Music to Dance Barefoot In The Grass
let your hair down and get footloose and fancy free with sonya alexander
featuring artists like
Stevie Wonder, Neil Sedaka, Wings, Bee Gees, Shaun Cassidy, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, Aretha Franklin, Chicago
Every once in awhile, it’s good to let your hair down and get footloose and fancy free. No decade symbolizes freedom more than the 70s. Disco. Bell bottoms. Lava lamps. Wall phones. The Pet Rock. Vinyl. Many elements made the 70s an out-of-sight decade.
Some may think 70s music is “old,” but not only did the 70s have some of the best music, but the saying, “What’s old is new again,” holds true. With various new artists trying to recapture that classic 70s sound, it’s good to know where this stems from and get in touch with the originals. Knowledge gives freedom. Even enough freedom to dance barefoot in the grass.
31 May 2021
The Isley Brothers added smokiness and umbre to it. They’re not just singing the song, they’re living it.
3 March 2021
The song is simple in its approach. It has an uncomplicated melody, a catchy refrain and Withers’ dulcet vocals. Songs like this epitomize the 70s, full of happiness and love. Pop culture always defines eras. The movies, television shows and music mirror the times. “Lovely Day” symbolizes the 70s, but it’s eternal in its outlook.
20 November 2020
The 70s had some of the best slow jams. Love songs were actually about love. Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” from the album of the same title, is a worthy entry into the 70s catalog of golden love song hits. The silky tune blazed up the music charts in 1974 and remained at number one for a week on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles…
17 August 2020
There are some songs that make you feel a particular season. Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You” certainly evokes the feeling of spring time, beauty, dewiness and the perennial newness of love…
20 May 2020
Women were celebrated in the 70s. For their beauty, independent spirit, smarts, motherhood. Or, simply because someone loved them…
21 April 2020
Love songs often incorporate travel in the storyline. Going to see the one you love in a different state or country illustrates the lengths one will go to for love…
31 March 2020
Carpenters were an award-winning brother/sister duo who helped define the dulcet soft pop/easy listening sound of the 70s…
10 March 2020
There were many popular Native American artists in the 70s, including Redbone, Winterhawk and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Country pop queen Rita Coolidge…
11 February 2020
Is there ever a bad time to be in love? According to 70s hitmakers Grand Funk (aka Grand Funk Railroad), there is….
21 January 2020
Some songs have an inherently nostalgic sound. John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” is one of those songs. When we listen to it now it brings back golden childhood memories and memories of simpler times…
4 December 2019
Brooklyn’s own Neil Sedaka is a prolific pop singer/composer/songwriter who first hit the airwaves in the late 1950s with The Tokens…
12 November 2019
Some artists are consistently good until they have that one hit that certifies their stardom. Detroit native Bob Seger started out in the 60s and had local success…
7 October 2019
The spectrum of love themes was covered in 70s music – everything from platonic to self-love was the fabric of many hit songs. Some love songs struck a chord with our collective mindsets and hearts – Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis” was one of them…
23 September 2019
The 70s had a lot of soft rock that was tinged with country. Anne Murray was a country singer who was on fire during the decade, having several crossover hits, including “A Love Song,” written by Kenny Loggins and Dona Lyn George…
27 August 2019
Good music has no racial boundaries. A limit can’t be put on soul. The term “blue-eyed soul” was never so appropriate as when used in association with Gino Vannelli. “I Just Wanna Stop” was the chart-topping hit released from his sixth album Brother to Brother…
22 July 2019
The 70s had some memorable love songs, from every genre. Ballads were in the top ten on the music charts as frequently as dance hits. “Easy Listening” music was popular during the 70s because the times were easy breezy, full of sunshine, love and innocence…
3 July 2019
Singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins can’t be pigeonholed. His sound ranges from folk to soul to pop, each tune lyrically and melodically crafted to perfection. Before he was a solo sensation, he and Jim Messina were Loggins and Messina, a folk duo that was on fire during the early to mid-70s…
14 May 2019
Every decade has its music heartthrobs. The 70s had a slew of Tiger Beat idols; Shaun Cassidy, Lief Garrett, Andy Gibb, Donny Osmond and Peter Frampton were sizzling hot during this era. The Kent-born Frampton started out with the bluesy Humble Pie and The Herd, but when he went solo, his career soon skyrocketed into the stratosphere…
