The 80 Most Popular 'Oldies' Workout Songs


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  101 comments   :  332,940 Views

As a kid, I hated when my dad turned the dial to the "oldies" station. From the back seat of the car, my brother, sister and I would whine and scream that we didn't want to listen to his "old people" songs. We made fun of their voices and thought their songs were boring. After all, it was strikingly different from the Madonna and New Kids On The Block Songs we listened to with our friends (I'm really showing my age now, right?).
Now that I'm older, I'm glad I got the "music education" from my dad that I did. Now I know that the "old" songs he used to love listening to are some of the best songs ever made, by the best singers and groups in history. And I'm glad I know them. These days, when these retro songs come on, I don't jump to change the channel. I tune in, bopping my head and sing along. Because, thanks to him, I know all the words. These songs make occasional appearances in my workout playlists these days, too—both when I run and when I teach Spinning. Why? Because they're FUN. And if you love listening, exercising or just plain boogying to "oldies," have I got the playlist for you!
But this isn't just any list. While it includes some of the best rock 'n roll hits from the '50s and '60s you can think of, these are the 80 most upbeat oldies tracks for exercising. I shared the list with members of, America's largest online community of dieters and exercisers, and got them to vote on their favorites so we could name the absolute BEST workout songs from the '90s. (Can you guess which took the No. 1 spot?)  

Based on your votes, we have even created a 60-minute continuous cardio remix playlist of the top 15 songs! You can get the playlist on iTunes for $9.99, or on for just $8.99!

Forget record players and juke boxes. You can fill your mp3 player or iPod with these dozens of these oldies tunes next time you work out for a fun, fit blast from the past.
The Top-Ranked Oldies Workout Song:
Aretha Franklin – Respect (1967)

No. 2: Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild (1967)
No. 3: The Monkees – I'm a Believer (1966)
No. 4: Martha & the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street (1964)
No. 5: The Kinks – You Really Got Me (1964)
No. 6: Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
No. 7: Rolling Stones – Jumpin' Jack Flash (1968)
No. 8: Tommy James & The Shondells – Mony Mony (1968)
No. 9: The Beach Boys – Surfin' USA (1963)
No. 10: Foundations — Build Me Up Buttercup (1968)
No. 11: Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
No. 12: Led Zepplin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)
No. 13: Rolling Stones — Paint It Black (1966)
No. 14: The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (1966)
No. 15: Chubby Checker – Let's Twist Again (1961)

Download SparkPeople's 132-BPM 60-minute continuous cardio remix of the 15 most popular workout songs of the '50s and '60 on iTunes for $9.99, or on for $8.99!

