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Number One Songs - 1970s


by Amy Gold

The number one songs of the 1970s, which total 254, are listed in the table below in descending order by the total number of weeks they stayed on the Billboard Pop/Rock charts. The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" tops the list at 33 weeks, and at the bottom is the Beatles' "The Long And Winding Road" which was on the charts for only 10 weeks. The 1970s was an interesting decade for #1 hits in that two completely different songs with the same title, “Best Of My Love,” one by the Eagles and the other by the Emotions, both topped the charts (in 1974 and 1977, respectively). During the early part of this decade, there was a brief resurgence of nostalgia and there were several songs that topped the charts that had previously been #1 hits for other artists: Donny Osmond' "Go Away Little Girl" (1971), the Carpenters' "Please Mr. Postman" (1974), and Grand Funk's "The Loco-Motion" (1974).

The band with the most #1 hits during the 1970s was the Bee Gees. This group of three brothers began in the 1960s writing and performing mostly melodic pop-rock ballads and then, with their 1975 hit, “Jive Talkin’,” they switched to disco and became hugely popular. Their album, “Saturday Night Fever,” which was the soundtrack for the 1977 movie of the same name starring John Travolta, was, for many years, the best selling soundtrack album in history (up to 1992), with many of its songs topping the charts (unless noted otherwise, the following were all performed by the Bee Gees): "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love," "Night Fever," "If I Can't Have You" (Yvonne Elliman), "A Fifth of Beethoven" (Walter Murphy), "You Should Be Dancing," "Jive Talkin'" (this song was not played in the movie).

The 1970s is best remembered as the decade that gave birth to disco. Besides the Bee Gees, there were a great many other top charting disco bands and artists that included KC And The Sunshine Band, Andy Gibb, Donna Summer, Chic, the Ohio Players, A Taste Of Honey, Love Unlimited Orchestra, Silver Convention, the Emotions, the Hues Corporation, the O'Jays, the Sylvers, Thelma Houston, Van McCoy, Earth, Wind and Fire, Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band, George McCrae, Gloria Gaynor, Johnnie Taylor, Anita Ward, Meco, MFSB, Rose Royce, ABBA, Wild Cherry, Yvonne Elliman, Amii Stewart, and Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots.

Motown was a major musical force through the 1960s and remained so throughout the 1970s. Top charting bands and artists included Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Temptations, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Commodores, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Edwin Starr. Stax was another major recording studio that produced many top charting R&B artists through the early 1970s that included Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, and Johnnie Taylor. Other top R&B acts from the 1970s included Sly and the Family Stone, Billy Preston, Barry White, Al Green, Al Wilson, Bill Withers, Billy Paul, the Chi-Lites, the Honey Cone, the Manhattans, and Patti LaBelle.

As in other decades, movie hit songs were a part of the mix of the #1 hits of the 1970s. Besides "Saturday Night Fever,” John Travolta also co-starred in "Grease" (1978), another movie with an enormously popular soundtrack. This soundtrack’s most famous songs, "Grease" (Frankie Valli) and "You're The One That I Want" (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John), both topped the charts in 1978. Barbra Streisand topped the charts with the theme songs from two movies in which she also starred: "The Way We Were" (1973) and "Love Theme 'A Star Is Born' (Evergreen)" (1976, written by Streisand). In 1975, Diana Ross starred in and performed the chart topping "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)." Other movie themes that became #1 hits were "Theme From Shaft" (Isaac Hayes), "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" (Meco), and "You Light Up My Life" (Debby Boone).

Pop music from television was also popular in the 1970s. TV theme songs that topped the charts were the Rhythm Heritage's "Theme from S.W.A.T" (1975), John Sebastian's "Welcome Back" (1976, theme from "Welcome Back, Kotter"), and MFSB’s “TSOP” (1974, theme from “Soul Train”). TV's Partridge Family led by David Cassidy also topped the charts with "I Think I Love You" (1970).

