Build my 1970 playlist
November 24, 2010 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Outstanding playlist from 1970?

I was born in 1970. I'm having my annual holiday party on December 11. Ordinarily, we play holiday music at our party. This year, I was thinking of interspersing some awesome songs that were released specifically in 1970. Can you help me build my playlist? They don't have to be holiday songs at all - in fact, I'd be quite happy if they weren't. Thank you all in advance.
posted by lassie to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
this would be a good start - if you scroll down there's a section for singles.
posted by nadawi at 5:25 PM on November 24, 2010

Here's another good place to start.
posted by HuronBob at 5:30 PM on November 24, 2010

I'm partial to Isaac Hayes' versions of Burt Bacharach songs. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself and The Look of Love both came out in 1970. Unfortunately, Walk On By was six months too early for 1970.
posted by mhum at 5:58 PM on November 24, 2010

it ain't perfect in terms of accuracy of release dates, and the rankings are based on contemporary user preference, not the charts at the time ... but you could do way worse than spending some time with's Top Singles Chart for 1970.

Album cuts are an option too, of course.

posted by philip-random at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2010

The Stooges - 1970, from Funhouse (1970). Now that's a party!
posted by hydrophonic at 6:26 PM on November 24, 2010

Best answer: !970? One of my favorite years, 10th grade, and after summer, 11th. Of course my 10th grade began with "Abbey Road", still playing everywhere, into the winter, and then "Let It Bleed". Additional big hits at the beginning, "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" by Steam, my class's unofficial anthem. That Fall we heard lot's of Woodstock music, even more after the movie came out in the Spring. Also in the winter, S and G's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was everywhere as well. Continuing into the Spring, John Lennon's single, "Instant Karma", harbinger of the Beatles' breakup, a disaster not actually apparent until "Let it Be" finally came out later in the year (although I heard some of its best tracks on the radio one wintery night when my local underground station got ahold of the "Get Back" bootleg). Also on the underground station, Fleetwood Mack's "Oh Well" and "Room to Move" by John Mayall. Later in the Spring Paul's self-titled "McCartney" came out as well. "Ball of Confusion" and "Psychedelic Shack" by the Temptations, "American Woman" by the Guess Who, "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum (very accurately used in the "Apollo 13" movie), "Ma Belle Amie" by Tee Set, Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" (or "...Blows", as we sang it), Badfinger's "Come and Get It" and the school year ending with the novelty "Gimme Dat Ding". Then into the Summer with "Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image, Alive and Kicking's "Tighter and Tighter" and the essential "Spill the Wine" by Eric Burden and War. Another summertime novelty, Ernie singing "Rubber Duckie". Just as school began, another disaster -- the death of Jimi Hendrix. I was really digging Creedence's "Cosmos Factory" at this time -- for completely accurate September 1970, listen to its "Ramble Tamble" as your tab of mescaline kicks in. Then some Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma" and the Moody Blues, and never bother with that teenybopper Top 40 stuff again (especially, anything by Chicago -- yuck!). Well maybe some Top 40, like the Bee Gee's "Lonely Days", Todd Rundgren's "We Gotta Get You a Woman" and who can forget "Timothy"? Also, late in the year, James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and don't forget Joni Mitchell's "Ladies of the Canyon" -- maybe even catch her playing "For Free" on the Johnny Cash TV show.

Man, those were the days.
posted by Rash at 6:34 PM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

The Temptations - Ball of Confusion will be on all the lists of top hits. Great song.

