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The Best Songs From Every Year of the 1970s

As Homer Simpson once said in an episode of The Simpsons, “Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974, it’s a scientific fact.” The 1970s were a great decade for music, and a lot of our really iconic songs came from this decade. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just looking for something different to listen to, here are my picks of the best song from each year of the 70s!

1970: Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell) 

You’ve probably heard the Counting Crows cover (also great) but the original is clearer and it also shows the scary reality of how timeless the lyrics really are. 

1971: Shaft Theme (Isaac Hayes)

There will never EVER be a more iconic film theme as Shaft. It’s also the most 1970s-esque pick on this list — even beating 1977’s song — because this IS the 1970s.

1972: Rocket Man (Elton John)

This is one of my all-time favourite songs, and this is one of the songs I always turn to when I have writer’s block. 

1973: Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings)

This is one of the best James Bond themes out there, and the song is a serious bop on its own too. 

1974: Killer Queen (Queen)

This is one of my favourite Queen songs. It’s a classic and beat out a bunch of my favourite songs to take the 1974 space.

1975: Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)

This is one of my favourite Aerosmith songs, and any rock fans can appreciate this period in Aerosmith’s sound.

1976: Dancing Queen (Abba)

This song is iconic. ICONIC. It was a struggle to not make this entire list Abba songs, to be honest. 

1977: Stayin’ Alive (The Beegees)

As a film major, I think everyone should see this music video. I can’t quantify it just go watch it. 

1978: Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty) 

This was a song that was totally brought back by Vine and I’ll be surprised if you don’t recognize it. I seriously like the song on its own too though. 

1979: Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)

This was my JAM at the height of my emo phase in high school, and considering I never really actually grew out of my emo phase, this song still speaks to my soul. 

Just for good measure… 

Here’s an amazing mashup of some of the best 1970s songs that I couldn’t fit into this list. It’s really well done and worth the listen!

Happy listening!

Madeline McInnis

Wilfrid Laurier '19

Madeline graduated from the BA+MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020. In her undergraduate degree, she majored in Film Studies and History with a specialization in film theory. She later completed her Master's of English degree, where she wrote her thesis on the construction of historical memory and realism in war films. If you're looking for a recommendation for a fountain pen or dotted notebook, she should be your first line of contact.
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