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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Top 115 Songs of 1970

This is an interesting year because some of those old 60s bands are still kicking around and a band like Black Sabbath comes along and starts to make things SCARIER!  HA HA HA HA HA! THE DEVIL!  What’s both and good bad about 1970 is that it’s the last of the great year of music until … I don’t know, the early 90s?  This is only good because the next several years will be much easier to write up, and much shorter on thee ol’ blog.  Anyways …

115.  Long as I Can See the Light – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Slow Rock) – 1970
114.  Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970
113.  Hideaway – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Slow Rock) – 1970
112.  Queen of the Highway – The Doors (Rock) – 1970
111.  Duppy Conqueror – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1970
110.  Friends – Led Zeppelin (Folk Rock) – 1970
109.  ‘Til The Morning Comes – The Grateful Dead (Alt-Country) – 1970
108.  Pins and Needles – Willie Nelson (Country) – 1970

Its great hearing Willie rip it up on guitar (please don’t tell me that’s someone else playing). 

107.  Express Yourself – Charles Wright (Funk) – 1970
106.  Mississippi Queen – Mountain (Hard Rock) – 1970

This is sort of the first in a long line of 70s rock songs that would help destroy the genre.  Seeing it’s the beginning of the decline, it’s a decent tune. 

105.  Lady D’Arbanville – Cat Stevens (Folk Rock) – 1970
104.  Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell (Folk Rock) – 1970

This sounds like a Feist song. 

103.  After the Gold Rush – Neil Young (Piano Ballad) – 1970
102.  Keep on Growing – Derek & The Dominoes (Rock) – 1970
101.  Cracklin Rosie – Neil Diamond (Pop) – 1970

It’s not about a blow-up doll. 

100.  African Herbsman – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1970

It’s pretty hard for this honky to say such and such reggae song is better than another reggae song, but I like this one because (and I think it’s the guitar) there’s a really cool sound effects happening here.  There are four reasons I will like a reggae song:
1) It’s a classic and it’s been pounded into my head a million times 
2) I’ve heard it at a pool during the summer
3) I got high to it in some fake Jamaican’s dorm room in college
4) There’s a cool sound effect (which may only be cool because of choice 3)

99.  Memo From Turner – Mick Jagger (Rock) – 1970

“You’re a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick” … interesting line.  I didn’t know gay people had smaller wangs. 

98.  Indian Summer – The Doors (Slow Rock) – 1970
97.  War – Edwin Starr (Funk) – 1970

Evidently Edwin Starr is against war on this one, whereas his previous single was titled, “Let’s Bomb The Shit Out of Cambodia!”

96.  Isolation – John Lennon (Slow Rock) – 1970
95.  Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers (Rock) – 1970
94.  Well, Well, Well – John Lennon (Rock) – 1970

This would be one of John’s best solo pieces if he didn’t scream WELL WELL WELL for 90% of the song, and this is coming from a guy who loves hearing John scream. 

93.  I Gotta Get Drunk – Willie Nelson (Country) – 1970

I do too Willie, I do too. 

92.  Out on the Tiles – Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) – 1970
91.  Dire Wolf – The Grateful Dead (Country) – 1970

When you Wikipedia “Dire Wolf”, this is what you get:  The Dire Wolf, Canis dirus, is an extinct carnivorous mammal of the genus Canis, and was most common in North America and South America from the Irvingtonian stage to the Rancholabreanstage of the Pleistocene epoch living 1.80 Ma – 10,000 years ago, existing for approximately 1.79 million years.

90.  Ball of Confusion – The Temptations (Funk) – 1970

You know the Vietnam War isn’t going well if Motown starts making psychedelic funks songs about it. 

89.  Sunday Morning Coming Down – Kris Kristofferson (Slow Rock) - 1970
88.  God – John Lennon (Slow Rock) – 1970
87.  Small Axe – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1970
86.  Summer  ’68 – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1970
85.  She Brings the Rain – Can (Psychedelic Rock) – 1970


84.  Pressure Drop – Toots and the Maytals (Reggae) – 1970

The first time I ever heard this song was a cover by Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. 

83.  Casey Jones – The Grateful Dead (Rock) – 1970 

Add the Grateful Dead to the list of bands I’d expect someone to listen to if they’re living in a van down by the river. 

82.  Stranger to Himself – Traffic (Rock) – 1970
81.  (They Long to Be) Close to You – The Carpenters (Pop) – 1970

Any song that’s good enough for Marge and Homer is good enough for me.  It’d be interesting to see how I’d hear this song if it weren’t for those two. 

80.  Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time – The Delfonics (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970

Much like actors John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson owe their careers to Tarantino, the Delfonics owe any record sales after 1998. 

79.  Who’ll Stop the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970
78.  And It Stoned Me – Van Morrison (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970
77.  Rivers of Babylon – The Melodians (Reggae) – 1970
76.  Oye Como Va – Santana – 1970

It’s really incredible how many songs from the Lebowski soundtrack come from 1970.  Santana is the reason why hippies love the cungas and bungas. 

75.  My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama – Frank Zappa (Hard Rock) – 1970

How many more points do you get for being weird?  It depends on the song.  This is one of Zappa’s better moments, but I’m sure hard core Zappa fans don’t like it because it’s one of his more popular tunes.  Stereotypes man. 

74.  Uncle John’s Band – The Gratefuel Dead (Folk Rock) – 1970
73.  Northern Sky – Nick Drake (Folk) – 1970
72.  Brokedown Palace – The Grateful Dead (Folk Rock) – 1970
71.  Empty Pages – Traffic (Rock) – 1970

The verse part is incredible, but the chorus seems so forced, which is a problem Traffic has quite often.  Getting from Point A to Point B isn’t easy. 

70.  I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Jam Rock) – 1970
69.  Up Around the Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970
68.  I Me Mine – The Beatles (Rock) 1970
67.  Cecilia – Simon & Farfunkel (Folk Rock) – 1970

This is a good look into Paul Simon’s “Look at me, I can create world music” future. 

66.  Moondance – Van Morrison (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970

This song is forever jaded because it was one of my high school prom’s theme songs.  It seems pretty pretentious to be listening to music like this in high school. 

65.  Move On Up – Curtis Mayfield (Funk) – 1970

Beware the Ides of Disco. 

64.  For You Blue – The Beatles (Blues) – 1970
63.  Fire and Rain – James Taylor (Folk Rock) – 1970

True story about James Taylor … well atleast about my dad, who was also named James Taylor.  After the folk singer divorced Carly Simon, my dad had the opportunity to get Carly’s autograph at the Farmington Valley Mall in Connecticut.  Naturally, my dad got her to sign it, “To James Taylor, I’ll love you forever” or something like that.  Good times.

62.  Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin (Folk Rock) – 1970
61.  Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970
60.  Hazy Jane II – Nick Drake (Folk Rock) – 1970

Look at Nick Drake go!  All folk artists need to rock eventually.  The only reason they’re folk artists to begin with is because no one will jam with them and they want people to hear their lyrics.   A person strumming a guitar by themselves always gets boring eventually. 

59.  Southern Man – Neil Young (Rock) – 1970

Why must Neil Young and Skynyrd fight?  That being said, I have to side with Neil Young and his Yankee imperialism even though he never had a song as good as “Freebird.” 

58.  Revival – The Allman Brothers (Jam Rock) – 1970
57.  Tangerine – Led Zeppelin (Folk Rock) – 1970

Why are tangerines so psychedelic? 

56.  Don’t Worry If There’s a Hell We’re All Gonna Go – Curtis Mayfield (Funk) – 1970

Aside from Mayfield having the great pre-disco sound, he also has my distinction of being the Father of Porn music. 

55.  Spill the Wine – Eric Burdon & War (Funk) – 1970

I didn’t know this was “The Animals” guy.  It’s always nice to hear someone having success in another band after the big one breaks up. 

54.  Cool It Down – The Velvet Underground (Rock) – 1970
53.  Ride Captain Ride – Blues Image (Rock) – 1970

This song helps usher in that “smooth” rock feel of the 70s that Steely Dan would perfect. 

52.  Don’t Let It Bring You Down – Neil Young (Slow Rock) – 1970

This song gets into my head from time to time with the lyrics all messed up (didn’t know the song, so I obviously didn’t know the words).  After many years, I can finally identify it.  Yey!

51.  New Age – The Velvet Underground (Slow Rock) – 1970
50.  Love The One With You’re With – Stephen Stills (Folk Rock) – 1970

Dodo do do do do DODO DODODO DODODO!

49.  I Found Out – John Lennon (Rock) – 1970
48.  Amoreena – Elton John (Slow Rock) – 1970

Here’s another good artist who never wrote his songs.  Elton John in the early 70s was pretty darn good though. 

