Our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Songs list looks at one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. It’s the soundtrack to the iconic movie Dirty Dancing. The soundtrack came out in 1987. It sold over 32 million copies. The hit soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 charts for 18 weeks. Since the soundtrack was so popular, the album was re-released in 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of it.
The movie takes place in the early 60s so the soundtrack reflects that. Most of the songs on the soundtrack have an old school vibe. There are a few songs on the soundtrack that have an 80s vibe to them. It seems like the theme for the soundtrack was a dedication to music from the 60s.
The original album contains the 12 songs that were on the soundtrack. If you are a fan of the movie, you most likely have this album in your collection. The Dirty Dancing 20thAnniversary Edition features the 12 songs that were on the original soundtrack plus 15 more tracks. The songs on this version are arranged in the order of how they appear in the movie. The track listing is different from the original one. On the original album, the songs are in random order. On the anniversary edition, the songs are remastered versions of the original songs. It’s also a two-disc set as opposed to the original album, which only contains one disc. On the 2007 version of the album, disc one contains the songs on the soundtrack. Disc two is a DVD that has videos and photos of the cast.
If you are a fan of the movie Dirty Dancing, chances are you have the soundtrack. It would be a good idea to have both versions of the soundtrack. You get to have the original as well as new versions of the songs. Our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Songs list will feature 10 of the best songs from the soundtrack. Are your favorites on the list?
# 10 – Hey! Baby – Bruce Channel
The first song on our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Song list is “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel. The song has a rockabilly beat. The flirty song tells a story about a man and woman who haven’t met each other yet. He’s building up the courage to be with her. He wants to call out to her to get her attention. It’s ironic that this song was chosen because Johnny (Patrick Swayze) and Baby (Jennifer Grey) knew each other when the song was played. If you remember, the song was played after the characters met and while they were practicing dance moves on a log. Despite the fact the song doesn’t fit the scene, we couldn’t picture the movie without it.
The track has a simple beat. The harmonica dominates the song. The drums take a backseat to the harmonica. The music starts off softly and then gets louder the longer it goes. Bruce Channel’s voice is soothing. He sings with a lot of soul. He performs runs throughout the song. He holds little notes that will bring a smile to your face. The song hit number one on the charts when it came out in the 60s and was number one for three weeks. The song wasn’t recorded for the movie. It was released as its own single in the 60s. Other artists covered the song over the years, but Bruce Channel’s version is golden. As we said the song doesn’t really fit the scene it was included in, but that doesn’t matter. The song fits right at home with the soundtrack.
# 9 – Love Is Strange – Mickey & Sylvia
The next song on our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Song list is “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia. The song has an r&b beat. The addictive song is about love being strange. Love can be complicated and plays tricks on your heart. You love it while it’s there and miss it while it’s gone. The song fits in with the movie because Johnny and Baby are together when the song plays in the movie. They lip sync to the spoken word portion of “Love Is Strange.” The dialogue has become just as popular as the tune itself. This is a sexy r&b song, which might have been risqué at the time it was released. The song became more popular once it was added on the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
The music is hypnotizing. The guitar riffs are incredible. It gives the song a down-home southern sound. The guitar licks are worth checking out. They make you want to play air guitar. It sounds like a cowbell is being used in the background of the song. This song does have some controversy. Bo Diddley recorded this track too. Sylvia said she and Mickey wrote the lyrics to the song, but Bo Diddley claimed he wrote the lyrics to the song. We’re not sure who is right, but we know the song is excellent. Mickey & Sylvia were a perfect match for this track. Their voices blend well together. They sound seductive while they are singing to each other. This is a song you won’t get tired of hearing.
# 8 – You Don’t Own Me – The Blow Monkeys
The anthemic song has a rock beat. The empowering song is about someone who doesn’t want to be controlled by the person they love. The person wants to have freedom and not be told what to do. You may be wondering why this track was chosen for Dirty Dancing. It doesn’t really fit with Johnny and Baby’s storyline. Johnny doesn’t objectify Baby when they are a couple. He is sweet to her. The song is playing low in the background of their scene. This is one of the few tracks on the soundtrack that was recorded for the movie. The Blow Monkeys covered Leslie Gore’s hit song.
