SONGS of the 70s

The 60s were a time of social and political unrest in the U.S. and you could hear it in the music. As the 70s settled things back down a bit, the battle between artistic vs. commercial appeal would become a recurring theme in the music world. Much of the best music of the 60s balanced these opposing forces, but the 70s drew a line in the cocaine. Corporate rock became a “thing”, and just like that there was less overlap between what was massively popular and what was artistically satisfying. 

Rock radio dominated the AM airwaves and corporations saw music becoming big business. Even mediocre rock stars became millionaires as “Arena Rock” took off. Kicking back against this new trend, another branch of rock music got louder, faster, and snottier. The emergence of punk rock during the back half of the 70s acted as a rebel yell against the bombast. New York City birthed innovative bands like the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, and Television. Over in England first wave punks like Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned were ready to spit in the face of the establishment. These artists inspired decades of post-punk, college rock, alternative, grunge, and indie-rock that still resonates today. 

But this isn't to say that the biggest bands of the 70s couldn't kick a lot of ass - because they sure as hell could. Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, & The Who became just as adventurous in the studio as the stage - pushing and stretching the idea of what a rock song could sound like. Crossing borders came new sounds from Jamaica – Bob Marley and the Wailers became huge in the U.S., but Toots & the Maytals and Jimmy Cliff made reggae music that was just as vital. In Europe bands like Can, Kraftwerk, Faust, and Neu explored beyond rock’s edges and created whole new sounds combining rock with drone, jazz, drum machines, and synths. Back home Miles Davis was continuing to push the boundaries of jazz by adding electric guitar and the rhythms he heard from artists like James Brown and Sly Stone. The jazz fusion he pioneered led to some of the most exciting and far-reaching music of the decade. And the soul and R&B of the 60s grew wilder, sexier, druggier, and more celestial with artists like Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone, and Marvin Gaye. The music of the 70s was truly a melting pot of sounds, styles, and ambitions. 

Leading the way through it all was David Bowie. Every Bowie album was touched with genius, but he also played a huge role in shaping and developing essential music from The Stooges, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, John Lennon, Cher, Luther Vandross, Mott the Hoople, and Lou Reed.
I was born in 1975, so all of this music came to me well after the fact. There is something reassuring about knowing that I will always be the same age as Wish You Were Here.  I graduated 8th grade shouting along to Born To Run, high school entranced by Physical Grafitti, college dissecting Blood on the Tracks, and grad school in love with Horses. This is the playlist I click most often....



"Heroes" // David Bowie
Search and Destroy // The Stooges
Baba O'Reilly // The Who
Thunder Road // Bruce Springsteen
Right Off // Miles Davis
Rocks Off // The Rolling Stones
Machine Gun // Jimi Hendrix
White Man In Hammersmith Palais // The Clash
In The City // The Jam
When The Levee Breaks // Led Zeppelin

Born To Run // Bruce Springsteen
Sweet Jane // The Velvet Underground
Life on Mars? // David Bowie
American Girl // Tom Petty
Ooh La La // The Faces
London Calling // The Clash 
Maggot Brain // Funkadelic
Gloria // Patti Smith
Powderfinger // Neil Young
Instant Karma! // John Lennon

To Live Is To Fly // Townes Van Zandt
Rock and Roll // The Velvet Underground
Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine pt. 1 // James Brown
Hallogallo // Neu
Roadrunner // The Modern Lovers
Can You Get To That // Funkadelic
Bitches Brew // Miles Davis
Five Years // David Bowie
Teenage Kicks // The Undertones
Blank Generation // Richard Hell & The Voidoids

Complete Control // The Clash
September Gurls // Big Star
Layla // Derek & The Dominoes
Let It Be // The Beatles
Strangers // The Kinks
Marquee Moon // Television 
Street Hassle // Lou Reed
All The Young Dudes // Mott The Hoople
Tangled Up In Blue // Bob Dylan 
Family Affair // Sly & The Family Stone
War Pigs/Luke's Wall // Black Sabbath

Starry Eyes // The Records
Tumbling Dice // The Rolling Stones
Ashes to Ashes // David Bowie
The Harder They Come // Jimmy Cliff
Psycho Killer // The Talking Heads
What's Going On // Marvin Gaye
Kashmir // Led Zeppelin
Wuthering Heights // Kate Bush
Lean On Me // Bill Withers 
Wish You Were Here // Pink Floyd

Dream Baby Dream // Suicide
Down On The Street // The Stooges
Ex-Lion Tamer // Wire
No Action // Elvis Costello & The Attractions
It Makes No Difference // The Band
Heart of Glass // Blondie
I Wanna Be Your Lover // Prince
Rock and Roll All Night // Kiss
Up The Junction // Squeeze
Anarchy in the U.K. // The Sex Pistols
Personality Crisis // The New York Dolls

Backstreets // Bruce Springsteen 
Ziggy Stardust // David Bowie
No Woman No Cry // Bob Marley & The Wailers
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised // Gil-Scott Heron 
Surrender // Cheap Trick
One Track Mind // The Heartbreakers
The Passenger // Iggy Pop 
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight // Richard Thompson
Superstition // Stevie Wonder
Bridge Over Troubled Water // Simon & Garfunkel

For Baby (For Bobby) // John Denver
Know Your Product // The Saints
Shake Some Action // The Flamin' Groovies
Tired of Being Alone // Al Green 
Europe Endless // Kraftwerk
Helpless // Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
Too Late To Turn Back Now // Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose
Life's A Gas // T. Rex
Les Fleurs // Minnie Riperton
Tupelo Honey // Van Morrison