Throughout the 1970s, various types of mostly album-oriented rock (a.k.a. "classic rock") flourished. Top charting bands and artists of the day with various styles ranging from hard rock to country pop were the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Rod Stewart, the Steve Miller Band, Three Dog Night, David Bowie, Queen, the Doobie Brothers, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Edgar Winter Group, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, John Lennon, Paul McCartney/Wings, Styx, and the Guess Who. Before they disbanded in 1970, the Beatles had two last #1 hits that year with "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road."

The 1970s is also remembered as a time when pop music became mellower and more laid back. Top soft rock groups and singer-songwriters from that era, which were numerous, included Hall and Oates, Elton John, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, Chicago, Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka, Roberta Flack, B.J. Thomas, the Captain and Tennille, Herb Alpert, Jim Croce, Leo Sayer, Neil Diamond, Andy Kim, Anne Murray, the Bellamy Brothers, Bread, Carly Simon, Carole King, Charlie Rich, David Soul, Tony Orlando/Dawn, Don McLean, Freddy Fender, Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Mac Davis, Mary MacGregor, Minnie Riperton, Nilsson, Paul Simon, Peaches And Herb, Player, Robert John, Rupert Holmes, Marilyn McCoo And Billy Davis, Jr., and Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.

The music of the 70s also had a salacious side with "The Streak" (Ray Stevens), "Afternoon Delight" (Starland Vocal Band), "Lady Marmalade" (LaBelle), "Lovin' You (Minnie Riperton), and "My Ding-A-Ling" (Chuck Berry). The decade ended with a bang with the Knack's energetic power pop ballad, "My Sharona" (1979). Other number one songs from 1979 that also helped to usher in the 1980s were "Pop Muzik" by M and “Heart Of Glass” by Blondie.

