This article contains the best disco songs of all time!
Disco originated in the 1970s as an underground dance scene, with roots in the late-1960s jazz movement. The musical genre became popular across the U.S. for its light and airy sound merged with an infectious beat. Disco music had its ups and down throughout it’s popularity – but it’s most notable event had to be the Disco Demolition Night in Chicago, when a burn your disco records night turned into a violent riot.
With that brief backstory to the music, let’s get into these top disco songs ever made now!
1. Night Fever, Bee Gees
By the time the Bee Gees released Night Fever as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the genre was drawing to a close. The Bee Gees had relocated to Miami to find a new sound after a series of low-selling albums. Night Fever would sit at the top of the charts for multiple weeks and be joined at number two by the Bee Gees disco classic, Stayin’ Alive.
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2. Love Hangover, Diana Ross
Diana Ross turned around a declining career by making the switch from soul music to disco in 1976. Love Hangover starts as a classic Diana Ross ballad before shifting to introduce a thumping disco bassline three minutes into the song.
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3. I Feel Love, Donna Summer
The impact of Donna Summer’s 1977 hit, I Feel Love cannot be underestimated. David Bowie and Brian Eno broke off their Berlin Sessions to listen to the song Eno claimed would change club music for 15 years. While this may not have been the case in the end, it’s certainly a classic hit from the disco era of music!
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4. Thousand Finger Man, Candido
Candido was a Cuban percussionist who had achieved success across two decades before recording this 1970 classic. Candido’s Thousand Finger Man can lay claim to being one of the first disco songs and would be released as a six-minute 12″ single.
5. Ring My Bell, Anita Ward
Anita Ward had her only major hit with a song originally destined for the artist, Stacy Lattisaw. Ward’s interpretation changed the point-of-view from a teenager talking on the phone to a grown-up disco anthem of 1979.
6. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), Sylvester
Androgyny in performers had been made fashionable by David Bowie in the early-70s. By 1978, Sylvester claimed gender was an everyday choice for him. You Make Me Feel was more than a disco anthem for the pioneer for LGBTQ+ rights. What’s great about this song, and the genre in general, is that these same themes are very prevalent in modern pop music today.
7. Heart of Glass, Blondie
Debbie Harry had been working on this disco anthem since 1975 when she called it the disco song. Heart of Glass was released in 1979 with a powerful disco beat that pushed the song to the top of the charts around the world.
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8. Magic Fly, Space
Without Space, there would be no Daft Punk. The French duo would create a classic disco sound in their debut, Magic Fly.
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9. Get Down Tonight, K.C. & The Sunshine Band
The 1975 hit from K.C. & The Sunshine band developed many of the staples that many of the best disco songs would follow closely. The introductory guitar solo is played at double speed, with plenty of lyrical repetition. The song proved a global success after reaching number one in the U.S.
10. Going Back to my Roots, Odyssey
Odyssey was the third band to take a crack at turning Going Back to My Roots into a hit song. The former soul song was given a full disco beat and bassline by Odyssey to maintain its civil rights message. Going Back to My Roots proved disco could be at more than just fun times and dancing.
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11. Helen, Zanzibar
Disco has gone in and out of fashion, but it never truly dies. In 1985, Zanzibar used a powerful disco beat and bassline combined with African rhythms to create a classic dancefloor anthem.
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12. Hollywood Swinging, Jamiroquai
Jamiroquai has been working disco into their songs throughout the band’s history. In 1997, the band reworked the classic Kool & The Gang song, Hollywood Swinging. Kool & The gang liked the British version so much they collaborated with Jamiroquai on another version of the song.
13. Lady Marmalade, Labelle
New York’s disco scene was in full swing in 1974 when Labelle released their version of Lady Marmalade. The disco classic peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been covered several times. The song had been recorded by writer Kenny Nolan and his band of session musicians to little fanfare.
