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The 1970's Pt. 1 (1970-74)

 

The 1970's. Lists, Charts and Cover Songs (1970-74)

Tapestry from my collection
There is too much to talk about for the 1970's so I'll split this one up. Parts one and two will largely focus on songs and charts by year and part three I will look at genres, key artists, trends and cultural impact. I have touched on this decade in many of my posts, for me personally the 70's is the more formative era for my musical experience. Many of us cling to the music of our youth, for me talking about this time takes me from late elementary, then high school through to college. 

If you read my post on The 60's I described it as the decade with the greatest change and the most impactful era of Popular music, and I stand by that assessment. However if you take any stretch of 10 years of music you will see if not a new genre, then several sub and sub sub genre. The 1970's produced some of the greatest music of any era. Staying true to my mandate I have to point out that cover songs play an important part. They sometimes appear on the charts years after the original, as a result when tracking cover song statistics there are a number of data points that alter a songs place in history. 

If I have learned anything about looking at music charts from any given week or year is that the #1 songs are not always the most enduring tunes. Today, looking at the 1970's in particular there are several all-time top ranked songs that did not chart top 5 on any given week and sometimes not even appearing in the top 100 at all. Many great songs appeared only on albums, particularly in the 1970's. These albums may have charted on the top Albums list but many of the songs were never released as a single so therefore did not chart. However, over time, perspective and perhaps with a cover version or two, it somehow elevates a song to a placing on the All-time lists and certainly into our long-lasting memories. 

There are many subjective lists and opinions on the greatest songs from any span of time, often based on taste. Some great songs and artists don't make these lists and many of our favorites are overlooked. In truth empirical data while not always reliable should perhaps play more of a role. I'd have to say the Billboard and Cash Box rankings lean toward the numbers rather than the subjective, but not always. For example what was known as the Easy Listening chart in the 1970's (now Adult Contemporary) was an arbitrary separation or subtraction of perceived Rock and Roll songs and what was left over made up the Easy Listening chart list. This is another reason to reference other lists that are both reputable and well researched. 

To focus on what was popular for each year of the 70's I will adjust accordingly but also get to the issue of chart positions. If applicable I will cross reference it in a wider context. For example as mentioned, I will look at the Rolling Stone Magazine ranked list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time 2021 edition (referenced as 500 Greatest) and from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the unranked list is The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll (referenced as 500 Shaped) . Also included in my research were Year and Decade end charts, and aggregate listings such as Acclaimed Music. 


1970


We can't really draw a line in the sand of music just because the clock strikes in a new decade, so here is a bit of recap of what happened in the 1969/70 overlap. Coming off of the Woodstock (1969) hangover no one was game for another mega concert on that scale but many of the performers enjoyed the success of the Woodstock album released in May of 1970. The first week of the R&B chart had the 1969 carry over #1 from the last song by Diana Ross & The Supremes, "Someday We'll Be Together". They held their farewell concert on January 14, 1970.  

While unofficially The Beatles were done in 1969 and they had all nearly completed their solo projects, it had never been announced because they still had two unreleased albums. Unfortunately the news (sort of) came by way of Paul McCartney's statement in April that was included in his release to Radio Stations in the UK with advance copies of his solo album McCartney. He was angry over the release date decision by Apple/United Records in putting out Let it Be and therefore delaying his album. It was this announcement of his solo effort that was interpreted as a Beatles breakup notice. This was all really due to a complicated contractual issue, but Paul took it personally, the shite hit the fan in the Press and the fallout led to many lawsuits and a very messy end to The Fab Four. 

The American draft had started in December of 1969 and 1970 would see an escalation in the Vietnam war. We would also see increased protests against it. There was the May 4th tragedy at Kent State University were four unarmed students were shot and killed and nine injured by The National Guard, and the subsequent song written by Neil Young "Ohio".

