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Top 150 Best 70s Songs

Looking back over a musical heritage that has lasted decades, we can feel very lucky to have witnessed it. And, if we are going to just be specific in time, finding the best 70s songs won’t be easy. There was just too much. But how did we get to that stage at all?


After The War

The post-war years saw a continuation of what had gone before, with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and others similar. 

Jazz was still a dominating force with the big bands and people like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. But, through the 50s, with the rise of the “clean-cut college boy” look of Pat Boone and others, there was going to be a musical reaction.

“(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” might have been viewed as ‘wholesome’ by our parents, but… 

Hold Onto Your Eardrums

Best 70s Songs

Along came Elvis, Jerry Lee, Little Richard, and a whole new breed of artists. Into the late 50s and early 60s, and our parents were appalled. Great, wasn’t it? But then, something stirred in Liverpool. The Beatles arrived. 

There had been nothing like them before. There was nothing like them at the time, even though there was one London-based band who claimed a rather misguided superiority. 

And, there has been nothing like them since. Pop or Rock bands writing their songs, good ones. How dare they.

Over To You Big Jim

The 60s not only bred a new type of band and artist, but it also demanded better instruments. And, of course, better and louder amplification. Over to “Big Jim” Marshall, The “Father of Loud.”

It was Pete Townshend who walked in one day and encouraged an idea that Jim already had. The Vox AC 30s and the Fender amps available didn’t cut it. They just weren’t loud enough. Get some power and volume out there, said Pete. Jim provided it. 

Turn It Up

If you hadn’t been to Jim Marshall’s little shop in Hanwell, West London, where were you? If you hadn’t turned up the volume to ten on a Marshall 100-watt stack, then you didn’t know the meaning of loud. 

Even the shoppers outside knew what that meant on a busy Saturday morning as they ran for cover. Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, and others, all regulars. Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell worked there in the shop. But, it was all just leading up to the 70s. 

Another Era

The Beatles gave us the start in the 60s, but they were gone after just eight glorious years. Most of the people frequenting West London gave us much of what came in the 70s. And, what a decade it turned out to be. 

Music, and the artists creating it, went to another level completely. The 60s were wonderful, but the 70s were groundbreaking.

We are going to look at some of the best 70s songs. I say “some” because it is impossible to include everything. It was an exceptional decade. A decade full of Pop, Rock, Progressive Rock, Folk, Funk, and plenty more. Let’s get in the DeLorean and remember a few. And, it started with a bang with…

Top 150 Best 70s Songs

1 All Right Now by Free

It isn’t an exaggeration that this song started the 70s with a bang. Not their first release; it was taken from their third album, Fire And Water.

It was the song that brought them international recognition, yet it only took about ten minutes to write after a gig in England’s Northeast. And reached #2 in the UK and 4 in America.

This was their biggest success in the 70s. They released some very good stuff, but the internal squabbles prevented them from achieving what was waiting for them.

2 Seven Seas Of Rhye by Queen

This was a song written mainly by Freddie Mercury with some additions from Brian May. It was included in a different format on their first album, entitled Queen. The version we know was released again on Queen II.

It was their third single and peaked at #10 on the UK chart. The inclusion of Mercury initiated the change from the previous band, “Smile,” to “Queen.” It raised the level way above what we were used to from Smile. And this track gave us an insight into how good they were going to be.

3 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago

It was at the Isle of Wight festival in August of 1970 when we were hit by Chicago. They started this song, and everybody just stopped and looked. The horns, Terry Kath doing his thing, were stunning.

I rarely ever buy singles, but I bought this one. It made #7 in the UK and #4 in America. Their previous single, a cover of the Spencer Davis Group song “I’m A Man,” had been good, but this was something else. 

They didn’t keep it up, though, and changed their style later and became very Pop-oriented. But this track still resonates with me. Furthermore, I consider it one of the most overlooked songs of the 70s.

4 Let It Be by The Beatles

By the start of the 70s, it was all over for The Beatles. We don’t need to go into all the reasons. Yoko got most of the blame, but we ought to thank her. If she was to blame, then she also was the reason George and especially John went off on their own and wrote some great music.

“Let It Be” was a track from the album of the same name and was their final album release that wasn’t a botched-up compilation. However, it wasn’t the last album they recorded; that was Abbey Road.

