My Favorite Songs From the 1970s

It may seem rather strange for someone like me, who was born in the mid-1970s, to be writing about the music of the 1970s. Between hearing the 1970s music my parents listened to when I was a kid, as well as other 1970s songs I’ve heard over the years, I have developed an appreciation for the music of that decade.

The 1970s started out with the soft rock sounds made popular by acts such as the Carpenters, Jim Croce, and Gordon Lightfoot. The 1970s also saw a rise in singer-songwriters such as Carly Simon and James Taylor. The 1970s ended up ending with disco dominating popular music.

In alphabetical order, here are some of the songs I feel were the best of the 1970s:

The Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together”: This was a hit for the duo in 1975, and it’s such a fun and catchy song. Even their recent divorce announcement hasn’t dampened my enjoyment of this song.

Carpenters – “Goodbye to Love”: For the type of image the Carpenters had, this is actually a relatively “dark” song for them; while it may be more “dark” in tone, it’s a good song. At times, Karen’s vocals are quite haunting. This is a song I actually gravitated to during my senior year of high school, which was the 1992-1993 school year. Even though the song was nearly twenty years old, there was just something about it that reverberated with a disillusioned teenager.

Jim Croce – “Time in a Bottle”: Jim Croce died much too young, and I wish he had been able to write and record more material. But from what he did release, this is definitely my favorite. It’s a sweet and simple love song.

England Dan and John Ford Coley – “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”: I think what grabs me the most about this songs is its simplicity. Not only does it have a rather simple musical arrangement, but the message of the song is simple and easy for the listener to understand and relate to.

Gloria Gaynor – “I Will Survive”: This one has gone down in infamy as a kind of disco women’s liberation anthem. You can just hear in Gloria’s voice that she means what she’s singing.

Gordon Lightfoot – “If You Could Read My Mind”: This was one of Gordon’s most successful songs. It’s a simple, yet haunting song. You can just hear the emotion in his voice as he sings the words.

Linda Ronstadt – “You’re No Good”: This was one of Linda’s biggest hits in the 1970s, and I really appreciate how she uses her voice to emphasize the point of the song. You believe that she means what she’s singing.

Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain”: I love the attitude in this song, especially the line, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” We may never know who Carly actually wrote the song about, but in a lot of ways, I don’t think it really matters.

Donna Summer – “On the Radio”: In my opinion, this is one of the best songs Donna released during her disco era. The subject of the song is something that a lot of people can relate to, regardless of whether or not they may have heard a song dedicated on the radio and think that it was about them.

James Taylor – “Fire and Rain”: This is a song I gravitated to when a good friend of mine killed herself during our junior year of high school. While not all the lyrics fit the situation, it was always the chorus that leaped out at me. In fact, that is still the case.

There’s so many more great songs released in the 1970s, but these are the ones that came into my head first as I sat down to write this.


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