The Ultimate Guide to a 70s Theme Night
Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee presents the ultimate guide to programming the music selection for a 70s theme night!
Whenever I’ve performed at a 70s themed event almost everyone in attendance has entered into the spirit of things by dressing up in some sort of fancy dress from the era. Whether it’s a dodgy wig and stick-on moustache or a complete outfit from head to toe, it always amazes me how many people immerse themselves in the decade and all it has to offer.
I myself would often be found sporting a fine pair of flared trousers, frilly shirt, leather jacket & platform shoes with the whole ensemble finished off with glasses, rings, gold chain with medallion, moustache and of course side-burns… in true 70s fashion style!
The 70s offered a wide-range of music styles, including Glam Rock, Disco, Pop, Funk & Soul, Punk & New Wave, Rock & Country. I always feel it’s good DJ practice to try and incorporate as many of them as possible throughout the night either as part of your Warm Up or Main Set.
When it comes to creating & building up a 70s music collection then The 100 Collection: The 70s is an excellent starting point for any DJ. Each collection features 100 individual tracks that have been carefully collated to include a Warm Up, Main Set & End Of Night section and offers a solid selection of 70s hits.
Music Selection For A 70s Theme Night
So you are set up and your guests begin to arrive…so what do you play? Selecting the right music for each part of a night is hugely important. By taking the time to research and programme your music choices it makes for a more enjoyable listening experience for your audience and makes your life a lot easier too. There’s no need to make things too regimented of course, but by grouping genres and styles it allows you to select from them throughout the night with ease rather than having to search through files or CDs, leaving you more time to entertain your audience and enjoy the night.
I always take time to create a range of digital crates for each part of an event pulling the music content from my main library.
70s Warm Up Set
The Warm Up set is where you can really dig into your music library and give your audiences a diverse taste of the decade and set things up for the main party. You can really go to town with a Warm Up set choosing a selection of tracks that, whilst not likely to be part of your Main Set, will be well received by those in attendance.
70s Warm Up Tracks
- I Don’t Like Mondays – Boomtown Rats
- Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse
- Help Me Make It Through The Night – John Holt
- Baker Street – George Rafferty
- Hang On In There Baby – Johnny Bristol
- Street Life – Crusaders
- Silver Lady – David Soul
- I Shot The Sheriff – Eric Clapton
- Pop Musik – M
- The Same Old Feeling – Picketywitch
- Substitute – Clout
- Another Brick In The Wall pt.II – Pink Floyd
- My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
- The Man Who Sold The World – Lulu
- Rock Your Baby – George McCrae
- Jeans On – David Dundas
- Double Barrel – Dave & Ansil Collins
- Lola – Kinks
- Dancing In The City – Marshall Hain
- Jolene – Dolly Parton
The above offers a blend of styles from the decade and by carefully building a playlist, and programming the tracks in the right order, you can create a set that has the desired effect for guests during the early part of an event before picking up the pace until you are ready to launch into your main set.
There is an excellent 70s mix on the Warm Up Mixes release that could also be used to complement your Warm Up set plus a selection of mixes on The Mastermix Collection – 70s that also work really well.
70s Warm Up Mixes
I’ve always advocated that a Warm Up set is as important as any other sets you perform at an event and due care & attention should be afforded to it to ensure it has the desired effect on your audiences. In my early years as a DJ I was guilty of neglecting the Warm Up set and simply sticking any old compilation on and hoping for the best. It was lazy DJ’ing and I’m pleased to say that those days are long behind me.
Creating relevant music sets for all parts of an event make you stand out from other DJs and it’s personally paid off many times. By carefully selecting the right tracks you can create a playlist that builds from the moment guests arrive to your Main Set.
70s TV Themes
I love adding TV themes to my Warm Up sets for a 70s Theme Night, and on occasion to my Main Set. I don’t play too many but if you get the balance right they can enhance your set and help build the atmosphere, evoking memories to all ages.
The Mastermix TV Sets Ultimate Collection offers DJs the chance to add classic TV themes to their music library and some 70s themes that I have found work really well on theme nights include:
- Charlie’s Angels
- Rockford Files
- Six Million Dollar Man
- Starskey & Hutch
This type of theme can be dropped in to a Warm Up set and, because they are often only very short in duration, allow you to use them as utility tracks rather than a full song. Other themes that work really well include Van Der Valk which was a UK number one in 1970 for the Simon Park Orchestra (Eye Level) and a selection of TV themes that crossed decades but are still synonymous with the 70s:
- Happy Days
- Muppet Show
- Jamie & the Magic Torch
I personally don’t over-play the TV themes but a few carefully selected gems always hit the spot. You can even go one step further and use a classic TV theme to kick off your Main Set…something like Top Of The Pops – 70s version would work.
