[1] Blondie, ‘Heart of Glass’

Pick a card, any card.

An unholy marriage of rock and disco? One unlucky shuffle and you could get Electric Six.

A dazzling blonde singer backed by some lens-shattering blokes? Have Transvision Vamp. Or, at a stretch, Shakatak. Or, if you’ve broken a mirror recently, here’s Generation X.

Now you know how damned lucky we are to have Blondie, and ‘Heart of Glass’. Their place in pop’s firmament was sealed by this record, punk poise not misplaced but overshadowed by complete understanding of the mechanics of disco. It’s atypical, of course, and yet fits seamlessly between ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ and ‘Sunday Girl’ in the rich run of sterling singles Blondie dashed off in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. They showed a taste for adventure rarely matched, and could even consider their gorgeous singer a bonus, not an essential selling point – let’s not pretend she didn’t help, mind you. Still, looks aside, Debbie Harry’s presence (dear) is a boon on ‘Heart of Glass’ for her casual juggling of comforting coos and acid dismissals. The velvet glove.

For all its diverse ingredients, this is a dance record – and we danced en masse. Junior 2 shook her shoulders in the style patented by both mum and big sister, while Junior herself watched with widening eyes as the groove burst out of the click-track intro. It’s a pleasure to see pop music’s greats hitting the spot; one of the reasons we’re here.

Extra, extra: in a victory for ambition over commonsense, I plan for us to tackle 1994 now, hoping to finish it in time for the feverishly anticipated 2008 Top 20 – which in turn I have mad ideas of finishing on or around Christmas Eve. Who’s with us?

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[2] Michael Jackson, ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’

It’s well-established that Junior’s a bit of a dancer, shaking down to everything from The Jam to Prince to Girls Aloud and all the way round to entire LCD Soundsystem albums – so why does Jacko draw a blank? Does she find it difficult to listen with complete abandon in light of all the allegations against him this past decade or so? Can any of us listen now without the music passing through the prism of approbation?

In this case, Junior’s annoyed that her nursery rhyme CD isn’t playing; Dad’s “Just one song and then I’ll put it on” is cutting no ice. As for the rest of us, I think it’d be a pity if we couldn’t enjoy the music at its base, uncomplicated level, but it’s tricky to forget the freak the dazzling young Michael would become.

It’s a pity because this is easily one of the most exciting records ever made. Inspired, presumably, by Star Wars, Michael lets rip with dog-whistle nonsense about “the Force” over planet-circling strings and bombastic brass to create a vertiginous dancefloor ride that, by rights, will have you blowing chunks. That’s a good thing, incidentally. As an example of what the adolescent Jacko and mighty producer Quincy Jones could achieve together, it’s a thrilling signpost to Off The Wall and, er, Thriller; a line in the sand, leaving disco over there and, over here, hyper-tooled ‘80s gold-bar soul.

[3] Wire, ‘Outdoor Miner’

Not one of the biggest hits in our chart, but easily one of the most gorgeous, ‘Outdoor Miner’ stands out as an oasis of prettiness in Wire’s otherwise rather clipped and edgy oeuvre. Oeuvre. We’d all like one of those. I admit I don’t have a clue what the song’s about, and I don’t care – the chorus is an undying joy.

Wire are my current favourite band. I’ve had Chairs Missing for years, but only bought Pink Flag a few weeks ago, and now the pair are on constant rotation. The thrills they manage to pack into two minutes, the aggression, the beauty; they make proper Charlies of their post-post-punk new new wave copyists. Listening to these songs now, I’m amazed we didn’t laugh Elastica out of music.

To her delight, Junior found she could make her shadow mime the tinkly piano flourishes of the middle eight – that’s on the long version, Wire fans – and she swooned to that chiming chorus.

[4] The Special A.K.A., ‘Gangsters’

Centred around some ruffneck shenanigans involving stolen and mysteriously returned guitars in Paris, this is a boisterous yet eerie debut. Must be Terry Hall’s dislocated vocal and the air of fairground freakshow that would come right to the fore on ‘Ghost Town’, but it packs a sinister punch even amid the skintight bounce.

We did a rudeboy skank to it – although Junior suggested I was walking “like a monkey” – before segueing into ‘A Message To You Rudy’ where she pointed out what she identified as “trumpets, Daddy”. She wants a trumpet; that’s along with a piano, a guitar, some drums, a trombone and a violin. Basically, she wants to be Dexys Midnight Runners. And maybe they wanted to be The Specials/The Special A.K.A./whatever the hell they felt like being at the time, only with a yelp to replace the whine and ersatz soul to trump the ska. Well, this is a broad church.

Don’t call me Scarface!

[5] Gary Numan, ‘Cars’

Look, everyone – techno! Kraftwerk had laid meaty foundations, of course, but Gary Numan really made them rock. This is synth as instrument of dance, not evocation of stark futuristic landscape and death of tangible human emotion. Ok, a bit of that too.

Numan had dispensed with his Tubeway Army and was ready to step into the limelight as glamorous, pouting, ladies-love solo star. Granted, he may have missed that mark, but he was a beguiling artist in a cold, otherworldly kind of way – an object of fascination who gave little away, and perhaps there was little to give. ‘Cars’ was the sound of tomorrow, hi-tech and dispassionate, and may still be. From the comfortable safety of his human-shunning machine, Numan croaks a few cyborg lines before buggering off barely halfway through the song, allowing the less-credited Army to unleash a vast, layered synthscape that should by rights extend forever. Monumental.

No-nonsense Junior cut to the chase: “Why’s he singing about his car? He’s silly, isn’t he?”

