Music Lists #3: The Top 100 Songs of the 1970s

Here it is, the definitive list of the best songs from the 1970s - the era between the Beatles and Duran Duran. My only guideline is that an artist can only land on this list one time. These are in no particular order and, like all pop culture lists, totally a matter of taste and therefore worthless.

1. Carry On - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
2. Guitar Man - Bread
3. Thunder Island - Jay Ferguson
4. Help Me - Joni Mitchell
5. I'd Have You Anytime - George Harrison
6. Levon - Elton John
7. Family of Man - Three Dog Night
8. Love Alive - Heart
9. For the Love of Money - The O'Jays
10. Lovely Day - Bill Withers
11. Love is Alive - Gary Wright
12. Josie - Steely Dan
13. Living for the City - Stevie Wonder
14. Isn't It Time - The Babys
15. Rise - Herb Alpert
16. Seven Island Suite - Gordon Lightfoot
17. Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts
18. Sail On - The Commodores
19. Chevy Van - Sammy Johns
20. Hair of the Dog- Nazareth
21. Ride Captain Ride - Blues Image
22. Night Fever - Bee Gees
23. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
24. Rich Girl - Daryl Hall & John Oates
25. Peaceful - Helen Reddy
26. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney
27. What You Won't Do for Love - Bobby Caldwell
28. Hotter than Hell - KISS
29. Searching (For So Long) - Chicago
30. Lowrider - War
31. Boogie Man - KC & the Sunshine Man
32. Ventura Highway - America
33. The Things We Do for Love - 10cc
34. Hotel California - The Eagles
35. Vehicle - Ides of March
36. Knowing Me, Knowing You - ABBA
37. Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes
38. Family Tradition - Hank Williams, Jr.
39. Nights Are Forever - England Dan & John Ford Coley
40. Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain & Tennille
41. Rocky Mountain High - John Denver
42. Fire and Rain - James Taylor
43. I Am I Said - Neil Diamond
44. You're So Vain - Carly Simon
45. Open the Door - Pentangle
46. Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love - Van Halen
47. Midnight Rider- The Allman Brothers
48. Saturday Night Special - Lynrd Skynrd
49. Morning Will Come - Spirit
50. Stranglehold - Amboy Dukes
51. Jet Airliner - The Steve Miller Band
52. Do Ya - The Move
53. Danny's Song- Loggins and Messina
54. Superstar - The Carpenters
55. Son of a Son of a Sailor - Jimmy Buffett
56. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do - Led Zeppelin
57. Baba O'Riley - The Who
58. Promises - Eric Clapton
59. Dreaming - Blondie
60. Smiling Faces Sometimes - The Undisputed Truth
61. Hold Your Head Up - Argent
62. All Right Now- Free
63. We're All Alone- Rita Coolidge
64. Piano Man - Billy Joel
65. Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
66. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones
67. Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)- Marvin Gaye
68. Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton-John
69. Candida - Tony Orlando & Dawn
70. Let Your Love Flow - The Bellamy Brothers
71. Hitch a Ride - Boston
72. Reminiscing - Little River Band
73. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkle
74. Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine - James Brown
75. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
76. Slow Ride - Foghat
77. Black Water - The Doobie Brothers
78. September - Earth, Wind and Fire
79. Moondance - Van Morrison
80. Let's Stay Together - Al Green
81. Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
82. Do You Feel Like We Do? - Peter Frampton
83. Free Ride - The Edgar Winter Group
84. Life on Mars - David Bowie
85. Behind Closed Doors - Charlie Rich
86. Can't Get Enough of Your Love - Barry White
87. Roundabout - Yes
88. Superfly - Curtis Mayfield
89. Paradise by the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf
90. Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
91. Come Sail Away - Styx
92. Don't Leave Me this Way - Thelma Houston
93. One - Harry Nilsson
94. Hello, Hurray - Alice Cooper
95. Everything's Alright - Yvonne Elliman
96. Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
97. We Are Family - Sister Sledge
98. It's Too Late - Carol King
99. Running on Empty - Jackson Browne
100. I Got a Name - Jim Croce

Okay, I know many of you rock snobs and music geeks are wondering where are all the rare B-sides and other commercially remote songs? Well, maybe another day I'll do a list of sinfully underplayed songs from the 70s. For now just be happy I didn't put anything by Shaun Cassidy on here.

Now take a moment of silence to stare in awe at the greatness of the music from the 1970s.


  1. Excellent list! I'm a huge 70s music fan myself. I thought I should let you know that both the Dusty Springfield and Blind Faith songs are from early 1969, though. Just thought you might wanna correct that, if you wanna be totally true to the subject matter.

  2. "Worthless"???? No way!

  3. Hey Gil. Wow! This is a good list. I love so many of these tunes. The 70's had some really awesome music. Not sure if I could make a list like this or not. Great job you did with this one. Cheers!

  4. Dean - Corrected. Bye bye Dusty, hello Bowie. Thanks.

    Thanks to Keith, Joe and Lidian for the positive comments. I'm still waiting for someone to slam me for not including King Crimson, Camel, Van der Graaf Generator, Can, Hawkwind, or some other non-commercial band.

