Best Songs From 1976

It’s not hard to find a bunch of good music from 1976. The 1970s were a great decade for music of all genres, and you’ll see why once you get through this list.

Let’s take a quick trip through some of the best songs from 1976. See how many you recognize!

“The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy

Song Year: 1976

Thin Lizzy takes the first spot on this list of good music from 1976 with “The Boys Are Back in Town,” an upbeat rock song about fellas returning to their old stomping grounds and having a good time.

This popular song from 1976 has appeared on many movie soundtracks and continues to keep the Thin Lizzy name alive. 

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John with Kiki Dee

Song Year: 1976

Elton John is known for his exquisite piano skills, distinct voice, and writing some of the most powerful songs in the music world.

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” takes a turn from the grave, heavy-handed tunes Elton normally produces. Instead, he sings this upbeat love song about devotion with Kiki Dee.

Elton John also appears on this list of the hardest songs to sing for men.

“Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown

Song Year: 1976

If you want funky songs to add to any playlist, you must include James Brown. This 1976 hit makes you want to stop whatever you’re doing and break out a dance move or two.

James Brown’s signature growl and enthusiastic style make it easy to see why he dominated music charts for so long.

“If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago

Song Year: 1976

If you want to tell your special someone how much they mean to you, try playing this Chicago song. It’s hard not to swoon with this soft, jazz-like tune playing in the background.

“If You Leave Me Now” is the perfect song for anyone who needs to tell their lover how much life will change without them.

Check out these other love songs!

“You Should Be Dancing” by Bee Gees

Song Year: 1976

Do you ever feel like dropping everything and just dancing? That sort of feeling doesn’t come around too often. It’s best to take advantage of it immediately.

“You Should Be Dancing” is the perfect grooving anthem. Don’t pay attention to anything else; focus on dancing your heart out.

“Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller Band

Song Year: 1976

The 1970s had plenty of rock anthems and love ballads. It also saw several storytelling songs, like “Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller Band.

The song sees a couple making bad decisions and committing crimes, all because they have no productivity or order in their life. It does a great job of communicating the risks of boredom.

“Takin’ It to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers

Song Year: 1976

The Doobie Brothers’ first single with Michael McDonald on the team was “Takin’ It to the Streets.” McDonald penned and sang this anthem-like tune with an abundance of personality and soul.

It’s a song about the people we meet daily. We never know what they’re going through or where they’ve been. So we ought to treat each other with brotherly kindness.

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall

Song Year: 1976

C.W. McCall was famous for writing epic country songs. “Convoy” was nominated for at least one song of the year award.

Almost all of his songs are stories told in his classic country style. “Convoy” is a story about a truck convoy making its way across the United States with full loads and plenty of attitude.

“Angry Young Man” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1976

Billy Joel is arguably one of the most popular artists of all time. Joel could do everything from writing powerful lyrics to beautiful piano playing.

“Angry Young Man” rings out as if Joel is telling his own story. He notes how the young man in the song sticks to his principles and stands up for his beliefs. Then he tells the listener that he was the same way once, but he’s too old to believe in anything now.

“Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas

Song Year: 1976

Is there a better rock anthem than “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas? It’s the sort of song you know from the opening notes, and you can probably sing along with every lyric.

From high school stadiums to famous television shows, this song has made its way around the world of music lovers.

“This Time I’ve Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me” by Conway Twitty

Song Year: 1976

If you’re looking for a truly heartbreaking country song to feed your sadness and help you mourn the loss of perfect love, look no further than Conway Twitty.

In this song, Twitty laments the way he treats his woman. She took it for a while because they were in love. But now, the damage is done, and he can see she’s not coming back.

Make sure you have some tissues nearby for this one.

“Hotel California” by Eagles

Song Year: 1976

Another song almost instantly recognizable from the opening guitar riff is “Hotel California” by the Eagles. It’s a dark, catchy tune with a meaning that no one truly understands.

Is it about a literal brothel? The state of California? Or is it an allegory about the music industry? Whatever the answer, it’s a great song and a hit for the Eagles.

“Tonight’s the Night” by Rod Stewart

Song Year: 1976

If you’ve never heard Rod Stewart’s raspy, sexy voice, you need to change that immediately. You can start by listening to “Tonight’s the Night.”

By the song’s end, you won’t be able to stop yourself from going through Stewart’s greatest hits. He really is that good.

“Night Moves” by Bob Seger

Song Year: 1976

“Night Moves” is all about hooking up when you’re not old enough to understand what love is, and it’s incredibly catchy.

By the song’s end, the singer remembers his first time with fondness and nostalgia.

“One Piece at a Time” by Johnny Cash

Song Year: 1976

If you can’t afford the car of your dreams, other avenues must exist. Johnny Cash knows all about that in “One Piece at a Time.”

Working on an assembly line for over a decade, he slowly accumulates all the pieces he needs to build his one-of-a-kind vehicle. The supervisors don’t seem to notice all the parts that mysteriously go missing.

“Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder

Song Year: 1976

Good music can get to a person’s soul, even if they don’t know what the song is about; people love it as long as the words are catchy and the beat is groovy.

Stevie Wonder composed “Sir Duke” to communicate that to his listeners. It’s the perfect song about songs, a piece of music that tells exactly how special music is.

“American Girl” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Song Year: 1976

“American Girl” tells the story of a young woman who dreams about a better life with more excitement and adventure than she knows.

She doesn’t know what the future may hold, but she’s determined to make her way. The people she meets along the way will become a part of her story, for better or worse.

“American Girl” is a fantastic song about a brave gal with a lot of grit.

