Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 1970s

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  • Published on Jun 2, 2014
  • 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. 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.com/suggest!
    Check out the voting page here,
    www.watchmojo.com/suggest/Top%2010%20Decade%20Defining%20Songs%20of%201970s
    This video is part of a new series called 'Decade Defining Songs' where we've picked 10 songs that were the most successful, had the most inlfuence and best represent the time period. You know, they "defined" the decade! Stay tuned for the rest of the series:

    Friday - ru-clip.com/video/uMqoGYd_pvk/video.html
    Saturday - ru-clip.com/video/SXaZi1rkfOU/video.html
    Sunday - Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 1970s
    Monday - Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 1980s
    Tuesday - Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 1990s
    Wednesday - Top 10 Decade Defining Songs: 2000s
    If you want to suggest an idea for a WatchMojo video, check out our interactive Suggestion Tool at www.WatchMojo.com/suggest :)
    Check us out at www.Twitter.com/WatchMojo and www.Facebook.com/WatchMojo
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Comments • 4 514

  • Justin Cook
    Justin Cook 8 hours ago

    Bohemian Rhapsody not only defines the seventies as a whole and should be number one it is still as big now as it was then if not bigger and the movie by the same name blew up made over a billion dollars that text Queen We Will Rock You also but right now Queen Bohemian Rhapsody number one most in for influencing song from the seventies Platinum Queen Brian May Rodger Taylor John Deacon and Freddie Mercury talk to me

  • Erin Lowe
    Erin Lowe Day ago

    “ it’s rock, it’s opera, it’s life, it’s brilliant.”
    It’s a bloody masterpiece darling

  • jaxypaxy 1
    jaxypaxy 1 Day ago +1

    BOHEMIAN RAPSODY NUMBER THREE WE HALF TO TALK

  • The Seeker
    The Seeker Day ago

    You could make a top 100 and still miss some.

  • Brian Gregory
    Brian Gregory 2 days ago

    Well, I know I didn't buy every copy of Saturday Night Fever, so the Bee Gees couldn't have been so bad.

  • Yvonne Murphy
    Yvonne Murphy 2 days ago

    The woman narrating these lists has bad taste, her lists never make sense.

  • Altitude Magic
    Altitude Magic 2 days ago

    How is sabbath not on here.
    Death and hatred to mankind.

  • bravo one-niner
    bravo one-niner 2 days ago

    RIP JOHN BONHAM

  • bravo one-niner
    bravo one-niner 2 days ago

    Imagine is literally about communism lol

  • paul adams
    paul adams 2 days ago

    Yawn no 5 zzzzzzz
    Feminist. CRAP

  • Lottie Lottie
    Lottie Lottie 3 days ago

    Bowie deserves more

  • Emil Welin
    Emil Welin 3 days ago

    No ac/dc?

  • Mat Wetton
    Mat Wetton 3 days ago

    Every single song on rumours with the exception of the chain was one band members F U to another bend member

  • MyGrandmaCanFly
    MyGrandmaCanFly 3 days ago +3

    What about The Ramones or Black Sabbath or Elo

  • Lukas Hahn
    Lukas Hahn 3 days ago

    No prog rock?

  • Pepe Garcia
    Pepe Garcia 4 days ago

    You ask if we agree with your list...well, no. I'd taken Hotel California at #1, put Staying Alive instead of I Will Survive at #5 because it came around the time Disco started to die out, yet Rock anthems are very much alive and kicking with their influence in modern music.

  • Maria João Marques
    Maria João Marques 4 days ago

    Ridiculous. It's not that i don't like Bee gees. But it's importance to the world music is nothing compared with Queen, and in particular, the master piece that's Bohemian Rhapsody. Are you crazy?

  • André Villa
    André Villa 4 days ago +21

    Staying Alive is more influential than Bohemian Rhapsody and Starway to Heaven? Wtf ....

    • echt114
      echt114 Day ago +2

      I'd put Bohemian Rhapsody #1. Stayin' Alive deserves to be very high though because it's representing the whole SNF/disco era. I'm not as big a fan of Stairway as many seem to be. American Pie is one of the all time greats, but for some reason it has much more of a 60s feel and so doesn't seem to define the '70s at all. Rather than Rocket Man, I'd say Elton's song here should have been Philadelphia Freedom. I'm glad ABBA made it. They have such a huge collection of 70s hits and were dominant outside of the US.

    • Spock From Star Wars
      Spock From Star Wars 2 days ago

      Steve Johnson I agree it is number 1 but why is stairway no 2, it is a nice, clean song but it just is not at the level everyone holds it. I can’t understand people’s obsession with it.

