Let’s be clear from the start: I’m not saying these are songs you’d never want to play again or shouldn’t want to hear another time, although there are those of you who would insist vigorously on exactly what. this point, please no i never wanna hear that again! But I would bet that by the time you get to the top of the list, you’ll agree that those 1970s rock songs are so ingrained in your consciousness that whenever you want to hear them all you really need to do is hit a button in your mind and they start playing.
This list explores the persistence of memory for just about every American rock fan who was alive and rock in the 1970s, the power of the FM Album Oriented Radio format and its tight rock album playlists, and the phenomenon known as the earworm – you know, when a song gets stuck in your head and it just keeps playing in your mind. These are tunes millions of 70s rock fans can sing karaoke-style without having to read the lyrics.
We might call this list “most memorable” – although memorable can and often involves something more – and it certainly identifies the main contenders for “most popular”. But there is something else at work here …
Be warned before you go any further: after reading this, you might just find these songs bubbling through your brain in the days to come. Which is part of what “classic” is – songs so timeless that they stay rooted in your brain. These aren’t the only songs that have made it, but few persist as firmly in the memory of more than four decades ago as this 10.
10) “More than a feeling” – Boston
Did a song by a classic ’70s rock band ever become so ubiquitous and, at the time, yes, played too much on the radio that its success helped usher in the new band’s rapid descent from the heights with their next album? At the end of the decade until the 80s, without fail, in any store, thrift store or garage sale where used albums were sold, at least one of the 17 million copies sold of the album The group’s eponymous 1976 album could be found. Why? If you wanted to hear his biggest hit – # 5 on the Hot 100 – all you need to do is tune in to your local rock station. Or flip that switch in your head.
9) “Ramblin ‘Man” – The Allman Brothers Band
Calls for “Whipping Post” were incessant at nearly every any act concert in the 1970s. But that country-flavored declaration of freedom and love for the road that was a No. 2 hit is the Allmans’ number one candidate against earworm. Is it just a coincidence that its tempo of 120 beats per minute is the same as the accelerated heart rate one feels after consuming a little too much cocaine?
8) “Barracuda” – Heart
It’s really a mix between this song and “Magic Man”, but we’ll go with the first one – a # 11 pop hit – because of its more linear structure that plays in an unforgettable and straightforward way. Credit Ann Wilson’s flamethrower voice for etching both numbers deeply into the consciousness of 70s rock fans.
7) “Jet Airliner” – Steve Miller Band
As above, it’s really a game of chance whether Miller’s “Jet Airliner” or “Joker” is to be on this list. “Joker” ranked No. 1 in 1973 while “Airliner” reached No. 8 in 77 – a year when AOR radio ruled the airwaves to burn “Jet Airliner” to the depths of memory. So we’ll go with the song later. Little known fact: Miller didn’t write this one, composed by Paul Pena.
6) “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
The Big Mac’s Only No.1 single in the US Some recognition must be given to the millions of men (and surely many women) whose crush on Stevie Nicks has sparked such deep swells that this issue – written by her in just 10 minutes – has slipped into countless hearts where you only have to mention Stevie’s name and the song will start playing from memory.
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5) “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Bob Seger
Its subject matter and almost irresistible rhythm helped this number to impress itself in the consciousness of rock fans. Although it only reached 28th place as a single, the song reached No.2 on the Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time in 1996. No doubt its continued popularity was fueled by the scene in the film. from 1983. Risky business in which young Tom Cruise, wearing only a button-down Oxford shirt, athletic socks and tidy clothes, lip-syncs, dances and mimics the guitar to the beat of the air. (Considering everything that has happened since, this imagery might just scare some of us.)
4) “Smoke on the water” – Deep purple
Shortly after being a No. 4 hit single in 1973, it was nearly impossible to visit a musical instrument store and not hear a young guitarist playing (or attempting to play) the four figure guitar. Ritchie Blackmore’s 12-note bars that opens the song and is repeated throughout his verses – an instrumental hook if any. As one of heavy metal’s earliest popular hits, it holds a special place in the hearts of many rock fans as well as on the mental playlists of millions of people.
3) “Free bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Interesting part of this list: As we get to the top the songs get longer and more complex. The virtual Southern rock theme song of the 70s, it was recorded at 6:08 a.m. on the band’s eponymous debut album in 1973, subtitled (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd’ Skin-‘nérd), and has two distinct sections: a soulful ballad and then a balls-out guitar boogie. The radio edit only reached 21st place in the singles ranking. But after the group’s plane crashed in 1977, it became a memorial to Ronnie Van Zandt. His title also soon replaced “Post to whip!” ” like the concert cry. ‘Nuff said.
2) “Hotel California” – Les Aigles
No.1 in 1977, Grammy winner for Song of the Year, and just over 30 years later his mp3 went platinum with sales of over a million. But did all these people really need to buy it? Come on, folks, admit it! The mere mention makes the song play in your head, including every note of the Joe Walsh / Don Felder guitar duel in the middle. Arrive at 6.30am, about double the length of most Top 40 singles of the previous decade. And who says smoking weed can ruin your memory?
1) “The staircase to heaven” – Led Zeppelin
This is the song that inspired this list when, while complaining about commercial rock radio and how it played certain songs to death, I noted: Come on! Does anyone in a certain age range need to hear “Stairway to Heaven” again? All I have to do is mentally press “play” and voila. Yes, every eight minutes and two seconds with its three separate sections. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if generations of scientists find out that “Stairway” has implanted itself in the DNA and then in the offspring subconscious of every classic 70s rock fan.