The top charting song for the year end from the Billboard Hot 100 was Simon and Garfunkels "Bridge Over Troubled Water". It also tops the list at 592 cover versions for songs to have originated from 1969 as it was recorded in August but not released until January 20,1970. The 500 Greatest list puts it at #47. Also on the year end chart was a cover of "(They Long to Be) Close to You" by the Carpenters as the #2 song.  At #3 was The Guess Who with "American Woman", it was paired with "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" and the two/three songs spent three weeks at #1 in May. "No Time" hit #5 and was the third million selling single from the same album. They were the first Canadian Rock Band to reach number #1 on Billboard, preceded only by Paul Anka (1957), Percy Faith (1960) and Lorne Green (1964). While I am being a Canadian homer here, Anne Murray would hit #1 two months later in July of 1970 in both the US and Canada on the Adult Contemporary Chart with "Snowbird".

The phenomenon known as Jacksonmania saw the Jackson Five dominate the R&B charts. In 1970 Billboard labeled the R&B chart as the Best Selling Soul Singles. The 'Five' had four #1's in 1970 starting with "I Want You Back" in January for four weeks, "ABC" in April for four weeks, "The Love You Save" for six weeks in June/July and "I'll Be There" also for six weeks in October/November.  Aretha Franklin  have two #'1's and Diana Ross had her first solo #1 with a cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and The Supremes (now with Jean Terrell on lead vocals) would hit #1 with "Stoned Love".

Some historic albums were released this year, The Beatles last two; Abbey Road and Let It Be, Led Zeppelin II hit number one on the Album chart twice that year and Bridge Over Troubled Waters was at #1 for ten weeks. Paul McCartney was #1 for three weeks with his debut solo album McCartney containing the hit single "Maybe I'm Amazed". CCR's Cosmos Factory was #1 for eight weeks and at the end of the year we had Led Zeppelin III split the charts with the second album released by Carlos Santana, Abraxas which spent a combined 6 weeks at #1, it contained two of his signature songs "Oye Cómo Va" and "Black Magic Woman", both cover songs by the way.


This is a pivotal year as Rock & Roll had given way to Rock. While the success of some of the late 1960's groups was the catalyst, many new Rock bands were forming in 1970 such as Kansas and The Doobie Brothers. I will expand on this in Pt. 3.


The most covered song to originate in this year is The Theme from Love Story, which was a movie starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neil. While the instrumental version written by Francis Lai and performed with his Orchestra has the most covers, combined with about 100 or so of the vocal track, there are 333 versions of the song. "(Where do I Begin) Love Story" lyrics were written by Carl Sigman who had penned many hit songs up to this point. The first recording was by Andy Williams in December 1970 but was first released as a single in January of 1971 where it hit #1 on The Easy Listening Chart and #9 on the Hot 100.

The next most covered tune is "Your Song" from Elton John and Bernie Taupin recorded in January of 1970. There are 319 versions of this song that was actually first released on the album It Ain't Easy by Three Dog Night in March of 1970. John's was released in April and it hit #7 in the UK and #8 on Billboard in the US. While it has dropped down the Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest, Elton's song is ranked at #202 it is also in The Grammy Hall of Fame and on the 500 Shaped list. This is one of many examples of what I was talking about earlier, "Your Song" passed 100's songs with higher chart positions in the 1970's alone to gain these rankings. 

The third most covered song from 1970 is Donny Hathaway's  "This Christmas" with 265 versions. The song got off to a bit of a slow start but has become a perennial favorite that's hit the Holiday Song charts from 2014 to 2021. Considered by many to be the premier Holiday song to be written by African Americans as Donny's co-writer was Nadine McKinnor.

