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You’ll Love Our Throwback Playlist of Back-in-the-Day Beats

If you spun vinyl LPs as well as CDs, rewind and go back in time with 60 hit songs from 1965-1980.  Plus: Gen Xer? Learn the #1 song the year you were born.

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Is there an old-school song that you just can't help singing or dancing to—even if you're at the market buying groceries? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

As a proud member of Generation X – which follows the baby boomers and precedes the millennials – I can attest that we’re an imaginative, resourceful and resilient bunch. Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers are facing an insecure financial future and we are often referred to as the neglected “middle child” generation.

But here at Sisters from AARP, we certainly haven’t forgotten about Gen X. Although it may be smaller than the generations before and after, Generation X has left a lasting imprint on pop culture. A few of its brightest birthday girls include Janet Jackson (1966), Queen Latifah (1970), Mary J. Blige (1971), Missy Elliott (1971) and Brandy (1979). And while they might be reluctant to admit it, younger generations like Y (millennials) and Z have been influenced by Gen Xers – including our flair for fashion and fly hairdos (Janet’s “Poetic Justice” tomboy street style and box braids still slap) as well as our eclectic and excellent taste in music.

Like the boomers before us, we grew up with the Motown sound, including The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross (the diva reached out and touched every decade during Generation X with The Supremes 1966 classic “You Can’t Hurry Love”; her first solo single in 1970 with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”; and her dancing queen comeback in 1980 with “Upside Down”). Some Gen Xers even had a chance to shimmy with two iconic iterations of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine – first from Gladys Knight & The Pips in 1967 and then Marvin Gaye a year later in 1968 (Fun fact: The Miracles was the first to record the song in 1966).

Moving into the 70s, Gen Xers put on our bell bottoms and boogie shoes, tuned into Soul Train and grooved to the disco, funk and soul of artists like Sly & the Family Stone (“Family Affair,” 1971); Roberta Flack (“Killing Me Softly With His Song,” 1973); Labelle (“Lady Marmalade,” 1975); Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (“Sweet Thing,” 1976); and Chic (“Le Freak,” 1978). Then in 1979, a trinity of sisterhood anthems ruled the airwaves that have become permanent fixtures in our collective hot girl summer soundtrack: “I Will Survive'' by Gloria Gaynor, “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, and “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.

Gen X even bopped to easy listening and Top 40 pop, reflected by the playlist inclusion of chart toppers by Sonny & Cher (“I Got You Babe,” 1965); The Carpenters (“(They Long To Be) Close To You,” 1970); Sammy Davis Jr. (“The Candy Man,” 1972); Captain & Tennille (“Love Will Keep Us Together,” 1975); and Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life,” 1977).

Whew! In just fifteen years, the Gen X soundscape covered a lot of ground. As musical youth, we were also the first generation to get our MTV, when the music video-driven cable television network launched in 1981, and folks from our generation laid the foundation for hip-hop, which has since become a global phenomenon.

Of course, there were too many great number one songs to include in one playlist, however, from our prime picks, what’s your favorite hit from the year you were born (see the chart below the playlist)?

Gen Xer? Learn the #1 song the year you were born.

(If you're a member of the Baby Boom or the Silent Generation, we may feature lists covering those years soon. And if you've got Gen X kids, they just might have been conceived to one of these 60s, 70s and 80s favorites! We know this is your music. So, let's all bop down memory lane.)

“My Girl,” The Temptations
“Rescue Me,” Fontella Bass
“I Got You Babe,” Sonny & Cher
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bun),” Four Tops

“You Can’t Hurry Love,” The Supremes
“When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge
“I Got You (I Feel Good),” James Brown

“Respect,” Aretha Franklin
“Tell It Like It Is,” Aaron Neville
“I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” Gladys Knight & The Pips
“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” Jackie Wilson

“You’re All I Need to Get By” Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding
“Grazing In The Grass,” Hugh Masekela

“Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” The 5th Dimension
“Everyday People,” Sly & The Family Stone
“It’s Your Thing,” The Isley Brothers

“ABC,” The Jackson 5
“The Tears Of A Clown,” Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
“(They Long To Be) Close To You,” Carpenters
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Diana Ross

“Mr. Big Stuff,” Jean Knight
“Family Affair,” Sly & The Family Stone
“What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye
“Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green

“I’ll Take You There,” The Staple Singers
“The Candy Man,” Sammy Davis Jr.
Me and Mrs. Jones,” Billy Paul
“Lean on Me,” Bill Withers

“Superstition,” Stevie Wonder
“Love Train,” The O’Jays
“Killing Me Softly With His Song,” Roberta Flack
“Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight & The Pips

“Then Came You,” Dionne Warwick and The Spinners
“Rock the Boat,” The Hues Corporation
“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” Barry White
“T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia),” MFSB featuring The Three Degrees

“Shining Star,” Earth, Wind & Fire
“Lady Marmalade,” Labelle
“Lovin’ You,” Minnie Riperton
“Love Will Keep Us Together,” Captain & Tennille

“Inseparable,” Natalie Cole
“Sweet Thing,” Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
“(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” KC & The Sunshine Band

“Car Wash,” Rose Royce
“Best of My Love,” The Emotions
“You Light Up My Life,” Debby Boone
“How Deep Is Your Love,” Bee Gees

“Le Freak,” Chic
“I’m Every Woman,” Chaka Khan
“Close the Door,” Teddy Pendergrass
“Three Times A Lady,” Commodores

“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor
“Bad Girls,” Donna Summer
“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” McFadden & Whitehead
“We Are Family,” Sister Sledge

“Celebration,” Kool & The Gang
“Rock with You,” Michael Jackson
“Upside Down,” Diana Ross
“Take Your Time (Do It Right),” The S.O.S. Band

Is there an old-school song that you just can't help singing or dancing to—even if you're at the market buying groceries? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Playlists