Back to: Top Songs By Decade


Notes: C#1 = COUNTRY #1; AC#1 = ADULT CONTEMPORARY #1
SONGARTISTCHART
DEBUT
DATE
R&B#1C#1AC#1
How Deep Is Your LoveBee Gees9/24/1977
*
Baby Come BackPlayer10/1/1977
I Just Want To Be Your EverythingAndy Gibb4/23/1977
Hot Child In The CityNick Gilder6/10/1978
(Love Is) Thicker Than WaterAndy Gibb11/5/1977
Love Machine (Part 1)Smokey Robinson And The Miracles10/25/1975
A Fifth Of BeethovenWalter Murphy And The Big Apple Band5/29/1976
December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)The 4 Seasons12/27/1975
Stayin' AliveBee Gees12/10/1977
I Will SurviveGloria Gaynor12/16/1978
Sad EyesRobert John5/19/1979
Do That To Me One More TimeCaptain And Tennille10/20/1979
Kiss And Say GoodbyeThe Manhattans4/17/1976
*
You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)Marilyn McCoo And Billy Davis, Jr.9/11/1976
*
You Needed MeAnne Murray7/15/1978
Please Don't GoKC And The Sunshine Band8/25/1979
Play That Funky MusicWild Cherry6/19/1976
*
Disco Duck (Part I)Rick Dees And His Cast Of Idiots8/14/1976
Love Theme "A Star Is Born" (Evergreen)Barbra Streisand12/11/1976
*
Undercover AngelAlan O'Day4/2/1977
You Light Up My LifeDebby Boone9/3/1977
*
Shadow DancingAndy Gibb4/15/1978
Le FreakChic10/28/1978
*
RiseHerb Alpert7/28/1979
*
Theme From S.W.A.T.Rhythm Heritage11/15/1975
Don't Leave Me This WayThelma Houston12/18/1976
*
You're The One That I WantJohn Travolta And Olivia Newton-John4/1/1978
Pop MuzikM8/11/1979
Rock With YouMichael Jackson11/3/1979
*
Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak TreeDawn Featuring Tony Orlando2/17/1973
*
The Way We WereBarbra Streisand11/24/1973
*
My Eyes Adored YouFrankie Valli11/23/1974
Love Will Keep Us TogetherCaptain And Tennille4/19/1975
*
Rhinestone CowboyGlen Campbell5/31/1975
*
*
Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)Rod Stewart10/2/1976
Car WashRose Royce10/23/1976
*
I'm Your Boogie ManKC And The Sunshine Band2/26/1977
Best Of My LoveThe Emotions6/11/1977
*
Boogie Oogie OogieA Taste Of Honey6/24/1978
*
Kiss You All OverExile7/8/1978
ReunitedPeaches And Herb3/17/1979
*
Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)Raiders4/10/1971
Will It Go Round In CirclesBilly Preston3/31/1973
Bad, Bad Leroy BrownJim Croce4/21/1973
The Most Beautiful GirlCharlie Rich9/29/1973
*
*
Show And TellAl Wilson10/20/1973
Love's ThemeLove Unlimited Orchestra12/1/1973
*
Torn Between Two LoversMary MacGregor11/20/1976
*
Dancing QueenABBA12/11/1976
Da Doo Ron RonShaun Cassidy5/14/1977
If I Can't Have YouYvonne Elliman1/28/1978
GreaseFrankie Valli5/27/1978
My SharonaThe Knack6/23/1979
Crazy Little Thing Called LoveQueen12/22/1979
Candy ManSammy Davis, Jr. With The Mike Curb Congregation3/11/1972
*
Touch Me In The MorningDiana Ross6/2/1973
*
Seasons In The SunTerry Jacks1/12/1974
*
Before The Next Teardrop FallsFreddy Fender2/1/1975
*
Philadelphia FreedomThe Elton John Band3/8/1975
FameDavid Bowie6/28/1975
Boogie FeverThe Sylvers2/14/1976
*
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your BootyKC And The Sunshine Band7/10/1976
*
You Make Me Feel Like DancingLeo Sayer10/23/1976
Southern NightsGlen Campbell2/12/1977
*
*
Gonna Fly NowBill Conti4/23/1977
Too Much HeavenBee Gees11/18/1978
Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?Rod Stewart12/23/1978
Heart Of GlassBlondie2/17/1979
Hot StuffDonna Summer4/21/1979
Ring My BellAnita Ward5/12/1979
*
Don't Stop 'Til You Get EnoughMichael Jackson7/28/1979
*
Escape (The Pina Colada Song)Rupert Holmes10/20/1979
I Can See Clearly NowJohnny Nash9/9/1972
*
The Night The Lights Went Out In GeorgiaVicki Lawrence2/10/1973
FrankensteinEdgar Winter Group3/10/1973
Delta DawnHelen Reddy6/23/1973
*
Top Of The WorldCarpenters10/6/1973
The JokerSteve Miller Band10/20/1973