23 April 2019
The dynamic duo of Walter Becker (RIP) and Donald Fagen, better known as Steely Dan, had no shortage of hits in the 70s/80s. Blending jazz, R&B, traditional pop, blues and rock, these captivating musical magicians dominated the airwaves with their smooth “soft pop” sound…
7 November 2018
Bob Welch’s “Sentimental Lady” exemplifies the smoky, romantic songs of the 70s. Tender and supple as a light spring rain, it’s sweet without being schmaltzy. Welch started out as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but when he went his “own way,” he had a successful career in the late 70s with a string of hits…
29 August 2018
The 70s was replete with folk rock, rock that had great lyrics, simple acoustics and sublime storytelling. Canadian songbird Anne Murray sings earthy adult contemporary and country songs and in 1970, she was the first Canadian solo singer to hit #1 on the U.S. charts with the timeless “Snowbird.”…
14 August 2018
The movie Saturday Night Fever set the world and dance floors on fire. Comprised of shake-your-body-down-to-the-ground songs as well as heart-wrenching ballads, it has one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. One of the most exquisite songs from the double-album, which was released in 1977, is “More Than a Woman,”…
25 July 2018
There were a lot of one hit wonders in the 60s and 70s. Often, that one hit solidified a musician or group’s place in the annals of music history. Sacramento, California’s own Spiral Staircase released “More Today Than Yesterday” in 1969 and it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100…
11 July 2018
Some songs are so quintessentially 70s, the essence of peace and love and a laid back, southern California vibe are in the DNA of their record grooves. “A Horse with No Name” by America is one of these songs…
3 July 2018
There were many civil rights oriented songs during the 60s and 70s. Songs that promoted liberation through protest and personal freedom. One of the vanguards of using music as social commentary, particularly for African Americans, was Curtis Mayfield…
26 June 2018
Detroit natives The Spinners had a slew of hits in the 60s and 70s. The smooth R&B group was comprised of lead singer Bobby Smith, Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson and George Dixon. Though they started out with Motown, once they got over to Atlantic Records, they had a more cosmopolitan, spirited sound compared to their previous Northern Soul sound…
19 June 2018
The Eagles was one of the primary groups that defined the sound of the 70s. The pristine harmonies and sleepy country rock sound captured the attitude and desires of a generation. “One Of These Nights” was their second hit and was the title track from the album that was released in 1975.
13 June 2018
“Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills & Nash came out in 1969, which was at the crest of the Vietnam War and the cusp of a new decade. It would be one of their biggest hits. The melody is fluid and beautiful, but the words are powerful and scary as they address nuclear annihilation…
23 May 2018
The Bee Gees were at the heart of the disco movement in the 70s and was comprised of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin. However, the youngest Gibb brother, Andy, had his own time in the blazing hot spotlight as a teen heartthrob and disco king…
16 May 2018
Southern California soft rock band Ambrosia had five singles that were hits, which were enough to emblazon them in the tapestry of 70s pop culture fabric forever. One of their best is “How Much I Feel,” which was a single released from their Life Beyond L.A. album in the summer of ’78 and this sultry tune definitely made it hotter.
8 May 2018
Some love songs capture a moment, others capture eternity. John Denver’s simple and tender “Sunshine on My Shoulders” is full of so much sincerity and warmth, one can practically feel the sunshine on one’s shoulders when listening to it…
24 April 2018
Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is a folk legend. He helped carve the popular folk-rock sound of the 60s and 70s, forming a poetry-based music with potent cultural and sociopolitical significance. Among his numerous hits, “Sundown” is one of his most laid-back reflections about a no-good girlfriend.
17 April 2018
CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) was only together a short time compared to other rock groups, but during that time period, they wrote songs that defined the revolutionary 60s and the transitioning 70s. One of their hits, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” from their 1970 album Pendulum is full of pain, reflection and wisdom…
9 April 2018
“No Tell Lover” is probably Chicago’s most underrated song. The understated use of horns, the subtly sexy lyrics, Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus’ pitch perfect vocals and the indefinable feeling of contentment is a musical concoction that is indelible ear candy.
