The 80 Most Popular 'Oldies' Workout Songs


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  101 comments   :  339,129 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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    Thanks! - 12/9/2017   5:09:38 PM
  • 100
    good songs - 9/28/2017   12:42:29 AM
  • 99
    I love these lists! - 9/26/2017   3:52:56 AM
  • 98
    Love the list!! - 8/3/2017   10:12:51 AM
  • 97
    Don't give up. There are too many nay-sayers out there
    who will try to discourage you.
    Don't listen to them.
    The only one who can make you give up is yourself.
    - Sidney Sheldon - 8/2/2017   9:03:26 PM
  • 96
    I thought this was going to be about 80s workout songs, so I am a bit disappointed! I want to suggest Johnny Cash's song, 'I've Been Everywhere.' That is a really great, energetic oldie! - 8/2/2017   8:16:36 PM
  • 95
    Fun - 8/2/2017   12:30:16 PM
    I love this music any way and when I am doing cleaning or baking I will turn on the radio to the "oldies" station and listen to that while cleaning and / or baking - 8/2/2017   10:08:29 AM
    This is an awesome list! Thank you!!! - 8/2/2017   9:21:43 AM
  • 92
    Great list.
    And...... i could be your parent too LOL - 8/2/2017   7:59:24 AM
  • 91
    Great list - 8/2/2017   7:28:35 AM
  • 90
    These are fun songs. Thanks! - 7/26/2017   8:35:08 AM
  • 89
    I do the same thing, thanks to my parents I can jam to the 50s, 60s, 70s ,80s 90s and today. Great music will always be listened to no matter what generation. - 4/17/2017   7:22:14 PM
  • 88
    Well it took me a lot longer to read this blog than I had imagined. I sang the ones I remembered and listened to those I didn't. What fun! - 11/12/2016   6:37:42 AM
  • 87
    I know a few of these,,,, grew up in the late 70s and have stayed in touch up until 5 yrs ago, but recatching up. TY I belong to Amazon Prime so I was able to download most of these for FREE ! - 5/11/2016   5:17:50 PM
  • 86
    Where is Keep on Running. Spencer Davis Group - 3/27/2016   10:37:32 AM
  • ESCAPE314
    Is it just me, or are there 2 15's? - 3/21/2016   11:59:53 AM
    Last Train to Clarksville - The Monkees
    Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