There are a total of twenty songs on the 500 Greatest list from this year:
"Sunday Morning Coming", Down Kris Kristofferson, "Move On Up" Curtis Mayfield, "Into the Mystic" Van Morrison, "Father and Son" Cat Stevens, "Lola" The Kinks, "Box of Rain" and "Ripple" Grateful Dead, "Paranoid" Black Sabbath, "After the Gold Rush" Neil Young, "Sweet Jane" Velvet Underground, "Pressure Drop" Toots & the Maytals, Coal Miner’s Daughter Loretta Lynn, Layla Derek and the Dominoes, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours" Stevie Wonder, "Your Song" Elton John, "Sex Machine" James Brown, "Fire and Rain" James Taylor, "Let It Be" The Beatles and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" Simon and Garfunkel.

On the 500 Shaped list we have many of the same tunes (in italic print) as the above list as well as some interesting contrasts. There is; Black Sabbath with “Iron Man” and “Paranoid”, James Brown "Sex Machine", Eric Clapton's cover of JJ Cale's "After Midnight", Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Ohio", Derek and the Dominos “Layla”, Free "All Right Now", The Grateful Dead “Uncle John's Band”, Jackson 5 "ABC", Elton John, "Your Song", The Kingsmen “Louie Louie", The Kinks “Lola”, John Lennon “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)”, Paul McCartney “Maybe I'm Amazed”, Van Morrison "Moondance", Santana “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water", Edwin Starr "War", James Taylor “Fire and Rain”, Toots & the Maytals “Pressure Drop”. 

1971


Year end R&B charts list "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight, "Family Affair" by Sly and the Family Stone", and King Floyd's only #1 hit song "Groove Me". Honey Cone was signed to the new label Hot Wax formed by Holland, Dozier and Holland after they left Motown in 1968, they had the crossover hit "Want Ads" which went #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 for one week and the R&B Soul Singles chart for three weeks.

Then there was Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" written by Al Cleveland, Marvin Gaye and Renaldo Benson, it was recorded in 1970 and ends up being the fourth most covered song from that year with 227 versions. It peaked at #2 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1971, but did not make the year end top 100. It spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Soul Singles chart and ranked #2 for the year end. The song was ranked #4 on the 500 Greatest list, now #6. It also appears on several R&B all time lists such as Acclaimed Music at #1, Dave's Music at #6 and the 500 Shaped list. Here we see a song that was not even ranked for the year end on the Billboard Hot 100 but has been recognized as one of the best songs ever recorded in Popular music. The Album of the same name however charted #1.

Pitchfork ranks Sly and the Family Stone at #1 for 1971 and the fourth best album of the 1970's for There’s a Riot Goin’ On and Rolling Stone Magazine places it #39 of the 100 Greatest Albums.

Some of the R&B songs on the 500 Shaped list include; The Chi-Lites “Have You Seen Her”, Al Green "Let's Stay Together", Isaac Hayes “Theme from Shaft”, The Staple Singers "Respect Yourself" and War “Slippin’ into Darkness”.

Billboard's Hot 100 Year end singles list had "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night at #1 followed by "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart (which was originally the "B" side release), "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move" was a double "A" side hit for Carole King and rounding out the top five was "One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds and 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by the Bee Gees. 

The most covered song from this year is "Imagine" by John Lennon, the Album hit #1 on charts around the world and the only thing preventing it from topping the singles charts is that it was not released until four years later. The song holds its #3 rank on the 500 Greatest list and is included on the 500 Shaped list.

The next at 397 versions is the Carole King penned song "You've Got a Friend" which was not released as a single by her, but James Taylor's cover hit #1 on major US charts and many top tens around the world.  However it is Kings original on the 500 Shaped list.

The next most covered with 348 versions is Bill Withers "Ain't No Sunshine" which peaked at #6 on the Soul Singles chart and top five on the other US charts. It finished the year at #23 on the Hot 100. It was ranked #21 on the year end Soul Singles. It shows at #108 for R&B Songs of the 1970's and #512 All-time.