    • Braydon Barnum
      Braydon Barnum 2 days ago

      next time ill get your sarcasm lol, i thought you said i will survive for some reason, so the sarcasm just jumped over my head, your right XD

    • Braydon Barnum
      Braydon Barnum 2 days ago +3

      Bull, Stairway and Bohemian Rhapsody invented the idea of long powerful songs that cross tone and show messages that are not out right in front, and singing styles that changed musical culture

    • Steve Johnson
      Steve Johnson 2 days ago +2

      Yeah, it is. Takes nothing away from either of the other songs, but face it -- Stayin Alive brought disco into the mainstream. No getting around that.

  • Joseph's Trains
    Joseph's Trains 4 days ago +4

    I feel like country roads should of deserved a honorable mention.

  • David Hansen
    David Hansen 5 days ago +3

    Swap #1 and #3, and replace #10 with any of the honorable mentions, and I'm on board. And maybe replace "Another Brick in the Wall" with "Money", but that's personal preference, they're both iconic.

  • Transformers 1
    Transformers 1 5 days ago

    Have you even heard American pie! Apparently not because it deserves more respect than to be banished to the “ honorable mentions” good god did you look up 70s songs and base your list off that fuck you watch mojo 🖕

  • Nikkiboi Nanna
    Nikkiboi Nanna 6 days ago

    Ahahahah you think bee gees is better than Stairway, Bohemian and Imagine u fuckers

  • Marcus
    Marcus 6 days ago

    Okay. There are some enormous mistakes in this list and I know and understand why. The main one is that this list of songs was put together by people born after 1988. The reason is clear. If you were in your mid 20's when the 1970's ended, as was myself, then you would be well aware that about half these songs didnt become huge until well after the 1970's and not during. Bohemian Rhapsody did not become big in the U.S till the early 1990's after appearing in the movie, Waynes World. I Will Survive, while still a hit, really became a major song when it was adopted as a gay anthem in the late 1980's. The same with Dancing Queen by Abba. This list is supposed to be defining songs of the 70's during the 70's. This is why Hotel California has to be in the top 5 as well as American Pie. These were iconic 70's songs. As was Imagine. Born To Run by Springsteen should be there as well as Running on Empty by Jackson Browne. Maybe even Minute by Minute by The Doobies. You had to consider what songs were in the majority of music collections by the end of the 70's and not 10 years after. Remember, this was 5 years before Live Aid at best and a lot of people were not Queen fans. I was born in the mid 50's for the record so this list should be Imagine, Stairway, Hotel California, American Pie, Born to Run. Leave out Queen, Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols.

  • Cal W
    Cal W 6 days ago

    Freddie Freddie Freddie

  • Noelle O'Brien
    Noelle O'Brien 7 days ago +1

    One list could never do justice to all the 70’s had to offer: bowie, Elton, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, the eagles, billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, Pink Floyd, etc
    Simply the best

    • Noelle O'Brien
      Noelle O'Brien 2 days ago

      @Tacomantonytv 1 Understandable, I may not know as much about Queen as some die hard fans, but I know quite a bit about Bowie at the very least. I've been branching out to enjoy more music since then, always looking for new recommendations :)

    • Tacomantonytv 1
      Tacomantonytv 1 3 days ago +1

      Noelle O'Brien but to be honest i just liking shitting on queen fans who don’t know anything about queen or old music but then show off their annoying queen shirts

    • Tacomantonytv 1
      Tacomantonytv 1 3 days ago +1

      Noelle O'Brien yeah but sadly I don’t like very much music that comes from after 1987 (because the smiths)

    • Noelle O'Brien
      Noelle O'Brien 3 days ago

      @Tacomantonytv 1 That may be true, but he influenced a number of artists before Wayne's World was ever a thing. So even if he wasn't super popular until later, his influence is still important. I'd say the opposite kind of happened with Bowie- super popular in the 70's and 80's, but faded over the years. However, new artists still find influence in his music, whether or not your average listener, especially younger consumers, listens to his music directly.
      Whenever you have an artist or band that touches that many genres and helps pioneer new forms of music and self expression they are bound to have an influence even if the general public doesn't notice.

    • Tacomantonytv 1
      Tacomantonytv 1 3 days ago +1

      Noelle O'Brien he still is overrated though and his biggest impact is depressingly on this new generation because bohemian garbage wasn’t popular till the 90’s

  • Eric Newman
    Eric Newman 7 days ago

    Freebird should be 1

  • Dave Erhardt
    Dave Erhardt 8 days ago

    Can't disagree with the list. Some of these songs I love, some I don't, but they do define the 70's.

