after an "epic night out" in Bergen, Norway. The result was a happy accident in the studio. "Do It Again" was celebrated by critics and reached #1 on the dance chart in the US. It was one of the biggest dance hits of the year.

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