Here is a song that was hit several times and it's the fourth most covered song from 1971, "Always on My Mind". Written by Wayne Carson who also wrote "The Letter" by The Box Tops, Mark James (Suspicious Minds, Moody Blue and Hooked on a Feeling) and Johnny Christopher. First recorded in late 1971 by Brenda Lee, but her release (June 1972) was delayed and followed the first by Gwen McCrae from March 1972. Lee charted #45 on the US Country chart. Next done by Elvis Presley and it hit on the Country Charts, #16 on Billboard, #4 in Canada and #9 in the UK. John Wesley Ryles would hit the Country chart at #20 in 1979. Then it was Willie Nelson who had the next biggest hit as his 1982 version went #1 on the Country Charts, #2 on Adult Contemporary and #5 on The Hot 100. It went Platinum in the US meaning it sold over one million copies. Certainly the most recognizable version of the song in North America. However across the pond The Pet Shop Boys version in 1987 would chart #1 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 in nine other European Countries, including many top 10's around the world. It peaked at #4 on Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

As mentioned John Lennon's Album Imagine hit #1 for one week, at the beginning of the year we had George Harrison's All Things Must Pass at #1 for seven weeks. Carole King's Tapestry was #1 for 15 consecutive weeks (#10 all time Billboard albums) yet oddly ranked #2 for the year end behind Jesus Christ Superstar that was #1 for only 3 weeks. Other top albums were Pearl, Janis Joplin, Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones, and Santana III. 

Hard Rock was going strong and on the 500 Shaped List from 1971 we have; Jethro Tull “Aqualung” and Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven” is one of five of their songs to make the list. The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses", T. Rex “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”, The Who “Baba O'Riley”, Alice Cooper “I'm Eighteen” all making the same list.

The Country Album charts were dominated by Lynn Anderson with Rose Garden for fourteen weeks at #1 followed by You're My Man for seven weeks at #1. Her single "Rose Garden" was a cover of the singer/songwriter Joe Souths 1968 release. Anderson hit #1 on the Country Singles Chart, Cash Box Top 100 and nine more #1's around the world. It would reach #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sell over one million copies. Ray Price, Freddie Hart, Charlie Pride and Johnny Cash would all hit with #1 albums. 

There are a total of twenty songs on the 500 Greatest list from this year and 16 on the 500 Shaped list. Here is a comparison of the two lists for 1971 only. I have to say this was a lot of work but I found it instructive as we see some overlap of songs and a vast variety of chart placements. This also demonstrates what has been said about any kind of music list-no two are the same. 

DNC=Did not Chart  (A)=Album release only

Chart Peak=Major US/UK/CAN

Artist

Song

500 Greatest

500 Shaped

Chart Peak

Cover Song

Marvin Gaye

What’s Goin’ On

6

Yes

#1

 

John Lennon

Imagine (A)

19

Yes

#1

 

Joni Mitchell

A Case of You (B-side)

26

No

DNC

 

Sly and the Family Stone

Family Affair

57

No 

#1

 

Al Green

Let’s Stay Together

84

Yes

#1

 

David Bowie

Life on Mars

105

No

#3

 

Rod Stewart

Maggie May

141

Yes

#1

 

The Who

Baba O’Riley

159

Yes

#55

 

The Rolling Stones

Wild Horses

193

Yes

#11

 

David Bowie

Changes

200

No

#10

 

Joni Mitchell

River (A)

247

No

DNC

 

Gil-Scott Heron

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

258

No

DNC

 

Dolly Parton

Coat of Many Colors

263

No

#4

 

The Who

Won’t Get Fooled Again

295

No

#7

 

Bill Withers

Ain’t No Sunshine

309

No

#5

 

Black Sabbath

Iron Man

344

No

#52

 

Carole King

It’s Too Late

345

No

#1

 

John Prine

Angel from Montgomery

350

No

DNC

 

T. Rex

Cosmic Dancer (A)

445

No

#1

 

Nilsson

Without You

496

No

#1

Yes

Jethro Tull

Aqualung (A)

No

 Yes

#7

 

Led Zeppelin

Stairway to Heaven (Album)

No

 Yes

#1

 

