1970’s music provides listeners with a rich treasury of pop and rock tunes. It’s virtually impossible to select just 10 all-time favorite 1970’s songs unless you can create several categories to put the hundreds of notable songs into from that era; that is, Top 10 Make-Out Songs, Top10 Dancing Songs, etc. In this article, I want to share with you my Top 10 1970’s Childhood Memories songs; songs that for one reason or another, bring me back to some aspect of my childhood.
1.1974’s Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas: Musical fun. Kung Fu Fighting has been touted by music snobs as one of the worst songs of the 1970’s, but for me, this is one of the most important tunes I’ve ever listened to. This was the first single that my friends and I listened to over and over on our portable record players, as we kung-fu’ed each other in jest. Carl Douglas didn’t have any more American Top 10 hits after that, and it’s been reported that the only reason Kung Fu Fighting saw the light of day was because Douglas needed a b-side to “I Want To Give You My Everything”. Kung Fu Fighting was recorded hastily, and the rest is history!
2.Take It To The Limit by The Eagles: Enjoyable ritual. The name Eagles means “icon” in the annals of rock history. They’ve sold well over 85 million records, and have played live before countless sold out venues. But this particular song from their 1975 album One of These Nights was played almost every day when time was set aside for afternoon Music Appreciation Time in my 5th Grade class. For whatever reason, many of us kids didn’t bring anything to play, so one of my classmates was able to showcase his favorite group and favorite song more times a week than we stood up to say the Pledge of Allegiance!
3.Afternoon Delight by The Starland Vocal Band: Grandma’s kitchen. Afternoon Delight would blare out of a GE greased-stained radio once or twice daily in my grandmother’s kitchen, which smelled of cinnamon and nutmeg, during the summer of America’s Bi-Centennial. Yet this song was anything but about the wholesomeness of grandma’s house! Afternoon Delight is one of the most craftily conceived songs for sexual activity, yet it cleared the radio censors despite such lines like:
“I always thought a fish could not be caught who wouldn’t bite
But you’ve got some bait a waitin’ and I think I might try nibbling
A little afternoon delight”
4.1976’s Beth by KISS: Taking it to heart. This power ballad was the first song that I ever took literally to heart. I actually worried that Beth was going to eventually die from abandonment with each play of the hit because her man was more concerned about hanging out with his friends. I wanted to tell KISS off until I saw them on tv for the first time in all their crazy garb and ensuing trash-talking. Yet for all their antics and make-up, KISS has proven to be some of the truest rockers to the core ever!
5.You Light Up My Life By Debby Boone: The Titanic Love Theme of the 1970’s. I wasn’t even in puppy love with anyone, yet this ballad was the first song that tugged at my heartstrings, bringing near tears to my eyes every time I heard it. Our music teacher had this affinity for making our class sing Top 10 adult contemporary hits. Yes, the lyrics of this song are still lodged in my head just like my mercury fillings, thanks to the weeks of practice we had to endure over this song! We boys played football roughly on the playground during recess, made R-rated comments about the opposite sex amongst ourselves, yet had to sing “You Light Up My Life” to our parents and siblings for one school presentation night! This song was so popular, that tv producers often wouldn’t let Pat Boone’s daughter sing anything else. Debby Boone has said her 1977 #1 smash hit wasn’t even her favorite song, despite the notoriety it brought her.
6.How Deep Is Your Love by the Bee Gees: Break from continuous disco. This Top 10 medley is a song that seems out of place on a movie soundtrack noted for all its disco tunes. When Saturday Night Fever was released in late 1977, it was during the height of the disco craze, but How Deep Is Your Love ends the film so eloquently, and my fondness for How Deep Is Your Love began upon first hearing it on the radio. Saturday Night Fever was so popular that it was also released in a Rated PG version so us kids could watch the film.
7.Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon: Sports fan. Most people associate this Carly Simon hit as the theme to the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Yet the first time I heard it was in early 1978 one Saturday afternoon when the song was playing as a tv sports show was honoring the sporting champions of 1977. I was just beginning to follow professional sports, and watched the replay of the final seconds of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers winning their first World Championship as Simon sang on. I decided right then and there that the Blazers were to be my favorite NBA team. Since then, Portland hasn’t won any World Titles, nor has Carly sung on behalf of 007.
8.Thunder Island by Jay Ferguson: Carefree summers. Thunder Island was performed by a former member of the renowned groups Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne. This 1978 hit captures the essence of what summertime used to be all about, when things were more simple and less complicated. It still emanates the presence of 1970’s Top 40 AM Radio to the fullest, an instant first class time travel song that is as fresh in the 21st Century as it was during those care-free childhood days of no school, no homework, nor teachers’ detentions.
9.Sandy from the movie soundtrack to Grease: Travolta rules! It was the summer of 1978, and Star Wars was still playing in some theaters after its incredible 1977 run. DVD’s, with all their bells and whistles, didn’t exist in 1978 to expediently whisk a movie straight out of theaters. I, though, wasn’t a convert to “the force”. Grease would be the first movie that I desired to watch more than once in a theater, of which I did thrice during that last summer of innocence before adolescence fully took hold of me. Grease is a film about school, gangs, necking, guy to guy verbal jousting, malt shops, poor boy falling for a well-off girl, and a lot of singing. John Travolta’s rendition of Sandy, after his failed attempt to score at the drive-in with the character Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John, still resonates with me because of its tragic/comedic flare: as Travolta sadly croons, with the drive-in screen as his background, animated movie snacks from an intermission commercial entice the other movie-goers to hunger!
10.Don’t Look Back by Boston: Childhood best friend. Don’t Look Back came from an album with the same name. It was Boston’s second release after scoring big-time with their 1976 self-titled debut album, which is still one of the top-selling albums of all time (17 million-plus sales). Boston was the favorite group of my best friend during a period in my life when I was about to enter adolescence and fall head over heels in love for the first time. He loved to imitate the music to Don’t Look Back, using his mouth to recreate the synthesizing-like sounds of Boston. Whenever I hear any Boston song on the radio, I think of my particular best friend from that timeÃ¢Â?Â¦.and how he ultimately betrayed my confidence. Boo hoo! Boo hoo! Oh well, so much for looking back!