While music from the 70s might not be playing everywhere anymore, it is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. The music of this decade is great for dancing, and it’s often appropriate for all ages.
Whether you’re hosting a 70s-themed dance party, or if you just want a wide array of music that people of all ages will want to dance to at your next event, you’ll be sure to find something from this list.
1. Burning Love – Elvis Presley
No list of dance music from the 50s, 60s, or 70s would be complete without an entry from the King of Rock and Roll. “Burning Love” from the album Elvis (Fool) is a classic Elvis Presley song. Have everyone at your party rock out to this “hunk of burning love.”
2. Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
Kate Bush made a huge comeback when her music was featured on the TV show Stranger Things. Introduce your listeners to another one of her classics. This song is essentially a retelling of the story of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, but Kate’s whimsical and playful song with the same name sweeps up listeners. This was the most popular song from the album The Kick Inside. It’s even inspired several parodies.
3. I Feel The Earth Move – Carole King
Everyone knows at least one Carole King song. “I Feel The Earth Move,” from the album Tapestry, is one of her most well-known hits. Everyone will love to sing and dance along with the punchy piano to the flowing harmonies. The song hits audiences with that soul sound that transports them straight back into the 70s.
4. Cry Baby – Janis Joplin
Like Elvis Presley, no song list from the 70s would be complete without at least one song from Janis Joplin. “Cry Baby” from the album Pearl starts with a huge swell of emotion. From there, the song features gorgeous riffs that swing through and land harmoniously with the singer’s voice.
5. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
This song has been covered a few times, but it’s always a good idea to go back to the original. Joni Mitchell was making a groundbreaking environmental protest song when she wrote “Big Yellow Taxi” from the album Ladies Of The Canyon. This upbeat track forces everyone to see the irony in what it means for society to progress.
6. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney And Wings
“Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings is probably best known as the theme song for a James Bond film of the same name. Like “Big Yellow Taxi,” it’s been redone a few times, but the original is a great song for slow and lyrical dances.
7. Piano Man – Billy Joel
“Piano Man” is the most popular track from the album that launched Billy Joel’s career. It’s often thought of as a slow dance song. Just about everyone knows the lyrics, so if it doesn’t get people to dance, at least it can kick off a sing-along. Bonus points if you can actually have a friend play it on the piano.
8. Up And Around The Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival is a classic 70s band that really showcased southern rock n’ roll. Their songs are so iconic that few people realize today that the band didn’t stay together for all of the 70s. “Up Around The Bend” is from the album Cosmo’s Factory and has been in countless movies and TV shows ever since, with the most famous probably being Forrest Gump. Even if you weren’t around in the 70s, you can probably still sing and dance to it. It’s also perfect for couples dancing or line dancing.
9. Heart of Glass – Blondie
A lot of people think of Blondie as an iconic figure of the 80s, but her hit “Heart of Glass” from the album Parallel Lines actually debuted in 1978. The song was considered groundbreaking in its time and opened up a new wave of pop rock in the coming decades. With a mix of disco sound and synthesizers cooing, Debbie Harry floats in and out of this dreamy song to share her misfortune in love. If you’re having a party that goes through several decades of music, this is a good one to use as a transition.
10. Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band
From the album Brothers And Sisters, “Ramblin’ Man” quickly became a country-rock hybrid that showcased a staple sound of the 1970s. The Allman Brothers Band was really able to show off their unique sound through this song, which expertly blended the genres of folk, country, and rock. The result is an iconic 70s song that everyone knows the chorus to.
11. Beast of Burden – The Rolling Stones
We couldn’t have a list of 70s music without the Rolling Stones, and “Beast of Burden” is one of their most iconic hits. While it is slower-paced than a lot of their other hits, it definitely has the Rolling Stones sound. Furthermore, since the song has been used in so many movies and TV shows, it’s pretty recognizable to people of all ages.
12. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder
“Signed, Sealed & Delivered” was one of Stevie Wonder’s earlier songs, although the artist had been recording music professionally since the time he was 11 years old. Stevie combined a lot of different audio elements in this song, from sitar guitars to horns.
13. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Often thought of as a protest song against the Vietnam War, few people realize that this was actually composed for the movie soundtrack of Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is little more than two short verses and a simple sentiment, but it has made a powerful statement that spans decades. This song was a different pace from his earlier work, but the result is a beautiful hit that is great for a slow dance or a sing-a-long.
14. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
This is probably the band Thin Lizzy’s most popular song, but few people are able to identify the artist. Originally from the album Jailbreak, “The Boys Are Back In Town” is a great choice for any gathering that needs a stronger hard rock sound. It’s a great song to encourage people to get up and dance if they don’t have a partner.
15. Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Deep Purple isn’t the most popular band from the 70s, but they do have a classic sound, and their guitar work is often emulated by many musicians today. This song is actually a retelling of the story of the Montreux Casino fire of 1971. “Smoke On The Water” is from the album Machine Head, and it became an instant classic with that gritty leading bass.
16. Heart of Gold – Neil Young
“Heart of Gold” is undoubtedly a shining example of 70s country rock with a folk influence that continues to inspire generations of country and folk musicians. This very early song from Neil Young (he recorded it shortly after leaving Crosby, Stills, and Nash) has been covered by artists such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kace Musgraves.
17. December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!) – Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons
Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons are often thought of as an iconic 60s band, but this was one of their later songs. “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!)” wasn’t supposed to be a hit, but it quickly became more popular than the song “Who Loves You,” which their studio thought was the one that they should have promoted. Since coming out, the song has been featured in movies, TV shows, and even the musical Jersey Boys.
18. Come and Get Your Love – Redbone
A lot of younger people today remember this song from the movie Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” from the album Wovoka has had listeners dancing for decades. The song was the only real hit for the band, but it’s almost instantly recognizable.
19. What Is Life – George Harrison
“What Is Life” was the first hit George Harrison had after leaving The Beatles. The song is from his first solo album, All Things Must Pass. It is known for having classic elements of rock, and it’s easy to see the influence of The Beatles in it. However, it is also possible to hear the start of George’s own unique voice.
20. Barracuda – Heart
This song was from the band Heart’s third studio album, Little Queen. “Barracuda” is often thought of as an 80s song, but it was actually recorded near the end of the 70s. It features a stellar riff that grabs listeners from the start. Lead singer Ann Dustin Wilson poured her fury towards misogyny within the music industry into the track. The result is a song that has resonated with a lot of women for decades.
21. ABC – The Jackson 5
Before Michael Jackson went on his solo career, his family was one of the most iconic bands of the 1970s. The title track “ABC” introduced The Jackson 5 and its 11-year-old lead singer, Michael. Not only is this one of the most iconic 1970s dance songs, but it’s also a good, clean song that is appropriate for kids of all ages. The family would go on to have success throughout the decade, and eventually, Michael would go on to have his own incredible pop career.
22. Lola – The Kinks
This was one of The Kinks’ most famous songs, and today, no one thinks of it as being particularly controversial. At the time, however, “Lola” from the album Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneyground, Part One caused waves amongst conservative groups all over the world. Radio stations tried splicing and banning the song, which told the tale of an interaction between the singer and a cross-dressing man. The song has since been parodied a few times, including most famously by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
23. Riders on the Storm – The Doors
“Riders On The Storm” has long been considered to be one of The Doors’ most well-loved and iconic songs. Originally, it was from the album L.A. Woman. This is one of the longest songs on this list, clocking in at over 7 minutes, but there are plenty of versions of it that have cut the total play time down. Think of it for slow and lyrical dances.
24. Layla – Derek And The Dominos
Derek And The Dominos’ track “Layla” is usually thought of as a one-hit wonder, but it is a great example of classic 70s rock sound. From the band’s only album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs, this track is one of few that sounds good as both an original and unplugged version. It was originally inspired by lead singer Eric Clapton’s fascination with the story of Layla and Majnun. Eric, of course, would go on to have an incredible solo career.
25. Let It Be – The Beatles
“Let It Be” is often thought of as a 60s song because it was one of the last songs recorded by The Beatles before their split. It has since been featured in countless other movies, shows, and musicals. It was Paul McCartney’s final song with the band, and his passionate outcry for peace still strikes fans of all ages. The guitar solo in this track is also famous for showing George Harrison in all his glory, powering up his fellow bandmates with a shared message of love.
26. Baba O’Riley – The Who
“Baba O’Riley” was the first track from the album Who’s Next. It’s another long song on this list, but one that has a lot of meaning (albeit a different meaning for everyone). While it is an iconic song of the 70s, it does have one of the most unusual rhythm patterns of the songs on this list. That means that there have been a lot of very creative dances that have been set to this song over the years, but it might not be the best choice to open a dance party with.
27. Wild World – Yusuf / Cat Stevens
From the album Tea For The Tillerman, “Wild World” is a cautionary tale meant for one of the singer’s former girlfriends. It quickly became one of Cat Stevens’ or Yusuf’s most well-loved songs. With a mellow introduction, this song carries itself into an iconic ballad. It is a slower song, however, so maybe schedule it for the end of the night when you want to wind things down.
28. Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed
“Walk On The Wild Side” was one of Lou Reed’s first hits after leaving The Velvet Underground. Few people know that it was actually produced by David Bowie. The song is from Lou’s second solo album Transformer. At the time it was written, it caused a lot of controversy over its lyrics.
29. Jolene – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s title track “Jolene” is probably her most well-known, even to people who do not listen to country music. The country-pop queen’s impassioned plea for her husband to be spared from a beautiful woman smothers listeners with emotion and a swell of strings. Be sure to include it at any gathering that needs a wide variety of music. You may also want to consider listening to one of the many, many covers of this song.
30. Rocket Man – Elton John
Elton John’s ballad “Rocket Man” from the album Honkey Château is one of his most recognizable songs, and arguably the one that really launched his career. While it might be a little too slow for some types of parties, it can be a good choice if you want to have a break from faster dance songs.
31. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
John Denver’s track “Take Me Home, Country Roads” from the album Poems, Prayers & Promises is a classic country song. It’s great for sing-a-longs, line dances, lyrical performances, and even church dance parties. If you’re looking for good, clean music that will keep kids, parents, and grandparents happy, pick just about anything from John Denver.
32. Imagine – John Lennon
Heavily influenced by his wife Yoko Ono, this song grew to become John Lennon’s most notable work that continues to be considered an anthem all over the world. You’ll find countless covers of the song by various artists from MC Hammer to the Muppets. This is a great song for joining everyone in a world together.
33. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
From the debut album Just As I Am, “Ain’t No Sunshine” introduced Bill Withers as an artist with a unique and complex sound. With the weighty strings and the repeated line of “I know,” he captures a significant feeling of loss and of dazed confusion. This was arguably his most successful song, and a great track to plan to close out a party.
34. American Pie – Don McLean
Don McLean’s title track to the album of the same name covers an expansive portion of the 20th century. This is arguably one of the longest songs on the list, with an over eight-minute run time. You’re bound to find someone at every party who knows all the lyrics (or claims to).
35. September – Earth, Wind & Fire
Highly regarded as one of Earth, Wind & Fire’s most notable songs, “September” has made generations get up and dance. The song is in the album The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. This track is a loved disco classic that has been remixed, sampled, and covered in dozens of other songs, TV shows, movies, and even video games. Most famously, the song enjoyed a huge resurgence of popularity during the pandemic thanks to a TikTok video of someone dancing to it.
36. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
Can you have a list of 70s dance songs without featuring “Stayin’ Alive”? This song by the Bee Gees is a classic disco hit. It rose to instant fame after being featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever. Play it at a dance party and have a contest to see who can do their best Travolta impression. Lead singer Barry Gibb’s falsetto launches this disco track into a catchy hook. Harmonies from Robin and Maurice Gibb also add to this dance floor anthem.
37. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
“Mr. Blue Sky” is one of the most famous and popular songs by the Electric Light Orchestra. This track is from the album Out Of The Blue. Known as ELO’s most infamous song, its upbeat lyrics and fantastic composition have made this song a classic that is loved by people of just about any age. It’s catchy and fast-paced enough to be a great start to any dance party. ELO is a great band to feature multiple songs from at any party since it is known for fast-paced catchy music.
38. The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac should probably have a few more songs on this list, but we’re running out of room. The first song of the critically acclaimed album Rumors, “The Chain” combines elements of folk, hard rock, and country to create an iconic riff that pulls listeners in. Stevie Nicks uses the song to showcase her amazing vocal range. This track is also great for lyrical dances.
39. Dream On – Aerosmith
From their debut album Aerosmith, “Dream On” introduced Steven Tyler’s early vocal skills and Aerosmith’s strength as a hard rock band. You’ll want to use the song as part of a collection of rock and roll songs. Beware, you may even get a mosh pit to form, even though the song was recorded more than 20 years before the grunge movement.
40. Dancing Queen – ABBA
ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” from their fourth album Arrival is an example of European disco that people still know and love today. Most younger people will be familiar with the band from the musical Mamma Mia! Think of this song if you want to organize a group dance, or if you want to showcase music from your favorite movies and theater shows.
41. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the album A Night At The Opera is often thought of as a song from the 80s, but the truth is that it was recorded by Freddie Mercury in 1975. This symphonic masterpiece smashes the boundaries of hard rock, symphony, and pop by artfully composing the best aspects of all genres into a magnificent journey for the listener. It not only launched the music career of Queen, but it became one of Freddie’s most iconic pieces of music.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.