Ahh, yes.. The 70′s and its music. If you were around back then, you know what I’m talking about and if you weren’t, you don’t know what you missed! Things were cool and groovy. Bell bottom jeans, pet rocks, water beds and streaking. Sometimes it was not all that great. Vietnam, Watergate, Jonestown and the Ayatollah Khomeini.
People and events come and go, but thankfully we still have some of the best rock music ever made to listen to and reminisce. The 70′s gave us everything from “Layla”, “Freebird” and “Hotel California” to “We Will Rock You”, “Roxanne”, “Another Brick In The Wall” and hundreds more classic rock hits that helped define the generation. And the 70′s just happen to be mine. We’ll kick it off with 1970 of course and work our way from there.
Top 10 Rock Songs of 1970
1. Layla – Derek and the Dominos
This was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon and if you don’t know this already, it’s about Clapton’s love for Patti Boyd… the wife of his friend George Harrison. Clapton eventually married Patti in 1979 and George Harrison even attended the wedding. Eric and Patti divorced in 1989, but “Layla” is considered one of the best rock love songs of all time. Eric wrote 1977′s “Wonderful Tonight” about Patti also.
2. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
This was a huge hit for the duo but it’s recording exposed the tensions between Paul and Art that eventually led to their break up later that year. They’ve patched up their relationship and have worked together since. One of my favorite tunes, if it’s on the radio, I have to listen to it!
3. Let It Be – The Beatles
Written by Paul McCartney, it was inspired by a dream about his mother who died when Paul was fourteen. It was released when the Beatles were in the middle of breaking up, which shocked the music world! A timeless classic for sure!
4. Your Song – Elton John
The lyrics are by Bernie Taupin, which he wrote during breakfast and Elton John said he composed the music in about ten minutes! That’s talent for you. Sir Elton John claims it’s one of his favorite songs and he plays it often in his concerts.
5. Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine – James Brown
Truth be told, I don’t remember hearing this song on the radio, perhaps because of the songs title. But if you like funk music you have to start with James Brown. He’s known as the “Godfather of Soul” but he’s the “Inventor of Funk”. And talk about a storied life, wow! Someone make a movie about this guy!
6. Lola – The Kinks
Inspired by the band managers night of dancing with a transvestite, this is still one cool song. The original version mentions “Coca Cola”, but due to the BBC’s policy against the use of brand names they had to change it to “Cherry Cola”. Ray Davies had to interrupt the US tour to fly back to London to record the new lyrics. A six thousand mile round trip journey… ahh, the good old days before computers!
7. Who’ll Stop the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Inspired in part by their gig at Woodstock, Dan Fogerty penned this folk-rock classic. In a nutshell, if we don’t solve our problems… who will.
8. Fire and Rain – James Taylor
Another folk-rock hit. Taylor says he wrote it about several things. The suicide of a close friend, his drug addiction and depression, his coming to grips with all this and his thrust into fame. The lyrics “Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground” are a reference to his band “The Flying Machine”, which never took off.
9. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
One of the first heavy metal hits I believe and I don’t think the word “Paranoid” even appears in the lyrics. Ozzy at his best!
10. All Right Now – Free
Free’s biggest hit, if you don’t remember it you will when you catch the first few beats! I thought it was Rod Stewart when I first heard it wayyy back when. 42 years later and I’d put this song up with any hits today.
These are the top Rock songs, you can see the Billboard 100 for 1970 Here. A lot of great songs to add to your collection if you don’t already have them.
Some other notes about 1970:
Jimi Hendrix dies of an overdose of sleeping pills on September 18, 1970.
Janis Joplin dies of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970… in just 16 days we lost two talented artists, both at the age of 27.
I’ll be adding to this and all the Years as we go along… so much Music, so little time!