The Blow Monkeys’ version of the song is different from Leslie Gore’s version. When you hear the music play you assume that Leslie Gore is going to sing the song, but it’s not her. Some fans may have been introduced to the song through the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. If you heard it for the first time through the movie, then you might be surprised to find out that Leslie Gore recorded this song first. The Blow Monkeys version is different from Leslie Gore’s version. Their version is a rock song while her version is a pop song. We’re surprised they didn’t include Leslie Gore’s version in the movie, but they couldn’t afford to have her on the soundtrack. Robert Howard sang the lyrics verbatim. He didn’t change the lyrics from Leslie Gore’s version. With that said, he did a great job singing this song. He hits high notes towards the end of the song that you wouldn’t see coming. You will be surprised to hear him sing like that.
# 7 – Stay – Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
The longing song has a doo-wop sound. The pleading song is about him wanting a girl to stay with him a little longer. He wants her to stay with him, but she has to go home. He watched her brother pick her up and take her away. Ordinarily, this type of song wouldn’t sound seductive because Maurice Williams is singing about staying with a 15-year-old girl. The plot of the song could be a foreshadowing for Johnny and Baby’s relationship. He is a little older than her and he wants to be with her. Her father didn’t approve of them being together so they chose to sneak around. This song wasn’t recorded for the movie, but it fits with the overall theme of their relationship.
This is one of the shortest songs to make the charts. This song makes its appearance in the movie when Baby first meets Johnny. The people in the room are dirty dancing when she spots Johnny. The song is an indicator of what is going to happen between them later on in the movie. The music is seductive and risqué for the time it was recorded. This track was recorded in the 60s. The song was revived because of the movie. Once you see the cast members getting down to the track, there’s no way to avoid moving around too. Maurice Williams and Henry Gaston sang lead on the song. Maurice Williams sings the first verse. His low tenor voice sounds sexy singing the song. Henry Gaston’s falsetto is the showstopper. He reached to heights unknown and made the song pop.
# 6 – Hungry Eyes – Eric Carmen
The romantic song has a soft rock and pop sound. The passionate song is about being the object of someone’s desires. Anyone would want someone to feel that way about them. Have you looked at someone and wanted them badly? If you can say yes to that question, you know how Eric Carmen feels. The song can be told from either perspective. It doesn’t have to be about a man who has “hungry eyes” for a woman. She could have them for him as well. The song is played while Johnny and Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) are teaching Baby how to dance. It may seem like the song doesn’t fit, but it leads to what happens between Johnny and Baby.
Eric Carmen sings the song as if he has “hungry eyes” for someone. He sings it with a lot of passion. It makes you wonder who he’s singing about in the song. This is one of the songs that was recorded for this soundtrack. It sounds like something Richard Marx would have recorded. In fact, Eric Carmen sings it in a similar style to Richard Marx. He does sing the song in time with all of the beat changes. Speaking of the beat, there is a remarkable saxophone solo that is worth noting. It is musically one of the best moments in the song. The music has an old-school sound without sounding dated. The background singers do an incredible job singing the chorus.
# 5 – In the Still of the Night – The Five Satins
The next song on our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Songs list is “In The Still of the Night.” The song has a doo-wop beat. The sad song is about a man who wants to be back with the woman he loves. Fred Parris (singer from the Five Satins) wrote this song about an ex-girlfriend. He wanted her to be back in his life. The song wasn’t initially recorded for the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. The group originally recorded the song in the 50s. It may be hard to believe, but this song wasn’t a breakout hit when it was released. The song became a hit when it appeared in the movie. People wanted to hear this so the song became a huge hit.
The song was played when Johnny and Baby were together. They were enjoying each other’s company and revealing things about themselves while this song was playing in the background. The track would make a great bedroom song. You don’t have to just watch the movie in order to enjoy the song. You can do some dirty dancing of your own to this song. The track is for the grown and sexy. The music is soft and soothing. Fred Parris does a fantastic job singing the lead vocals. He has perfect pitch. His enunciation is on point. You can understand what he’s saying without using the lyrics. Other artists have remade this song, but nothing compares to the Five Satins’ version.
