The 70s was rife with quality soft rock tunes. From America's "Horse with No Name" to Bread's "Make It With You," the emotional spectrum was covered in spades by skilled pop rock musicians during the decade of love.
In 1975, Jersey boy Frankie Valli had a new lineup for his band the Four Seasons and they hit the scene with the visceral album Who Loves You, which contained this chart-topping single of the same name. It's a smooth, no-filter blending of pop, soul and disco that touches the mind as much as the spirit.
There can't be a more aptly named band than America. This folk rock band's sound is steeped in Americana, evoking memories of driving along the coast, vast open sky and a limitless horizon. Oddly enough, though, band founder Dewey Bunnell is British and Americans Dan Peek and Gerry Beckley were in England when the trio formed the band in 1970.
George Harrison was known as the quiet Beatle. They say still waters run deep and that certainly was the case for this introspective songwriter.
Most people don't know that soul singer Bobby Womack composed the luscious "Breezin'," made popular by singer-songwriter/guitarist George Benson.
During the 70s, country rock reached an apex of popularity. The Eagles, Glen Campbell and James Taylor were some of the performers who delivered it to the masses on a gold plate filled with homespun lyrics, precise acoustic guitar work and authentic singing. Another notable contributor to this genre was singer/songwriter John Denver.
After leaving one of the most popular bands of all time, Sir Paul McCartney segued smoothly into a solo career, releasing some of the most popular pop rock confections of the 70s. With his soulmate Linda on the keyboards, Paul and his band managed to have 14 number one singles in the U.S...
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has got to be one of the best albums not only of the 70s but of all time. Released in 1974, it followed the path of many albums during that time and was an "experience." Also, the album cover tells a story in itself, it has captivating imagery and gorgeous colors...
This song is a bonafide stride through the heart of the 70s, cowbell and all. Released in 1976, it hit #3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. According to band member Derek Holt, the song is "about being on the road in America." It definitely is redolent of wind-in-the-hair, open road, and blasting the eight-track while cruising in a convertible.
Initially released on Electric Light Orchestra's 1975 album Face the Music, it's just as ethereal as most of their tunes, which indeed have a strange magic. This song seems a tandem fit for ELO's other hit, "Evil Woman," which is on the same album. Both address the mysteries of love and the possibility of it going awry.
Stevie Nicks' raspy vocals and the wafting rhythms of this iconic song give it a dreamlike quality. This band started out as a blues band in the 60s, then when Nicks and Buckingham joined them, the blending of sounds brought about a whole new animal, one that captured the sound of the 70s, and this song is a perfect combination of those elements.
This song hit #1 on US charts in 1976 and won the Starland Vocal Band a couple of Grammys. It's not hard to see why. It has that soft country rock sound that became popular in the early 70s. Two of the originators of the band, Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, had written for John Denver, so they let their country rock roots shine through in "Afternoon Delight."
You can almost feel the warm summer breeze caressing your face when this song plays. Such 70s pop rock goodness. As refreshing as a cold class of lemonade when the heat's hitting about 95 degrees. Seals & Crofts had a number of hits in the 70s, but nothing beats this summertime anthem.
This song is the epitome of effervescence. During the late 60s, 70s and 80s, Kenny Loggins went through many incarnations, from country rock to super pop. But, no song defines him better than this lively tune that wasn't one of his biggest hits, but certainly exemplifies the eternal optimism evident in most of his songs.
The band Chicago, originally Chicago Transit Authority, is known for its heavenly horn section and scintillating harmonies. While this song was originally released in 1969, it wasn't until it was re-released in 1971 that it became a chart-topper. It perfectly captures the moving rhythm of a city on a balmy summer day.
This song is the quintessential 70s pop song. Sweet, breezy, but with potent lyrics. Like a lot of 70s songs, it's happy with a touch of melancholy. Released in 1972, it was Todd Rundgren's first original song and proved to be a chart-topper for him, hitting #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It's now considered a staple of the pop rock genre.
This song is so heavenly. The love maestro himself, Barry White, fronted the Love Unlimited Orchestra, and definitely gave this song his own flair, classical with a tinge of disco. In the 70s, many groups had lush instrumentation: Chicago, ELO, Earth, Wind and Fire. This song, however, was one of the few purely orchestral arrangements to make it to number one on Billboard's Hot 100 and deservedly so.
To me, this song captures the essence of the seventies. It's whimsical, magical, ethereal, groovy, light/dark, cold/warm. The Wurlitzer electric piano that's used throughout the song gives it a jovial, yet melancholy feel. The song sounds like a carnival rag dipped in teardrops.