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14. I’m a Man, Macho
The LGBTQ+ nature of disco gave the world several classic songs that became staples of the era. In 1978, Macho embarked on an 18-minute disco version of I’m a Man that remains a favorite of DJs. Macho’s version followed on the heels of Chicago’s six-minute attempt at recording the song.
15. Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind, and Fire with The Emotions
Earth, Wind, and Fire walked the line between disco and funk throughout the 1970s. Boogie Wonderland pushes the band completely over the line into disco. Released in 1979, Boogie Wonderland remains a favorite sample for many artists looking to create a powerful dance song.
16. I Wanna be your Lover, Prince
Prince’s first U.S. hit is best remembered for the excruciating interview given to Dick Clark on his American Bandstand show by a nervous Prince. The song is often classed as post-disco, but it retains the main elements of classic disco tunes. Prince would reveal the song is about the unrequited love he felt for the female keyboard payer in his band. For the full disco effect, the album version launches into a climactic disco jam after the single edit ends.
17. Can’t Get Enough of your Love, Baby, Barry White
Barry White hit paydirt in the disco era as one of the top-selling R&B acts on the planet. Can’t Get Enough of your Love Babe was released in 1974 and brings together many of the essential elements of the early disco era. Alongside White’s deep baritone, disco enthusiasts can enjoy the luscious strings and the repetitious lyrics of the Walrus of love.
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18. Pull up to my Bumper, Grace Jones
Grace Jones is a complex figure. A former Bond girl and supermodel, Jones was one of the top dance music stars of the 1980s. 1985s Pull up to my Bumper is a dub-disco classic that leans heavily on the hedonistic excess of the late disco era. The lyrics of the song were so suggestive it was banned by several radio stations around the world.
19. I’m in the Mood for Dancing, The Nolan Sisters
The Nolan Sisters hailed from the Las Vegas of England, Blackpool, and had been performing together for decades when they hit disco paydirt. The sisters had toured with Engelbert Humperdink in the U.S. and had minor chart success before switching their sound to disco. The song became a number one hit in Japan and the U.K. and is still played as a classic of the disco genre.
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20. Sossego, Tim Maia
The Brazilian artist, Tim Maia, produced a single disco-influenced album in 1978. A thundering horn section drives Sossego forward, even though the song is ironically titled, quiet. The 12″ version of the song is a galloping disco song that pushes the song into the top echelons of disco hedonism.
21. Ladies Night, Kool & The Gang
Kool & The Gang embraced disco as an extension of the funk tunes they released early in the 70s. By 1979, the band used the popular bar and club term, Ladies Night, as the title of a single and album. Generally regarded as one of the best disco songs, Ladies Night remains a disco classic and launched the career of Kool & The gang in Europe.
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22. Let’s Start the Dance, Hamilton Bohannon
The career of Hamilton Bohannon was one of the most successful and eclectic of the 1960s. Bohannon began his career as Jimi Hendrix’s drummer and went on to be a respected bandleader at Motown Records. His foray into the disco genre was influenced by the career he had enjoyed up to the late-70s. jangly, driving guitars merge with powerful strings to create a classic disco anthem in Let’s Start the Dance.
23. If I Can’t Have You, Yvonne Elliman
The Bee Gees were tasked with creating the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and wrote several disco anthems. Yvonne Elliman was handed the vocal duties on If I Can’t Have You and enjoyed global success. Elliman had been known as a ballad singer early in her career and was intending to record the slower, How Deep Is Your Love. A late switch saw the Bee Gees take over How Deep Is Your Love and Elliman enjoy her moment as a disco diva on If I Can’t Have You.
24. Give Me The Night, George Benson
Quincy Jones was on a run of hits as a producer in the early-1980s and George Benson was on the rise as a soul singer. Give Me The Night was released in 1980 and gave Benson his first soul chart number one. The song was one of the last of the disco eras to be a huge hit.