3 April 2018
Paul McCartney was an integral part of the hitmaking machine that was The Beatles. His musical career post-Beatles was just as successful. Sir Paul and his band Wings soared to phenomenal pop music heights in the 70s and 80s…
20 March 2018
Sometimes the simplest things are not only the most sophisticated, but the most enjoyable. The O’Jays’ 1975 hit “I Love Music” is a musically tight-as-a-drum musing on two of life’s greatest pleasures, good music as it’s associated with love. Written by the inimitable songwriting duo Gamble and Huff, it’s a a joyous celebration of big audio dynamite and big love…
5 March 2018
A lot of 70s music, no matter the genre, was full of optimism, sweetness and love. “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose is a dip into the soulful side of the 70s, when R&B had some of the most beautiful love songs ever written…
27 February 2018
Following on the heels of the Chicago Transit Authority, many bands in the late 60s and early 70s had a dynamic horn section that made their sound supersonic and vibrant. This Toronto, Ontario band formed in 1968 and they’re still rocking the house. They had several songs that made the charts, but “One Fine Morning” was their highest charting, reaching #24 on the US Hot 100…
20 February 2018
Some bands have decades of songs, others have one or two signature songs that not only define them, but an era. Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” is one of those tunes. Wistful, earthy and soul searching, “Brandy” is an ode to a world-weary woman’s life. It was their only #1 hit, staying in that position for a week. There other hit, “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne,” was a Top 40 hit and has a slinky, sexy 70s feel, too.
13 February 2018
Three Dog Night, originally known as Redwood, started up in the late 1960s and are still going strong today. They have 11 studio albums and string of chart-topping hits under their belt, including “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Joy to the World” and “Black and White.” Like The Guess Who, they have a American rock sound with inspirational lyrics and a multicolored tones and a long run at the top of the charts. “Out in the Country” isn’t one of their most popular songs, but it’s a signature 70s tune that’s sweet, innocent and embraces nature…
30 January 2018
The band Chicago, which was originally Chicago Transit Authority, had a unique sound when they hit the scene. They blended a little rock, a little soul and a little jazz, a mixture that made them a sort of rock version of Earth, Wind & Fire. Both groups always had a stage full of musicians and a supersonic horn section…
16 January 2018
A lot of songs in the 70s addressed various aspects of being in love, from first crush to falling in love to heartbreak. The band 10cc took it a step further and claimed to not be in love at all. “I’m Not in Love” came out in 1975 and was noted for its unique back tracking, which consisted of the band’s multitracked voices. It was the UK group’s first global hit and has enjoyed lasting popularity.
18 December 2017
With her heart-wrenching vocals, pristine tone and divine notes, Aretha Franklin is rightfully called the “Queen of Soul.” With roots in gospel, she started her secular music career in the early 60s, but didn’t really strike gold until the late 60s, with her first #1 “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”. From that point on, she ruled the charts until the mid-80s with a plethora of unforgettable hits…
12 December 2017
“How Long” by 1970s British rock group Ace was the band’s highest charting hit, reaching #3 in the U.S. It had a slow, smoky groove like another Brit band hit, the Climax Blues Band’s “Couldn’t Get It Right.” It’s been kept alive not only by frequent airplay, but by a plethora of covers. From soul songster Bobby Womack to country chanteusse Barbara Mandrell to rock royalty Rod Stewart. The song lends itself to a voice that’s rough like sandpaper, yet smooth as satin. All of the notable covers do it justice, but Ace’s version remains ace.
5 December 2017
My Morning Jacket’s Jim James is a vocal chameleon. One minute he sounds like a heightened alt-rock singer, the next like the quintessential neo-soul singer. His solo endeavors have been fruitful, yielding ripe, soul-nourishing tracks. Proving that he’s a musician’s musician, he’s not afraid to experiment and go outside the box.
28 November 2017
While there was plenty of soft rock, country rock and hard rock in the 70s, there was also a plethora of bubblegum rock. The Bay City Rollers, Leif Garrett, Donny Osmond and David Cassidy were some of the performers who belted out teen-dream lyrics. David’s image blew up when he was a member of the fictional television family band The Partridge Family…
21 November 2017
Dance, like music, is universal and while the title of Orleans’ “Dance with Me” may seem simple, it does get straight to the point. It was the group’s first Top 40 single, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was on their third studio album Let There be Music. Written by the then husband-and-wife team of John and Johanna Hall, the 1975 release has a catchy melody and romantic lyrics that are sure to make you sway to the music.
