By Ralph Greco, Jr.
Of course, I wouldn’t know from firsthand experience, but from watching movies and from gossip, I have heard about the ubiquitous songs that a stripper might dance to. And while there are plenty of new tunes that make the grade — and I was hoping to slip in some Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (their thickly layered synth-led “Abaddon’s Bolero” came to mind) for this particular list — I went right to the source: the famous Rick’s Cabaret New York for inspiration as much as suggestion for the Best of Rock: 10 Songs Strippers Love To Dance To.
1) “Mustang Sally” — Wilson Pickett
Though originally written and recorded by Mack Rice in 1965, this song gained greater renown when Wilson Pickett covered it a year later, releasing it as a single. The slipping snare hits, low sax bleats and the call and response of “Ride Sally ride” make for a perfect relentless R&B mover both dancers and their fans can’t help but just love.
2) “Pour Some Sugar On Me” — Def Leppard
As Rick’s girl Anamaria says, “I ask the DJ to play it, and he says it’s like a rock anthem. I just know it makes me feel sexy.” This classic upbeat mid-80s MTV staple of a rock confection rocketed to the Number 2 slot on the US pop chart in the summer of 1988. In a gentleman’s cabaret, Anamarie is more likely to have men “make it rain” by rifling dollar bills down her, but pouring sugar on her glistening body is undoubtedly just as alluring a fantasy.
3) “Closer” — Nine Inch Nails
With its machine steam beat and undeniable graphic lyric of desire, there is no way to get free from Trent Reznor’s unique pleading of what he really wants to do. As the other weird key sounds and metallic arpeggio layer in, one is wrapped up in the song’s true sexual sly mess, and once a dancer takes the stage to this song, nobody is going to get out alive.
4) You Shook Me All Night Long — AC/DC
Classic killer rock tune, where simply anyone who watches a dancer wants is to be shook by them all night long.
5) “Notorious” — Duran Duran
Rick’s girl Chloe feels this song is more “From my mom’s generation,” but she adds, “I love it.” True, the single and title track of the band’s fourth studio album was released nearly four decades ago (as we vintage rockers ask daily, “Where did the time go?”), but with a co-producer like Nile Rogers on board here, you can bet this song, as well as the entire album it is from, has some sure infectious, danceable tunes. Popping bass, flicking guitar, and the refrain of “notorious” for women who certainly are, this song can’t be beat.
6) “American Woman” — Lenny Kravitz
Dancer Dakota admits, “Rock is really not my thing. The only rock I know is from Lenny Kravitz, and his stuff is cool.” And certainly, Kravitz manages his cool, funk-rockin’ way around this Guess Who classic. Lenny’s more than slightly overdriven, distorting vocal makes his version rock to the high rafters…and in a club like Rick’s with three levels, this is saying something.
7) “Cherry Pie” — Warrant
This 1990 rocker moves along with lots of space for big drum beats, and although probably no customer or dancing cutie is ‘cherry’ by any definition of the word, the connotations of ‘pie,’ and the catchy chorus makes this one great song to twirl to.
8) “Some Girls” — The Rolling Stones
The original bad boys of rock and roll have lots of potential strut-able tunes that would work perfectly at Rick’s. Still, the blaring harmonica, the slippery electric, and Jagger overdoing his teasing vocal makes for a nice long strip tease strut.
9) Dirty Mind — Prince
Pumping beat, nearly hokey key riff, and Prince mining a falsetto, the title track of the purple one’s third album could have easily fallen apart if not handled so expertly. The tight naughty composition stands out surely in a modern gentleman’s cabaret, but dancers can’t beat Prince for sheer sexiness.
10) “Girls, Girls, Girls” — Mötley Crüe
Cliché for this list though it might be, Rick’s Kelly and Miranda both weigh in on their affection for this rocker. With its tribute lyric, and a famous video mostly shot in an honest-to-goodness club just like Rick’s, it’s hard for even the most high-end gentlemen’s cabaret not to spin this Mötley Crüe’s ode.
NASDAQ-listed Rick’s Cabaret NYC | #1 Strip Club New York City is located in the heart of Manhattan, boasts multiple stages, a private VIP floor, bottle services, and an award-winning Rick’s Steakhouse. It’s open every night until 4 am.