  • Tacomantonytv 1
    Tacomantonytv 1 8 days ago +1

    Nobody even fucking liked bohemian rhapsody back then

  • Enda Rooney
    Enda Rooney 8 days ago

    American pie should be top 3

  • The Channel Of Random Stuff and Stuff

    I’m affended how Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t number 1 but the most annoying song at number 1

  • The Channel Of Random Stuff and Stuff

    When I saw Rocket Man I was like: yeeeeeeee
    When I saw Bohemian Rhapsody I was like YEEEeEetYeEheWhTwYreTErYyeerr

  • pateris
    pateris 11 days ago +3

    "Bohemian Rhapsody" must be the most improbable N°1 song of all times…

  • pateris
    pateris 11 days ago

    "The Wall" is overrated. In fact, in time, it's "Confortably numb" wich seems to have left a mark, considering how many bands covered it…

  • Justin MacIver
    Justin MacIver 11 days ago

    You lost your fucking mind to put the BeeGee's above anything on that list let alone Queen. Then honorable mention to the Eagles? Smoke more of that crack @WatchMojo

  • Jose Colon
    Jose Colon 11 days ago

    No DOORS fuck you!

  • Elson B
    Elson B 12 days ago

    Yo guys there are so many notable and legendary songs, these are just some of the top, and only one opinion

  • Captain Luke
    Captain Luke 12 days ago

    Piano man???

  • jph0917
    jph0917 12 days ago

    Another Brick In The Wall was 1980. Spent 4 weeks @ #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April.

  • Will Avedikian
    Will Avedikian 13 days ago

    I’m pissed stairway isn’t #1

  • Jim & Hugh O'N
    Jim & Hugh O'N 13 days ago

    The jam

  • 9Ballr
    9Ballr 13 days ago

    Hotel California has got to be in the top ten. I thought it would be number one.

  • Ashok Varadharajan Kumar
    Ashok Varadharajan Kumar 13 days ago +1

    That was a tough list to make. Shows what a great decade 70s was fro music.

  • LMurray31 '
    LMurray31 ' 14 days ago +1

    I don't understand how Stayin alive can surpass Queen and Zeppelin

    • The Sponge
      The Sponge 10 days ago

      I don’t know what they were thinking when they made this video

  • Julia Emery
    Julia Emery 14 days ago +1

    No one else notices that they put Saturday’s night live as the title for Saturday night fever

  • Chris Jim
    Chris Jim 15 days ago

    Stairway to heaven didnt get the first part But stayin alive gets it.... That pretty much fair aliens

  • Murray Watson
    Murray Watson 15 days ago

    The 1970s was an awesome decade for music. There were so many great songs that it is impossible to remember them all. However Mojo, you have compiled a list that is hard to dispute. Some awesome songs in the honourable mentions as well. Thank you for that Mojo.com.

  • MsDivaKelli
    MsDivaKelli 16 days ago

    I understand that these lists will always be subjective, so I suppose it depends on a couple things. First, your definition of "era defining"... are we talking about defining for the masses DURING the 70s, or are we talking about defining viewing the era from today's perspective? Because if it's looking back, then the list becomes influenced by personal music tastes and perceptions, so arguing is a moot point. However, looking at the list of the most popular songs of the era compiled by Billboard (unarguably the most trusted and widely referrenced source of measurement of a song's popularity) would probably come as a shock to most people. (I know it wasn't AT ALL what I expected to see.) And considering how their decade charts are calculated with consideration given to A LOT of additional factors than those used to complile their weekly Hot 100 charts, it's a rather interesting and entertaining read that I highly recommend checking out."The Top 20 Billboard Hot 100 Hits of the 1970s".

    For anyone interested, here's the link:
    www.billboard.com/articles/news/6296842/billboard-hot-100-hits-1970s

  • jebadiah fyefye
    jebadiah fyefye 17 days ago

    Don’t normally disagree with you guys. But staying alive as number 1?

  • Kim Bob
    Kim Bob 17 days ago +5

    I was born in 83 and I knew all those songs what can I say mum brought me up on good music but top 3 was wrong should of been
    3 stayin alive
    2 stairway to heaven
    1 bohemian rhapsody Freddie was a legend

    • Will Avedikian
      Will Avedikian 13 days ago

      Kim Bob i was born in 02 and I knew all these

  • Mike Pellerin
    Mike Pellerin 17 days ago

    All you had to say was Queen!