14 November 2017
There is songwriting, then there’s SONGWRITING. Prolific and profound singer/songwriter James Taylor emerged in the late 60s as the ultimate laid-back troubadour and the multi-Grammy Award-winning artist remains one of the top selling artists of all time. His first album, which was self-titled, was released in 1968 and received a warm reception from critics…
31 October 2017
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Jackie Blue” was released in 1975 as a single from their It’ll Shine When it Shines album and is a piece of music that runs deeply through the artery of American culture and wraps around the heart like a warm blanket of nostalgia…
24 October 2017
Poco has to be one of the most underrated bands of the 70s. The trio consisted of Richie Furay, Rusty Young and Jim Messina, all former members of Buffalo Springfield who formed this group after Buffalo Springfield disbanded. Messina was also part of a soft rock duo with Kenny Loggins. They created the precious musical jewels “Danny’s Song” and “Angry Eyes.”
17 October 2017
The Guess Who is a Canadian group that hit the music scene in the early sixties. Their first single was “I Just Didn’t Have the Heart,” which was released in 1962, when their name was still the much more conventional Chad Allen and the Reflections. It wasn’t until 1965 that they officially became The Guess Who and started to blow up on the charts and on the stage.
10 October 2017
When Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship, they left behind full-throttle, psychedelic rock and roll and swapped it for more thoughtful, soft pop ballads. “Runaway,” which was on their 1978 Earth album, showcased lead singer Marty Balin’s plaintive vocals, with soul-piercing lyrics and a memorable melody anchoring.
3 October 2017
Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” was released in 1969, so not quite the 70s, but on the cusp of it. Co-written with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby, it has more of a 70s sound than 60s. It veers away from his R&B popish Motown sound and has more of a straight R&B sound, sans harmonica.
25 September 2017
Jim Croce’s music was pure poetry. The poignant singer/songwriter died in September of 1973, just as his career was taking off. His third studio album, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, was released in April of 1972.
19 September 2017
John Hall and Daryl Oates are the definition of “blue-eyed soul.” Their songs are a perfect melding of pop, soul, soft rock and R&B. One song from their extensive catalog that exemplifies their sound is “Sara Smile,” which was on their self-titled, Gold certified album from 1975.
12 September 2017
No group signifies the laid back, sun-kissed 70s better than the Eagles. Their crystalline harmonies, stellar musicianship and satisfying lyrics make them one of the best rock bands of all time.
5 September 2017
When most people think of Led Zeppelin, they think of vibrating, electric, bad-to-the-bone rock and roll. However, as most bands worth their salt, they had a kaleidoscope of sounds, sounds that involved an overlapping of genres, including blues, country, reggae, R&B and folk. “Tangerine” is one of their songs that doesn’t quite fall into the category of their usual sound, while simultaneously being their quintessential sound.
29 August 2017
There are some classic rock songs that are unquestionably part and parcel of the rock and roll rubric. “Stairway to Heaven,” “Imagine,” “Hound Dog”…all are staples of rock. Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” certainly fits into this category as well. Released in September of 1976, it hit number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Much like the group Kansas, the name of the group as well as the music itself, represents big sky, limitless wheat fields, rich soil, simplicity and freedom.
15 August 2017
Country music legend Glen Campbell recently passed. He leaves a legacy of crossover country hits that will be part of pop culture consciousness forever. Known for reflective, everyman songs, his 1977 hit “Southern Nights” was one of his more dance-oriented, upbeat tunes. The song was originally written and recorded by Louisiana legend Allen Toussaint in 1975.
8 August 2017
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.
1 August 2017
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.
24 July 2017
George Harrison was known as the quiet Beatle. They say still waters run deep and that certainly was the case for this introspective songwriter.
18 July 2017
Most people don’t know that soul singer Bobby Womack composed the luscious “Breezin’,” made popular by singer-songwriter/guitarist George Benson.
11 July 2017
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.
4 July 2017
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…
27 June 2017
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…
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.”
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
20 June 2017
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.
16 June 2017
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.