Here's the rest of the list (in alphabetic order). Click on each link to listen to a preview (or purchase the mp3) at
  1. Barrett Strong — Money (That's What I Want) (1959)
  2. The Beach Boys — Barbara Ann (1965)
  3. The Beach Boys — Fun, Fun, Fun (1964)
  4. The Beach Boys — I Get Around (1964)
  5. The Beatles — Back In The U.S.S.R. (1968) [Tracks by The Beatles are not available for download]
  6. The Beatles — Helter Skelter (1968)
  7. The Beatles — I Saw Her Standing There (1963)
  8. The Beatles — Roll Over Beethoven (1963)
  9. Big Joe Turner — Shake, Rattle And Roll (1954)
  10. Bill Haley & His Comets — Rock Around The Clock (1954)
  11. Bobby Darin — Splish Splash (1958)
  12. Bobby Freeman — Do You Want To Dance? (1958)
  13. Cannibal and the Headhunters — Land Of 1,000 Dances (1965)
  14. Champs — Tequila (1958)
  15. Chris Kenner — I Like It Like That (1961)
  16. Chubby Checker — Pony Time (1961)
  17. Chubby Checker — The Twist (1960)
  18. Chuck Berry — Rock And Roll Music (1957)
  19. The Coasters — Charlie Brown (1959)
  20. The Coasters — Poison Ivy (1959)
  21. The Coasters — Yakety Yak (1958)
  22. The Contours — Do You Love Me? (1962)
  23. Creedence Clearwater Revival — Fortunate Son (1969)
  24. Dion — Runaround Sue (1961)
  25. Elmore James — Shake Your Moneymaker (1961)
  26. Elvis Presley — Blue Suede Shoes (1956)
  27. Elvis Presley — Hound Dog (1956)
  28. Ernie Maresca — Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out) (1962)
  29. Etta James — Good Rockin' Daddy (1955)
  30. Fats Domino — I'm Walkin' (1957)
  31. Fats Domino — Jambalaya (1961)
  32. Fontella Bass — Rescue Me (1965)
  33. Ike and Tina Turner — River Deep, Mountain High (1966)
  34. Jackie Wilson — (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (1967)
  35. Jackson 5 — I Want You Back (1969)
  36. James Brown — Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (1965)
  37. Jerry Lee Lewis — Great Balls Of Fire (1957)
  38. Jerry Lee Lewis — Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On (1957)
  39. Jimi Hendrix — Purple Haze (1967)
  40. Jimi Hendrix — Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)
  41. Johnny Otis Show — Willie And The Hand Jive (1958)
  42. The Isley Brothers — It's Your Thing (1969)
  43. The Isley Brothers — Shout! (1959)
  44. The Isley Brothers — Twist And Shout (1962)
  45. The Kinks — All Day And All Of The Night (1964)
  46. Larry Williams — Dizzy Miss Lizzy (1958)
  47. Little Junior's Blue Flame — Feelin' Good (1953)
  48. Little Richard — Good Golly Miss Molly (1958)
  49. Little Richard — Long Tall Sally (1956)
  50. Little Richard — Tutti-Frutti (1955)
  51. Martha & the Vandellas — Heat Wave (1963)
  52. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell — Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967)
  53. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels — Devil With A Blue Dress On (1966)
  54. Otis Redding — Try A Little Tenderness (1966)
  55. Ray Charles — Hit The Road, Jack (1961)
  56. Ray Charles — I've Got A Woman (1954)
  57. Ray Charles — Mess Around (1953)
  58. Rolling Stones — (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
  59. Shirley Gunter & Queens — Oop Shoop (1954)
  60. Sly & The Family Stone — Dance To The Music (1967)
  61. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles — The Tears Of A Clown (1967)
  62. Steppenwolf — Magic Carpet Ride (1968)
  63. Stevie Wonder — Uptight (Everything's Alright) (1965)
  64. The Strangeloves — I Want Candy (1965)
  65. Surfaris — Wipe Out (1962)
  66. The Temptations — Ain't Too Proud To Beg (1966)
What do you think of the list? Any other workout-worthy oldies you'd like to add?

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    Love this music! - 3/1/2013   9:23:02 AM
  • 50
    These are all good. I also like the Gloria Estefan song where she sings "Get on your feet. Get up and make it Happen. . ." (I can't think of the name of the song) That one always makes me want to move. - 3/1/2013   9:19:36 AM
  • 49
    I completely missed the giant yellow 80s circle! When I saw "Oldies" I was thinking more Glen Miller and Bing Crosby (I'm in my twenties but that's what I grew up with) - 3/1/2013   8:20:54 AM
  • 48
    I love all of these songs. They are the best. - 3/1/2013   7:21:51 AM
    I am not sure if it would be an oldie or not, but Lynard Skynard They Call me the Breeze (1976) is a must have on your workout list. - 3/1/2013   4:47:30 AM
  • 46
    These are oldies? I feel really old! - 3/1/2013   3:58:29 AM
    Love Bandstand by Barry Manilow, also Superstitious by Stevie Wonder. I have what I call my "boogie songs" on my IPOD that I like to move to but haven't yet figured out how to group them together in a playlist. - 2/28/2013   6:42:44 PM
  • 44
    The Doors, "L.A. Woman" I'm surprised not to see the Doors at all on the list, but maybe they are more 70s. - 2/28/2013   1:47:29 PM
    I'm Walking On Sunshine is by Katrina & the Waves. Great song. - 2/28/2013   12:22:24 AM
  • SUNSHINE20101
    I'm not sure of who sings this song, but I really like the song "I'm Walking on Sun Shine". To me, it has a good beat and makes me want to smile, dance and have a good time! - 2/27/2013   9:19:29 PM
    Love this album....I used it today for the first time and it really helped me with my treadmill workout ! Thanks ! - 2/27/2013   4:26:41 PM
    Fantastic list. Just a couple observations.