The Loco-MotionGrand Funk3/9/1974
Laughter In The RainNeil Sedaka10/19/1974
*
Shining StarEarth, Wind And Fire2/15/1975
*
I Write The SongsBarry Manilow11/15/1975
*
Afternoon DelightStarland Vocal Band5/8/1976
You Should Be DancingBee Gees7/3/1976
Don't Go Breaking My HeartElton John And Kiki Dee7/3/1976
*
If You Leave Me NowChicago8/14/1976
*
Blinded By The LightManfred Mann's Earth Band11/20/1976
Rich GirlDaryl Hall And John Oates1/22/1977
When I Need YouLeo Sayer2/26/1977
*
Star Wars Theme/Cantina BandMeco8/6/1977
Night FeverBee Gees2/4/1978
Miss YouThe Rolling Stones5/27/1978
Three Times A LadyCommodores6/17/1978
*
*
MacArthur ParkDonna Summer9/9/1978
What A Fool BelievesThe Doobie Brothers1/20/1979
Knock On WoodAmii Stewart1/27/1979
TragedyBee Gees2/10/1979
Bad GirlsDonna Summer5/26/1979
*
StillCommodores9/29/1979
*
I Think I Love YouThe Partridge Family10/10/1970
American Pie - Parts I & IIDon McLean11/27/1971
*
Without YouNilsson12/18/1971
*
Lean On MeBill Withers4/22/1972
*
I Am WomanHelen Reddy9/16/1972
Let's Get It OnMarvin Gaye7/14/1973
*
Half-BreedCher8/4/1973
Keep On Truckin' (Part 1)Eddie Kendricks8/25/1973
*
Midnight Train To GeorgiaGladys Knight And The Pips9/1/1973
*
Billy, Don't Be A HeroBo Donaldson And The Heywoods4/20/1974
Then Came YouDionne Warwick And Spinners7/27/1974
You Haven't Done NothinStevie Wonder8/3/1974
*
Cat's In The CradleHarry Chapin10/5/1974
Best Of My LoveEagles11/30/1974
*
Thank God I'm A Country BoyJohn Denver3/22/1975
*
The HustleVan McCoy4/19/1975
*
Let Your Love FlowBellamy Brothers1/31/1976
Disco LadyJohnnie Taylor2/7/1976
*
Silly Love SongsWings4/10/1976
*
Don't Give Up On UsDavid Soul1/29/1977
*
Hotel CaliforniaEagles2/26/1977
DreamsFleetwood Mac4/16/1977
Looks Like We Made ItBarry Manilow5/7/1977
*
Love You Inside OutBee Gees4/21/1979
Good TimesChic6/16/1979
*
BabeStyx10/6/1979
Knock Three TimesDawn11/21/1970
Brand New KeyMelanie10/30/1971
The First Time Ever I Saw Your FaceRoberta Flack3/4/1972
*
Alone Again (Naturally)Gilbert O'Sullivan6/17/1972
*
Baby Don't Get Hooked On MeMac Davis7/1/1972
*
My LovePaul McCartney And Wings4/14/1973
*
Brother LouieStories6/23/1973
Sunshine On My ShouldersJohn Denver1/26/1974
*
Bennie And The JetsElton John2/16/1974
TSOPMFSB3/2/1974
*
SundownGordon Lightfoot4/13/1974
*
Band On The RunPaul McCartney And Wings4/20/1974
Rock The BoatThe Hues Corporation5/25/1974
Rock Me GentlyAndy Kim6/22/1974
Nothing From NothingBilly Preston7/13/1974
I Can HelpBilly Swan9/28/1974
*
Kung Fu FightingCarl Douglas10/12/1974
*
Lady MarmaladeLaBelle1/4/1975
*
Lovin' YouMinnie Riperton1/18/1975
(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong SongB.J. Thomas2/1/1975
*
*
I'm SorryJohn Denver8/16/1975
*
*
Love HangoverDiana Ross4/3/1976
*
Rock'n MeSteve Miller Band8/14/1976
Got To Give It Up (Pr. I)Marvin Gaye4/16/1977
*
With A Little LuckWings3/25/1978
Too Much, Too Little, Too LateJohnny Mathis/Deniece Williams4/1/1978
*
*
Make It With YouBread6/13/1970
(They Long To Be) Close To YouCarpenters6/20/1970
*
Joy To The WorldThree Dog Night3/13/1971
It's Too LateCarole King5/8/1971
*
Maggie MayRod Stewart8/14/1971
My Ding-A-LingChuck Berry8/5/1972
You're So VainCarly Simon12/2/1972
*
Crocodile RockElton John12/9/1972
You Are The Sunshine Of My LifeStevie Wonder3/17/1973
*
We're An American BandGrand Funk7/28/1973
Hooked On A FeelingBlue Swede2/16/1974
The StreakRay Stevens4/13/1974
Rock Your BabyGeorge McCrae6/1/1974
*
Annie's SongJohn Denver6/1/1974
*
The Night Chicago DiedPaper Lace6/15/1974
You Ain't Seen Nothing YetBachman-Turner Overdrive9/21/1974
Angie BabyHelen Reddy10/19/1974
*
Please Mr. PostmanCarpenters11/23/1974
*
Pick Up The PiecesAWB (Average White Band)12/7/1974
FireOhio Players12/14/1974
*
