Examples of early dance-rock include Gina X's "No G.D.M.",Russ Ballard's "On The Rebound", artists such as Dinosaur L, Liquid Liquid and Polyrock, and the compilation album Disco Not Disco.
Michael Campbell, in his book Popular Music in America, defines the genre as "post-punk/post-disco fusion". Campbell also cited Robert Christgau, who described dance-oriented rock (or DOR) as an umbrella term used by various DJs in the 1980s.
However, AllMusic defines "dance-rock" as 1980s and 1990s music practiced by rock musicians, influenced by Philly soul, disco and funk, fusing those styles with rock and dance. Artists like The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, INXS, Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, The Clash, New Order and Devo belong, according to Allmusic, to this genre. Dance-rock embraces some experimental funk acts like A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four, and also musicians, for example Robert Palmer, Billy Idol and Hall & Oates. This kind of dance-rock influenced Garbage, No Doubt, Robbie Williams, Scissor Sisters,Young Love, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and The Killers.
Despite predictions that rock music would replace disco in the dance clubs, a mix of post-disco, post-punk, and new wave took its place instead. The first wave of artists arrived with New Order, Prince, Human League, Blondie, Tom Tom Club and Devo, followed by Darryl Hall & John Oates, Thompson Twins, Haircut 100, ABC, Depeche Mode and Spandau Ballet. The scene also produced a lot of crossovers, including Kraftwerk getting R&B audiences with their 1981 influential album Computer World, which paved the way for Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and electro in general. Reinstated interest in dance-rock and post-disco caused popularity of 12-inch singles and EPs around that era.
Key influences of the genre include New Romantic synthpop acts Human League and Spandau Ballet while, according to Billboard, the pivotal record of the genre is Human League's "Don't You Want Me". Arthur Baker argued that synthesizers helped to shape the new music: "I'm into synthesizers right now. The options are limitless. It cuts costs and gives you more ultimate control, but it doesn't sound made up. It still has a human feel", while the sound, composed of electronic Eurodisco influences, was generally regarded as "cold, anti-human and mechanical."
First-level or first-wave musicians include:
Second-level or second-wave musicians include:
[the] classic post-disco track "No GDM" by Gina X