    I really like the Dave Clark 5's version of "I Like it Like That" a lot better than Chris Kenner's. Also, everybody's got their additions to the list, so here are mine.

    No retro workout playlist would be complete without

    Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Pt. 2."
    Dick Dale and the Deltones "Miserlou."
    Isley Brothers "Shout."

    And no matter what I listen to, the final 90 seconds is always Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax."

    You just can't beat good sax, y'know? - 2/27/2013   2:52:54 PM
  • MICHIE632
    That is a great list! Personally, I find it difficult to listen to today's music. Everything sounds the same to me. I used to attend a Dancercize class some years back and one of the tunes we used for either the floor work or the cool down was Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing". Great tune! Thanks for the list.
    - 2/26/2013   6:26:12 PM
    Hey where are songs by BARRY MANILOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 2/26/2013   6:18:42 PM
    Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil
    Junior Walker & the Allstars - Shotgun
    Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns - High Blood Pressure; also Rockin Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (these 2 go waaaaay back but what a beat) - 2/26/2013   5:30:26 PM
    "Daybreak" and "New York City Rhythm" - Barry Manilow - 2 of my favorites, along with the previously mentioned Elton John tunes... - 2/26/2013   5:28:53 PM
  • 35
    Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" didn't make the list???? - 2/26/2013   2:42:59 PM
  • 34
    In my opinion - missing are Crocodile Rock (Elton John), Jump (Pointer Sisters), and Thriller or Bad (Micheal Jackson) .

