70’s Hits
jfclams (all lists)  
Modified at: 2022-10-21 10:20pm
Chart and/or radio standards from the 1970's, in no particular order

October 1973, #3 on the Hot 100 Mötley Crüe covered this song in 1985 on their album Theatre of Pain.

January 1974, #5 on the Hot 100 In 2014, the mega-budget sci-fi film “Guardians of the Galaxy” used the song in a key opening scene and on the official soundtrack.

February 1977, #3 on the Hot 100 It is about the band's road trips in America. The lyric "kept on looking for a sign in the middle of the night" referred to searches for Holiday Inn signs, according to bass player Derek Holt.

May 1970, #9 on the Hot 100 "Gimme Dat Ding" is a call-and-response duet between a deep, gravelly voice, that of Tony Burrows, and a high tenor, that of Roger Greenaway. The voices are said to represent a piano and a metronome.

August 1976, #7 on the Hot 100. The song was originally called "Beck" and composed by Peter Criss and Stan Penridge years earlier with the band Chelsea.

The song is about an airplane crash victim and his girlfriend dying on the way to the hospital. The motivation for writing this song was explained in 2005 by guitarist Lee Pickens. “When I was 17, I wanted to be an airline pilot,” Pickens said. “I had just gotten out of this airplane with a friend of mine, at this little airport, and I watched him take off. He went about 200 feet in the air, rolled and crashed.” The band decided to write a song around the incident and include it on their second album. In March 1971, many US radio stations and high schools banned "D.O.A.". Despite a lack of airplay, the single still reached number 36 on the Billboard chart.

May 1973, #3 on the Hot 100 The song's actual lyrics are about the mythical kingdom of Shambhala, which was said to be hidden somewhere within or beyond the peaks of the Himalayas and was mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and ancient texts of Tibetan Buddhism

July 1972, #5 on the Hot 100. The inspiration for the song was the Rolling Stones' hit, "Let's Spend the Night Together." Because of its sexually suggestive lyrics, considered risqué for the day, "Go All the Way" was banned by the BBC.

June 1977, #5 on the Hot 100. The song was originally written and composed by Shuggie Otis from his 1971 album Freedom Flight.

April 1979, #9 on the Hot 100 Bandleader Ray Parker Jr. went onto greater fame in 1984 scoring a #1 with "Ghostbusters"

November 1972, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 in March 1973. Yes, the song is about smelly roadkill. He is the father of musician Rufus Wainwright.

September 1975, #1 on the Hot 100. The first chart topper with only six words: fly, robin, up, to, the, sky.

October 1979. #1 on the Hot 100 The final #1 of the 1970's.

February 1976, #6 on the Hot 100 "Shannon" was written about the death of Beach Boys member Carl Wilson's Irish Setter of the same name. While touring with the Beach Boys in 1975, Gross visited Wilson's home in Los Angeles and in conversation said he owned an Irish Setter called Shannon. Wilson replied that he had also had an Irish Setter named Shannon that had recently drowned at the beach.

February 1970, peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 in 1971 The song describes a mine cave-in and aftermath, with the implication that the two survivors cannibalized their companion, the eponymous Timothy.

January 1970, #2 on the Hot 100 The song describes the method of a man who seduces women with untruths ("rapping"). Was kept out of the #1 slot by Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

November 1971, peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 in February 1972 It is about a 19th-century practitioner of voodoo from New Orleans named Marie Laveau, referred to in the song lyrics as "Marie la Voodoo veau". It shows influences from New Orleans R&B and swamp pop.

February 1971, #1 on the Hot 100 late July 1971 In 1971, Mark Lindsay, the lead singer of the Raiders, was looking for new material for his solo career. In the recording, Lindsay cut the basic track with session musicians of the Wrecking Crew, and later overdubbed backing singers and strings arranged by John D'Andrea. The original track was recorded on December 3, 1970. Lindsay decided to bill it as a Raiders single, and had fellow member Paul Revere promoting it in several radio stations across the country. After four years without a Top 10 hit since "Him or Me – What's It Gonna Be?", "Indian Reservation" reached the top of the charts on July 24, becoming the first and only number one hit of (Paul Revere &) the Raiders. In Canada, the song was number 2 for 4 weeks.

June 1976, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in January 1977 Alice Cooper referred to the song as his "alcoholic confession"

May 1974, #10 on the Hot 100 The song was also their first of three top 40 singles and became their greatest hit. It also charted in Canada.

March 1975, #3 on the Hot 100 The full album length version was cut by more than half its length for the single, not just for the length, but also to remove the sexual reference in the line "I had a taste of the real world when I went down on you, girl".

June 1978, #1 on the Hot 100 The song is based on Gilder's experiences witnessing child prostitution in Los Angeles.

February 1978, #7 on the Hot 100 "Imaginary Lover" extols the virtues of fantasy and "private pleasure" as being an easy way to guaranteed satisfaction in the absence of an actual lover.

Peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in mid-September 1970 It is listed as one of the best selling singles of all-time at around 30 million copies, and the very first maxi-single.

#23 on the Hot 100 in early 1972 Think was an American studio group put together by producers and songwriters Lou Stallman and Bobby Susser in 1971. The group released a single, "Once You Understand", on Laurie Records which consists mostly of a dialogue between teenagers and their parents over the growing culture change; the teenagers have liberal viewpoints, while their parents are more conservative. Throughout the record, the words "things get a little easier/ once you understand" are repeated. The song ends abruptly as a policeman calls the father with the news that his 17-year-old son is dead from an overdose.

June 1977, peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 Written and sung by bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, the song is about an older man who is infatuated with a 16-year-old girl named Christine. The song's subject and lyrics were controversial and made some hit radio stations reluctant to put it on their playlists, while others only played it after 7 PM as an album cut. The song's title was originated by bandmate Paul Stanley who was planning to write a song under the title, until Simmons beat him to it. According to interviews in Guitar World, both Eddie and Alex Van Halen played on the original demos. When Kiss recorded their version of the song, Simmons said that he made Frehley copy Eddie's solo from the demo. Cash Box said that "it's a tale of teenage lust, put to a bump and grind rock accompaniment that utilizes channel-hopping vocals."

September 1974, peaked at #12 in 1975 The title is grammatically incorrect and can be said to be an example of a common eggcorn.

March 1970, #1 on the Hot 100 The song's lyrics have been the matter of debate, often interpreted as an attack on U.S. politics (especially the draft). Burton Cummings, who composed the lyrics, said in 2013 that they had nothing to do with politics. "What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous. When I said 'American woman, stay away from me,' I really meant 'Canadian woman, I prefer you.' It was all a happy accident."

March 1970, peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in June It was kept from the #1 spot by both Everything Is Beautiful by Ray Stevens and The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles. Allmusic critic Mark Deming states: "If the '70s were supposed to be about having a nice day, "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" shows the Poppy Family were one band waiting for a cloud to blot out all that annoying sunshine..."

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July 1976, #3 on the Hot 100 "Dazz" was a combination denominator for "Disco Jazz". Their follow-up single "Dusic" was also a denominator for "Disco Music".

November 1974, #9 on the Hot 100 The song is a rather cynical view of the music industry, based on the band's real-life experience with CBS Records. When the band finally breaks through with a hit ("Green-Eyed Lady") and completes a successful tour, the record company changes course and wants to offer the band their services, only to receive the same line they gave the band before their hit—"don't call us, we'll call you".

September 1974, #18 on the Hot 100 John Lennon, a Raspberries fan, particularly liked "Overnight Sensation" and was present for part of the recording of the Starting Over album. Although uncredited, he is said to have assisted with the production of the song.

October 1977, peaked at #9 in April 1978 Joe Walsh played guitar on the song and Ferguson returned the favor playing keyboards on Walsh's solo album Life's Been Good.

Peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 in April 1970 In 1969, the Detroit band Frijid Pink recorded a psychedelic version of "House of the Rising Sun", which became an international hit in 1970. Their version is in 4/4 time (like Dave Van Ronk's and most earlier versions, rather than the 6/8 used by the Animals) and was driven by Gary Ray Thompson's distorted guitar with fuzz and wah-wah effects, set against the frenetic drumming of Richard Stevers.

May 1977, #7 on the Hot 100 AllMusic's Bruce Eder said that "Telephone Line" "might be the best Lennon–McCartney collaboration that never was, lyrical and soaring in a way that manages to echo elements of Revolver and the Beatles without ever mimicking them".

September 1979, #26 on the Hot 100 According to Rick Nielsen "the song was about Big Brother watching you." The B-side of the "Dream Police" single was "Heaven Tonight". Nielsen described the song as "a kind of parody on some of the drug songs of the sixties" and stated that "it could even be the basis for a movie."

October 1978, #21 on the Hot 100 Upon its initial release, the song failed to chart. It was re-released in 1979 and made the charts in both the UK and US. It is a humorous commentary on women dating unattractive men.

October 1974, #12 on the Hot 100 The song came out of the ill-fated "Chateau D'isaster" sessions in Paris.

Peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 in September 1975 The song was a tribute to Muhammad Ali's victory over George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match of October 1974. In late 1972, Wakelin wrote and recorded the original version of the song, under the title "Hungarian Superman (Joe Bugner)" as an homage to the Hungarian-born British-Australian boxer by that name. The single failed to chart, and in 1973 Bugner lost 12-round decisions to former heavyweight champions Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Wakelin reworked the song after Ali's victory.

July 1974, #1 on the Hot 100 In addition to being a No. 1 country and pop hit, "I Can Help" reached No. 6 on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart and No. 6 on the United Kingdom's Record Retailer chart. In addition, the song was a hit throughout most of Europe and also reached No. 1 in Australia. "I Can Help" was so successful in Norway that it charted for 37 weeks on the Norwegian charts (VG-lista Top 10), making it the 4th best-performing single of all time in that country.

April 1979, #13 on the Hot 100 Despite being seen as social commentary, McFadden & Whitehead revealed that the song was actually about their frustration with Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who for many years preferred that they remain as house songwriters and not performers.

January 1970, #3 on the Hot 100 Because of the then still-pending lawsuit against Holland-Dozier-Holland from their former employers, Motown, the trio credited themselves with the pseudonym "Edythe Wayne" for this song and many other early Invictus/Hot Wax releases. It sold more than one million copies in the US.

August 1973, #22 on the Hot 100 A reviewer for Cash Box (August 11, 1973) wrote: "Proud Mary" was the single that brought this dynamic group to national attention. Well, here's one that leaves all of their prior efforts in the dust. Absolutely sensational is the only way this future smash can be described. Has to go top 20.

November 1971, #1 on the Hot 100 Released on November 6, 1971, "Family Affair" was markedly different from the earlier Sly & the Family Stone hits. Engineering consultant Richard Tilles muted most of Sly Stone's guitar parts while emphasizing the electric piano played by Billy Preston and "edit[ing] the rhythm box to sound like a heartbeat," according to David Hepworth.

May 1975, #27 on the Hot 100 Its lyrics refer to the cheap handguns popularly associated with the term Saturday night special, and associates them with impulsive violence.

July 1972, #18 on the Hot 100 "City of New Orleans" is a country folk song written by Steve Goodman, describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad's City of New Orleans in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. While at the Quiet Knight bar in Chicago, Goodman saw Arlo Guthrie, and asked to be allowed to play a song for him. Guthrie grudgingly agreed, on the condition that if Goodman bought him a beer, Guthrie would listen to him play for as long as it took to drink the beer. Goodman played "City of New Orleans", which Guthrie liked enough that he asked to record it.

#49 on the Hot 100 in April 1971 It's an alien invasion story told from the perspective of the alien, and was Seatrain's only chart hit of any kind.

August 1970, #49 on the Hot 100 The song was recorded as part of the sessions for the Just for Love album between May and June, 1970. Both this and the follow up album What About Me were recorded during the band's relocation to Hawaii. 

November 1972, #1 on the Hot 100 March 1973 Although Bobby Russell both wrote the lyrics and composed the music for the song, he was reluctant to record even a demonstration because he didn't like it. Lawrence, who was married to Russell at the time, believed the song was a hit and recorded the demo. The publishers and the record label did not know how to pitch the song, as it was not a country or a pop song. The first thought was to offer the song to actress/singer Liza Minnelli, but eventually it was offered to singer Cher, but her then-husband and manager Sonny Bono reportedly refused it, as he was said to be concerned that the song might offend Cher's southern fans. Without a singer to record the song, Lawrence, along with producer Snuff Garrett, went into a studio and recorded it professionally herself, with the instrumental backing of L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew.

#68 on the Hot 100 in 1975 The song's double-tracked MiniMoog solos were arrived at due to an accident in the mixing process. It was on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack, and is often played on US classic rock radio.

#30 on the Hot 100 in 1977 It served as a tribute to the Birdland nightclub in New York City, and was also Weather Report's signature song. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings comments that “Birdland” typifies the formula that made the band successful, and “is one of only a handful of contemporary jazz tunes that everyone seems to have heard.”

#34 on the Hot 100 in early 1979 A local legend in his hometown of Washington D.C., "Bustin Loose" reached gold status in 1979, while his 1974 song "Ashley's Roachclip" features one of the most oft-sampled drum breaks in history.

Released Summer 1970, peaked at #50 in early October 1970 Elephant's Memory worked with both Carly Simon and John Lennon. In between they scraped the lower rungs of the charts with this crude, distorted song which provided inspiration for samplers and DJ's years later.

Released February 1978, #2 on the Hot 100 In addition to a searing guitar solo, played by Hugh Burns, the song featured a prominent eight-bar saxophone riff played as a break between verses, by Raphael Ravenscroft. The saxophone part led to what became known as "the 'Baker Street' phenomenon", a resurgence in the sales of saxophones and their use in mainstream pop music and television advertising.