It was written by Paul McCartney but didn’t make it to #1 in the UK and peaked at #2. Although, it hit #1 in plenty of other countries, including America. And it remains one of the most iconic 70s songs.

5 Your Song by Elton John

As the impending end of The Beatles painfully came to its bitter conclusion, we needed someone to fill the void that would be created. Up stepped a chubby little boy from Pinner in West London. 

He was the most unlikely-looking replacement you could imagine if you had seen him at 13 or 14 years old. But, within a few years, he was playing Friday nights at the Northwood Hills pub in West London, and the place was rocking.

“Reggie Dwight” didn’t sound so cool, so he took the name of the sax player he played with, Elton.


His association with Bernie Taupin is legendary and came about when he answered an ad in the paper of all things. This song, one of the best of his career, was one of the early results of that collaboration. Released in 1970, it reached #7 in the UK and #8 in America. Reggie was on his way.

6 Emerald by Thin Lizzy

The 70s threw up some great ‘live’ performers. But, between 1977 and 1978, none were better than this lot. They were the hottest live band on the planet, and the album, Live And Dangerous, proved that.

This track, “Emerald,” was taken from that album. Despite all the perpetual internal problems, for just one year, it finally all came out well.

Observers “in the know”… 

Will look at the album cover and see the name Tony Visconti. That will usually mean a bit of, shall we say, “post-concert tweaking.” But, the basis of the show at Wembley that night is evident.

I was there that night and had never heard a live rock band so good. So many years later, I still haven’t.

7 Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who

And, on the subject of great live bands of the 70s, that period cannot be mentioned without tipping your hat to The Who. A sensation most of the time but scary at other times. 

It was unnerving to see pieces of Marshall cabinets, bits of the drums, and what was left of Townshend’s guitar flying into the audience. Someone remarked once that America could end the Vietnam war tomorrow; just send The Who out there.

Two versions

There was a single version and the full eight-minute album version from Who’s Next. Townshend had matured as a writer by now, and this got the full “anti-establishment” treatment. 

It reached #9 in the UK and #15 in America. And 165 on the decibel meter and peaking even higher at the Streatham Locarno in London one night.

It was the last song that the band played live with Keith Moon for a film recording at Shepperton Studios in London.

8 Radar Love by Golden Earring

While The Beatles were strutting their stuff in Hamburg, Germany, so were Golden Earring in Amsterdam, Holland. Formed a year after The Beatles, they kept virtually the same lineup for 60 years. 

It was still the same until recently. They finally all called it a day and picked up their bus passes well into their 70s and went off for a coffee. 

Bye Bye Eddie

The Van Halens left Holland, but the Dutch weren’t short of solid rockers, and this band was at the forefront. “Radar Love” was their international breakthrough single and is what you might call a “Rock masterpiece.”

It was released in 1973 in Europe and 1974 in America. It reached the Top 10 in countries across Europe and #13 in America.

9 Hocus Pocus by Focus

Let’s stay in the land of clogs, cheese, and raw fish with onions, and serve up another Dutch delight. You could be forgiven if you thought that the members of Focus were all “off their trolley.” They were what you might call unusual.


You don’t often get someone yodeling in a frantically-paced Rock song, but that is what you get here. They were all classical and jazz-trained musicians, and they put it all to good use. But, they were more than a Progressive Rock band. 

They took the term “progressive” to where no one, even until now, has been able to follow. And, apart from the yodeling, we had flute and whistling as well. 

This track was taken from their 1971 album, Moving Waves. Apart from stunning musicianship, they had a sense of humor with the title of the song.

10 It’s Too Late by Carole King

In my opinion, one of the best albums of the 70s was Carole King’s Tapestry, which is from where this track is taken.

The single was released in 1971 and peaked at #6 in the UK and went to #1 in America. It was written by Carole King with Toni Stern.

It sits in a sad place as it is the story of a relationship breakup. Her voice adds to the melancholy, as does the simplified arrangement. A great track from a great album. And it’s easily one of the best 70s songs.

11 Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

It isn’t possible to talk about great 70s music without including Led Zeppelin. The problem is choosing a song. But, I suppose it has to be this.

Not much needs to be said; it speaks for itself. Released as a track on Led Zeppelin IV, it has become a symbol of 70s rock music and Zeppelin themselves.

A combination of Page’s guitar, Plant’s vocals, and some great drumming met with John Paul Jones’s excellent orchestrations.