47.  Get Back – The Beatles (Rock) – 1970

A great last song for a “greatest band’s ever” not greatest album ever. 

46.  Mother – John Lennon (Slow Rock) – 1970

The first song on JL’s first solo album is as powerful emotionally as anything he ever did with the Beatles.

45.  John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic (Folk) – 1970
44.  I’ve Got a Feeling – The Beatles (Rock) – 1970
43.  Who Loves the Sun – The Velvet Underground (Pop Rock) – 1970

This is the perfect depressing pop song. 

42.  Mother Sky – Can (Hard Rock) – 1970  

Here’s another one of those “rare” great long songs.  Though there’s not too many changes in this one, it somehow symbolizes everything rock is all about. 

41.  In Memory of Elizabeth Reed – The Allman Brothers (Jam Rock) – 1970

It’s nice to hear the Allmans create a pretty elaborate song.  Sure there aren’t any words, but this song really doesn’t need any. 

40.  Lola – The Kinks (Rock) - 1970
39.  Cumberland Blues – The Grateful Dead (Bluegrass) – 1970
38.  Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Rock) – 1970

I doubt there are very few students who sat through a high school U.S. History class and haven’t heard this song.  I never think of this incident when I think of “Things That Killed the 60s Idealism” but stupid military kids with guns shooting at stupid hippies with rocks definitely should make the list. 

37.  Into the Mystic – Van Morrison (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970

I’ve always underrated how much soul this guy has. 

36.  Bron-Y-Aur Stomp – Led Zeppelin (Alt-Country) – 1970
35.  Truckin ‘ – the Grateful Dead (Rock) - 1970
34.  Run Through the Jungle – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970

With songs like this, it’s no wonder why those Creedence tapes are so important. 

33.  Roadhouse Blues – The Doors (Blues) – 1970

When the Doors discovered they could mask Jim’s drunkenness with blues songs, they were on to something. 

32.  I Found a Reason – The Velvet Underground (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970  

This song sounds like it could’ve been sung by the Penguins in the 1950s.  It’s also so hypnotic.   Here we have another reason … wait a minute … I FOUND yet another reason why Loaded is a great album.

31.  American Woman – The Guess Who (Hard Rock) – 1970

Without the Guess Who, you never get Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which has gotta count for something, right? Without these guys you never get that nice white man’s rock vibe doesn’t have much soul, but somehow rocks incredibly.  Speaking of which, Creedence’s “Ooby Dooby” just came on my ipod.  

30.  Ripple – The Grateful Dead (Folk Rock) – 1970  

I love when the Dead find perfect happiness within a short pop folk song. 

29.  Looking Out My Back Door – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970

The reason I’m making so many Lebowski references for 1970 is it’s becoming quite apparent that the Dude’s best year of life was 1970.  If you’re unfamiliar with the best year of life, it’s the year when your favorite songs ever came out and you haven’t changed your clothing style since. 

28.  Super Bad – James Brown (Funk) – 1970

JB doesn’t let this one drag, AND his screams are in peak form.  What’s not to like? 

27.  That’s the Way – Led Zeppelin (Folk Rock) – 1970
26.  Box of Rain – The Grateful Dead (Alt-Country) – 1970
25.  Sweet Jane – The Velvet Underground (Rock) – 1970
24.  Paranoid – Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal) – 1970

I’m not really sure if this is metal or not, but it’s close enough for me.  I’d like to hear a double kick drum and some speed guitar, but this is pretty good for now. 

23.  Waiting For the Sun – The Doors (Psychedelic Rock) – 1970

This song has gotten better with age for me.  Jim’s singing isn’t too bad like it was on The Soft Parade.  I’m surprised a psychedelic song is still working in 1970, and that’s most likely simply because it’s just a good song. 

22.  Across the Universe – The Beatles (Folk Rock) – 1970
21.  Ooh Child – The Five Stairsteps (Rhythm & Blues) – 1970

This is probably my favorite song to listen to when I’m down and out.  Whereas Modest Mouse will make me enjoy being sad and detached, this song will actually cheer me up.  I’m a cheeseball sometimes.  In my defense I have that “Why do birds suddenly appear” song on this very list. 

20.  Oh Sweet Nuthin! – The Velvet Underground (Rock) – 1970

They didn’t sell out with this album.  What they did was finally make a great record that was different and still fun for many listeners, not just fun for a group of douchebags that’d wear tight jeans and bright colored belts a few decades later. 

