My Top Ten Songs of the 1970s
These are my top ten songs of the 1970s.
March 21, 2019
The 1970s were a time of great recreational drug use as well as experimentation with music. The ‘70s brought about bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Queen. It also brought about solo acts like David Bowie, and Elton John. All of these musicians are massive influences on today’s musicians. Here are my top ten songs from the 1970s, with some honorable mentions.
10. “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols
“Anarchy in the UK” was released in 1977 on the album “Never Mind the Bollocks.” The entire band was into harcore drugs and the bass player, Sid Vicious, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. She bled to death on the bathroom floor of their hotel room. Much is still unknown about the case as it was never thoroughly investigated, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
I love the whole punk scene, I’m not entirely sure why (although, I think it’s the mohawks). This is my second favorite song by the Sex Pistols, who are my favorite punk band from the early punk scene.
Listen to “Anarchy in the UK” here.
9. “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones
“Blitzkrieg Bop” was released in 1976 on the Ramones self titled album “Ramones.” Blitzkrieg was a German war tactic used by the Nazis in WWII. Drummer Tommy Ramone was the son of two Jewish photographers who only survived because they had friends brave enough to hide them. Dee Dee Ramone also had a German mother and American father and lived in Berlin for the first 13 years of his life.
I included this song on my list because it’s the first legit punk song I had ever listened to and I just absolutely loved it for whatever reason.
Listen to “Blitzkrieg Bop” here.
8. “London Calling” by The Clash
“London Calling” was released in 1979 and was the title track on the album “London Calling.” The Clash were very much a political band. The initial inspiration for this song came from a conversation Joe Strummer (rhythm guitarist and lead vocals) had with his girlfriend at the time.
I chose this song because The Clash is a really good band (in my [un]professional opinion) and it’s one of my favorite songs by them. I’ve also recently learned that actual story behind this album and I have a lot more respect for the band, but more so for this particular album.
Listen to “London Calling” here.
7. “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
“Mr. Blue Sky” was released in 1977 on Electric Light Orchestra’s album “Out of the Blue.” In a BBC interview, Jeff Lynne talked about how he had attempted to lock himself inside a Swiss chalet but it was dark and misty for 2 weeks straight. He also said he wrote this song (along with 13 other songs) when the sun had finally come out.
My dad showed me this song my freshman year (I think, it could have been middle school). He had bought the CD of all Electric Light Orchestra hits and this one tied with “Strange Magic” as my favorites but I love the music video to this song. The music video is really trippy and I love it.
Listen to “Mr. Blue Sky” here.
6. “Killer Queen” by Queen
“Killer Queen” was released in 1974 on the album “Sheer Heart Attack.” This song is what led Queen to fame. It is the first Queen song to break the top 20 in the U.S. and Canada, as well as becoming #30 in Australia. This song had been very experimental, from the Eb major key to the 12/8 and 6/8 time signatures, it was not your typical rock melody.
Queen is my all time favorite band. I’ve loved their music for most of my life, although I didn’t start delving deep into their music until my freshman year. I even did a review on the blockbuster movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” starring Rami Malek that came out in November of last year (link to the story here). There’s a lot of Queen on this list.
Listen to “Killer Queen” here.
5. “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie
“Life On Mars?” was released in 1971 on the album “Hunky Dory.” This song was written as a sort of parody to Paul Anka’s (performed by Frank Sinatra *barf*) song “My Way” which was also written as a parody to a French song called “Comme d’habitude.”
I chose this song because I love it, as I love all the songs on this list. It’s probably my fourth favorite Bowie song but I love most of the songs I have listened to by him.
Listen to “Life On Mars?” here.
4. “We are the Champions” by Queen
“We Are the Champions” was released in 1977 on the album “News of the World.” It was written with “We Will Rock You” as a companion song and it reached top 10 in seven different countries when it was first released. It was written by Freddie Mercury and has been cited as the catchiest rock song of all time.
I chose this song because of two reasons. The first one is my love of Queen and this song. The second is its popularity.
Listen to “We Are the Champions” here.
4. “Somebody to Love” by Queen
“Somebody to Love” was released in 1976 on the album “A Day at the Races.” It is the sixth track on their fifth album. The gospel-like harmonies are inspired by Aretha Franklin and are very loose and free-flowing. In many interviews Freddie Mercury had spoken of his love of Franklin.
I know there are two songs in the number 4 spot, but I love them both too much to decide between the two. They’re both such good songs with amazing lyrics and instrumentals, I can’t decide which song I like better so I tied them.
Listen to “Somebody to Love” here.
3. “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” by Pink Floyd
“Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” was released in 1979 on the album “The Wall.” It was a lash out at cruel teachers everywhere, especially the teachers of bassist Roger Waters at his primary school, who says the teachers of his childhood built his mental wall.
I chose this song because of its progressiveness and the bassline. I think the bassline is what makes the song so much better, if I’m being totally honest here.
Listen to “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” here.
2. “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
“Comfortably Numb” was released in 1979 on the album “The Wall.” This song was written by Roger Waters after an experience he had when he had been injected with tranquilizers before a concert in 1977.
This is my favorite Pink Floyd song and I didn’t actually know the story behind it until I looked it up for this. It’s interesting.
Listen to “Comfortably Numb” here.
Here are many Honorable Mentions:
“Rocket Man” by Elton John (1972)
“Highway To Hell” by AC/DC (1979)
“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith (1975)
“Dream On” by Aerosmith (1973)
“American Pie” by Don Mclean (1971)
“Piano Man” by Billy Joel (1973)
1. “Love of My Life” by Queen
“Love of My Life” was released in 1975 on Queen’s most iconic album, “A Night at the Opera.” Freddie Mercury wrote this song about his first love, Mary Austin. Although he later engaged in other relationships with mostly men, he often referred to her as his wife and the love of his life.
Although it is extremely difficult to choose one, this is probably my favorite Queen song. The first time I listened to it, it pulled on my heartstrings and I have even learned how to play part of it on the piano.
Listen to “Love of My Life” here.
Any songs you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!