# 4 – She’s Like the Wind – Patrick Swayze
The insecure song has a soft rock beat. The melancholy song is about a man being in love with a woman he feels is out of his league. The song was recorded for the movie. It fits perfectly with the movie. Johnny felt that he was out of Baby’s league. She came from a family with money and he was a struggling dancer. The song is played when Johnny and Baby were saying goodbye to each other. The lyrics are beautiful and don’t need to be used just for the movie. You can use this song in your everyday life. If you feel that someone you love is out of your league, you can sing these lyrics to them and change their mind.
If you are listening to this song for the first time, you might have been surprised to find out who sings this song. Patrick Swayze isn’t the first person you would think of when you think of singers. In fact, he wouldn’t even be on the list of people we would consider singers. With that said, he has a decent singing voice. We must admit he does get a lot of support from Wendy Frazier. She sings the background of the song. She helps him out a lot in the background. She has a beautiful voice. She doesn’t go out of her way to show him up. She gives him the room to shine. He proved that an actor can have a hit single as a singer. There aren’t too many actors who have good singing careers. Patrick Swayze didn’t embarrass himself when he sang this song.
# 3 – Yes – Mary Claighton
The reluctant song has an r&b beat. The hesitant song is about a woman who is ready to have sex with someone. She thinks about being with her man and decides she is ready to do it. She’s ready to throw caution to the wind and be with him. The song is played when Lisa (Jayne Brucker) decides to have sex with Robbie (Max Canter). She goes to his room to be with him. This song was recorded for the movie and it fits in perfectly. Even if it didn’t fit, the song belongs on the soundtrack. The song mixes doo-wop sounds with an 80s beat. It has an old school sound, but it’s not dated by any means.
“Yes” has an excellent dance beat. There’s no way you can sit still listening to this jam. The melody is a little similar to “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. If you listen to the opening beat, you might notice the slight similarity too. Mary Claighton must have grown up singing in church because her vocals are so powerful. She sings the song with so much soul. She knows how to command your attention with her big voice. Her vocals will hold your attention from beginning to end. She belts throughout the song. She holds a note towards the end of the song. You might keep this song on repeat because you don’t want the song to end.
# 2 – Be My Baby – The Ronettes
The pleading song has a pop and r&b beat. The adoring song is about a woman who wants a man to be with her. She wants him to return her feelings for him. She knew they would make a great couple. She will treat him so great he won’t want anyone else. She wants him to be her baby. She lets him know what they will be doing together. This song wasn’t intended to be on the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. This song was hit for The Ronettes before it appeared on the soundtrack. The song appears in the opening credits of the movie. That’s a good idea because this song will hook people and get them to keep watching it.
The song has one of the most recognizable intros in music. Once you hear the beginning of the track, you already know what the song will be. The song has a Motown sound. It sounds like something the Corporation would have written for a Motown act. The music has a classic sound that never gets old. The opening drum riff is the best ever. The drummer is a magician because he’s creating magic. The violin solo is out of this world. The music is just as good as the vocals are. You may find yourself clapping along with the music. You won’t be able to control yourself. Ronnie Spector sounds like an angel. Her vocals are flawless. She has strong vocals on this track. Her diction is impeccable on the song. She shows versatility when she holds notes. Her vocals are so powerful that you can’t help being captivated by her.
# 1 – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
The number one song on our Top 10 Dirty Dancing Songs list is “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” The song has a soft rock sound. The energetic song is about people who fall in love and have the time of their lives. It goes along with the philosophy that you only live once. This song won every award possible when it was released. There’s no way this song wasn’t going to be at the top of our list. The song was written for the movie. The song plays during the big finale of the movie. This was one of the biggest hits from the soundtrack. We can’t think of the movie without thinking about this song. This has become one of the signature songs of the soundtrack.
Let’s start with the beat. It has a classic 80s sound. The musicians threw everything but the kitchen sink in this song. Every instrument that’s played is played well. The music is so infectious and you will move around as soon as you hear it. It’s practically impossible to sit still while the song is playing. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes are golden together. Their vocals match each other to perfection. His grit and her clarity were a great arrangement. They both had equal room to shine on the song. You will lose it once they get to the chorus. The chorus is so catchy that you will find yourself singing along with them. This song is flawless and everything about it works. You will have the time of your life listening to this track.
Top 10 Dirty Dancing Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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