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Trance is all about the feels. As lovers of the genre know, the vibe and camaraderie between fans is heartwarmingly unparalleled in any other genre falling under the vast electronic music umbrella. Love, hope, energy, and maybe even a tear or two are all found on the dancefloor as trance soars into the night sky. But long before there were festivals like Dreamstate, in an age when teased hair and acid wash gave way to flannel, trance was already planting its roots. We dug deep into the record crates and took a walk down memory lane for the 10 trance classics every fan should know.

SEE ALSO: 10 Trance Albums Every Fan Should Own

The KLF “What Time Is Love” [1988, KLF Communications]

Why you need it: One of the first times a trance track was labeled as such was 1988. The British acid house act the KLF released “What Time Is Love” as part of their Pure Trance series of singles. Reworking the song in 1990—with new vocal samples and bassline, some house rhythms, and rhymes from Isaac Bello—propelled the song into mainstream success, topping out at #5 on the UK Singles Charts.

The Age of Love “Age of Love” (Jam & Spoon Watch out for Stella Mix) [React, 1992]

Why you need it: Though the Age of Love’s self-titled single was a trance track in itself when it was released in 1990, it was German trance duo Jam & Spoon’s remix two years later that won over trance fans. British cinema lovers may recognize “Age of Love” from the film Human Traffic. In 1997, Paul van Dyk remixed the track, and there are more than 70 releases in all.

Paul van Dyk “For an Angel” [MFS, 1994]

Why you need it: Though Paul van Dyk made his first big impact with his remix of Humate’s “Love Stimulation,” the standout #TranceFamily fan favorite is “For an Angel.” Widely regarded as not only one of the most influential trance tracks, but also a top force in dance music on the whole, the track’s 1998 rework rose to #1 on the UK Dance Chart. In 2013, readers of Mixmag voted it the #8 greatest dance record of all time.

Robert Miles “Children” [DBX, 1995]

Why you need it: The beautiful melody of Robert Miles’ “Children” embodies the uplifting and emotional vibes of trance to a T. Italian producer Miles has stated the song was inspired by photographs of child war victims his father showed him from a humanitarian mission. Additionally, he created the song to end his sets with something that would mellow out ravers before their drive home, as car accident deaths after parties were all too common. “Children” reached #1 in over a dozen countries and was certified gold and platinum.

Darude “Sandstorm” [16 Inch Records, 1999]

Why you need it: Thanks to burgeoning internet music-sharing as the millennium was upon us, Finnish producer Darude uploaded his trance composition demo “Sandstorm.” The world took notice, but so did his record label, and he had to take it down in 2000. As the lead single from his debut album, Before the Storm, the song made waves in pop culture and became a favorite for numerous DJs, sporting events, and even flair bartenders in Vegas. “Sandstorm” earned a #1 spot on the UK Dance charts, as well as #5 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart. Ten years after its release, it was certified gold in the US.

ATB “9 PM (Till I Come)” [Kontor Records, 1998]

Why you need it: André Tanneberger’s first solo release as ATB rose up the charts to the #1 spot on the UK Singles Chart. The German producer found his signature sound of the pitched guitar while messing around in the studio, and it became the trademark of the worldwide hit. “9 PM” was so popular internationally that the Signum remix was featured as the title song of the FIFA Premier League All Stars 1999 video game.

Rank 1 “Airwave” [Free for All, 1999]

Why you need it: As some of the originators of the Dutch trance sound, duo Rank 1 found commercial success with 1999’s “Airwave.” The song hit the #10 spot on the UK Singles Chart, as well as #25 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart. Rank 1 continued to ride the success of the song by remixing it and adding vocals for “Breathing (Airwave 2003),” as well as a 2014 version.

Cosmic Gate “Fire Wire” [EMI Electrola, 2001]

Why you need it: If NASA really wanted to get the attention of aliens with that gold record sent into space, they should have included Cosmic Gate. Though they literally are trying to contact beings from another planet in their “Exploration of Space” video, it was their later single “Fire Wire” that garnered the attention of humans. The German duo’s fifth single hit No. 9 on the UK Singles Charts and is their bestselling hit to date.

Delerium ft. Sarah McLachlan “Silence 2004” (Above & Beyond Remix) [Nettwerk, 2004]

Why you need it: Though the original version of “Silence” was a hit in its own right and the Airscape remix did well, the one the #TranceFamily gravitated toward was Tiësto’s version, and it was a favorite of Paul Oakenfold in his sets. However, we personally are partial to Above & Beyond’s “Silence 2004” incarnation. The driving BPMs provided a perfect contrast to the airy, melodic vocals from singer Sarah McLachlan, complemented by piano nuances and an added edge of emotion.

Tiësto “Adagio for Strings” [Magik Musik, 2005]

Why you need it: Back when Tiësto still had “DJ” in front of his name and before he abandoned his trance roots for EDM, he made one of the genre’s most influential tracks. A driving, pulsating energy infusion gives way to heart-tugging orchestral strings for an emotional roller-coaster. A cover of the classical composition by Samuel Barber, Tiësto’s version rose to #4 on the Billboard Hot Dance Single Sales Chart and was voted as the second-greatest dance record of all time by Mixmag readers.

Deanna Rilling is a die-hard trance-head. Follow her on Twitter.

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