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25. Outstanding, The Gap band
Released after the end of the disco era in 1982, The Gap Band’s Outstanding has become one of the most famous post-disco tunes. Appearing on The Gap Band IV album, the song has remained popular with disco fans since it was released. Some of the biggest artists in hip-hop and dance music have sampled the song to great effect.
26. For Your Love, Peter Brown
Peter Brown’s disco career was ignited when the b-side to his Dance With Me single began to hit the dancefloor. The song is a synth-heavy classic that remains a sleeper-hit for DJs and disco nights.
27. Le Freak, Chic
No song epitomizes the disco era more than Le Freak. Chic scored a number one single in the U.S. with this dancefloor filler that mentions Studio 54 in its lyrics. Upon its release in late-1978, Chic achieved seven-million sales of Le Freak and scored the number three song of 1979.
28. He’s the Greatest Dancer, Sister Sledge
In 1979, Sister Sledge was on a roll with their We Are Family! album. The band had seen their disco-infused We Are Family single chart well in the U.S. and U.K. He’s The Greatest Dancer proved a crossover success in the discos of major cities and the pop charts.
29. Disco Inferno, The Trammps
Disco Inferno is rightly seen as a classic of the disco genre. However, the song was not a major success upon its initial release. The Trammps had attracted a following among DJs and disco dancers without scoring a major crossover hit. The Bee Gees included Disco Inferno on the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever and gave The Trammps a route to mainstream success.
30. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
Giving the disco genre a pop-rock twist, Cliff Richard registered his first U.S. success with the song. Richard had been a pop icon in the U.K. and Europe since the 1960s and enjoyed a squeaky-clean image. Devil Woman was a departure from his usual sound and gave the India-born singer a taste of global success.
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31. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor was a music icon of the disco era and enjoyed mainstream success with I Will Survive. The song was a success on both sides of the Atlantic in 1978 and remains a karaoke favorite.
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32. And The Beat Goes On, The Whispers
And The Beat Goes On is a classic disco tune that has been sampled by accomplished artists such as Will Smith. The song was first released by The Whispers and peaked at number two on the U.K. charts. This Whispers’ song is classed as one of the last great disco songs of the 1970s, and really bookended the Disco era quite well, we believe.
33. Miss You, The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones admit they were spending a lot of time in the nightclubs of the world in the late-1970s. The influence of disco on Miss You is easy to hear when you listen to Charlie Watts Philadelphia-inspired drumming and the bassline created by Bill Wyman. The bassline was copied by bands around the world fr the next few years and was included on an extended disco mix.
34. Brazilian Love Affair, George Duke
George Duke was a legend of the disco scene and created some of the longest-lasting dancefloor fillers of the disco era. Brazilian Love Affair is one of the most popular of Duke’s tunes featuring percussionists from around the world on a seven-minute dancefloor filler.
35. Jive Talkin’, Bee Gees
The Bee Gees had moved from England to Miami in search of inspiration for their music. The band would become unlikely pioneers of the disco genre after finding the Latin sound of disco in Southern Florida. The pioneering sound created by the Gibb Brothers included the innovative, Jive Talkin’. The song began life as Drive Talkin’ after the riff was inspired by the drive from the group’s house across the Julia Tuttle Causeway to their studio.
36. Car Wash, Rose Royce
The band had a major hit with the single, Car Wash, and their soundtrack album for the movie of the same name. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was the most successful of the band’s career.
37. Dancing Queen, Abba
The Swedish supergroup was launched to superstardom after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Dancing Queen contains lyrics about a trip to the disco and the joy of dancing. Abba followed the trend for disco music that swept the world in the 1970s. The song takes cues from the work of Phil Spector and the wall of sound production techniques.
Disco did not have the staying power of pop and rock but it was always meant to be consumed and disposed of soon after. The inclusion of world music sounds led to a change in the music markets that included the inclusion of new artists and genres from South America and other areas that had previously had a dearth of mainstream talent.
Did we miss any of your favorite disco songs? Let us know by contacting us today and we may add it to the list!
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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.