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70s Disco Songs: 30 Top Tunes, Ranked

Shake your groove thing to these irresistible hits that still pack the dance floor!

If someone says they’re not a fan of 70s disco songs, there’s a good chance they’re not being truthful. Despite the backlash the dance genre has gotten through the years, who wouldn’t boogie oogie oogie the night away if given the opportunity?

“Disco was celebratory,” Nile Rodgers, who co-founded the band Chic, told Forbes, recalling one surprising early fan back in the day. “I once walked into the Chateau Marmont to a guy I had never even heard of in my life. His name is Rush Limbaugh and he flipped out over meeting Chic. He was such a disco lover it was unbelievable,” Rodgers shared. “This is well before he became the highest-paid person in radio and all that stuff. He was a regular DJ at a radio station and I walked into that hotel and he flipped out.”

Even shock rocker Alice “Welcome to My Nightmare” Cooper admitted in a VH1 documentary, somewhat reluctantly, to vibing to the Bee Gees’ 70s disco songs, calling their hits some of the best produced records he’d ever heard. “I love the Bee-Gees, I get along with those guys, I had a great time with them,” he noted to Yahoo Entertainment in 2020.

Man and woman dancing to disco
John Travolta and Karen Gorney in “Saturday Night Fever” (1978) Getty

After all, it’s hard to resist 70s disco songs and their syncopated beats, which permeated the decade’s culture everything from John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever to the dance floor of Studio 54, the club that drew everyone from Liza Minnelli and Olivia Newton-John to Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Cher, Tina Turner, Farrah Fawcett, Sylvester Stallone, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and everyone in between.

Tons of contemporary artists still draw inspiration from the genre, with Kylie Minogue spinning out a disco-themed 2020 album titled Disco, for example, and Harry Styles, who’s posed with a disco ball, sprinkling the dance music’s elements throughout several of his own songs.

And there’d be no Daft Punk without disco, as Forbes put it. “You open their first album, the gatefold, and you see right on the floor is a Chic record,” Rodgers points out.

“Disco is music for dancing, and people will always want to dance,” as famed producer Giorgio Moroder — who helped launch the genre and worked with Donna Summer on her 70s disco songs — once put it. So grab those dance shoes and get grooving to this list of some of the genre’s best.

30. “Rock the Boat” (1973): 70s disco songs

“We like to think we kind of helped start the disco thing,” Karl Russell of The Hues Corporation told Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1975. And of all the 70s disco songs, this infectious 1973 hit is certainly a buoyant banger from the decade’s earlier years.

29. “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” (1978)

Do as The Jacksons say! Michael and brother Randy teamed up to write this winner, which climbed all the way to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bonus Track! Don’t forget to groove to Michael Jackson’s own “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” from 1979.

28. “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” (1976): 70s disco songs

The brothers in the band Tavares gave us this heavenly number, and its success led to them touring with the Bee Gees. “One day, Barry Gibb said he had a song that he thought Tavares would do a great job on. That was ‘More Than a Woman’ on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack,” Chubby Tavares told the Miami New Times. Both Tavares’ and the Bee Gees’ versions appear in the film.

27. “Fly, Robin, Fly” (1975)

This track from the German trio Silver Convention soared to great success, hitting No. 1 on Billboard’s Disco, Hot 100, and Soul charts. “That bass line swallows you up, and the little things around it — the dinky piano riff, the string line, the human voices — serve to push it even deeper into your brain,” raves Stereogum. Bonus Track! The group’s “Get Up and Boogie” will have you doing just that!

26. “He’s the Greatest Dancer” (1979): 70s disco songs

“Oh, what, wow! He is the greatest dancer!” Head on out to the disco with Sister Sledge for this catchy song about a “champion of dance” who “had the kind of body that would shame Adonis and a face that would make any man proud.” Bonus Song: Don’t forget this trio’s “We Are Family”!

25. “Ladies’ Night” (1979)

If you hear any noise, it ain’t the boys! Kool & the Gang member George Brown came up with the bass line for this hit by watching people walk in New York City, while Robert “Kool” Bell came up with the title and concept. The combo worked, and this was — and still is — a huge anthem for liberated, free-spirited women.