T. Rex

Bang a Gong (Get It On)

No

 Yes

#1

 

Alice Cooper

I’m Eighteen

No

 Yes

#21

 

Carole King

You’ve Got a Friend(A)

No

 Yes

#1

 

The Chi-Lites

Have You Seen Her

No

 Yes

#1

 

Isaac Hayes

Theme from Shaft

No

 Yes

#1

 

The Staple Singers

Respect Yourself

No

 Yes

#2

 

War

Slippin’ into Darkness

No

 Yes

#12

 

Don McLean

American Pie

No

 Yes

#1

 



1972


In "a case of you" are counting this was 50 years ago and I remember (with the odd exception) all of these songs very well 😮 On the Billboard Hot 100 charts this year we see Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" as the song of the year. It hit #1 for six weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and six other charts as well as many top 10's around the world. At #2 is "Alone Again (Naturally)" Gilbert O'Sullivan was #1 for four weeks, the next two songs were released in 1971 and noted above were at #3 "American Pie" Don McLean four weeks at #1, #4 "Without You" Harry Nilsson four weeks at #1. At  #5 "The Candy Man" Sammy Davis Jr. was #1 for 3 weeks. The #1, #4 and #5 songs were all cover versions. Other songs that hit #1 that year; "Me and Mrs. Jones" Billy Paul for three weeks, "I Can See Clearly Now" Johnny Nash for four weeks and "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me" Mac Davis for four weeks. None of these songs appear as part of the 19 songs listed on the 500 Greatest List from 1972. There are however four other songs from the 1972 Billboard Hot 100 #1's weekly list that appear on the 500 Greatest list

On the R&B charts, Al Green spent 35 weeks on the charts with four different songs, including "Let's Stay Together" which hit #1 for nine weeks on the R&B chart and #1 Billboard Hot 100 the week ending Feb. 12. Also hitting #1 including one week on the Billboard Hot 100 were The Staple Singers, "I'll Take You There", Bill Withers "Lean on Me" also a #1 for three weeks on Billboard Hot 100, The Spinners, "I'll Be Around" then James Brown appeared twice, "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing (Pt. 1)" and "Get On the Good Foot". Aretha Franklin "Day Dreaming" and The Dramatics, "In the Rain" both hit #1.

Here is a different look at all the 1972 songs ranked on the 500 Greatest list relative to its peak chart position in the US/UK/CAN.

12 Superstition, Stevie Wonder, charted in US, Dec. #1 end of Jan.1973
47 Tiny Dancer, Elton John, #41 US Billboard Hot 100, no UK release
86 Tumbling Dice, The Rolling Stones, #5 UK, #7 US
149 Rocket Man, Elton John, #2 UK, US #6
162 Pink Moon, Nick Drake, album title track, did not chart (DNC)
166 All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople, #3 UK, #37 US
180 Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed, UK #10, US #16
183 You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder #1 US, #3 R&B/1973
186 I’ll Take You There, Staple Singers US #1, #1 R&B 
236 Lean on Me, Bill Withers #1 US, #1 R&B
259 Heart of Gold, Neil Young,  #1 US, CAN, #10 UK
261 Pusherman, Curtis Mayfield, #1 Album Charts not released as single
274 Love and Happiness, Al Green, not released as single until 1977 DNC
275 Sail Away, Randy Newman, US Album chart #163
333  Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, The Temptations, #1 US, #3 R&B
348 Virginia Plain, Roxy Music, #4 UK not released in US as single
361 The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff, Movie Soundtrack, no single
495 You’re So Vain, Carly Simon, entered US Dec for 3 wks, #1 in 1973
498 Pancho and Lefty, Townes Van Zandt, Album DNC/W.Nelson #1/1983