  • Anty Mobile
    Anty Mobile 19 days ago +32

    Ok lemme fix top 3,
    3: Staying Alive
    2: BohRhap
    1:Stairway To Heaven

    • Anty Mobile
      Anty Mobile Day ago

      stephen murphy nah, STH was 100% better and better selling than free bird

    • stephen murphy
      stephen murphy Day ago

      #2 Stairway to heaven
      #1 Freebird

    • Tacomantonytv 1
      Tacomantonytv 1 6 days ago +1

      Anty Mobile that isn’t long i meant like in the 70’s

    • Anty Mobile
      Anty Mobile 6 days ago

      FuzemW lol

    • Anty Mobile
      Anty Mobile 6 days ago

      Tacomantonytv 1 i cared. Ive loved this gem since 2013

  • mnd_control1990
    mnd_control1990 19 days ago

    Fuck disco!

  • Aaron Honigsfeld
    Aaron Honigsfeld 19 days ago +1

    HOW DO U MISS THE GOAT OF SONGS

    IMAGINE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is SIMPLY THE GREATEST SONG EVER! EVERY OTHER LIST HAS THIS AT #1

  • Aaron Honigsfeld
    Aaron Honigsfeld 19 days ago

    How is Hotel CA only in honorable mentions and Sex Pistols are on here

  • charlie 210405
    charlie 210405 20 days ago

    I disagree with Elton not here but bee gees number 1 you redeemed

  • Scott Bilger
    Scott Bilger 20 days ago

    This list doesn't have a clue.

  • ReetaR
    ReetaR 20 days ago

    KISS

  • Vickie
    Vickie 20 days ago +1

    Yasss Queen, Freddie's a legend

  • Grenade80
    Grenade80 20 days ago

    And where's Black Sabbath - Paranoid?
    And nothing from Electric Light Orchestra (Strange Magic, Telephone Line, Mr. Blue Sky, Confusion, Don' t Bring Me Down)
    Kraftwerk? Giorgio Moroder?

  • Eileen Potocnak Arnold
    Eileen Potocnak Arnold 20 days ago +15

    Top ten doesn't work for the '70s. Even if they had an honorable mention, you missed:
    - Elton John
    - Billy Joel
    - Steely Dan
    - Marvin Gaye
    - Donna Summer
    - Bruce Springsteen
    - The Eagles
    - Boston
    - Rush
    - John Denver
    - The Carpenters

    • Tacomantonytv 1
      Tacomantonytv 1 6 days ago +1

      Eileen Potocnak Arnold correct (but remove the eagles please)

  • Spam Mouse
    Spam Mouse 20 days ago

    Great music, pity about the meaningless narration.

  • cdeford
    cdeford 20 days ago

    'Reclusive behaviour'? I don't think you quite get what Pink Floyd were saying. As for the Sex Pistols, they probably belong on this list but they weren't quite the rebels they made out according to Malcolm McLaren. Some of the other songs on this list are dubious entries at best. I Will Survive rater than I Feel Love for disco, for instance.

  • Connor Toler
    Connor Toler 20 days ago

    So no highway to hell by AC/DC...?

  • C.C. Rider
    C.C. Rider 21 day ago +1

    definition of insane: doing something over and over expecting a different result. ME: let's try another watchmojo vid and see if they can get one right. INSANE

  • Batman BMX
    Batman BMX 22 days ago

    Another brick part 2 # 9 wtf how is it not number 1 another subject you know nothing about fuck u watch mojo

  • ljubisa rajkovic
    ljubisa rajkovic 23 days ago

    deep purple-soldier of fortune not on the list...this is a joke...

  • Gary Salyers
    Gary Salyers 24 days ago

    Imagine is one of the worst songs ever. Get it off this list

  • Jons T
    Jons T 24 days ago

    Shit on the Bee Gees all you want, but there's a reason why they were proclaimed the masters of the universe by the media in the latter half of the 70s. That's how uber popular they were in that decade.

  • ezum
    ezum 26 days ago

    Imagine should be number one

  • 123 456
    123 456 28 days ago +1

    The 70’s has too much good music to make this list, every comment is calling for another amazing song that wasn’t included

  • WR373 Animates
    WR373 Animates Month ago

    Imagine should have been higher like in 1 or 2 because it is honestly the best song ever created although I do believe that staying alive should be number 1.

  • Hima Shindy
    Hima Shindy Month ago

    Imagine should of been fucking number one

  • Trey DK
    Trey DK Month ago

    Did anyone Else notice at 4:02 she said fucking finest

    • Trey DK
      Trey DK Month ago

      Or it sounds like it

  • Pieguy 2119
    Pieguy 2119 Month ago

    Everybody’s so obsessed with Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2. I wish they showed some attention to the other masterful songs in The Wall.

  • Queto Mann
    Queto Mann Month ago

    No Fear The Reaper? Not even an honourable mention?

  • Anthony Carrera
    Anthony Carrera Month ago

    Now everytime I listen to ABBA I only hear CHER! Thanks A LOT MAMMA MIA! 😂

    • Ethan
      Ethan 26 days ago

      Anthony Carrera
      Every time I hear ABBA, I can only hear the most commercially successful band of the 70s, ABBA

  • Paulus de Boskabouter

    I'm offended. Bo Rhap on 3th place?

    • Pieguy 2119
      Pieguy 2119 Month ago

      I can’t deny that it’s defining, but it’s also kinda overrated.

  • The Tranya
    The Tranya Month ago

    DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE DO? Hello?

  • Kick Start
    Kick Start Month ago

    Free Bird is #1 mojo smh

  • Kamil Fingr
    Kamil Fingr Month ago

    I also would add Electric light orchestra - Don't bring me down and My Sherona by The Knack atleast as honorable mention

  • Adam Waters
    Adam Waters Month ago

    Am I the only one that thinks Imagine is egotistical, simple-minded and elitist of John Lennon?

  • The Prince of Spades

    13:56 I thought it was "Fever".

  • Thomas Schultz
    Thomas Schultz Month ago

    Hotel California as an Honorable Mention?!?!?! off with your head

  • tommy herring
    tommy herring Month ago

    csn&y?

  • Armando Casas
    Armando Casas Month ago +1

    Where Is Rod Stewart???

  • asterisk911
    asterisk911 Month ago +4

    "Decade defining" may be a nebulous concept, but some of the list's detractors aren't even pretending to try to understand the concept. It doesn't mean "which song is best" or "which song has stood the test of time".

  • pyro flame kid
    pyro flame kid Month ago +1

    Where is don't stop till you get enough or rock with you

  • Mr. Anderson
    Mr. Anderson Month ago +2

    We all knew what number 1 was going to be

  • Rolo Balintt
    Rolo Balintt Month ago

    Layla?

  • Alexander Luna-Lima

    Anarchy in the UK is not singing it is screaming

  • Damon Kinney
    Damon Kinney Month ago

    Look, I don't know how you come up with these lists but uh Stairway should be number 1. How do you leave Money from pink floyd off this list? How in the world do you leave Hotel California off this list. It seems The Watch Mojo people weren't around in the 70'ies.

  • Jeff Dunham
    Jeff Dunham Month ago

    No Billy Joel, no Bruce Springsteen, no John Denver, and no Carpenters? HOW can you say this list covers the '70s without ANY of these artists? They were ALL a bigger part of the '70s and it's legacy than the Sex Pistols were(to name just one of the artists you did include). :(

  • Stuart
    Stuart Month ago

    I agree with Pink Floyd Queen Lennon - the 70s was awash with talent though - everyone's top 10 will be different.

  • Edson Ribeiro
    Edson Ribeiro Month ago

    Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is the remarkable song of the 70’s. You keep on listening to Queen day after day. Bee Gees was a wind that blew and now is a distant memory.

    • Jons T
      Jons T 24 days ago

      You probably just listened to their Saturday Night Fever songs. That's like, what, 5 or 6 songs out of the 300 they have recorded/written? Those guys had a number 1 hit in every decade from the 60s to the 00s, so yeah, they were definitely not just a wind that blew.

  • Charlotte Gratton
    Charlotte Gratton Month ago

    Really a stupide Bee Gee's song beat out Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen as the most defining song of the 70's. You have got to be kidding me with that. BoRhap is the greatest song ever written and most defo the best song of the 70's.

  • Eli
    Eli Month ago

    Floyd should be higher and Bee Gees and Bohemian Rhapsody should probably switch positions.

  • finton Filmovie
    finton Filmovie Month ago +1

    Come and get your love

  • DaGamerDude97
    DaGamerDude97 Month ago

    Fortunate Son?????

  • David Laurence
    David Laurence Month ago

    Born To Run should be on this list

  • Kwaysar
    Kwaysar Month ago

    I’m confused why Staying Alive is at the top spot. Disco was prominent during the 70s, but it wasn’t the most widespread genre at the time. I like the song though

    • Jons T
      Jons T 24 days ago

      Search for 'Disco Demolition Night' to get a grasp on how big disco really was in the 70s