24. “That’s the Way (I Like It)” (1975): 70s disco songs

“I felt the music changing” in the early 70s, KC and the Sunshine Band’s Harry Wayne Casey has explained of getting into disco with such hits as this No. 1 hit. “So, I set out to make this more danceable, uptempo type of sound. I went in headfirst, 24/7.” And that’s just the way fans liked it!

23. “Car Wash” (1976)

R&B band Rose Royce cleaned up with this clap-along tune, which was featured in the 1976 movie of the same name. “The song opens the film, and at the premiere the whole audience were up on their feet as it played,” singer Gwen Dickey told The Guardian.

22. “Boogie Wonderland” (1979): 70s disco songs

Earth, Wind & Fire teamed up with the Emotions for this energetic classic. It was nominated for Best Disco Recording in the sole year that award was given out by the Recording Academy before the anti-disco backlash led to the category falling by the wayside. Dance to this song in protest! Bonus Track! “Fall” into the brilliant groove of “September.”

21. “Disco Inferno” (1976)

Tina Turner knew how smokin’ hot this track from the Trammps was, which is why she performed it early on in her solo concerts (and still turned to it later in her career). It was such a proven crowd-pleaser that it even made it into her Broadway musical, which is now touring the country.

20. “Heaven Must Have Sent You” (1979): 70s disco songs

“I didn’t know I was going to scat. That was impromptu. I just did it in the moment out of inspiration,” Bonnie Pointer once revealed of her memorable Louis Armstrong-esque vocals near the end of this exuberant hit, on which she noted Aretha Franklin’s sister Carolyn Franklin sang background vocals.

19. “Y.M.C.A.” (1978)

If you don’t know the arm choreography to this fun song, you should be arrested so we’re calling the cops … and a construction worker … and a cowboy … and, well, you get the idea! As The Village People sing, “There’s no need to be unhappy” when you’ve got this song to cheer you up. Bonus Track:Macho Man,” which surely would’ve been a virile viral video (say that three times quickly) if released today.

18. “Turn the Beat Around” (1976): 70s disco songs

We loved to hear percussion when Vicki Sue Robinson sang this Latin-influenced smash that earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Gloria Estefan wisely covered this winner in 1994, spinning it to the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart.

17. “Knock on Wood” (1978)

Amii Stewart’s No. 1 cover of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit was so “fantastic,” as The Manhattan Transfer’s producer Jay Graydon told Songfact, that he “decided to borrow” its triplet guitar part for the secondary hook of a song he was working on for them at the time, 1981’s “Boy From New York City.”

16. “I Love the Nightlife (Disco ’Round)” (1978): 70s disco songs

Singer Alicia Bridges reportedly told a British magazine she disliked 70s disco songs so much that “I’d prefer to do deodorant commercials.” She must’ve had to admit disco didn’t stink too badly after this gem went to No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart, then hit big again in 1994 when it was showcased in the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

15. “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (1978)

A Taste of Honey got a taste of sweet success (and vindication) with this breakthrough hit that went on to top the disco, pop and soul charts. The line “If you’re thinking you’re too cool to boogie, boy oh boy, have I got news for you” came from bassist Janice-Marie Johnson after an Air Force crowd they played for was not appreciative of their style of music. The line “Now get on up, on the floor” was their way of saying, yes, you will dance! (You don’t have to tell us twice!)

14. “Shame” (1977): 70s disco songs

“I was only 15 and I was singing ‘Momma just don’t understand how I love my man.’ My father wanted to shoot somebody,” Evelyn “Champagne” King once recalled with a laugh to the L.A Sentinel. “My parents were listening to the words, but I wasn’t paying no attention. There’s a lot of that song that I never paid attention to lyrically because I just loved singing.”

13. “Dancing Queen” (1976)

Swedish supergroup ABBA scored a near global No. 1 with this foray into disco, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015. “I knew it was absolutely the best song ABBA had ever done,” member Anni-Frid Lyngstad has said of the hit, noting that she burst into tears upon hearing the music for the first time, even before she and Agnetha Fältskog put their vocals on it.

12. “More, More, More” (1976): 70s disco songs

It’s kind of an “aha moment” when one finds out that Andrea True of the Andrea True Connection had a background in adult films before scoring big with this hit, which featured lines such as “Get the cameras rolling, get the action going.” Clearly, though, disco dancers wanted more, more, more of these 70s disco songs, taking it to No. 1 on the Dance Music/Club Play chart and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

11. “Shake Your Groove Thing” (1978)

“We’re bumping booties, having us a ball, y’all!” listening to this one! Peaches & Herb (aka Linda Greene and Herb Fame) got us all taking our bodies “where they wanna go” with this infectious hit, which paved the way for their more subdued “Reunited” a year later.