July 1976, #3 on the Hot 100 The lyric namechecks several famous people, between friends and relatives of McCartney who, without a justified reason, knock on the door or ring the bell of his house and he exclaims "Let 'Em In". They include McCartney's paternal aunt Gin, his brother Michael, and Linda McCartney's brother John. Phil and Don of the Everly Brothers are named (the duo had a hit with "Keep A Knockin'"), along with Martin Luther, who famously hung his "95 Theses" on a church door. An Uncle Ernie is also named, being the character Ringo Starr sang in the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of the Who's rock opera, Tommy.

Released August 1979, peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in November 1979 The recording is remarkable for a sustained note held by Summer for about 16 seconds. Billboard rated the song one the sexiest ever recorded, saying it, "sounds like a nice song to sway to at the prom. But the groove becomes decidedly horizontal once the song hits the bridge and she demands her lover to 'use me all up / take me bottom to top'.

September 1970, #9 on the Hot 100 in 1971 "Mr. Bojangles" is a song written and originally recorded by American country music artist Jerry Jeff Walker for his 1968 album of the same title. Walker said he was inspired to write the song after an encounter with a street performer in a New Orleans jail. The US country rock band Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, whose version (recorded for the 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy) was issued as a single and rose to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.

January 1979, #71 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the R&B 100 Bustin' Out of L Seven is Rick James' second studio album on Motown sub-label Gordy Records. Included on the album is the top ten R&B hit, "Bustin' Out (On Funk)". L7 is slang for "square", as in the opening lyrics of "Bustin' Out (On Funk)", "Well, alright, you squares, it's time you smoked, Fire up this funk and let's have a toke". The letter L and the number 7 form a square.

November 1972, reached #6 on the Hot 100 in 1973 "Do It Again" features an electric sitar solo by Denny Dias. The "plastic organ" solo by Donald Fagen was performed on a Yamaha YC-30 with a sliding pitch-bending control. Cash Box described it as a "fine commercial effort with plenty of potential as a hit record," going on to say that it "is highlighted by some fine vocal harmony and superb arrangement."

January 1970, reached #11 in May 1970 The song was controversial, described at the time as being "too sensual" for the radio. Note that it also starts with an actual heartbeat played backwards. Rogers knew it was a hit record, but American radio wouldn't play it, so he got the band to perform the song on This Is Tom Jones in the UK, who he believed were "much less afraid of sexuality" than America and so "would at least give the song a fair hearing". This Is Tom Jones was also broadcast in the US and so eventually it gave enough exposure to the song to make it a hit.

Originally released in Canada, June 1975. The song charted twice in Canada: first peaking at #62 in August 1975, then re-entering the charts and peaking at #26 on Oct. 30, 1976. In the US, it peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 on Nov. 6, 1976. Written and composed by Ann and Nancy Wilson, the song is sung from the viewpoint of a young girl who is being seduced by an older man (referred to as a Magic Man), much to the chagrin of her mother, who calls and begs the girl to come home. In an interview, Ann Wilson revealed that the "Magic Man" was her then boyfriend, band manager Michael Fisher, and that part of the song was an autobiographical tale of the beginnings of their relationship.

#25 on the Hot 100 in 1973 Jim Dandy" (sometimes known as "Jim Dandy to the Rescue") is a song written by Lincoln Chase, and was first recorded by American R&B singer LaVern Baker on December 21, 1955. It reached the top of the R&B chart and #17 on the pop charts in the United States. In 1973 the song was covered by southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas. It featured Jim Mangrum (who had already been using "Jim Dandy" as a stage name before they covered the song) and female vocalist Ruby Starr trading off vocals. This version of the song was used in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused. A version by the Wright Brothers Band was used in the 1987 film Overboard. In the early-to-mid 2000s, a used car lot called J. D. Byrider produced a version replacing "Jim Dandy" with "JD" to advertise that they would "rescue" buyers with bad credit.

September 1978, reached #13 on the Hot 100 "New York Groove" is a song written by English musician and producer Russ Ballard. The song was covered by rock band Hello in 1975 and later by Ace Frehley (formerly of Kiss) for his 1978 solo album. Frehley's version is the best-known version of the song. Frehley once told Rolling Stone magazine that his unique take on the song was inspired by his experience with hookers in New York City's Times Square in the 1970s.


Some great bands here, I saw Climax Blues Band at Reading Rock Festival in 1983 🎸
Wow! So envious. Climax Blues Band were amazing! This is all music I remember from when I was little (born mid 70s). Everyone from my generation worships grunge and rap and I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Thank you for the comments!
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