To begin talking about 1970s music, it is necessary to go back a year, to 1969, to what the Woodstock Festival meant. It was an unbeatable culminating point to close that decade in its American version. Rock and psychedelia, both in the United States and in Great Britain, became one in two. The hippies seemed to consume everything, forever displacing the generation that loved the music of the 50s, but there was much more, and in the 70s everything took a step forward. The punk of the 70s in the USA was not the same as it was in the UK, nor was glam or pop itself, but somehow it was all one.
At the beginning of the 70s, the trend in music did not change radically; instead, it did so step by step. However, by the mid-1970s, the previous stance began to be challenged. Black music never dies, but punk is born and dies, for example, in a short time. A movement that, in its explosion of anger, did not last long, although we can say it never completely died as it is part of the best of 70s music, giving rise to New Wave or being swallowed by Post-Punk years later. The same can be said of Glam. In fact, let’s stop listing genres; we never finish.
All the 70s songs from 1970 to 1979, ordered by language, explaining the context of each year and some of the most interesting anecdotes hidden behind the most remarkable songs of an unrepeatable decade where music was the main protagonist along with cinema in terms of leisure and pop culture.
We have compiled 800 songs from the 70s over 10 years with the best of the best. From the discoveries, our personal preferences, the great forgotten, and, of course, the unforgettable and unrepeatable classics with the most important bands and artists in the history of music.
If you look at the structure of our blog, you’ll see that we put special emphasis on the 70s. This is because, as you will read in other articles dedicated to this decade, we consider it to be the one in which the best music in history is produced. The best groups of the 70s, as well as the great musical genres in full maturity.
The best 70s songs and the shift in cultural paradigm
The melodic, harmonic, and cultural richness provides a backdrop that greatly favors the sounds created in the music of the 70s. After all, these years mark the before and after of popular culture. The 1980s changed the paradigm quite a bit by entering into the electronics that some developed at the end of the 1970s. Rock became harder but also more pop at times, and among other things, the One Hit Wonders were also born. As we said, a before and after within the music industry.
It’s enough to take a look at any reputable historical list to see that the 1970s music almost always occupy the top positions. However, here we are not very friendly with those who sit in the chair, even if we have made that mistake ourselves at some point. In short, our main approach is to make known an essential musical and social period for both younger music lovers and the more classic ones, those who already know the best songs of the 60s, for example.
But if, on the contrary, this is your first visit to the blog, we remind you that it’s not the only one. In fact, right now we have musical stops from the 1910s to the 1970s music, with the clear idea of covering everything that is best in the 20th century. Still, let’s not get sidetracked.
Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia (1970)
Simon & Garfunkel met in high school in the mid-1950s and soon became friends and started their musical project under the name Tom & Jerry (yes, like the cartoons). One of their first songs composed between classes, Hey Schoolgirl, was what opened the doors of the musical world to them. After high school and several problems, they went their separate ways.
Although Cecilia is part of the last album they released together (Bridge Over Troubled Water), it could very well be a song that came up during their student days, as it talks about a girl who broke their hearts. Of course, with a lot of rhythm and joy.
America – A Horse With No Name (1971)
We are faced with a musical classic from 1971 that has transcended time. It’s undisputable. “A Horse with No Name,” in its translation, is the title with which Dewey Bunnell and the band America became immortal; an undeniable icon.
Released earlier in Europe than in the United States (where it was released as a single in 1972), “A Horse With No Name” belongs to the folk-rock genre that has so little presence today, despite the great fame of its predecessors, that has reached our days.
The band, of American origin but formed in London a year before this single, was quite successful throughout the decade, although it is remembered to this day (not to say only, as in English-speaking countries their popularity was somewhat different than in Portugal) for this hit. They have been active since then, certainly with more energy and vitality than I show when I am 30 years younger.
David Bowie – Starman (1972)
The truth is that David Bowie may have been the most complete and forward-looking artist in music in any decade. A clear example of why is “Starman,” where the music and character, undoubtedly the singer’s most well-known, was created for the 1972 concept album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The character is an alien sent to Earth to bring a positive message of hope in the last five years of its existence. Don’t we need that now, to wake up once and for all?
Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground (1973)
Anyone who has followed Stevie Wonder’s career from the beginning knows that he is one of the greatest artists in the world. From what we could verify among some acquaintances, many remember him simply because of “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” However, the truth is that since the 60s and until very recently, he has been delivering great hits without departing from funk or pop.
A perfect example of this is “Higher Ground,” from the 1973 album “Innervisions.” A song that stands out for a very peculiar and unique sound, coming from the unique clavinet sound made with a Mu-Tron III envelope filter pedal. This is something to note because the sound on this track is spectacular. Also in the bass line provided by a Moog synthesizer.
Slade – Far Far Away (1974)
Slade gained prominence during the glam rock era in the early 70s. With seventeen consecutive Top 20 hits and 6 number ones, British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s. They were the first act to have three singles at number one, and all 6 chart hits of the Wolverhampton band were written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best-selling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody,” sold over a million copies.
However, for us, Slade’s best songs are “Far Far Away,” “Cum On Feel The Noize,” and “Coz I Luv You.”
ABBA – Mamma Mia (1975)
One of ABBA’s biggest hits, but originally it was not even intended for single release. The group’s success in Australia with “I Do, I Do” created a huge demand for a follow-up single. After initially refusing, the Polar label reluctantly agreed, and “Mamma Mia” was released and became an even bigger hit – after which the single was released worldwide.
Steve Miller Band – Serenade (1976)
American guitarist, singer, and songwriter Steve Miller formed the band with his name and became one of the best blues musicians to emerge in the 1960s and psychedelic music. So much so, that his band became part of mainstream and popular rock in the 1970s with tracks like “Serenade.”
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky (1977)
“Out Of The Blue” is the seventh studio album by British rock group Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in October 1977. Written and produced by ELO’s frontman Jeff Lynne, the double album is among the group’s most commercially successful records, selling about 10 million copies worldwide. Among its biggest hits, we find “Mr. Blue Sky” or “Turn To Stone.”
Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy (1978)
The massive disco hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” turned Rod Stewart into a legend, a singer who had such a prominent career as a vocalist in different groups and solo that, more than a legend, he is already considered a myth in music. As a sample, this song.
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk (1979)
“Tusk” is the twelfth album by the British/American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Released in 1979, it is considered experimental, mainly due to the sparser composition arrangements of Lindsey Buckingham and the influence of punk rock and new wave on its production techniques. Bassist John McVie commented that the album sounds like “the work of three separate artists” (Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie), while Mick Fleetwood later proclaimed it as his favorite and best studio album created by the group. It cost over a million dollars to record it (a fact widely noted in the 1979 press), and it was the most expensive rock album made up to that point.
“Tusk” reached number 4 in the US, spent over five months in the top 40, and was certified double platinum for selling two million copies. It reached number 1 in the UK and earned a platinum award for shipments exceeding 300,000 copies. The album gave the group two top-ten hits in the US, with the title track written by Buckingham and a composition by Stevie Nicks called “Sara.”
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.