1970s dance music

Donna Summer

The queen of disco.

Last Dance (1978)

A classic. Not much more to say about it.

Hot Stuff (1979)

Another classic from Donna. I'm not sure how much staying power this song has on the dance floor today, but the chorus is probably one of the more recognizable songs of the era and has great energy.

Bad Girls (1979)

(Same as above) Another classic from Donna. I'm not sure how much staying power this song has on the dance floor today, but the chorus is probably one of the more recognizable songs of the era and has great energy.

I Feel Love (1977)

Vibes, vibes, vibes. I Feel Love was well received in dance clubs and by other artists—David Bowie once said about it "I have heard the sound of the future."

Love to Love You Baby (1975)

Ok realistically, this song is too sexy to listen to with family, but it's still a great song. Donna had been living in Europe for nearly a decade when she recorded it, and believe it or not, she was still largely unknown in the United States.


Diana Ross

Diana took off most of the 70s to pursue a career in film, but she took a quick stab at a solo career in the early 70s, and once again in 1980. Her 1980 work is clearly influenced by 70s dance music, so I think it suits our purposes.

Upside Down (1980)

Not technically from the 70s, but major disco vibes

The Boss (1974)

Released at the end of Diana’s first run at a post-Supremes solo music career. One of her biggest hits with dance audiences


The Lipps Inc.

Funkytown (1980)

Not technically from the 70s, but major disco vibes. "Won't you take me to, funky town?!"


Michael Jackson

Michael was active in the Jackson Five throughout most of the 70s, but it wasn't until his fifth solo album, Off the Wall released in 1979, that he had the creative license to explore more dance-heavy sounds.

I should also note that today is Michael's 60th birthday, so it feels appropriate to put it on a 60th birthday party playlist.

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (1979)

If I could only pick one song from this era to dance to, it'd be this. So funky delicious.

Rock with You (1979)

Nice dance tune. Not as high energy as Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, but still fun to dance to, and recognizable enough that people should know the words.


The Trammps

Disco Inferno (1977)

"Burn baby burn (disco inferno!)"


Earth, Wind & Fire

They made tons of music during the 70s that blurred the lines between jazz and disco, relatively little of which found commercial success, but they undeniably helped shape the disco sound.

September (1979)

"Do you remember! The 21st niiiiight of September!"

Boogie Wonderland (1979)

One of their most memorable disco songs.

Shining Star (1975)

"You're a shining star, no matter who you are"

Lower energy than September and Boogie Wonderland, but still recognizable and fun.


The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees started as a regular 'ol pop group in the late 1950s, but pivoted in the early 1970s to adopt the disco sound. They eventually become one of the best-selling groups of all time.

You Should Be Dancin' (1976)

I think everyone knows this song!

Stayin' Alive (1977)

Again, I think everyone knows this song!

How Deep Is Your Love (1977)

If you need a slow song, this is it.


Minnie Riperton

Reasons (1974)

One of my favorite Minnie songs. You could probably leave this out, but it's energetic enough to be a decent filler songs for a party.


Marvin Gaye

Got to Give It Up (1977)

Gaye recorded this song begrudgingly. He was on the tail-end of a divorce, not doing well financially, and his label encouraged him to move into disco. He thought disco lacked depth, but eventually gave in, and the song sat at #1 for a week.


Chic

Chic tapped into the disco moment and made it happen. Le Freak is one of the more memorable songs from the era.

Le Freak (1978)

"Ahhhhh freak out!"


KC & The Sunshine Band

A racially-diverse disco group. They did amazing work and appeared to have a lot of fun doing it.

Boogie Shoes (1978)

"I wanna put on, my my my my my boogie shoes"

Get Down Tonight (1975)

I mean, a classic.

Shake, Shake, Shake (1973)

"Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty." Another classic.

That's The Way (I Like It) (1975)

Another classic.


Labelle

Lady Marmalade (1974)

Controversial, classic, and a #1 hit


Thelma Houston

Don't Leave Me This Way (1975)

Stevie Wonder

Superstition (1972)

Higher Ground (1973)

I can't decide whether or not I think this will do well on the dance floor, but it was a #1 hit.

Sir Duke (1976)

From Songs In The Key of Life, regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time, whatever that means. It is a good album.


Barbra Streisand

No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (1979)

Barbra was prolific during the 1970s, releasing ten studio albums. Yes, ten. She didn't have many disco or dance hits, but when she linked up with Donna Summer to record No More Tears, it jumped to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.

I didn't hear this song until a couple years ago, so I don't know how recognizable it is by young people. Considering its commercial success, I suspect that people who were alive during the 70s will recognize and enjoy it.

Great song, but it doesn't pick up until about 2 minutes in, so it might be too much of a pain in the ass for the occasion.


David Bowie

David Bowie made a lot of music in the 70s. He made a lot of it in Berlin, where he experimented with sounds but largely struggled to put together cohesive albums. Prior to leaving the states, he released Young Americans, which was heavily influenced by Philadelphia disco.

Overall, the album was not well-received, but it did produce the #1 hit Fame.

Fame (1974)