Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 1970s

Script written by Sean Harris. Have you got rhythm? Have you got soul? Do you own a disco ball?? Yeses aren’t obligatory, but they’ll help! For this list, we’ve looked at a combination of the 1970s’ most commercially successful songs, as well as the most influential records and the tracks that best reflect the period. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 decade defining songs of the 1970s. Special thanks to our users Alex Guzman, richardbain, MrRock4Evr, Oliver Swen, Charlotte Kevin Rudd, milkman0973, Jack Morris, Awesome One, Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Pérez, ynot0404, kitlivsey and gamerguy for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript
Have you got rhythm? Have you got soul? Do you own a disco ball?? Yeses aren’t obligatory, but they’ll help! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 decade defining songs of the 1970s.

For this list, we’ve looked at a combination of the decade’s most commercially successful songs, as well as the most influential records and the tracks that best reflect the period.

#10: “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)
Sex Pistols

We kick things off with mohawks and mayhem, as the Sex Pistols remind us exactly what their intentions were. “Anarchy in the U.K.” was a pioneering punk track, setting the tone for all the anti-authoritarian music that has followed. The release of its parent album was delayed amid fears of controversy, and when the record did hit the shelves it proved a catalyst for carnage. Society was selling people short, and The Pistols had had enough! It’s anarchic, maybe cathartic, and definitely anthemic!

#9: “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2” (1979)
Pink Floyd

In the UK, this was the last number one of the decade, and so it scrapes onto our list in style. Taken from the similarly named album “The Wall,” the record suggests that teachers are a reason for reclusive behavior in children, and in adults. It’s a spooky look at the schoolroom, incredibly atmospheric, and it has a hook that will last for decades still to come! That the “we don’t need no education” mantra is considered a grammatical mistake just makes it all the more awesome!

#8: “Superstition” (1972)
Stevie Wonder

A black cat could cross your path as you walk underneath a ladder on Friday 13th… and as long as this song was on the radio, you’d know everything would be fine! Luck doesn’t even contribute to how good this record is – there’s a rhythm that shimmies through your body, and a voice that vibrates through your head. A song that was nearly released by Jeff Beck, it’s hard to believe it could’ve been anyone else’s. “Superstition” is Stevie Wonder at his funky finest!

#7: “Dancing Queen” (1976)
ABBA

For everyone’s favorite Swedish pop group, this has to be their signature song. An unbelievable worldwide hit, it topped the charts in more than a dozen countries, and scored a top 5 spot pretty much everywhere else! Its simple lyrics, positive message and twinkling backing track had Queens and Kings dancing everywhere! It’s Europop and disco combined, a genre of music that stands on its own, and one that will forever be linked to ABBA!

#6: “Go Your Own Way” (1977)
Fleetwood Mac

Not as immediately successful as the rest of our top ten, “Go Your Own Way” gained gradual success over a series of rereleases, and is now recognized as a classic! Written during a break-up between band members, it was a message from Lindsey Buckingham to Stevie Nicks. In what must have been difficult circumstances, they got it together to record an ultra-personal song that would speak to a generation. The uncharacteristic rip-roaring guitar solo is emotion in audio form.

#5: “I Will Survive” (1978)
Gloria Gaynor

It’s so disco, so snappy, and it’s so, so good! At #5, Gloria Gaynor’s alive, and she’s making the most of it! Though perhaps most easily applied to romantic break-ups, it’s also an anthem for anybody, or any group of people, that finds themselves in a tough situation. It accompanies the underdog and it’s fired up with attitude! As a record, it survived and then some! Almost as popular today as it was back then, it captures the human spirit perfectly!

#4: “Imagine” (1971)
John Lennon

Often, music goes beyond the microphone and offers more than words and instruments, and John Lennon’s “Imagine” is one of the finest examples of this! It paints a picture for us of a world in which there exists no divisions – no countries, no religions, just peace. An idea that he later confessed was largely lifted from Yoko Ono’s art book, “Grapefruit,” it’s a message we can live our lives by, and a legacy that can truly live on indefinitely!

#3: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
Queen

OK… hands up if you’ve ever tried to sing this? And hands up if you’ve failed? Yep, that’s pretty much everyone! “Bohemian Rhapsody” is just one of those songs that redefines what we previously thought about music. In an era before MTV, its video accompaniment was part of the success, but the sheer ambition of the track is what scored Queen their first American top ten and nine weeks atop the British charts. Beating even “We Will Rock You” onto our list, it’s rock, it’s opera, it’s life, it’s brilliant!

#2: “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
Led Zeppelin

At over 8 minutes long, “Stairway to Heaven” is an all out epic record! Lyrically, it’s luxurious – it’s said that Robert Plant was reading “The Lord of the Rings” while writing its parent album, and its influence is clear. The ambition is quite amazing, and atmospherically it’ll be forever hard to beat! It harbors a spookiness that’s only heightened by suggestions of Satanic messages within its makeup, and a beauty that no amount of devilry could ever steal from it.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Rocket Man” (1972) Elton John
- “Heart of Glass” (1978) Blondie
- “American Pie” (1971) Don McLean
- “Hotel California” (1977) Eagles
- “Freebird” (1974) Lynyrd Skynyrd
- “Rebel Rebel” (1974) David Bowie

#1: “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
Bee Gees

At number 1, it’s the epitome of what’s known as the seventies’ signature sound: disco! The Bee Gees wrote a few tracks for a movie, including “Stayin’ Alive,” and in turn became the faces of dance-floor fashion. “Saturday Night Fever” proved a huge success, thanks in no small part to this high-falsetto phenomenon. The song put the Gibb brothers atop worldwide charts, and got them a Grammy! It’s shown no sign of dying out and is still go-to disco – it just demands to be danced to!

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite seventies song? For more trend-setting Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More Top 10