19.  Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) – 1970

Sure it’s not something Zeppelin hasn’t done already, but now that I’m listening to them against Sabbath, they still seem more powerful somehow.  I’m not sure why this is.  It’s probably based on the scientific fact that Led Zeppelin is better than Black Sabbath though. 

18.  The Man in Me – Bob Dylan (Rock) – 1970

Yes I feel silly loving this song so much simply because it’s basically The Dude’s theme song, but now that that movie has happened, it’s always puts me in a good mood when I hear it.  It makes me want do a j and make a Caucasian. 

17.  War Pigs – Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal) – 1970

The biggest thing Sabbath brings to the table that Zeppelin didn’t is darkness. 

16.  Glad/Freedom Rider – Traffic (Rock) – 1970

There are certain things that can never be separated and the two songs that start John Barleycorn Must Die are a great example.  I often say Traffic is one of the most underrated bands of all time, and well, maybe they’re not, but these two songs back to back is an underrated experience. 

15.  Peace Frog – The Doors (Rock) – 1970

Robbie Krieger tearing it up on the wah-wah peddle!  The Doors did some great things on Morrison Hotel that they hadn’t really done since 1967. 

14.  Sugar Magnolia – The Grateful Dead (Folk Rock) – 1970

It was amazing how high of a ceiling the Dead had for writing happy pop songs. 

13.  Instant Karma – John Lennon (Rock) – 1970
12.  Just a Thought – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Rock) – 1970

Most of Pendulum goes unnoticed (as it likely should), but this is a great hidden gem song.  Bands from this era have so many “Greatest Hits” albums that some of these songs get forgotten, and this is one of those.  It’s one of Creedence’s best songs. 

11.  Get Up (Sex Machine) – James Brown (Funk) – 1970

Like most of his songs, it’s pretty repetitive, but what’s not to like about feeling like a sex machine?  I’m not sure how good JB will sound after 1970, but this is a great way to go out, if in fact he does. 

10.  Layla – Derek & The Dominoes (Rock) – 1970

Obviously this is one of Clapton’s best tunes, however, when I hear it nowadays, I always hear Ray Liotta saying, “We were goodfellas …” and that either takes away or adds more to it. 

9.  Black Magic Woman – Santana (Jam Rock) – 1970

The man that never misses a note.  When a white kid from the suburbs starts exploring classic rock for his first time, this is one of the first songs he encounters.  It’s only natural to forget how great of a song it is. 

8.  Friend of the Devil – The Grateful Dead (Folk Rock) – 1970

Another song that I’ve heard a million times, and will probably hear a million more. 

7.  Dig a Pony – The Beatles (Rock) – 1970
6.  Working Class Hero – John Lennon (Folk) – 1970

These god damn foreigners come to our country and think they’ll do as they please!  It’s liberals like this that have ruined our country and they should’ve reported this long hair back to Russia!  That John Lennon is nothing but a fucking commie. 

5.  After Midnight – Eric Clapton (Rock) – 1970

Am I crazy for thinking this is Eric Clapton’s finest moment as a solo artist?  He finds a great groove here and it’s so anti-Clapton because I’m not bored to tears listening to him “slowhand” his way through a traditional blues song because he’s sad. 

4.  Rock and Roll – The Velvet Underground (Rock) – 1970

I don’t know what else to say about these guys.  Fortunately for writing purposes, 1970 is the end of the Velvet Underground.  It was alright. 

3.  Iron Man – Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal) – 1970

What makes Sabbath “metal” is the fact that they’re the first band trying to scare their listener.  For the most part, I don’t like the concept, but Sabbath does it so well, it’s pretty hard to not enjoy them especially with guitar power chord progressions like the one this has. 

2.  Ramble Tramble – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Jam Rock) – 1970

Cosmo’s Factory was Creedence at their apex.   I had a copy on vinyl in 1996 and remember waking up and putting it on and loving it during those hot summers of the late 90s.  This song is the best thing I’ve ever heard Fogerty do.  It actually transcends Creedence. 

1.  Let It Be – The Beatles (Slow Rock) – 1970

Paul McCartney’s finest hour (though I think I said the same thing when I discussed “You Never Give Me Your Money”).  There’s a good chance I’ve heard this song more so than any other song in my entire life (too bad there’s no counter for that!).  I still love it.  It seems like a wonderful breath of fresh air for a band that’s going through so much break-up shit that when you hear it, the stress relief reaches whatever I have going on in my life.  I know I make fun of Paul often, but he’s probably the best pop song writer the world has ever seen.  

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