‘Walk On The Wild Side’, ‘Mr. Blue Sky’, and ‘The Chain’ are among the most famous songs of the 1970s. These songs are timeless classics and many people still listen to them. But what are the other great songs from this era?
‘Walk On The Wild Side’
Marvin Gaye’s iconic title track, “Walk On The Wild Side,” was a game-changer, a breakaway from the trad Motown sound and a critical and commercial success. Released as the album’s lead single, it went on to become one of the most popular songs of the decade, and it even went to No. 2 on the US Billboard charts. This song helped make the album one of the best-selling albums of the decade, and its resounding success boosted the album to the top of the NME’s list of the best albums of the decade.
Although Lou Reed has only produced one top-ten hit, “Walk on the Wild Side” reached mainstream acceptance when it was used in a Honda scooter commercial. After the Velvet Underground’s disbanding, Reed went on to pursue a solo career. Although the group’s commercial success was uneven, Lou Reed’s creativity was undeniably influential, and “Walk on the Wild Side” reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac followed up with the equally iconic “Dreams” from Rumors (1977). The song opens with a memorable bassline, and Stevie Nicks lures listeners into a meditative world. This song defies the passing of time and continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
‘Mr. Blue Sky’
The song is one of the most recognizable songs of the 1970s, and is a staple on many film soundtracks. However, before moviemakers took notice of it, Mr. Blue Sky had already been a top hit for the Electric Light Orchestra. The song, released as a closer on their third side of a double album, was a huge hit in the UK and US, as well as Australia.
It was an amazing decade for music. From the great singer-songwriters of the 60s to the most experimental musicians of the era, the 70s provided a wide variety of musical genres and styles. From reggae (Bob Marley) to prog-rock (Elton John), from disco (Chic) to punk rock (The Clash), the 70s had it all.
The song is about a man’s feelings for his ex-girlfriend. He tells her that he will always be there for her and that she can come back to him if she chooses. It’s a heart-felt song that captures the mood of the 1970s.
The Rolling Stones were known for challenging society and didn’t shirk from tackling difficult topics. ‘Brown Sugar’ references the exploitation of black people in America, and is a metaphor for interracial relationships. The band was through several breakups while recording their Rumours album, and ‘Dreams’ deals with the emotional turmoil of long-term relationships ending.
In 1964, Paul McCartney wrote “She Loves You.” While he was working with John Lennon at the time, McCartney may have been influenced by the novel “The Go-Between.” The song is sung in second person and is one of the most famous songs of the decade.
This song was written for a AIDS pandemic, and its angst was evident in the vocals. Although it was written 11 years before the band’s first stadium show, the song is surprisingly powerful. McCartney’s funky piano playing adds a funky undercurrent to the tune. The song swings as much as anything McCartney had recorded since Lady Madonna.
The ‘Mr. McCartney’ song was also featured on the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. A segment of the song features Harrison sitting cross-legged on the ground pretending to play the piano. It was recorded while he was waiting for friends in the L.A. hills. The staccato delivery contrasts with the folkish lilt in the chorus.
“I Wish I Was a Loser” is another song by the Beatles that is surprisingly underrated. The song is so witty that it reminds me of a witty rocker. The lyrics are funny and have a great melange.
‘The Chain’ is one of the most famous rock songs of the 1970s, and for good reason. The song is a protest song against the Vietnam War. It’s also a statement against the status quo of our society, where the rich are too rich to fight for their country while poor people send their young men to die in the name of freedom. The song made Black Sabbath famous and helped bring counterculture people along for the ride.
‘The Chain’ is a song that is not only the band’s most popular single, but one of their most influential. The song is an early example of spliced together rock. It has a chorus and verse, and is influenced by folk and hard rock. It features the Dobro guitar, and is in the relative minor key of G major.
Another classic song by the Rolling Stones, ‘American Pie,’ was released in 1971. It was a huge hit and soared to #28 on the Billboard charts. The song was even featured in the hit movie Saturday Night Fever, performed by John Travolta. It sold over 3 million copies.
‘The Chain’ has been on the All-Time Greatest Songs of the 1970s for a while. It was written by David Bowie and Brian Eno and is a tribute to love. In fact, the song is about a snog between Visconti and his secret love. It was also produced by David Bowie and featured a woozy sax solo from Ronnie Ross, and a bass line from Herbie Flowers, later the producer of A Tribe Called Quest.
Originally written for Mick Jagger’s then-lover Marsha Hunt, ‘Brown Sugar’ oozes rock’n’roll fun and smack. It’s a kinetic, saxophone-driven number laced with a laid-back Keith Richards riff. It’s an all-time classic, and a definitive anthem for the 1970s.
While ‘Brown Sugar’ is considered one of the Stones’ best-known songs, it has faced censorship and controversy. Its coarse lyrics were often deemed offensive by fans and prompted the Rolling Stones to remove it from their concerts. In 1995, Mick Jagger disassociated himself with the song, claiming that he didn’t know what he was saying during the song. Critics viewed this as an attempt to curb the Stones’ cultural clout, but Jagger himself was uncomfortable with the lyrics.
The early Seventies were a difficult time in Western culture. However, the music of this decade was not only enjoyable, but also evocative. The songs of that era are part of the DNA of anyone who was alive during the time period. It was a time when radio was more important than television. The endless culture wars were just starting to take place, and pop music was reflecting the times.
The 1970s was also marked by a musical revolution. The emergence of synths and new wave gave way to a more expressive jazz-inflected sound. The Dolls, pioneers of the new wave sound, were among the first to take advantage of this. In the 1970s, they developed into an increasingly experimental sound.
The 1970s were filled with countless great songs that helped define the decade. The early 70s rock scene was full of songs that opened up new horizons and explored human relationships. “Go Your Own Way” by Lindsey Buckingham, “American Pie,” and “Baby O’Riley” by Bruce Springsteen are some examples of the great rock songs that came out during that decade.
“Baba O’Riley” is one of the best known songs from the 1970s. It was the opening track on The Who’s 1971 album Who’s Next and has become a anthem for the unsettled youth of the decade. Its most memorable lyric, “Teenage Wasteland,” has become a catchphrase for the song. The song’s title was also used on a ballad by Pete Townsend on his solo album Lifehouse.
Another great song from the 70s was ‘My Generation’ by the Rolling Stones. It was a rallying cry for the youth and is among the most-covered songs in rock history. The song was so popular that MTV even ran it as a video. It’s a perfect example of how rock and roll became a part of popular culture.
The song had a wide reach and was used in Cisco and Nissan Pathfinder ads. The Who used this song in concerts and their live performances and made it a favorite among concertgoers. The band’s albums The Kids Are Alright (1978), Concerts For the People of Kampuchea (1979), and The Who’s Last (1982) contain live versions of the song.