[6] Buggles, ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’

I’m concerned I may have to defend this one. EASY. Just look at Junior finding the glee in the poignancy, making her plastic tiger leapfrog her plastic lion, all in time to the ecstatic pulse of the music. Watch her punching the air and performing the dance of the seven veils with her sister’s muslin square; it’s a dizzy representation of the song’s way with the possibilities of pop.

‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ suffers from the “novelty” tag, being, on the surface at least, a one-hit wonder with a chipmunk, quasi-synthesised chorus. Then there’s Trevor Horn, all bubble-perm and oversized specs, hardly projecting an image of a man about to push pop’s boundaries to glorious and ludicrous extents with ABC and Frankie Goes To Hollywood respectively. But we’re not interested in surface. The song’s depth is in the bittersweet nostalgia, the regret at the passing of an age of music even as it embraces the new world, and also in the symphonic electronica – crescendos, drop-outs, even a sense of the fat lady singing. MTV co-opted it as the anthem of triumph of picture over audio, making it the first song to be played on the station, and perhaps they hit the nail on the head. It’s a requiem and celebration rolled into one.

[7] Roxy Music, ‘Dance Away’

I saw a BBC 4 documentary about Roxy Music a few months ago, and it was fascinating to see the drift from glam intelligentsia to disco stylists through to smoother-than-silk lounge lizards, and to watch Brian Eno politely distancing himself from everything that came after his pivotal contributions. They were a very different beast by this point – clearly Bryan Ferry’s plaything – and although they’d always led from the front, notionally ahead of prevailing fashions, 1978’s Manifesto album was drenched in disco. Too late? Or an early example of what every other “rock” group was about to do anyway?

No matter whether Roxy were leading or following – ‘Dance Away’ and the more obviously discofied sister single ‘Angel Eyes’ were pure-spun class. I’m not as familiar with the earlier albums as I should be – they’re always on my list for a Fopp splurge – but there’s an effortless freshness to the RM sound that belies its age. ‘Dance Away’ is clearly the work of a craftsman, beautifully arranged, no note wasted etc., and in fabulous couplets like “She’s dressed to kill/And guess who’s dying?” it straddles the pithy/corny line that would become so familiar to Roxy Music in their twilight years.

Their reputation even seems to reach the pre-schoolers, with Junior asserting “I like Loxy Music” when I told her what was going in the tray. I don’t suppose she has much heartache to dance away, but she shook her hips and wrenched her sister’s arms from her sockets as per. “I like it; play it again.”

[8] The Sugarhill Gang, ‘Rapper’s Delight’

So I hinted ‘Good Times’ would be back, and back and back and back. Remember when sampling was a thing of wonder, prompting gasps and “they can’t do that”s and righteous indignation on behalf of the act being plundered? The wringing of hands over ‘Adventures On The Wheels of Steel’ and ‘Pump Up The Volume’? Well, that still happens – there are still dinosaurs – but the nifty steal is part of the rich tapestry now, and when it ain’t lazy (bow your head, P Diddy) it’s like fairydust.

But here we are at its mass-market dawn, in a perfectly silly rap song beset by wrangles over whose rhymes were whose but enhanced by its sheer length. That it never gets boring – through its 10 minutes or over 29 years – is testament to winning delivery and low-down base catchiness. Junior’s reaction is to get into a predictable groove – and then she throws me a curveball: “Is he black?” Well, yeah, he is, they are, they were, it’s just the subject of race has never been broached at home, and it’s not as if she’s hearing it. Now, we can debate how early identities are being nailed down at nursery, or we can just conclude that Junior’s never been introduced to Eminem. There’s a time for everything.

The Sugarhill Gang were paid back in kind, of course. By Las Ketchup. To the hip, the hop, the hibby…

[9] Tubeway Army, ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’

Hear that? Those are new gods marching over the pop scene to Prokofievian synth chords, punkbots on rollerblades gliding to a lipsticked new world order. You get the drift. Gary Numan may well have been a figure of fun – a slightly freakish, unsettling one, yeah – but what the hell did that matter to him when he was splicing Kraftwerk and Bowie templates to take his android aria to the top of the charts?

This sounds like the future, and it’s a lonely, terrifying one. In Numan’s high concept, “friends” are automatons, here to leaven the solitude and provide for, well, other needs. “Mine broke down,” he croaks and the flimsy tissue of solace rips apart around it. But the synth cycle transcends its forbidding tones and raises the song to epic status, delivering Queen-like rock in pure electronica. It’s stunning and still dominant even as Adina Howard, Richard X and Sugababes hijack it for their own saucy needs.

Back here in 2008, Junior performed all sorts of unlikely twists and turns to the music. It would’ve put my back out, but then, I’m not three. As we left the house 10 minutes later, she said “It’s cold outside.” Whoa.

[10] The Cure, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’

But, of course, they do. Yes, I’ve deciphered Fat Bob’s pouty-lipped whinings, a mere 29 years after everyone else did. What’s more, Pornography was just a rather ponderous slab of doom-pop and not, after all, some unbelievably unnecessary etchings of Bob and Lol Tolhurst in flagrante. And The Head On The Door was a dream.

Anyway, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – in which not-yet-fat-just-a-bit-pasty Robert Smith and gang invented desperately wan indie-pop for The Mighty Lemon Drops and (bringing it into the 21st century) Good Shoes to pick up and run with. But you can’t blame The Cure for everything; this is an honest song, packed with embarrassingly familiar emotion, and a tempo that crashes into itself, awkward as a teenage lad. It’s concise and warm.

Still, only a twerp with windmilling arms in a fraying, too-large, black woolly jumper could dance to it. Junior refuses point-blank, but says she likes it all the same. Asks for a repeat too. The Cure repeated it themselves seven years later, re-recorded and buffed up. Don’t do that.