A few more that might be a little more obscure:

Stevie Wonder - You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover

Elton John - Son of Your Father. There's actually lots of good stuff on that album.
Glen Campbell released a version of Oh Happy Day in 1970. But I don't think it's as good as the Edwin Hawkins version, released in 1969. Some say that song inspired George Harrison's My Sweet Lord, which was released in 1970.
I'd put Rubber Duckie on my playlist, but maybe that's just me. That one actually hit the charts in 1970.
posted by Balonious Assault at 6:36 PM on November 24, 2010

Another good start (Rhino Records)
posted by nightwood at 7:05 PM on November 24, 2010

I have a '1970' playlist on my iPod. Some of the highlights:
Beatles - Let it Be
The first two Black Sabbath albums
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Frank Zappa - Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Grateful Dead - American Beauty and Workingman's Dead
Led Zeppelin III
Stooges - Fun House
Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold the World

really, a pretty good year for music ...
posted by chbrooks at 7:16 PM on November 24, 2010

Virginia Plain by Roxy music would have to feature - though sadly 1972
posted by the noob at 7:29 PM on November 24, 2010

Oh, please -- Roxy's great, but glam rock didn't exist in 1970.

And speaking of Johnny Cash, don't forget his "What is Truth?"
posted by Rash at 7:50 PM on November 24, 2010

One more essential track, provoked by Kent State -- CSN&Y's "(Four Dead in) Ohio".
posted by Rash at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2010

Derek and the Dominos, "Layla"
posted by kirkaracha at 8:32 PM on November 24, 2010

Best answer: Eric Clapton, "After Midnight"
The Jackson 5, "A.B.C."
Santana, "Black Magic Woman" (1970 hit cover of the Fleetwood Mac original)
Van Morrison, "Domino"
Van Morrison, "Moondance"
Badfinger, "No Matter What"
The Beatles, "Let It Be"
Edwin Starr, "War"
The Kinks, "Lola"
posted by kirkaracha at 8:42 PM on November 24, 2010

You've got the first proper solo albums by John Lennon (Plastic Ono Band), Paul McCartney (McCartney), and George Harrison (All Things Must Pass). Some recommendations from those albums:

All Things Must Pass (George)
Let It Down (George)
Apple Scruffs (George)
I Dig Love (George)
Every Night (Paul)
Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul)
Well Well Well (John)
Isolation (John)

Also, you have to use:
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered
posted by John Cohen at 8:43 PM on November 24, 2010

Funkadelic's debut album was released that year. Every track on there is a blast. Free your mind . . . and your Ass will Follow was also released that year. It's not as great as the first one, but it's still solid.
posted by wheat at 9:30 PM on November 24, 2010

Three Dog Night - "Joy To The World" (hah, it's Christmas but not)!

Parliament's debut album Osmium came out that year too.
posted by knile at 2:20 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wow, thanks for asking this question. Looking at the first couple of posters' links was really a blast from my past. I remember nearly every one of those songs. 1970 was a wonderful year for music, even on Top 40, really.

If you want to buy just a few albums that really represent that year, the number one album, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel; Abbey Road (which I thought came out in 1969, but is on Billboard's 1970 list) by The Beatles; Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; the original cast album of Hair; Sweet Baby James by James Taylor; the soundtrack from Woodstock (which I also thought was 1969); and Let It Be by The Beatles would fill your party with wonders.

Here are a bunch of individual songs -

Some 1970 powerful, "We Can Change The World" type songs:
"Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell
"Instant Karma!" - John Lennon, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band
"Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" - Melanie with The Edwin Hawkins Singers
"Ohio" - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
"Share the Land" - The Guess Who
"Teach Your Children" - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
"United We Stand" - The Brotherhood of Man
"War" - Edwin Starr
"Woodstock" - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

1970 songs with a great beat:
"Are You Ready?" - Pacific Gas & Electric
"Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" - The Temptations
"Daughter of Darkness" - Tom Jones
"Eli's Coming" - Three Dog Night
"Get Ready" - Rare Earth
"Get Up I Feel Like Being Like a Sex Machine (Part 1)" - James Brown
"Immigrant Song" - Led Zeppelin
"No Time" - The Guess Who
"The Letter" - Joe Cocker with Leon Russell
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" - Sly & the Family Stone
"Venus" - Shocking Blue

1970 really sweet songs:
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" - The Carpenters
"Come Saturday Morning" - The Sandpipers
"Everything Is Beautiful" - Ray Stevens
"I'll Be There" - The Jackson 5
"I'll Never Fall in Love Again" - Dionne Warwick
"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" - Edison Lighthouse
"Ooh Child" - The Five Stairsteps
"Our House" - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

