TOP 40 HITS OF THE DISCO ERA
Broadcast Fourth Of July Weekend 1979 (7 July 1979)
(9th Anniversary Show)
|1||Le Freak||Chic||#1 78|
|2||Night Fever||The Bee Gees||#1 78|
|3||Stayin' Alive||The Bee Gees||#1 78|
|4||Best Of My Love||The Emotions||#1 77|
|5||A Fifth Of Beethoven||Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band||#1 76|
|6||I Will Survive||Gloria Gaynor||#1 79|
|7||Da Ya Think I'm Sexy||Rod Stewart||#1 79|
|8||I Love the Night Life (Disco 'Round)||Alicia Bridges||#5 78|
|9||Boogie Oogie Oogie||A Taste Of Honey||#1 78|
|10||Y.M.C.A.||The Village People||#2 79|
|11||Don't Leave Me This Way||Thelma Houston||#1 77|
|12||Mac Arthur Park||Donna Summer||#1 78|
|13||Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)||Chic||#6 78|
|14||I'm Your Boogie Man/Wrap Your Arms Around Me||KC and the Sunshine Band||#1 77|
|15||(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty||KC and the Sunshine Band||#1 76|
|16||If I Can't Have You||Yvonne Elliman||#1 78|
|17||Car Wash||Rose Royce||#1 77|
|18||Miss You||The Rolling Stones||#1 78|
|19||More, More, More (Part 1)||The Andrea True Connection||#4 76|
|20||Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band (Medley)||Meco||#1 77|
|21||Hot Stuff||Donna Summer||#1 79|
|22||Fly, Robin, Fly||Silver Convention||#1 75|
|23||Got To Give It Up||Marvin Gaye||#1 77|
|24||You Sexy Thing||Hot Chocolate||#3 76|
|25||In the Navy||Village People||#3 79|
|26||Get Up and Boogie (That's Right)||Silver Convention||#2 76|
|27||You Should Be Dancing||The Bee Gees||#1 76|
|28||Knock On Wood||Amii Stewart||#1 79|
|29||Disco Inferno||The Trammps||#11 78|
|31||I Feel Love||Donna Summer||#6 77|
|32||That's the Way (I Like It)||KC and the Sunshine Band||#1 75|
|33||Dance With Me||Peter Brown with Betty Wright||#8 78|
|34||Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)||The Jacksons||#7 79|
|35||Keep It Comin' Love||KC and the Sunshine Band||#2 77|
|36||Turn the Beat Around||Vicki Sue Robinson||#10 76|
|37||Last Dance||Donna Summer||#3 78|
|38||(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again||L.T.D.||#4 77|
|39||Shake Your Grove Thing||Peaches and Herb||#5 79|
|40||Love To Love You Baby||Donna Summer||#2 76|
|1||How Deep Is Your Love||The Bee Gees||#1 1977|
|2||Three Times a Lady||The Commodores||#1 1978|
|3||Reunited||Peaches and Herb||#1 1979|
|First Big Disco Song||Rock the Boat||The Hues Corporation||#1 1974|
|All Time Best-Selling Dance Record||The Twist||Chubby Checker||#1 1960, #1 1962|
|#1 Disco Parody Song||Disco Duck (Part 1)||Rick Dees and His Cast Of Idiots||#1 1977|
|Favorite Disco Dance||The Hustle||Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony||#1 1975|
|#1 Disco Song Never To Chart On the Top 40||San Francisco (You've Got Me)||The Village People||#102 1977|
Although we didn't know it then, July 1979, when this countdown aired, Disco had reached its peak in most areas and in fact was ever so slowly beginning to fade from Top 40 radio. As with the famous phrase "The Rock Era," the so-called "Disco Era" is difficult to define as having a beginning and an end. By accepting the most artificial of reasons, the era could have said to begin in 1974, the year "Rock the Boat" hit #1 on the Hot 100 and the year Billboard began its Disco chart. Using this same reasoning it "ended" in 1982 when the Disco chart was renamed the "Dance/Disco" chart, when the album "Thriller" by Michael Jackson was released, and when Madonna first hit the charts.
Disco began "exploding" like never before on the Hot 100/American Top 40 in early 1978 with the release of the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, which spawned no less than 7 top 40 hits from November 1977 to April 1978. The disco craze pretty much peaked in early 1979 when every song to hit #1 from January 1979 to August 1979 was a Disco oriented hit (this includes two disco friendly ballads: "Too Much Heaven" and "Reunited") However from August 1979 to December 1979 only 4 Disco songs hit #1 out of 10 total and in 1980 only 4 "Disco" songs hit #1 if we use the most liberal of definitions.
So July 1979 was a good as point as any for a rundown of the top 40 disco hits on the Hot 100. Yes, some later disco hits obviously weren't listed but it does give us a good rundown of Disco's history and development.
The tabulation was based on the songs' success on the Hot 100 with some passing mention to its performance on the Disco chart. However, the Disco charts were not a major factor in the countdown. Or else many songs not listed here, and didn't even make the top 40 would have been played.
Anther odd fact about this chart mentioned in Rob Durkee's "American Top 40: The Countdown Of the Century" book is that at least one station refused to run the special because it was all disco oriented. In fact one station instead ran its own version of AT40 in its place, counting down the top 40 songs off of Billboard that week.
Let's run down the facts of the chart.
1975 is the earliest year with 2 hits. KC and the Sunshine Band have the earliest hit to make the countdown. They also have the most hits by a group with 4.
1976 has 8 hits. It features the first of 5 hits on the chart by Donna Summer which is the most by any act. 1976 also shows a trend of many disco hits of the time to spend alot of time on the chart, even if they didn't get very high. Vicki Sue Robinson, The Andrea True Connection and Walter Murphy all spent several weeks on the chart.
1977 also had 9 hits or which 5 were #1s. Clearly disco was rising in popularity even without "Saturday Night Fever".
1978 has 13 hits of which 4 are from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. 1978 also has the top 3 hits.
1979 has 8 hits with the latest song to make the countdown being "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. The number one song on the weekly chart that week "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward is not included.
"Disco Inferno" is the lowest peaking song to make it, mostly due to its two chart runs. 3 acts now normally not considered disco acts place songs: Rod Stewart, Hot Chocolate and the Rolling Stones. Two acts, The Jacksons and L.T.D. were primarily R&B acts that released the occasional disco song. Yvonne Elliman had a long singing career before and then of course there are the Bee Gees who were already superstars before they recorded disco songs.
Eight extras were also played. At the end of each other in place of the normal "AT40 archives" that were running at the time, AT40 played the top ballads that were popular among discos. These included yet another hit from "Saturday Night Fever".
Then there were the 5 specials based around some fact. The one oddity is the song "San Fransisco" by the Village People which was played as the most successful disco hit to fail to make the top 40 as it was "not a single". However this was not true as the song was released as a single peaking at #102 on the "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart.
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