    It's a great list though - I'm definitely buying it. - 2/26/2013   12:37:52 PM
    I Like listening to the Oldies ! I have a lot of oldie CD's , Just need to know how to get them to an ipod ? (lol) I know nothing about that ! - 2/26/2013   12:27:06 PM
  • 32
    Oh yeah! That's a great list! - 2/26/2013   12:10:48 PM
  • NONNIE35750
    This looks like something I've been looking for. As soon as I get home from work where I can get on my computer I am going to purchase this. Now if we just had a list of country as well. Like Trace Adkins - Ala-Freakin-Bama, Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, Hillybilly Bone with Blake Shelton, etc - 2/26/2013   10:54:30 AM
    My daughter made me a "this is your life" type book and included that she always made housework synonymous with rock n roll music. That was our Saturday morning routine, I still put the oldies station on when I can and keep moving to the music. - 2/26/2013   10:00:43 AM
  • 29
    This is exactly what I am looking for too!! Awesome... thanks - 2/26/2013   9:50:30 AM
    I love to dance to "Electric Avenue" and "The Electric Slide", as well as any flavor of salsa music. Fun workouts! - 2/26/2013   9:35:09 AM
  • 27
    I already have a bunch of these on my playlist and listened to New Kids on the Block too. It looks like I have a bunch more to add now! - 2/26/2013   8:02:46 AM
  • 26
    Love the music - can you buy all of them somewhere? I probably already have quite a few of them on my I-pod - but what about Wipe OUT? - 2/26/2013   7:17:48 AM
  • 25
    Well, by golly - I think I'm gonna have to spring for this one--! - 2/26/2013   3:41:03 AM
  • 24
    Excellent songs...finally songs, I can relate to. I will definitely enjoy working out to these. This is the kind of music, they play, at our local water aerobic class. Thanks, so much. - 2/25/2013   6:43:23 PM
  • 23
    Great List!!! I have to get me a playlist going now. There are some fast moving choices for me on this list! Wow!!! Thank you for this blog! :))) - 2/21/2013   12:19:21 AM
  • 22
    Love it all!!! Music is MY H2o : ) - 2/20/2013   9:22:17 PM
  • SUNSHINE20101
    I love "Walkin' on Sunshine". It has an upbeat tune and makes you feel happy while working out. - 2/20/2013   9:09:41 PM
  • 20
    Love music! It makes me move! - 2/20/2013   7:44:45 PM
  • 19
    At last a list I can listen too. These songs are slightly before my time but they're still my favorite style. Even if they are remixed. I plan to grab a few of the other songs on the list. Roll on payday! - 2/20/2013   6:19:36 PM
  • 18
    I guess, I'm of your parent's generation. These are the songs I listened to in high school and college. Now for "Oldies" you need to get some good jazz and swing (what my parents made me listen to) or even some Beethoven, Bach, or Tchaikovsky! - 2/20/2013   5:42:01 PM
  • 17
    This looks like a great list to me. Some I don't remember, but do most. I too, would like to see a country list. - 2/20/2013   1:59:00 PM
    Thanks - I just got these off iTunes. - 2/20/2013   11:19:22 AM
  • 15
    Sounds great and I will save this. - 2/20/2013   10:03:38 AM
  • 14
    Didn't see a way to save this.. then went to comment and once I was logged in, the save icon appeared. : ) - 2/20/2013   9:17:09 AM
  • 13
    I'm 23 and I could probably sing the majority of those songs - 2/20/2013   8:04:41 AM
    Some good ones there but I can't believe Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" didn't make the list. - 2/20/2013   5:51:52 AM
  • 11
    Great choices - but I'm still looking for a country hits list! - 2/20/2013   4:10:04 AM
    BBC Radio 2 has two programs on the weekends that are devoted to music from the 60's and from the 70's. I also enjoy their "Pick of the Pops" where they highlight top songs from two different years. IE 1972 and 1992. The 80's are also covered in Pick of the Pops.

    Like Spark Radio, you can listen to the programs online at a time convenient to you. / - 2/19/2013   8:37:21 PM
  • 9
    One of my students came into class and asked if I'd ever heard this great song called "Satisfaction" - I started laughing - how can anyone NOT love the Stones??? - 2/19/2013   2:40:31 PM
  • 8
    Thanks so much, so many of the "best of" lists are more modern! This is just what I was looking for! - 2/19/2013   12:48:24 PM
  • 7
    My daughter was in the car with her best friend. Her friends mom was listening to our music of the day and my daughter was singing along. Her friend asked her how she new the words to those songs. She told her that's all she listens to in the car with me. She has an appreciation for my music. I like some of hers too! - 2/19/2013   12:38:22 PM
    Great list! Thanks! Is there a way to save this article to favorites on sparkpeople? - 2/19/2013   11:26:25 AM
  • 5
    i cant wait to buy this one. looks good - 2/19/2013   11:16:26 AM
  • 4
    Awesome list! I love the oldies! - 2/19/2013   10:29:23 AM
  • 3
    Like Wow Man you have hit the tunes that rock my generation. And you talk about oldies, well here is a true story about some real old tunes. When I opened a retirement center about 10 years ago. The activities director was about your age and she didn't know what kind of music to have for those that were of my parents generation. I said look up Glen Miller, and the Lil Brown Jug and I'm in the mood. For if it wasn't the jug and the mood in Ded. '46 I wouldn't be here in Sep. '47. And one of the residents said Oh do I remember those jugs and moods. - 2/19/2013   9:22:50 AM
  • 2
    Great list. I will definitely get it. I enjoy Richard Simmons sweatin to the oldies, sometime I just want to hear the songs, but I do make myself do the routine. - 2/19/2013   9:20:00 AM

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