12 Fire by The Ohio Players 

The 70s was also the period that Disco and “dance fever” took hold. Once again, almost impossible to pick one from all that happened. 

Some of the music was very contrived and plastic. We will ignore that stuff. This one, however, spoke volumes. A great dance track and a funky sound, it was a highlight of the 70s Disco scene. It was the first track on the album of the same name and reached #1 in America.

13 Ohio by Neil Young

Another 70s icon that had to be included, Neil Young, is recognized as a great artist not only from the 70s but any decade. He has often taken up causes and wrote songs with stinging establishment criticism. That is what this is.

The song is about an anti-Vietnam war protest in 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio. The national guard murdered four unarmed students. Cue Neil and his songwriting, “Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming.”

It was called by some the greatest protest song ever. It seems as though he didn’t protest loud enough since Nixon got re-elected. Including a big majority in Ohio.

14 Tumbling Dice by Linda Ronstadt

A song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, which the Stones often played. It was included on their album, Exile On Main Street

So why not include their version? 

Two reasons. This version is better, especially the vocals. And secondly, Waddy Wachtel is an infinitely better guitarist than Keith Richards ever was, even when he could play a bit.

Linda Ronstadt was one of the best female singers of the 70s and could turn her hand to most things. Thought of in some circles as a Country singer, this song shows she was a bit more than that. She crossed all genres and even sang some light operatic material.

This song was taken from her album, Simple Dreams. A good song given the Ronstadt treatment.

15 Angie by The Rolling Stones

The Stones were always living in the shadow of The Beatles, especially from a songwriting point of view. However, this track from the album, Goats Head Soup, was special.

A great song written by Jagger and Richards, it was released as the first single from the album in 1973. It reached #5 in the UK and #1 in America.

16 Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

Say the name “Deep Purple,” and most people will think of this track. Four very good musicians and a singer that could shatter your wine glass at the top of his range. This was released in 1972 on one of their best albums, Machine Head.

Thundering riffs, heavyweight drums, and bass are just what you expect from Purple. A song, as we know, written about a real fire in Switzerland where they were recording at the time.

17 Eruption by Van Halen

In 1962, the Van Halen family left their native Holland to resettle in California. The guitar changed forever in the hands of Eddie and was never looked at in the same way again.  

The two brothers, Eddie and Alex, formed Van Halen. Their first album, Van Halen, released in 1978, was a stunning offering that made everyone sit up and take notice. 

“Eruption” was the highlight and made guitarists all over the world wonder what on earth was going on. The Flying Dutchman’s credentials were established as a guitar great.

18 The Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac was one of the outstanding bands of the 70s, so an inclusion from them in this list is inevitable. But, I am not going to include anything from Rumours or any of those albums released by the more “Pop-oriented Mac.” 

This goes back to the dawn of the 70s in the UK when Peter Green led the band. One of the great Blues guitarists of his time. In the late 60s and early 70s, they were at their very best, and this is a “Greenie” song from that period.

Deep, very dark, moody, and heavy with their blues inspirations. In my view, the best track that Fleetwood Mac ever released. It reached #10 in the UK. They didn’t have another Top 10 hit in the UK after this until “Tusk” and the ‘new’ Mac nine years later.

19 Living For The City by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was one of the artists who lit up the 70s and a few other decades as well. Difficult then to choose just one track from all the outstanding recordings he made. This song from his album, Innervisions, is the one that gets my vote.

Released in 1973, it made #15 in the UK and #6 in America. It is a song that portrays the problems that black people still have in America. What do you think of the musicians? He played everything on this track himself. That is an artist at work.

Space is at a premium as we move towards my Top 5 songs of the 70s. So, let’s abbreviate and mention some that should be on this list of the best 70s songs.

20 Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens

Released in 1971 on his album, Teaser And The Firecat. A Christian hymn, it was written in 1931 and inspired by the town of Alfriston in East Sussex. And the piano? Played by Rick Wakeman of Yes. It reached #9 in the UK and #6 in America.

21 Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits

Our introduction to Mark Knopfler and a band that was going to develop into one of the most important acts of the next twenty years. Released in 1978, it peaked at #8 in the UK and #4 in America.

22 Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

Was the world ready for Kate Bush? Probably not, but we got her anyway. Songwriter and performer extraordinaire, this was her first release in 1978, inspired by the Bronte novel. It was taken from her excellent first album, The Kick Inside.

We have Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd to thank for helping her on her way in the early days. Even paying for the first recordings she made.

23 Jingo La Ba by Santana

Another hugely influential guitarist and band, Santana’s first two albums were groundbreaking. New rhythms are the style, and this track must be top of the list. It was taken from their first album, Santana. The thundering drums and rhythms set this apart as something very special. 

24 Wasted Time by The Eagles

Could we have a list of the 70s without one of the decade’s greatest bands? Of course not? The perfection of The Eagles was at times staggering, especially live. I haven’t chosen the obvious choice, “Hotel California.” Instead, one of my favorite tracks from the same album also called Hotel California.

A great song with a great arrangement and orchestration. Light years away from their Country Rock beginnings, Don Henley’s voice is outstanding.

Onto my Top Five and a choice that is going to surprise a lot of people to start.

25 Without You by The Doobie Brothers

Now, here is a band that brought it all together. Good songs, great vocals, some excellent musicianship, and it somehow always had a happy feeling. This was taken from their album, The Captain and Me.

The album was released in 1973. and it also contained other great tracks like “Long Train Runnin'” and “China Grove.” Not released in the UK, the album reached #7 in America. 

A band that had diversity as well and could cover a range of styles. Well worth their place here, and this was one of the best rock tracks of the 70s.

26 Yours Is No Disgrace by Yes

Pink Floyd might have been leading the way in Progressive Rock in the 70s, but Yes, even though different, were not far behind. This is a track taken from undoubtedly one of the best albums of the 70s, The Yes Album.

There have been some explanations about the lyrics, but it is an anti-war song. It is sending messages to soldiers who fight honorably that there is no disgrace on their shoulders. 

If there is a disgrace, then that responsibility is on the leaders if they sent them there for the wrong reasons. And quite a few have in recent years, which is why this song struck a nerve with some people. Great performance from one of the best progressive bands of the 70s.

27 Eagle by Abba

Over their exceptional career, Abba wrote and recorded some stunning songs. The names roll off the tongue like a list of the greatest songs of the 70s. But in my opinion, almost unknown as it is in some circles, this was the best of them all.

Written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, it was included on their fifth album, ABBA: The Album.

Surprisingly, it only had a limited release as a single and was not issued in the UK or America. A great song with fantastic vocals from the girls, it typifies freedom and being able to live as you want to.

28 Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

Progressive Rock came of age in the 70s, and leading the way was Pink Floyd. “Comfortably Numb” was taken from their masterpiece, The Wall.

They were a band that demanded the listener to do more than listen. Their music seemed to permeate you as a person as they told their story. The Wall was an example of how they made you sit and take notice.

One of the things that made this a stand-out track, not only of the album but of the decade, was Dave Gilmour’s guitar solo. No histrionics, a minimum of effects pedals unlike the 200 that some use, and no floppy hats. He doesn’t need all that; he can play. A great song from a stunning album.

29 Imagine by John Lennon

And so, to the very last song on this long list of classic songs from the 70s. There is a strong argument in many quarters that this was the song of the 70s. I happen to go along with that. 

Some songs come and go…

As do many of the artists that release them, but “Imagine,” released in 1971, is seemingly always with us. It was taken from his album of the same name.

It was released first as a single in America, where it reached #3. But, it wasn’t released in the UK until 1975, when it peaked at #6.

It is more than just a song…

It’s a culture and stylization of the man himself. Some people have discussed and argued why it resonates so much. Musically, I think it is because it is so simple. Nothing complicated, no big arrangement. Just him and a piano with Klaus Voorman on bass and some drums from Alan White.

But, the lyrics, of course, are something else. It portrays how irresponsible we can be, of how we let things that were irrelevant get in our way of happiness. Have you ever sat down, removed your prejudices, and thought about what he is saying?