    You can't help but move when you hear these! - 11/10/2015   7:30:51 PM
  • 83
    No pink floyd? REALLY At least you didn't call this classic rock - 10/20/2015   10:17:50 PM
  • 82
    I listened to some of these; they are remade by different people. In some cases, they are do not sound close to the original, such as jailhouse rock. I would not buy. - 10/19/2015   12:09:41 PM
  • 81
    Oh my, when did the 80's become the "oldies" - mine date back further than this. But a lot of really great songs, for sure! - 10/19/2015   8:55:57 AM
  • 80
    Great songs! It's nice to know that 70s and 80s music isn't considered as oldie's music, however; There are a lot of great workout songs from that era. - 1/9/2015   7:43:48 PM
    Are you kidding me? How could Olivia Newton John"s "Physical" not be on this list? That being said, shouldn't it be in the top 15? - 8/12/2014   9:57:25 AM
  • 78
  • 77
    I know what you mean about "having" to listen to your parent's music. I hated when my dad played country, and now it is my favorite kind of music. I was pleasantly surprised though today while at my daughter's podiatrist appointment, an old Journey song was playing, and she started singing along!! Apparently it was on Glee though, but she said she really liked the song! Loved it!! - 7/16/2013   3:57:51 PM
  • 76
    I could probably sing every word while working out to these songs....ok I might miss a word or two...and rest while I sing..... thanks - 4/25/2013   3:24:37 PM
  • 75
    I'm encouraged that these are all actually oldies. No 80s music has snuck in to make me feel REALLY old. - 3/25/2013   1:45:09 PM
  • 74
    Great songs to love! - 3/22/2013   5:47:04 PM
  • RENATA144
    I Love all of these songs !!! - 3/22/2013   2:01:04 PM
  • RENATA144
    I Love all of these songs !!! - 3/22/2013   2:01:00 PM
  • 71
    good stuff!!!! - 3/22/2013   11:06:58 AM
  • 70
    I adore all music especially the oldies, I love disco cause I was a teen during this time! I think there is tons of great music today, and love them as well I keep up with my 10 year old great niece and introduce her to some of the new stuff! whatever you like, its about what inspires you to dance and move!!! :)
    - 3/18/2013   11:10:51 PM
  • 69
    I love the songs but this compilation is by AWFUL imitators...the music is terrible! Save your $$$!!! - 3/18/2013   11:07:53 AM
    I feel the same way! We used to make fun of my parents about their music.. and now I prefer their music to pop. I would definitely add Train Kept A Rollin by Aerosmith. Just makes me want to MOVE! - 3/16/2013   11:56:15 AM
    Yes, I remember most of these Golden Oldies, and they are a joy to work out to. - 3/13/2013   3:56:29 AM
    You thought in the 1980's that listening to '60's music was bad? You should have grown up in the '60's when you had to listen to polka music from the '40's on the radio--- AND IN GERMAN!! - 3/7/2013   11:00:45 PM
  • 65
    Excellent selections. Love it! - 3/7/2013   7:38:29 PM
  • KAB7801
    All great songs!, - 3/7/2013   5:50:31 PM
  • 63
    I am 64 and subjected my kids to these songs on an 8-track in a '78 chevy van. When they attended summer music camp at UCM, they already knew all of the songs for the show choir. They loved this music. For a long time my youngest daughter thought the Chipmunks were the original singers of many oldies, which she listened to on her cassette player. However, they were not so fond of my Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin tapes. - 3/7/2013   2:19:08 PM
  • 62
    I love this, always nice to see a good list of music to inspire you. I'm 29 so I didn't grow up with this music by age but my parents always had us listening to good music like this. I also like using Pandora when I'm working out so I don't have a set playlist but get a good variety. My fave is the J-Lo Radio, always good dance music to keep me going and at a good pace... - 3/7/2013   1:23:44 PM
    Great selection! Thank-you - 3/7/2013   11:46:58 AM
  • 60
    Take note that the description mentions it as a "REMIX" ... so don't expect the original artists. - 3/7/2013   9:59:47 AM
    I just purchased the exercise playlist for $9.99. I hate it. I was under impression it was original artist. I would like to get my money back. - 3/1/2013   10:52:28 PM
    I would add 'at the hop' Danny and the Juniors, 'Roll over Beethoven' ELO, and 'eyesight to the blind' Terry and the Dactyls. - 3/1/2013   2:24:27 PM
    LOL...I love them all. One of my favourite groups are The Refreshments with Albert Lee. I boogie to their songs at least 3-4 times a week. Being from an earlier generation ...I also like songs from the 1940's. - 3/1/2013   2:12:30 PM
  • 56
    Love that list! I'm a HUGE fan of the "Oldies", Classic Rock, and the "Retro" 80's music of my era. VH1 had a "100 Greatest 1-Hit Wonders" show and I think 95% of them were on my iPod! I'm trying to get into today's music as well, since I've got nieces and nephews that are now old enough to like it. - 3/1/2013   1:03:35 PM
  • 55
    I have to get this. But you're missing a few: Three Dog Night's Joy to the World. Yes I know it's 1970, but it should still count. :) And then there's one of my dad's favorites, Chantilly Lace by Big Bopper (1958). These songs always take me back. Now I have to go get the remix so the kids and I can dance our rear ends off in the morning! - 3/1/2013   12:26:12 PM
  • TALLYN211
    The Gloria Estefan song is "Get On Your Feet" and it's a good workout song! - 3/1/2013   11:46:31 AM
  • 53
    There needs to be more by The Temptations on the list, in my humble opinion. I personally like "Ball of Confusion" -- really gets me moving. - 3/1/2013   11:03:06 AM
  • 52
    There's needs to be more by The Temptations on the list. I personally like Ball of Confusion -- really gets me moving. - 3/1/2013   11:02:24 AM

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