School discos are a rite of passage for most young people around the world. If you're Irish (and subsequently slightly more socially awkward around the opposite sex up to a certain age) those memories can often induce dangerous levels of cringe.
Still, we hold fond recollections of those school discos (both primary and secondary) – and if you grew up in the 1990s, no doubt these songs will evoke certain feelings in you, too.
- Whigfield – Saturday Night
They may have had the bunny hop in the 1950s, the mashed potato in the 1960s, the hustle in the 1970s and the moonwalk in the 1980s – but goddamit, the 1990s belong to Whigfield. 'Saturday Night' was the first multi-person dance that kids did of their own volition (being forced to dance to The Birdie Song on holidays in Butlins didn't count).
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Time Warp
Dunno about you, but we still have vivid memories of thinking we were super cool because we knew the dance to the 'Time Warp'. The 'really drives you insaaaaaane' bit was the most fun. It didn't matter that it was from 1973; it was big in school discos in the 1990s. (It wasn't just ours. Right?!)
- Ace of Base – The Sign
Mid-nineties: Ace of Base rule supreme in both the charts and our hearts. We'd never heard Scando-pop quite like it; they were the Abba for a new generation. Okay, sorry. We didn’t mean that.
All 4 One – I Swear
Slow set alert! If you couldn't find a willing participant of the opposite sex to dance with, it was still cool to stand on the dance floor opposite your friend and sing along to this song. As long as you knew all the words, that is.
Richie Kavanagh – Aon Focal Eile
This one was always a bit of a risk, because you could easily lose a crowd that have only been imbibing fizzy drinks and not alcohol all night. Luckily for most school disco DJs, the sheer naffness of this song was usually outweighed by the opportunity to say 'f**k' in front of your teacher and get away with it. See also: 'Alice' by Smokie. (They really did play 'Alice' at our school disco one time. Vivid memories of teachers literally holding their heads in their hands and questioning their life choices.)
The Outhere Brothers – Boom Boom Boom
This one got heavy rotation at our school disco because at the time, Jason Sherlock was the star and resident heartthrob of the Dublin GAA team, and instead of singing "Boom boom boom, let me hear you say way-o", everyone would sing "Boom boom boom, let me hear you say Jay-o". In retrospect, the risqué lyrics of this song probably didn't make it the best choice to play at a school disco.
(Also, we can't let mention of this song pass without also featuring this magnificent video.)
7) All Saints – Never Ever
This was strictly for the lay-deez in the audience, most of whom were probably wearing tank tops and combats, a la All Saints. You had to know the spoken word bit at the start, of course, and every lad would slink off to the walls in embarrassment.
8) Take That – Never Forget
A surefire set closer; the school disco DJ's way of telling people to drink up, get out and go home, it's OVER. Come to think of it, some establishments that we've frequented as adults have used the same song and method. It's all about the slow build-up, the huge chorus, the arms-aloft ending; leave 'em going home on a high, Tony.
Were these played at your local dishco? G'wan tell us all the gory details. And will ya dance with my friend?