70s Theme Night Main DJ Set
Kicking off your Main Set with an absolute banger is a must…isn’t it? Some DJs like to throw everything they have into the first part of their Main Set, others prefer a gentle approach as they tease & build their audience…it’s really down to you as the DJ to decide what works best for your audience. As with most other decades, there are plenty of songs to go at.
100 – 115 BPM 70s Tracks
- Dancing Queen – Abba
- December ’63 (Oh What A Night) – Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
- Night Fever – Bee Gees
- Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
- Rivers Of Babylon – Boney M
- Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder
- Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
- Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
- Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden & Whitehead
- We Are Family – Sister Sledge
116 – 135 BPM 70s Tracks
- Car Wash – Rose Royce
- Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton
- Hot Love – T-Rex
- Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry
- Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John & Kiki Dee
- Wig Wam Bam – Sweet
- Shang-A-Lang – Bay City Rollers
- Contact – Edwin Starr
- Love Is The Drug -Roxy Music
- Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me) – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
I’d like to explore Disco in more detail in a separate post but here are few tracks that I always use as part of a 70s Theme Night set:
70s Disco Tracks
- Off The Wall – Michael Jackson
- Le Freak – Chic
- I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
- Blame It On The Boogie – Jacksons
- I Feel Love – Donna Summer
- Boogie Wonderland – Earth, Wind & Fire
- Heart Of Glass – Blondie
- Born To Be Alive – Patrick Hernandez
- Disco Inferno – Trammps
- You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
Mastermix offers a wide range of 70s mixes that are always useful to have in your library:
If you want to add some Funk into your set then the following Mastermix Crates offer an excellent selection of unmixed tracks:
The 70s had an eclectic mix of music styles and a theme night allows you the chance to really mix up the tunes for your audience:
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
- Since You’ve Been Gone – Rainbow
- All Right Now – Free
- Rockin’ All Over The World – Status Quo
- Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones
70s Soul / Motown
- Red Light Spells Danger – Billy Ocean
- Superstition – Stevie Wonder
- You’re The First, The Last, My Everything – Barry White
- Love Really Hurts Without You – Billy Ocean
- The Love I Lost – Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes
- Crocodile Rock – Elton John
- You’re The One That I Want – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
- Proud Mary – Ike & Tina Turner
- Mr Blue Sky – ELO
- Y.M.C.A. – Village People
- Tiger Feet – Mud
- Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
- Under The Moon Of Love – Showaddywaddy
- Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade
- Ballroom Blitz – Sweet
For the more adventurous DJ you could always through in some Punk / New Wave or maybe a bit of Ska!
Combining individual tracks with Mixes, DJ Beats, DJ Edits, TV Themes allows you more control than ever before to create unique & innovative sets for your audiences.
With products like DJ Beats & DJ Edits you can create unique & innovative sets for your audiences. Take a look at DJ Beats: 70s Collection for even more inspiration.
A good DJ will play good music…a great DJ will take their audience on a journey and deliver something special. Take the time to research the decade and the music it had to offer…your audiences will appreciate it and you’ll enjoy the event a lot more.
70s End Of Night Tracks
Eventually you’ll arrive at the end… well not quite the end… for me the last 20 minutes of an event are hugely important. You’ve started the night with a bang, you’ve taken your audience on a musical journey through the decade and the last thing you want to do is round things off with a whimper. You may want to end the night with a sing-a-long:
- American Pie – Don McLean
- Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
- The Wonder Of You – Elvis Presley
- Let It Be – Beatles
or you may wish to play a few classic love songs:
- Your Song – Elton John
- Easy – Commodores
- The Air That I Breathe – Hollies
- Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad – Meat Loaf
- Me & Mrs Jones – Billy Paul
It’s up to you and your skills as a DJ to decide what is going to work best for your audience. Whatever you choose to do make sure it leaves your audience on a high, leaves them wanting more!
70s Theme Night – Summary
The one thing that I learned from doing many theme nights is that a large number of guests are there purely for the fun element, a chance to wear a silly wig and dance to the big songsw. However there are also a lot of guests who are there to remind themselves how good that decade was, how great the music was and want to be back there again… if only for a few hours.
Playing the big hits is a must of course but by taking a little time to research and programme the music of that decade you can give EVERYONE a night to remember!