    I also noticed that Jay Ferguson is on here twice - once with Spirit and once solo. Oh well, technically they're different so I'm leavin' it.

  5. Yep, it's all there. I sing out For the Love of Money when I'm getting ready for work. "Money, money, money, money, moneh -- MONEH!"

  6. I'm kinda surprised that there's no Bad Company, and that the Yvonne Elliman tune you selected wasn't "If I Can't Have You" or the dreamy "Hello Stranger."

    Still--this is a towering achievement, sir. Nice work!

  7. Marissa: "... got ta have it, got ta have it, some of that mean, mean green!"

    dguzman - No Bad Co. because I already had Paul Rogers on there with "All Right Now" by Free. And to your other point: I'm a sucker for Jesus Christ Superstar. And thanks for the positive comment!

  8. Great list! We don't need no stinkn' multiple entries! Too many of these lists have 7 Beatles, 5 Stones, 4 Who, etc. And Kudos to anyone who thinks Three Dog Night belongs on lists like this!

  9. Great list! I just blogged about Herb Alpert today (it's his 74th birthday). Olivia, Carpenters, Three Dog Night, Van Morrison--excellent taste in music. I might just have to compile my own list in the near future.

  10. Don - I wouldn't dream of coming to the table with a 1970s music list and not include 3 Dog Night!

    Deep Dish - Let me know when you do. I'd like to see it! For now, I'll have to check out your Alpert post - hope it has his Whipped Cream and Other Delights album cover somewhere.

  11. Fascinating list; good call on the George Harrison song, by the way, surprising choice. I think now that you've set the precedent I need to do my own. And I love Meat Loaf, so including "Paradise" made me smile.

    You do have one song on there that I've often called the Worst Song in the History of Recorded Music, but why be negative when you've got 99 other pieces of awesome?

  12. Boy, what an eclectic list! I love it!

    Isn't It Time by The Babys is one of my ALL TIME favorites. I never get tired of hearing it.

    No other song takes me back to the 1970s like Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts.

    AC/DC song was 1980. Unless the single came out before the album. Or am I being too picky?

    I can't believe you don't have any Blood Sweat & Tears. Although they did a version of Vehicle.

    I don't know if I could a list with only one Bee Gees song.

  13. Nice list. Makes me want to download a few more songs to my playlist. Forgot about "Thunder Island"!Now I can't get it out of my head. I agree with Retro Hound, "Isn't It Time" was a roller rink favorite. "Hotter Than Hell"! Nice.

  14. Great choices. I hope Sirius radio discovers you and has you DJ their 70s pop station, which sucks compared to your listen. Perfect pick on the ABBA song, too...
    Yeah AC/DC was '80 and you should have picked a Bon Scott track like "Ride On" or "Let There Be Rock."

    But otherwise that would make a fine playlist that would really bring you back, since it's not deep tracks nor a super hitlist.

  15. samuraifrog- Now you've peaked my interest - which one is the worst song in history? I don't remember putting "My Humps" on the list. Surely it's not one of the usual targets: The Carpenters or Neil Diamond?

    I actually am looking forward to your list - your weekly playlists are interesting.

    retro hound- Thanks for the pointer on the AC/DC song; I didn't have to think hard to find another AC/DC favorite to replace it.

    Weren't all the good BS & T songs from '69? I don't know - as you can see with the Dusty Springfield, AC/DC and Blind Faith choices, I went stricly on memory rather than looking each one up. Plus, I've already got Chicago and The Ides of March, so I didn't want to stack it with too much horn bands. But thanks so much for the comment as usual!

    Chris - Funny that "Isn't It Time" gets two commentor's praise - it's really an overlooked song... most people don't remember The Babys anymore.

    Tommy Salami - Thanks for the positive comment. I would love to quit my 8-5 and be Johnny Fever.

  16. oh yeah I remember many of those, when I was growing up in the 70's my mother listened strictly to Elton John - Yellow Brick Road, Rod Stewart - Maggie May, Seals and Crofts - Summer Breeze, Crackling ROse - Neil Diamond...

  17. Good call on "My Humps," actually. The designation may change...

    It's "We Are Family." A thousand weddings and "wacky" comedies have completely ruined it for me.

    For the record, I dig Neil Diamond, and I especially like that Carpenters song. How can I hate the Carpenters when I love Paul Williams?

  18. A wonderful list, so many songs I can sing by heart on there, well done sir. Incidentally, I know that image at the top, the album cover for "Moog Groove", which popped in a post of mine (Postcards Form Ironyville - http://ironyville.blogspot.com/?zx=f151b7cf8a41d77e, feel free to stop by) about a bunch of old records I'd found in my closet. Do you own it as well?

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  20. Just saw this Brother Gil and holy cow....what a great list...I could hear 90 or so of them in my head as I was reading the titles....takes one back.....thanks!

  21. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

    Carry On is great!
    But your list misses out on Genesis.
    Umm, Olivia Newton-John?