“If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time” by Willie Nelson

“If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time” by Willie Nelson

Song Year: 1976

Willie Nelson knows how to have a good time. As long as someone else buys, he has no problem staying out all night long at the honky tonks and bars.

If there’s one thing that Nelson seems to have plenty of, it’s time. He’s waiting for someone to come along and treat him to a good night out.

“Somebody to Love” by Queen

Song Year: 1976

Have you ever experienced a deep sort of loneliness? It encapsulates everything about your life, defining who you are and what you do. It takes over every waking thought.

When you reach those desperate moments in your life, you’ll find that you’re willing to do anything if it means finding “Somebody to Love.”

“Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” by Tavares

Song Year: 1976

If you want to know the proper way to woo a woman, take a lesson from the Tavares. They hit the nail right on the head with “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.”

A woman ought to be treasured and adored by her man. He should spare no detail when he explains his love for her. He should make her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.

“El Paso City” by Marty Robbins

Song Year: 1976

Marty Robbins liked to sing about the town in West Texas called El Paso. More than once, it has been the subject of his country ballads.

The clever thing to note is that “El Paso City” is a song about an earlier song he wrote about El Paso. The narrator looks down on the city and reminisces about the events that took place in the first song as if they were historical facts.

Not many artists could sing songs about their own music, but Marty Robbins pulled it off.

“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” by Julie Covington

Song Year: 1976

“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” is a remarkably famous song from 1976. If you’ve never heard the song, you’ve probably at least heard of it.

The song appeared in the 1978 musical Evita, an Andrew Lloyd Webber show about a famous political leader in Argentina. It walks the audience through her early life, her rise to power as the president’s wife, and her eventual death.

The song was one of the most well-known parts of the show.

“Livin’ Thing” by Electric Light Orchestra

Song Year: 1976

Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO, produced some wild and funky music in their time. Because of their commitment to their style over pop music themes, they didn’t have the most hits.

“Livin’ Thing” is an incredible example of ELO’s legacy. It was so uncool originally that it became cool 30 years after its release. It wasn’t super popular in 1976 but is recognized today as one of the band’s best songs.

“Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates

Song Year: 1976

Hall & Oates have an interesting way of complaining about the women in their life. Usually, they criticize the woman in one way or another through music.

“Rich Girl” is about a woman who is too good for them. She’s so used to fancy things that she can’t seem to stand an average man.

Whether she was actually that uppity or the guys were just jealous is hard to tell.

“Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti

Song Year: 1976

“Gonna Fly Now” became one of the most popular theme songs of the 1970s after it appeared in Sylvester Stallone’s hit movie Rocky.

The movie is about a down-and-out boxer who wants one chance to go the distance with the best of the best.

Bill Conti’s composition plays throughout the film, making the audience believe that the underdog hero might have a chance. 

“Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith

Song Year: 1976

Aerosmith had an enormous impact on the world of rock and roll. With the signature lead vocals of Steven Perry, Aerosmith constantly tested the boundaries of musicality.

“Back In the Saddle” is the perfect anthem for anyone down on their luck. If you need to get motivated and return to your former glory, try blasting this song for a few minutes.

“Tom Traubert’s Blues” by Tom Waits

Song Year: 1976

It’s hard to imagine that anyone has a more raspy, haunting, or heartbreaking sound than Tom Waits. He has a unique, deep gravelly voice that sounds like many decades of cigarettes.

His most heart-wrenching song is probably “Tom Traubert’s Blues,” the sad story of a man dealing with the consequences of his bad decisions.  

“Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin’ Tonight)” by Loretta Lynn

Song Year: 1976

The 1970s was a great decade for country music and rock and roll. Artists like Loretta Lynn put out hits that won awards and made fans happy.

“Somebody Somewhere” is the sort of classic country song that most people think of when they think of country music.

A man treats his woman poorly, and she schemes to get back at him. But ultimately, the listeners know she would be happy just to take him back. 

“December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” by The Four Seasons

Song Year: 1976

“December, 1963” is a fun, peppy, upbeat dancing tune from Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons.

It’s all about the most memorable night in the singer’s life.

With tight harmonies, fantastic falsettos, and a style that harkens back to the 1950s, it’s the perfect song for a house party or a wedding reception.

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon

Song Year: 1976

If you need a creative way to get out of a bad relationship, Paul Simon has plenty of options. It’s not clear if he’s tried all of them or not since some of them are a little ridiculous.

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” is a classic Paul Simon song with complex lyrics, interesting instrumentation, and that timeless theme of lost love.

“Take It to the Limit” by Eagles

Song Year: 1976

The Eagles rose to fame in the 1970s. With hits like “Take It to the Limit,” they became one of the most popular bands in American music.

They’re still lauded as musical pioneers, inspiring other artists to test boundaries and try new things.

“Golden Years” by David Bowie

Song Year: 1976

David Bowie was known for weird, slightly psychedelic songs and the different, wild personas he would take on throughout his music career.

When he was just David Bowie, he produced songs like “Golden Years,” off the album Station to Station that fans absolutely loved. Great for dancing or for singing along in the car, “Golden Years” is quintessential 1970s rock and roll.

“Love So Right” by Bee Gees

Song Year: 1976

The Bee Gees came all the way from Australia to make their impact on the world of disco, groove, and funky music. They had perfect harmonies, great dancing songs, and touching ballads.

“Love So Right” shows the softer side of the Bee Gees. They sing about the sadness of realizing that your love life wasn’t as good as you believed.

Top Songs From 1976, Final Thoughts

These are some of the best songs from 1976.

Many musicians produced good music in 1976. Artists were putting out hit after hit, from the Bee Gees to the Eagles. Most of these bands’ success would continue throughout the rest of the 1970s.

What are your favorite songs from 1976? Did we miss any? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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