10. “Heart of Glass” (1979): 70s disco songs

“We were trying to expand our own experience … and embracing different styles of music that we admired and that we liked,” lead singer Debbie Harry told Dan Rather of Blondie’s disco megahit. She’s noted it’s one of the top three songs she’s proudest of in her entire career.

9. “If I Can’t Have You” (1978)

Yvonne Elliman’s version of this Bee Gees song shines on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and it was the fourth No. 1 to come off that album. Though disco fans loved this hit, Elliman came from much different musical backgrounds, having sung backup for Eric Clapton and as Mary Magdalene in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

8. “The Hustle” (1975): 70s disco songs

Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony earned a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for this song that was inescapable anywhere within 500 feet of a dance floor in the 70s. As the song’s limited and straight-to-the-point lyrics say, “Do it!”

7. “Got to Be Real” (1978)

“I love Cheryl Lynn,” Nile Rodgers once raved to Rolling Stone, noting how her performance on this classic is one of those “great diva vocals where they just killing.” The talented singer actually got her start on TV’s wacky The Gong Show! “The first time I saw [“Got to Be Real”] on the charts, I was shocked. I mean I couldn’t believe it,” she said at the time it took over the discotheques.

6. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (1978): 70s disco songs

“In the song’s intro,” Billboard says, “as the song’s main hook starts to gather steam, a laser synth sound rises from out of nowhere, as if the song’s about to zoom off into outer space. And then it does.” Sylvester, an androgynous gay singer, delivers powerful and unmistakable vocals on this still popular hit. Bonus Track! Sylvester’s “Do Ya Wanna Funk” with Patrick Cowley will have you working up a sweat.

5. “Everybody Dance” (1978)

This was “the very first song that I ever wrote for Chic,” Nile Rodgers shared with Radio X, noting how a DJ friend helped turn it “into an underground phenomenon. It was just the hottest thing in New York City.” Bonus Tracks! Chic’s iconic “Le Freak” and “Good Times.”

4. “Stayin’ Alive” (1977): 70s disco songs

While this Grammy-winning song kept John Travolta’s feet moving in Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees classic has gone on to save lives, as it’s taught as the optimal rate to provide CPR. “I was meeting fans all the time that would tell me that their father had survived a heart attack because they did CPR to ‘Stayin’ Alive,’” Barry Gibb shared with Apple Music. Bonus Tracks! The brothers’ “Night Fever” and “You Should Be Dancing.”

3. “Last Dance” (1978)

The deliberate slow start of this killer track was created “so people can start together, and then they can swing themselves out and start dancing, you know, the way they dance,” Donna Summer once told NPR. “It was a format that worked for us very well,” she added of the hit Oscar-winning track from Thank God It’s Friday. Bonus Tracks! Seriously, just look up the Queen of Disco’s entire catalogue!

2. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1976): 70s disco songs

Thelma Houston won a Grammy for her vocal on this stellar smash that topped the Billboard Hot 100, Dance Club Songs, and Hot R&B charts. It was a remake of a song sung by Teddy Pendergrass for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, but Houston truly made it her own. Through the years, it’s become an unofficial anthem in the LGBTQ community honoring those lost to the AIDS epidemic. “I love singing ‘Don’t Leave This Way’ to this day. I never tire of it,” Houston said in 2007 of how it’s been embraced. “People tell me all kinds of stories about how the song has affected them in some way. It has indeed been a blessing.”

1. “I Will Survive” (1978)

“I feel it has become the core of my purpose, which is to bring hope, encouragement and empowerment to people all over the world,” Gloria Gaynor told Closer Weekly of the power of her iconic monster hit, which won the one and only Best Disco Recording Grammy for 70s disco songs ever presented in 1980. “I thought everybody can relate to these words ‘I will survive,’ whatever it is they’re going through,” she recalled of fighting to release the song, which the label wanted to bury as a B-side. “I believed it was going to be a huge hit if it ever got the chance, and less than a year later, I was proven right!”

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