1970 Top 40, but still, honestly, so good:
"ABC" - The Jackson 5
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Diana Ross
"Come And Get It" - Badfinger
"Hitchin' a Ride" - Vanity Fare
"It's a Shame" - The Spinners
"In the Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
"Knock Three Times" - Tony Orlando and Dawn
"Looking Out My Back Door" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Mama Told Me Not to Come" - Three Dog Night
"One Less Bell to Answer" - The 5th Dimension
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" - B. J. Thomas
"Someday We'll Be Together" - Diana Ross & the Supremes
"Spirit in the Sky" - Norman Greenbaum
"Take a Letter Maria" - R. B. Greaves
"The Tears of a Clown" - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
"Temptation Eyes" - The Grass Roots
"25 or 6 to 4" - Chicago
"Up on Cripple Creek" - The Band
"Up the Ladder to the Roof" - The Supremes

1970 soulful songs:
"The Boxer" - Simon & Garfunkel
"Bridge over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel
"El Condor Pasa" - Simon & Garfunkel
"Fire and Rain" - James Taylor
"If I Were Your Woman" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
"If You Could Read My Mind" - Gordon Lightfoot
"Leaving on a Jet Plane" - Peter, Paul and Mary
"Let It Be" - The Beatles
"Lonely Days" - Bee Gees
"The Long and Winding Road" - The Beatles
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" - Neil Young
"Ruby Tuesday" - Melanie

1970 songs so good I had to include them too, even though I'm not sticking them in a category:
"I Hear You Knocking" - Dave Edmunds
"I Think I Love You" - The Partridge Family
"(I Know) I'm Losing You" - Rare Earth
"Lola" - The Kinks
"Love the One You're With" - Stephen Stills
"The Love You Save" - The Jackson 5
"Lucretia MacEvil" - Blood, Sweat & Tears
"Midnight Cowboy" - Ferrante & Teicher
"Mr. Bojangles" - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
"My Sweet Lord" - George Harrison
"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" - Steam
"Overture from Tommy (A Rock Opera)" - The Assembled Multitude
"Rainy Night In Georgia" - Brook Benton
"Ride Captain Ride" - Blues Image
"See Me, Feel Me" - The Who
"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" - Joe Cocker
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" - Stevie Wonder
"Something's Burning" - Kenny Rogers & the First Edition
"Spill the Wine" - Eric Burdon & War
"The Thrill Is Gone" - B. B. King

Obviously I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this post, but it was a labor of love, done more for me than for you. But have fun! Have you asked your parents what they're favorite songs were at that time?
posted by Ellemeno at 2:55 AM on November 25, 2010 [13 favorites]

Ellemeno, if I could favorite your very cool and comprehensive list many times, I would do so. Thank you! (Gonna get these!).

And all the rest of the contributions as well. I love 70s music, and am glad to see that there are other "dinosaurs" out there like me...
posted by sundrop at 8:10 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Striving for accuracy, must point out that
Derek and the Dominos, "Layla" was late 1971 and
S & G's "The Boxer" topped the charts in early 1969.

the original cast album of Hair
was more 1968 - '69, kinda stale by 1970, and
the soundtrack from Woodstock
like the film, was released late spring 1970.
(I won tickets to the movie premier, and skipped school to attend!)

One more great tune from the summer of 1970
(good luck finding it now):
"Mongoose" by Elephant's Memory

And something I (re)learned, researching my answers here: the Stones "Let It Bleed" preceeded "Let It Be" -- for some reason I'd developed the notion that Bleed was a satirical response to Be.
posted by Rash at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2010

Response by poster: You guys all rock. Thank you so much. Who knew it was such a great year for music?
posted by lassie at 6:39 PM on November 25, 2010

One more good resource.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 PM on November 25, 2010

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was released in late 1970.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:20 AM on November 26, 2010

Yeah, in my corner of the world, Layla (the song) didn't hit the singles charts until 1972. But the album was already well established by then.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 AM on November 26, 2010

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