In terms of cover versions you will see the #1 most covered from this year is "Killing Me Softly with His Song", it was made into a hit song as noted below for '1973'. At #2 is "You are the Sunshine of My Life" written and performed by Stevie Wonder who is the the top ten list of Pop Artists for most song titles and most covers, this is his most popularly covered song currently with 314 versions. Next is The "Love Theme from "The Godfather (Speak Softly Love)". It was written by the renowned composer Nino Rota as an instrumental.  Lyrics were added by Larry Kusick and first recorded by Andy Williams. The song has been translated into at least a dozen languages for a total of 272 versions. The fourth most covered at 263 versions was originally written and recorded in Portuguese "Águas de Março"/"Waters of March by Antônio Carlos Jobim who is a leader in career cover songs as he also co-wrote "Garota de Ipanema"/"The Girl from Ipanema among others.

There are two songs from this year in particular that I am surprised that did not make the 500 Greatest list, first is "American Pie" by Don McLean. Released in 1971 it first charted #1 in 1972 and #3 on the year end chart. Over 3 million copies sold in the US alone. The All Time Billboard Chart puts it at #210. It is on the list of the 500 Shaped and #5 on the RIAA Songs of the Century list. It has never appeared on any of the three lists of 2004, 2010 and 2021.

The other song is Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", apart from the accolades already mentioned it was #4 on the R&B chart, #1 Easy Listening and used as a wake up song on Apollo 17. Since this list began in 1946, Flack would be the just the third woman (solo) to have the year end #1 and the first Black woman. Up to this point the R&B list had only three females with the #1 song, Ruth Brown in 1953, Aretha Franklin in 1967 and Jean Knight in 1971. Flack would be the fourth on that list with "Feel Like Makin' Love" in 1974. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was most certainly helped by its appearance in Clint Eastwood's movie Play Misty for Me. Unlike the three names in the previous 27 years, female solo/lead/duet singers would have the Song of the Year another 10 times after 1974 up to 1999 on the mainstream chart and 7 times on the R&B. I think this song was a catalyst that moved the recording business to invest more in female and in particular more Black lead/solo singers.

1973


"Killing Me Softly with His Song" gave Roberta Flack an unprecedented second year in a row with the Song of the Year at the Grammys. It originated as mentioned above in 1972 with Lori Lieberman and is the #1 most covered song from that year with 375 versions. Flack released her version in 1973. Said to have been inspired by Don Mclean, song credits have been disputed for this and I have covered that off in a prior post, but officially it remains as Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. Billboard placed the song at #3 for the year end.

The #1 song of the year was "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando and Dawn, which was a worldwide smash hit. It sold 3 million copies in three weeks and was played 3 million times on radio in its first year. Oh yes I got sick of it too!

At #2 was "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce. It was his only #1 hit song (2 weeks in July) before his untimely death in a plane crash at age 30 on September 20. His song "Time in a Bottle" hit #1 for the last week of December. Other Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits included Elton John with "Crocodile Rock". Helen Reddy with "Delta Dawn" and the Carpenters were "On Top of the World". Former Beatles Paul, George and Ringo all had #1 songs and The Rolling Stones with "Angie". Stevie Wonder had two #1's with "Superstition" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" which was released in 1972. 

Stevie Wonder would have three #1's on the Hot Soul Singles (R&B) chart. He was joined by The O'Jays with "Love Train", Gladys Knight and The Pips with "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)"and "Midnight Train to Georgia" and Marvin Gaye with "Let's Get it On". 

A peak at the 500 Greatest list for 1973 gives us "Rosalita" by Bruce Springsteen which was not a popular song at the time and was never released as a single. Nevertheless a great song that has stood the test of time. Also on the list is "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd , "Personality Crisis" by The New York Dolls and "Ooh la la" by The Faces. 

1974


Roberta Flack makes another appearance this time with an original recording of the #1 Hot Soul Single "Feel Like Makin' Love" written by singer/songwriter Gene McDaniels. Artists that hit #1 this year more than once include three songs by James Brown, such as "Payback Pt. 1" and Stevie Wonder hit three times with tunes like "You Haven't Done Nothin' ", Aretha Franklin had two #1's "I'm in Love" and "Livin' for You" and Gladys Knight and The Pips had three #1's such as "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me".