Black WaterThe Doobie Brothers12/21/1974
Jive Talkin'Bee Gees5/31/1975
One Of These NightsEagles5/31/1975
Fallin' In LoveHamilton, Joe Frank And Reynolds6/21/1975
*
Saturday NightBay City Rollers10/11/1975
Fly, Robin, FlySilver Convention10/11/1975
*
Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)Diana Ross11/1/1975
*
50 Ways To Leave Your LoverPaul Simon12/20/1975
*
I WishStevie Wonder12/4/1976
*
Sir DukeStevie Wonder4/2/1977
*
You Don't Bring Me FlowersBarbra And Neil10/28/1978
I'll Be ThereJackson 59/19/1970
*
The Tears Of A ClownSmokey Robinson And The Miracles10/17/1970
*
Want AdsThe Honey Cone4/10/1971
*
Gypsies, Tramps And ThievesCher9/18/1971
Let's Stay TogetherAl Green12/4/1971
*
Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)Looking Glass6/17/1972
BenMichael Jackson8/5/1972
Papa Was A Rollin' StoneThe Temptations10/14/1972
Me And Mrs. JonesBilly Paul11/4/1972
*
SuperstitionStevie Wonder11/18/1972
*
Killing Me Softly With His SongRoberta Flack1/27/1973
AngieThe Rolling Stones9/8/1973
PhotographRingo Starr10/6/1973
Dark LadyCher1/19/1974
Feel Like Makin' LoveRoberta Flack6/22/1974
*
*
MandyBarry Manilow11/16/1974
*
You're No GoodLinda Ronstadt12/7/1974
Have You Never Been MellowOlivia Newton-John1/25/1975
*
Sister Golden HairAmerica4/5/1975
Love RollercoasterOhio Players11/15/1975
*
ConvoyC.W. McCall12/6/1975
*
American WomanThe Guess Who3/21/1970
Everything Is BeautifulRay Stevens4/4/1970
*
Mama Told Me (Not To Come)Three Dog Night5/23/1970
WarEdwin Starr7/11/1970
Cracklin' RosieNeil Diamond8/22/1970
One Bad AppleThe Osmonds1/2/1971
Me And Bobby McGeeJanis Joplin1/30/1971
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)The Temptations2/6/1971
*
How Can You Mend A Broken HeartBee Gees6/26/1971
Go Away Little GirlDonny Osmond8/7/1971
Oh GirlThe Chi-Lites4/8/1972
*
I'll Take You ThereThe Staple Singers4/8/1972
*
The Morning AfterMaureen McGovern6/23/1973
Time In A BottleJim Croce11/17/1973
*
You're SixteenRingo Starr12/15/1973
(You're) Having My BabyPaul Anka With Odia Coates7/6/1974
I Honestly Love YouOlivia Newton-John8/17/1974
*
Whatever Gets You Thru The NightJohn Lennon With The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band9/28/1974
Get Down TonightKC And The Sunshine Band7/12/1975
*
Island GirlElton John10/11/1975
That's The Way (I Like It)KC And The Sunshine Band10/25/1975
*
Let's Do It AgainThe Staple Singers10/25/1975
*
New Kid In TownEagles12/18/1976
Heartache TonightEagles10/6/1979
No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer10/20/1979
Bridge Over Troubled WaterSimon And Garfunkel2/7/1970
*
Let It BeThe Beatles3/21/1970
*
Ain't No Mountain High EnoughDiana Ross8/8/1970
*
My Sweet LordGeorge Harrison11/28/1970
You've Got A FriendJames Taylor6/5/1971
*
Family AffairSly And The Family Stone11/6/1971
*
Heart Of GoldNeil Young2/5/1972
A Horse With No NameAmerica2/19/1972
Love TrainThe O'Jays1/20/1973
*
Give Me Love - (Give Me Peace On Earth)George Harrison5/19/1973
I Shot The SheriffEric Clapton7/13/1974
Lucy In The Sky With DiamondsElton John11/30/1974
He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)Tony Orlando And Dawn3/15/1975
*
Listen To What The Man SaidWings5/31/1975
Bad BloodNeil Sedaka9/13/1975
Welcome BackJohn Sebastian3/27/1976
*
Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf AginSly And The Family Stone1/3/1970
*
ABCJackson 53/14/1970
*
The Love You SaveJackson 55/30/1970
*
Uncle Albert/Admiral HalseyPaul And Linda McCartney8/14/1971
Theme From ShaftIsaac Hayes10/16/1971
Song Sung BlueNeil Diamond5/6/1972
*
Brown SugarThe Rolling Stones5/1/1971
Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, BabeBarry White8/3/1974
*
Black And WhiteThree Dog Night8/12/1972
*
The Long And Winding RoadThe Beatles5/23/1970