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10 Top Songs from the 70s – Eric Meier’s Favorites by Year

Carly Simon
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

For me there was no better decade of music than the 1970s. There were so many genres of music that formed the soundtrack of the decade. 1970 was coming off the Summer of Love while the middle of the decade saw the rise of the singer-songwriters and the decade ended with the rhythms of the discotheques. Here are my 10 favorites songs of the 70s by year:


Kentucky Rain/Elvis Presley



The King returned to his country and western roots with this maudlin track about a cross-country search for a lost love. The song preludes the careers of two major stars of music as it was written by Eddie Rabbit and featured Ronnie Milsap on piano.



Levon/Elton John



From 1971’s Madman Across the Water, “Levon” tells the story of three generations of a family. The title character in the song, Levon, is the middle generation. His son Jesus wants to leave his dad’s simple life behind and wants to reach for the stars.



You’re So Vain/Carly Simon



The enduring mystery of who exactly is the subject of Carly Simon’s rage in her seminal song. Mick Jagger provides back-up vocals on the song fueling speculation the song was about him. It’s not.



Band on the Run/Paul McCartney and Wings



The 3 part musical structure in the song help to tell the tale from the song melodic beginning to the rocking end. The song went to number 1 in 1973 knocking “The Streak” from Ray Stevens from the top spot on the charts.



Tin Man/America



A fantastic soft rock selection from the mellow and melodic mid 70s. “Tin Man” has some pretty obscure literary references even beyond the “Wizard of Oz” theme. It’s a pretty hefty track.



Tangled Up In Blue/Bob Dylan



The lead single from Blood on the Tracks is a typical deep Dylan epic with a strong story backed by his gruff voice, jangling guitar and searing harmonica.



Lowdown/Boz Scaggs



No album was cooler in 1976 than the soul and jazz inspired Silk Degrees from Boz Scaggs. Lowdown would pick up the Grammy award for Best R&B Song of the Year.



Isn’t It Time/The Babys



I wore out The Babys Anthology. John Waite is the lead vocalist for this English group. He would go on to front Bad English as well as a solo career including his landmark hit “Missing You.”



Hollywood Nights/Bob Seger and the Sliver Bullet Band



There are two concurrent drum track laid down on this song that help contribute it its driving beat. “Hollywood Nights” is the lead track from the 6x Platinum Stranger in Town album.



Brass in Pocket (I’m Special)/The Pretenders



The video for this song features lead singer Chrissie Hynde as a waitress and helped launch MTV. “Brass in Pocket” was the 7th song aired after they flipped the switch on Music Television.


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