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20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1970s

Disco, new wave, soul and soft rock soundtrack the sweltering summers of “The Me Decade”

The Knack, The Carpenters, Donna Summer


The possibilities of the LP format that were explored in the 1960s flowered more fully in the Seventies, with rock, R&B and countless emerging new styles reaching experimental new extremes. Nevertheless, the art of the hook still ruled the singles charts, with AM Gold balladeers and insurgent disco divas heating up the Hot 100 every summer. These are the decade’s biggest pop hits from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox, minus some of the ballands and wimpier fare from guys like Gilbert O’Sullivan and Donny Osmond. By Al Shipley

1. The Knack, “My Sharona”

The Knack frontman Doug Feiger’s muse and girlfriend, Sharona Alperin, both inspired and posed for the cover of the fastest selling Capitol Records single since “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” In the era of disco and AM Gold, the media was ecstatic when its guitar pop topped the charts, but New Wave at Number One proved to be a rare occurrence in the ensuing years.