The only R&B song from this year on the 500 Greatest list is "Be Thankful for What You Got" written and recorded by William DeVaughn it spent one week at #1 and reached #4 on the Hot 100 weekly charts. 

The other songs on the 500 Greatest list by rank are; #239-"September Gurls" by Big Star, #266-"King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown" by Augustus Pablo, #404- "Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss and #464- "Help Me" by Joni Mitchell. Country Music is represented by Dolly Parton with "Jolene" at #63.

From the 500 Shaped list we have only two songs that appear on the 500 Greatest list;  Big Star “September Gurls” and Joni Mitchell "Help Me". The other songs being: Average White Band “Pick Up the Pieces”, Jackson Browne “Late for the Sky”, Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Billy Joel “Piano Man” (released in 1973) which has dropped off the 500 Greatest list, Kraftwerk “Autobahn”, Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama”, in addition to Bob Marley & the Wailers “No Woman, No Cry”, there is also "I Shot the Sheriff", and ZZ Top with “La Grange”. 

On the Billboard Hot 100 Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" was #1 for one week as it carried over from 1973. There were a total of 37 songs that reached #1 and only three lasted for at least three weeks. Terry Jacks "Seasons in the Sun", "The Streak" by Ray Stevens and "You're Having My Baby" by Paul Anka. The end of the year ranking put 'The Way We Were" by Barbra Streisand which was #1 for two weeks in February. The three week songs ended the year ar #2, #9 and #26 respectively. 

Of note Joni Mitchell's song that appears on both of the '500' lists above peaked at #7 on The Hot 100 and ended the year ranked #53. It did reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for one week, it finished the year in Canada ranked #74. The only other tune on both lists is "September Gurls" by Big Star which did not appear on any chart that I could find. Not only that but I don't think they charted anything-ever, yet they are highly ranked almost across the board for some of their albums and the song "Thirteen" which was dropped from the 500 Greatest list. 


That's the end of Part 1 of the 1970's, I will publish Part 2 as soon as I get it started/finished and follow with a Part 3.

Thanks as always for reading by blog, I had a single month record in December with over 13,300 pageviews. I added 14 new countries in 2021 and as I write this that total is up to 115. As long as you keep reading I will keep writing!



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  The 1960's Fully discussing a decade of music in one post is nearly impossible, but if you look back, I have done blogs titled: 1960, 1969 and The Greatest Pop Rock Ballads of the '60s. I’ve also featured a number of artists and songs that were prominent during those 10 years. However, there are a number of significant gaps where I have missed singers, groups and songs that were popular in the 60s and many have an enduring quality as well. Certainly, the TV and Movie Industry has done a great job using songs from this era, whether the subject matter was from this time period or not. Apart from many of the songs being a lot of fun, others, including myself, have described the 1960s pop music scene as being divided by pre- and post-Beatles/"British Invasion". At the same time, while the Fab Four and similar bands had a significant impact, and were followed by the inevitable look and soundalike bands, enter ' The Monkees ', but not everyone was trying to emulat

The Mojo Triangle

The Mojo Triangle Source: USA Today Writer James L. Dickerson coined the brilliant term Mojo Triangle in 2005, before I learned of it I had referred to the area as the reverse Bermuda Triangle of music. This (among other things I'll admit) is why I write a blog and he is the award winning author of Mojo Triangle: Birthplace of Country, Blues, Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll . I confess I haven't gotten round to reading it yet but I've been itching to write about the area for some time and I have researched the names and places for several years now. The 'triangle' refers to the geographic region with Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans as the three corners. The states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana are at the core. We know it as part of the "Deep South" and it's been referred to by other music related terms that pre date the 'Mojo' handle such as "America's Musical Triangle" and the "Americana Musical Triang

