The Least Danceable Hit Songs Of The Last 60 Years, According To Science

Not all hit singles are a smash on the dance floor. In fact, some are pretty much un-danceable, according to University of Columbia researchers who recently analyzed 60 years with of number one songs to find out what the common characteristics of a hit song are.

One of the characteristics they analyzed was 'danceability.' And while many of these chart topping songs are backed by a steady, danceable beat, some are the exact opposite. Here are the 10 least danceable number one hits:

10. 'The Theme From "A Summer Place"' — Percy Faith (1960)

'A Summer Place' was pretty successful when the film was released in 1959, but the real hit was one the movie's theme song. You're probably heard this tune used to establish an idyllic resort in movies or TV shows, but you definitely won't hear the orchestral hit getting a rotation on the dance floor. While the song might not have the most energetic groove, you could definitely shimmy or sway to it if you absolutely had to.

9. 'I Will Always Love You' — Whitney Houston (1992)

Coming through with another cover, Whitney Houston's version of this Dolly Parton cut holds a place on a number of prestigious lists. From taking the #6 slot Top 50 Love Songs of All Time, to notching #9 on NME's Greatest No 1 Singles in History this song has had long last success. A true slow dance classic.

8. 'Kind of a Drag' — The Buckinghams (1967)

Coming out of Chicago, The Buckinghams were one of a number of Sunshine pop bands cropping up around the US at the end of the Sixties, following in the footsteps of bigger acts like The Mamas & the Papas. The genre peaked in popularity in '67, just before the summer of love rolled in and other sounds began to take over. The story goes that the orginal take of 'Kind of  a Drag' was so slow the producers, Dan Belloc and Carl Bonafede, opted to speed it up before release. Even with that alteration, it's not exactly a club track.

7. 'The Morning After' — Maureen McGovern (1973)

Originally written for the 1972 film 'The Poseidon Adventure.' Maureen McGovern covered it the year after releasing it on an album of the same name in '73. The song spent two weeks in the number one slot, but it's a total wreck on the dance floor.

6. 'Hold On to the Nights' — Richard Marx (1988)

This slowjam hit from Richard Marx doesn't feature a rhythm track for much of the song, relying instead on Marx's vocals some piano and a guitar. The drums don't kick in until the song's climax. This doesn't make the song undanceable per se, but it might prove a challenge for the less rhythmically inclined in the room.

5. 'Separate Lives' — Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin (1985)

Written by Stephen Bishop as an original song for the 1985 dance flick 'White Nights,' this schmaltzy ballad was preformed by Phil Collins and singer/songwriter Marilyn Martin, who went on to record the acclaimed duet 'I Live for Love' with David Hasselhoff in in 1997. The song was nominated for Best Original Song by the Oscars but lost out to Lionel Ritchie's 'Say You, Say Me,' which was featured in the same film.

Collins has since re-recorded the song several time with various female vocalists, but none have translated into a foot-tapping single.

4. 'Moody River' — Pat Boone (1961)

Pat Boone was one of the most popular recording artists of the late 50s, and 'Moody River' was just one of many top 40 hits for the wholesome singer. While the instrumentals and slow beat of the song don't particularly inspire dancing vibes, it's the songs's lyrics of lost love, suicide and adultery that really kill the dance vibe.

3. 'Monday, Monday' — The Mamas & the Papas (1966)

The Mamas & the Papas had many hit songs, but 'Monday, Monday' is the only track to reach the very top of the pop charts in America. The song even went on to win the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in '67. But the folk rock classic isn't something you can groove to.

2. 'Wonderland By Night' — Bert Kaempfert (1961)


Conducted by the German orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert in 1960, this song managed to top the charts across the Atlantic a year later. You can definitely slow dance to this plodding jazz number, but you're out of luck if you were hoping to boogie down.

1. 'Titles, Chariots of Fire' — Vangelis (1981)

This is it. This is the song science says is the least danceable to ever achieve number one status. And we definitely can't disagree.

Nowadays, the theme from 'Chariots of Fire' is better known for its many, many parodies rather than the film of the same name. So there's no denying that the tune is iconic, but good luck trying to move bodies on the dance floor if you drop this one at your next party.

It will get your feet moving though - even if they're made of felt.


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