Since the 1980s when the music video was invented to help promote a musician's new song, pop songs have often included a dance number in an effort to involve listeners. With the popularity of YouTube and global access of the internet, musicians are now able to post a video online and watch it go viral. If it does go viral, very often the dance associated with the song becomes an internet meme. Below are some of the most catchy songs that went viral and the dances that accompanied them.
Thriller - Michael Jackson
This one goes back three decades already! Fear not, however, as the song remains a classic pop tune. The album was released in Novemeber 1982 and the video of the title track, "Thriller", wasn't released until two years later but remains as one of the first attempts to use the new music video format as promotion for an artist's song. The video is a tribute of sorts to 1950s horror movies and includes actress Ola Ray and the distinctive voice of Vincent Price. The video is much longer than the original song but it's worth the time.
Macarena - Los del Rio
Remember this one? The song, about a girl of the same name, was originally recorded by Los del Rio and released in 1994 and subsequently remixed by the Bayside Boys in 1995. There are numerous copies of the song but what makes this song so memorable is the dance associated with it. The music videos decpit scantly clad men and women doing the famous "Macarena" dance.
Tunak Tunak Tun - Dahler Mendi
This Bhangra hit, recorded and released by famous Indian pop star Daler Mehndi, has a very basic premise as a love song. The first verse, roughly translated , goes as follows:
Sweetheart, the strings of the instrument play
listen to what the heart says
Come and love me
The song later became an internet meme because of the music video which utilized CG effects to depict Mehndi performing several roles in front of a misplaced St. Basil's Cathedral (the cathedral is actually located in Moscow but the video seems to indicate that it's in India). Though the dance is more boisterous than those found in other pop songs, it still stands as a classic internet meme.
Gangnam Style - PSY
In August of 2012 the world was finally brought to its needs by the Kpop phenomenon known as PSY (pronounced "sigh"). From his fifth studio album, "Gangnam Style" sings about the women and people of the very posh Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul, South Korea. The video is a hilarious depiction of the front that many people put on despite their actual circumstances. The video has been viewed over a billion times so far in YouTube and was only recently challenged by the Harlem Shake (see below). However, whenever you pretend to ride a horse everybody will think "Oppa Gangnam Style".
Harlem Shake - Baauer
The most recent viral pop music to hit YouTube is the Harlem Shake, originally written and recorded by DJ and producer Baauer. The song was released in May 2012 but didn't go viral until almost a year later when a few enterprising guys took it upon themselves to make a video of their version of the Harlem Shake dance. Below you can find the original clip which is only about 30 seconds, but there are countless copies all over YouTube. Which one do you like best?