Groundbreakers Part 2

  Groundbreakers Part 2 Rock & Roll I have talked about R&R in numerous posts, and I have many reasons for doing so, aside from the many great songs. R&R revolutionized Popular music and by extension almost every facet of the music industry. The music itself, even today, has not definitively been described to my or many others satisfaction. But here are some things that we do know, it's genesis came from Rhythm and Blues and we can give that a full stop. We also know there were many other influences that brought about this phenomenon that kicked off a music frenzy in the mid 1950's. For example it's also an amalgam of many forms of music including Country, Folk and the wild child of Hillbilly music known as Rockabilly. In the early days we have artists such as the New Orleans sound from Lloyd Price and Fats Domino under the same umbrella as Etta James, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets and I could go on. Sometimes just bas

When did Rock drop the Roll?

  When did Rock drop the Roll? They Called it Rock Since Rock and Roll was such a groundbreaking development in Music, I set myself to reading more about the genre itself, more specifically its definition and the subsequent application of related subgenre.  I have been reluctant to give in to the idea that Rock and Roll (the genre that came first), it is now widely considered a subgenre of Rock Music. To me this sounds like a rearranging the order of things. Maybe you're like me, I thought it was always genre first then your various subgenre and sub subs and so on. This is not a chicken and the egg thing, Rock and Roll came first. I think it is generally accepted that a genre refers to a particular style and is most often applied to Literature and Music. The word has the same root as genus, which is applied to the natural world to classify plants and animals. Music that is 'Rock' related certainly had its DNA come from Rock 'n' Roll.  However the prevailing consensu

Happy Holidays 2021

  Happy Holidays!   Whether you view the upcoming holidays as a secular event, religious or a bit of both there's one thing that's synonymous with this time of year- Christmas songs! You don't have to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday to enjoy a good song. Maybe you celebrate "Festivus" on December 23 which is a fictional/parody holiday created by Daniel O'Keefe of Readers Digest fame, it was of course made popular by Seinfeld as an alternative to Christmas. The topic of many songs is based on love, family and fellowship. So what's wrong with that? Nothing I say! I have issued a post each year at this time and because of that I'm getting lazy this year and including much of that material with updated stats and links in today's post.  Many find it hard to relate to religious carols like " Silent Night " or even the more secular songs such as " White Christmas " and even the happy go lucky " Holly Jolly Christmas &qu

Women in Music

Women in Music Anne Murray Recently, while doing some research I was reminded that the history of ranking and rating recording artists really does give women the short shrift. My next post will be on May 6, it's the third anniversary of writing my blog and a bit too close to Mother's Day for this topic. So I'm getting ahead of that to celebrate Women (and many of them mothers) in music.  A  clue on Jeopardy also piqued my interest to dedicate a post. It was from April 7, 2021, "Last name of Fanny, seen here, (picture shown) some of her compositions were originally published under her brother Felix's name" and a contestant got it right, I however had no answer. I will get to that a bit later. I have pointed to this issue before, in several of my posts I discuss the lists of the greatest of this or that and in one post I was pointing out the systematic low ratio of airplay given to female Country singers. Last year women had 23% of the #1 songs, this is the high

Groundbreakers

  Groundbreakers in Music (Part 1) *Note to subscribers at the end So, what is a "Ground breaker" anyway. And is it two words or one? For my purposes, the Dictionary.com definition as a noun works for me; “a person who is an originator, innovator, or pioneer in a particular activity”. In the world of music there are many names that can fall into this category, and the contributions that qualify them are not only varied, but in many cases somewhat unrecognized.  The importance of history is often overlooked by those of us in the present, and I find it no different in music. What is also not dissimilar is the tendency to revise history and make attributions or proclamations where they are not warranted. For example, if we are talking about pop music in general, I've touched on the attention paid to the first/best of this or that, such as the very first Rock & Roll song. As for that, I think I debunked one of the prevailing songs given that moniker, "Rocket 88"