Sound & Vision // David Bowie
Tiny Dancer // Elton John 
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker // Ramones 
Midnight Train To Georgia // Gladys Knight & the Pips
The Promise // Bruce Springsteen
Boys Don't Cry // The Cure
Thirteen // Big Star
Maggie Mae // Rod Stewart
Public Image // Public Image Ltd.
Return of the Grievous Angel // Gram Parsons
Spanish Bombs // The Clash

Highway To Hell // ACDC
Ophelia // The Band 
Mother // John Lennon
Everybody Plays The Fool // The Main Ingredient
A Case of You // Joni Mitchell
Over The Hills And Far Away // Led Zeppelin
The Only Living Boy In New York // Simon & Garfunkel
Across 110th Street // Bobby Womack
Lust For Life // Iggy Pop 
Halleluhwah // Can
Let's Get It On // Marvin Gaye
Willin' // Little Feat

Moonlight Mile // The Rolling Stones
Beat The Retreat // Richard & Linda Thompson
Radio, Radio // Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Let It Loose // The Rolling Stones 
These Days // Jackson Browne
I Wanna Be Sedated // Ramones
Another Girl, Another Planet // The Only Ones
20th Century Boy // T. Rex
You Turn Me On I'm A Radio // Joni Mitchell
Could Heaven Ever Be Like This // Idris Muhammad
Everything Merges With The Night // Brian Eno
Looking For The Heart of Saturday Night // Tom Waits

Racing In The Street // Bruce Springsteen
Disco Devil // Lee "Scratch" Perry
Sweet Virginia // The Rolling Stones
Transmission // Joy Division
Funky Kingston // Toots & The Maytals
Gimme Danger // Iggy & The Stooges 
Rocket Man  // Elton John
Krautrock // Faust
What Is Life? // George Harrison
Iron Man // Black Sabbath
That's The Way The World Goes Round // John Prine

St. Dominick's Preview // Van Morrison
(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love, & Understanding // Elvis Costello
After The Gold Rush // Neil Young
Angels of Sunlight // Alice Coltrane & Carlos Santana
Damaged Goods // Gang of Four
O-O-H Child // Five Stairsteps
Friend of the Devil // The Grateful Dead
Born To Lose // The Heartbreakers
Chameleon / Herbie Hancock
Satta Massagana // The Abyssinians
High Tide or Low Tide // Bob Marley & The Wailers

Dance The Night Away // Van Halen
Hong Kong Garden // Siouxie & The Banshees
Virginia Plain // Roxy Music
The Model // Kraftwerk
Holiday In The Sun // The Sex Pistols
Cheree // Suicide
Outdoor Miner // Wire
Concrete Jungle // Bob Marley & The Wailers
Pink Moon // Nick Drake
Rock & Roll // Led Zeppelin

Mandolin Wind // Rod Stewart
Dreams // Fleetwood Mac
Papa Was A Rolling Stone // The Temptations
Stage Fright // The Band
Journey Into Satchidananda // Alice Coltrane
I'm Not In Love // 10cc
I Can't Stand The Rain // Ann Peebles
Questioningly // Ramones
New Rose // The Damned
Something On Your Mind // Karen Dalton
The Payback // James Brown

Sway // The Rolling Stones
Sonic Reducer // Dead Boys
Don't Stop Til You Get Enough // Michael Jackson
Living For The City // Stevie Wonder
Police & Thieves // Junior Murvin
Across The Universe // The Beatles
Iron Man // Black Sabbath
Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) // John Prine
Jolene // Dolly Parton
Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) // Buzzcocks
Have You Seen Her // The Chi-Lites
Hanky Panky Nohow // John Cale

It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock N' Roll // ACDC
Samba Pa Ti // Santana
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (live) // The Allman Brothers Band
Waiting In Vain // Bob Marley & The Wailers
Without You / Harry Nilsson
Daughter // Loudon Wainwright III
Signed, Sealed, & Delivered // Stevie Wonder
Train Kept A-Rollin' // Aerosmith
Can't You Hear Me Knocking // The Rolling Stones
Gudbuy T' Jane // Slade
Move On Up // Curtis Mayfield

Caravan (live) // Van Morrison
I Want You // Marvin Gaye
Oliver's Army // Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Umbrellas // Weather Report
Idle Hands // Harlem River Drive
Cosmic Slop // Funkadelic
Miles Runs the Voodoo Down // Miles Davis
Janie Jones // The Clash
Batuka // Santana
Perfect Day // Lou Reed

Nighttime // Big Star
I Found A Reason // The Velvet Underground
Fearless // Pink Floyd
Anyday // Derek & The Dominoes
Down In The Tube Station At Midnight // The Jam
Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles // Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea // Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Zombie // Fela Kuti
Hanging On The Telephone // Blondie
If The Kids Are United // Sham 69

Alternative Ulster // Stiff Little Fingers
Door of the Cosmos // Sun Ra
Bela Lugosi's Dead // Bauhaus
Day of The Lords // Joy Division
Dreaming // Blondie
Levon // Elton John 
I Want You To Want Me // Cheap Trick
Ten Years Gone // Led Zeppelin
You're My Best Friend // Queen
Dancin' In The Moonlight // King Harvest

Hurricane // Bob Dylan
Angel From Montgomery // John Prine
When Will I Be Loved // Linda Ronstandt
How Lucky // John Prine
Paranoid // Black Sabbath
Making Plan For Nigel // XTC
Goodbye Girl // Squeeze
Just What I Needed // The Cars 
Changing of the Guards // Bob Dylan
Is She Really Going Out With Him? // Joe Jackson

No comments: