41 Best 70s Songs

Best 70s Songs

Can you believe that 1970 is over fifty years ago? That puts into perspective how fast time flies. This article will list some of the best 70s songs that made an indelible mark on the music industry and ones that we still jam to on a road trip or while we work at the office.


1. Let It Be By The Beatles

Song year: 1970

You can recognize The Beatles for songs like Come Together and Hey Jude, but starting this list is another hit, Let It Be. This song earned a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

The tone is motivational, encouraging second chances and seeking wisdom. The Beatles consistently highlight the power of music with profound lyrics and catchy rhythms. 

2. Close To You By The Carpenters

Song year: 1970

Close To You earned a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame, describing love with images of birds and stars. The lyrics are sweet, referencing angels and dreams.

Close To You is sentimental, talking about how attractive another person can be. It’s no wonder this song became the first Billboard Hot 100 single with how many people could relate to the blissful nature of having a crush. 

3. Joy To The World By Three Dog Night

Song year: 1970

The iconic lyrics make you happy whenever you listen to this R&B and soul song. Three Dog Night spreads joy to everyone, encouraging you to get rid of the problematic things in life and focus on the fun times. You shouldn’t be afraid to shoot for your goals and aim high.

4. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough By Diana Ross

Song year: 1970

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Diana Ross states that no matter where you are, your significant other will be there for you.

She enunciates the importance of your lover wanting the best for you, and nothing will keep you two apart. Plenty of people hope to achieve this feeling in their relationship.

5. American Pie By Don McLean

Song year: 1971

American Pie has a Grammy Award for the Song of the Year. The song has folk, alternative, and country notes, making you feel nostalgic as you listen to the lyrics.

You should dance and be happy, enjoying the time you have on this earth. The lyrics are symbolic, making you consider your life and how quickly it can go by with regrets. But, the overall meaning is ultimately up to you.

6. Heart of Gold By Neil Young

Song year: 1972

This rock and folk song is simplistic but has a profound meaning. Neil Young states the importance of wanting to live a fulfilling life. Young became the first Canadian artist to top the Billboard 200 songs.

7. Alone Again (Naturally) By Gilbert O’Sullivan

Song year: 1971

This pop song earned a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and despite the tone, the lyrics are dark. O’Sullivan addresses countless struggles, suicide, and how shattered someone can become after facing the hardships of loneliness, broken hearts, and death.

Those who feel like no one understands them will find comfort in this song. As an adult, you realize the harshness of reality. This song deserves to be revived, especially considering how O’Sullivan produced it himself.

8. Stairway to Heaven By Led Zeppelin

Song year: 1971

Stairway to Heaven is one of the most famous recordings and is considered by some to be the greatest rock song of all time. Stairway to Heaven recounts a woman searching for gold, representing greed for shallow material things.

After your death, none of the money matters. Led Zeppelin leaves interpretation up to you with a mystical and folky feel to the lyrics. Not only that, but this song includes one epic guitar solo.

9. Bohemian Rhapsody By Queen

Song year: 1975

No 1970s music list would be complete without this song. Queen created an operatic rock song that contemplates dreams and reality. The song is unique and makes countless references.

Queen broke through stereotypes to get this song on the radio. Bohemian Rhapsody delivers an entire story, reaching international success. Fans continue to come up with theories and commentaries regarding the lyrics.

10. No Woman, No Cry By Bob Marley

Song year: 1974

Bob Marley makes you remember positive memories, despite the prejudices some face. He wants women to not cry despite how many people they lost over the years. Marley encourages you to look towards the future because you can’t change the past. Everything will be alright regardless of the current hardships.

11. Firth of Fifth By Genesis

Song year: 1973

Firth of Fifth makes countless religious references, describing a clear but long road ahead, gods and men, destruction, and joy compared to sorrow. Life constantly changes, meaning you must change your beliefs.

The title is a pun describing the River Forth in Scotland. Countless critics state this song is the best example of progressive rock to date.

12. Marquee Moon By Television

Song year: 1977

Despite being a longer song that clocks in at nearly eleven minutes, listening to the entire thing is an unforgettable experience. Marquee Moon was the name of Television’s first album. The lyrics visualize urban scenery with heavy references to death and life. The moral of the song is that change can be difficult, but you shouldn’t be sad.

13. Speed King By Deep Purple

Song year: 1979

Speed King describes women, their opinions, and experiences. Deep Purple shows how crazy love can be and the excitement of youth. The song relishes living in the moment, spending money, partying, and causing trouble. Speed King hits hard in rock and roll, encouraging you to travel, live fast, and die young. 

14. Brown Sugar By The Rolling Stones

Song year: 1971

Appropriately, Brown Sugar is on an album called Sticky Fingers. The lyrics make slavery references, either hinting at a relationship between the slaver and slave or a white male and black female.

The Rolling Stones show the conditions they had to face, especially for a young girl who tasted so good according to an older man. This song isn’t appropriate no matter how you look at it.

15. Bridge Over Troubled Water By Simon & Garfunkel

Song year: 1970

Simon & Garfunkel describe how important a friend can be when you feel lonely and weary. Strong friendships carry you through hard times, a metaphorical bridge over troubled water. When the world feels dark, and you’re in pain, you search for help and comfort.

Dreams come true with the power of friendship, and that perspective still holds nowadays. The song sold six million copies worldwide upon release.

16. It’s Too Late By Carole King

Song year: 1971

It’s Too Late earned a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Carole King describes the pain you go through after a breakup, reflecting on relationship woes.

You can’t fake being happy when you’re not, and life becomes difficult when you don’t have someone to love by your side. This song pulls on the heartstrings of those who have experienced a breakup at one point in their life.

17. Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) By Looking Glass

Song year: 1972

This soft rock song tells the story of a port that serves hundreds of ships. Lonely sailors visit a pub where a girl serves alcohol to them. She receives countless compliments about her appearance and how she would make a good wife.

But, Brandy loves a man who couldn’t stay because of his love for exploration. Films frequently use this song to convey lost love and adventurous stories at sea.

18. Let’s Get It On By Marvin Gaye

Song year: 1973

This soul song describes how sometimes you try to hold back feelings of love but when it’s mutual, then you should, to be perfectly frank, get it on. Gaye states how there’s nothing wrong with expressing feelings if they’re true.

Gaye argues that we shouldn't force love but drops heavy hints that loving would be sweet and wonderful. He encourages letting go, enjoying yourself, and being sex-positive.

19. Bennie And The Jets By Elton John

Song year: 1974

Some of the best songs of the 1970s imply drugs. Bennie and the Jets is no different. The electric music parodies the music industry, and Elton John wrote about a fictional band’s life and how he’d react as a fan to seeing them in concert.

The producer stated that the song was more for show than substance by including a fake crowd noise to mimic a live recording.

20. American Woman By The Guess Who

Song year: 1970

American Woman talks about how you should stay away from her because she can hypnotize and seduce. The song acts as a literal personification of the country, and what’s even more ironic is that The Guess Who is from Canada.

21. Dreams By Fleetwood Mac

Song year: 1977

Dreams reference freedom. You should pursue what you want but heed loneliness. It hints at the beauty and danger of dreams. Stevie Nicks wrote this song when she and Lindsey Buckingham were breaking up. You can learn his perspective of their ending relationship by listening to Go Your Own Way.

22. Imagine By John Lennon

Song year: 1971

Imagine forces you to picture a world without heaven, hell, countries, death, killing, hunger, greed, and religion. John Lennon aimed for a peaceful life as one united nation where material things don’t matter, everyone loves instead of hates, and we share the world.

It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring, written during the Vietnam War when many people advocated for peace and unity. Imagine remains well-known and respected worldwide.

23. War Pigs By Black Sabbath

Song year: 1970

Similar to John Lennon but with a very different approach, Black Sabbath was against the war. The song describes generals, witches, destruction, and death. They touch upon the politicians' roles and the hypocrisy of how poor citizens are pawns in the game. The lyrics reference God and Satan, kicking off the album Paranoid in a memorable and impactful way.

24. I’ll Be There By The Jackson 5

I’ll Be There By The Jackson 5

Song year: 1970

I’ll Be There promotes faithful love, reliability, and comfort. The Jackson 5 touches upon how important dreams, strength, joy, and all the positives are in life. The song had four consecutive number one weeks.

25. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy By Rod Stewart

Song year: 1978

A catchy and unforgettable tune, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy recounts a date night and the nervousness when meeting a new person. The song doesn’t have much more to it other than telling that the other person wants them, overcoming shyness, and spending the night together.

The lyrics are heavily suggestive, and the overall story is one that you can’t put out of your mind.

26. Stayin’ Alive By Bee Gees

Song year: 1977

Stayin’ Alive peaked at number one on Billboard Hot songs, staying there for weeks. Saturday Night Fever used this song. Stayin' Alive remains one of the band’s best hits. The popularity of this song makes it a frequent choice for covers and movies. The disco and upbeat rhythm earn it a spot as one of the best songs of the 70s.

27. I Just Want To Be Your Everything By Andy Gibb

Song year: 1977

This song portrays the strong feelings of love and how some people wait forever for their significant other. Andy Gibb recounts how wonderful love is and how it opens the other person.

Those who find true love feel like they would die if they lose them. You would do anything for them and be everything to make them happy which is super romantic if not a little intense. 

28. You Light Up My Life By Debby Boone

Song year: 1977

You Light Up My Life describes waiting for love and the dreams of being with someone so you’re no longer alone. Boone states how you carry on in hopes of spending nights with someone else and getting a chance at love.

Debby Boone’s song remained on the Top 100 Billboard for ten weeks as the prime example of adult contemporary music.

29. Le Freak By Chic

Song year: 1978

Freak out! This song makes you want to dance and encourages those of any age to get up to have fun. The song remained the number one hit for seven straight weeks. Le Freak continues to be one of the most enduring classic funk songs. Originally, the lyrics included cuss words, but the writers decided to keep the tone light. 

30. YMCA By Village People

Song year: 1978

YMCA motivates you and banishes any negative feelings. This song is often seen as the gay anthem, encouraging young men to enjoy themselves and hang out at a popular cruising and hookup spot even if they’re low on money.

The bottom line is that everyone has similar experiences and can help you out if you feel down. This song was the biggest hit for the band, selling over ten million copies worldwide. 

31. I Will Survive By Gloria Gaynor

Song year: 1978

I Will Survive talks about the fear of being alone but also the cons of being in an unhealthy relationship. Gaynor recalls having to be strong and knowing how to progress forward, making changes to get over someone. You should stay true to yourself and heal after a breakup.

While this song is minimalist compared to other disco songs, it was inspired by when Gaynor fell off the stage and broke her back. It’s the first and only disco song to win a Grammy. 

32. My Sharona By The Knack

Song year: 1979

My Sharona regales a pretty 17-year-old girl and the singer's lust for her. The lyrics are dirty, but that didn’t stop the critics from declaring My Sharona as the song of the year. The Knack topped charts with a catchy tune, a unique stutter, and a rebellious storyline that most would consider raunchy then and now. 

33. Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree By Tony Orlando and Dawn

Song year: 1973

This song tells the story of a prisoner of war who’s coming home after doing time away and relishing freedom. He wants to know if his lover still wants him back after the long years trapped in jail by tying countless ribbons around the oak tree. 

The song topped the Billboard Hot 100, selling three million copies in three weeks.  

34. Play That Funky Music By Wild Cherry

Song year: 1976

Play That Funky Music makes you want to boogie! Wild Cherry describes the freedom there is with living life to the fullest. Disco, dancing, and singing help when you feel sad. This song makes you appreciate music more.

It was Wild Cherry’s first and only international hit, their signature song, with countless stating it’s one of the greatest of all time. 

35. Baby Come Back By Player

Song year: 1977

Player talks about how after going your separate ways with someone you care about, you spend money and nights out on the town to relieve your mind of them. But to forget them is a waste of time, and you want them back, unable to live without them.

Baby Come Back shows how foolish it is to give up someone you care about because you’re still in love. The soft rock song was Player’s biggest hit, reaching top charts and popularity.

36. You’re The One That I Want By John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

Song year: 1978

The film adaptation of Grease featured this song as the fourth track. The catchy lyrics and iconic scene made it a favorite and easily recognizable. The song implies they heavily rely on one another, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to be who you’re meant to be. The song left a positive note at the end of the film, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

37. You’re So Vain By Carly Simon

Song year: 1977

Based on the title, anyone could figure out that this song is about arrogance. Carly Simon talks about how all the girls want the cocky man who dresses well and looks good. She implies that they would think she wrote this song for them.

Overall, she regales her time with her significant other and the dreams they had together. You’re So Vain summarizes the naivety and experience afterward in a previous dating experience with a rich, lucky cheater. 

38. Life on Mars? By David Bowie

Song year: 1971

One of the best songs of the 1970s, this Bowie hit recounts a girl’s experience growing up with her reluctant family. She goes to see a movie but finds it boring, a parody of the experience she’s enduring currently.

With various pop culture references, Life on Mars remains a masterpiece today after his Ziggy Stardust era. It leaves you questioning if there is life and art beyond what we know and if we can truly escape.

39. My Sweet Lord By George Harrison

Song year: 1970

George Harrison makes many religious references and sayings in this song. My Sweet Lord was the first single on the solo album and met huge success, clocking in at number one on the Billboard 100, and remaining high for several weeks.

However, Harrison was sued for plagiarizing a similar tune. Therefore, artists were quick to add credits to borrow similar music or source inspirations.

40. Piano Man By Billy Joel

Song year: 1973

Billy Joel wrote this song about his experience as a bar pianist. He vividly describes the guests who attend the bar. This song hits nostalgia for moments you may never have had. Joel emphasizes the influences of music and the hopes, dreams, and inspirations that some people never get the opportunity to do.

It’s one of his trademark songs and the first of many hits. Piano Man remains iconic and an enduring classic.

41. I Think I Love You By The Partridge Family

Song year: 1970

The Partridge Family’s debut single regales the sensations of being in love and not knowing how to cope, so you stay quiet and afraid. The song was released the same year as the television show, topping the Billboard hits in multiple countries for its meaningful, relatable message.

Top 70s Songs, Final Thoughts

Various other artists like Donna Summer, Janis Joplin, Barbra Streisand, A Taste of Honey, The Emotions, Kenny Nolan, The Four Seasons, John Denver, Bill Withers, Glen Campbell, and more made an impact in the 1970s.

While not every singer or band could make this list, they certainly earned a mention. The best 70s songs carved the path to the music that we know nowadays, and people often revisit them because of their undying music and lyrics.

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