Few memories of my teenage years are as vivid as the high school dances. Waiting on the sidelines while all the fast songs played, palms slick and heart hammering in my chest as I wait to make my move. Finally the DJ decides to slow things down, and as the first notes of the song plays there is a mad surge as the guys rush the dance floor, searching for a willing partner. Fearing rejection I make sure to set my sights on a realistic goal. Stuttering awkwardly I manage to finally make my hopeful pitch, and no less shy and awkward, she accepts. After that everything is just a glorious haze, my hands resting lightly on her lower back, hoping desperately the sweat from my hands is not soaking through her shirt. Her arms are around my neck and her head rests lightly on my shoulder. The world shrinks until only her and I exist. Just the two of us…and the music. The song is what has made this all possible, this greatest of moments, achingly brief. Those songs still hold a special place in my heart all these years later. Here is my list of the top ten high school slow dance songs, counted down in reverse order.
10 – Stevie Wonder – I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie wasn’t that popular among the kids at the time, but this one song was a staple of high school dances.
9 – John Waite – Missing You – This one hit wonder still conjures strong memories of grade eight for me
8 – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn – As a senior in high school I was finally a little more confident. Danced with lots of girls to this classic.
7 – Def Leppard – Love Bites – The token power ballad from one of the greatest albums of all time. Wore this CD out.
6 – Cars – Drive – Ironically I was not old enough to drive when this song was popular.
5 – Cyndi Lauper – True Colors – The girls rushed the floor every time Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or She-Bop came on, but the guys finally got their chance with this one.
4 – Jack Wagner – All I Need – This guy was a soap opera heart throb in the eighties. The girls went nuts for him, and it wasn’t too hard convincing them to dance. Unfortunately, I suspect they were probably thinking about him and not me.
3 – Berlin – Take My Breath Away – When Top Gun and Tom Cruise reigned supreme is my last year of junior high this song was in constant rotation.
2 – Madonna – Crazy For You – From Desperately Seeking Susan this smoky, sultry song was definitely a hit among the high school dance crowd. The video also inspired the girls to show up in much shorter skirts for a while. Definitely a highlight at the time for us guys.
1 – Wham – Careless Whisper – This was played at least once at every dance I attended throughout high school. Girls loved George Michael and loved to dance to this song. Acceptance to rejection ratio was at its highest when this song was playing, so it was a hit for the guys as well.
Well, there you have it. A little trip down memory lane to my high school years. I hope reading it brought you as many nostalgic moments as I experienced writing it.