30 Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

31 Love Train by The O’Jays

32 Heart of Gold by Neil Young

33 Superstition by Stevie Wonder

34 Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees

35 American Pie by Don McLean

36 Lola by The Kinks

37 Reelin’ In the Years by Steely Dan

38 Bennie and the Jets by Elton John

39 The Joker by Steve Miller Band

40 Maggie May by Rod Stewart

41 Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas

42 Bad Company by Bad Company

43 Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond

44 Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

45 Dust in the Wind by Kansas

46 You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

47 Suffragette City by David Bowie

48 Takin’ Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

49 Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones

50 Layla by Derek and the Dominos

More 100 Best 70s Songs

    1. Hot Stuff by Donna Summer
    2. Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin
    3. Love Hurts by Nazareth
    4. The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
    5. I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash
    6. You’re So Vain by Carly Simon
    7. Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac
    8. Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce
    9. Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & the Pips
    10. December 1963 (Oh What a Night) by The Four Seasons
    11. Rocky Mountain High by John Denver
    12. Mandy by Barry Manilow
    13. Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John
    14. Le Freak by Chic
    15. Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes
    16. Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
    17. Brick House by Commodores
    18. Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye
    19. Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones
    20. Band on the Run by Paul McCartney & Wings
    21. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
    22. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
    23. Sister Golden Hair by America
    24. Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey
    25. Horse with No Name by America
    26. Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind & Fire
    27. Night Fever by Bee Gees
    28. I’m Not in Love by 10cc
    29. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
    30. Imagine by John Lennon
    31. Stay by Jackson Browne
    32. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts
    33. I Shot the Sheriff by Eric Clapton
    34. Lovely Day by Bill Withers
    35. My Sharona by The Knack
    36. Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd
    37. We Are the Champions by Queen
    38. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson
    39. Bad Girls by Donna Summer
    40. We Will Rock You by Queen
    41. Miss You by The Rolling Stones
    42. Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees
    43. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) by The Four Seasons
    44. September by Earth, Wind & Fire
    45. Hotel California by Eagles
    46. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
    47. Heart of Glass by Blondie
    48. Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac
    49. The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
    50. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson
    51. Rich Girl by Hall & Oates
    52. Kiss by Prince
    53. Reelin’ in the Years by Steely Dan
    54. Drift Away by Dobie Gray
    55. Ventura Highway by America
    56. Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
    57. Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed
    58. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
    59. Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
    60. Lay Down Sally by Eric Clapton
    61. Got to Be Real by Cheryl Lynn
    62. Piano Man by Billy Joel
    63. Rocket Man by Elton John
    64. You’re So Vain by Carly Simon
    65. It’s Too Late by Carole King
    66. ABC by The Jackson 5
    67. Superfly by Curtis Mayfield
    68. Don’t Bring Me Down by Electric Light Orchestra
    69. Rock and Roll All Nite by Kiss
    70. Lowdown by Boz Scaggs
    71. Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille
    72. I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King
    73. Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith
    74. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
    75. Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
    76. Dream On by Aerosmith
    77. Dancing Queen by ABBA
    78. Black Water by The Doobie Brothers
    79. Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan
    80. Show Me the Way by Peter Frampton
    81. Black Dog by Led Zeppelin
    82. Magic Man by Heart
    83. Dream Weaver by Gary Wright
    84. Radar Love by Golden Earring
    85. Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) by Pink Floyd
    86. One of These Nights by The Eagles
    87. Long Train Runnin’ by The Doobie Brothers
    88. Lady Marmalade by Labelle
    89. Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers Band
    90. Paradise By the Dashboard Light by Meat Loaf
    91. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? by Rod Stewart
    92. Runnin’ With the Devil by Van Halen
    93. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
    94. Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix
    95. Lay Down Sally by Eric Clapton
    96. Turn the Page by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
    97. Best of My Love by The Eagles
    98. Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
    99. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
    100. I’m Not in Love by 10cc

Looking for More Great Music?

Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best 80s Rock Songs, the Best 70s Rock Songs, the Best 90s Rock Songs, the Best Songs of The 2000s, and the Best Songs Of All Time for more awesome song selections.

Of course, you need to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones Under $200, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best Bass Earbuds you can buy in 2023.

Best 70s Songs – Final Thoughts 

Time to get our breath back. That was like a roller coaster ride through a decade that brought us some great music. But, it could also be described as a decade of experimentation. 

What started with The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper and a few other bands in the 60s evolved into Pink Floyd, Yes, and others creating mind-boggling music and sounds that define the age.

That was the 70s… 

A creative musical juggernaut, and we only just scratched the surface. Apologies if your favorites aren’t here. I am sure there are plenty of people who would like to have seen other bands and songs.

As I said in the beginning, finding the best 1970s songs will not be easy. There was just too much good music.

Until next time, happy listening.

5/5 - (48 votes)

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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