Treble’s Top 200 Songs of the ’70s

180. Alice Coltrane
Journey in Satchidananda
(1971; Impulse!)
Available on Journey in Satchidananda

Satchidananda was the Swami whose disciple Alice Coltrane was at the time of recording her fourth solo record, and the concept of a spiritual journey within another person is set flowing through this piece. Cecil McBee’s bass rolls out steadily, opening onto the future in circles; Tulsi’s tambura is the droning base beneath Pharaoh Sanders’ sax, wildly blown but slipping into variations on the tranquility that pervades much of his “Thembi,” released the same year. But Coltrane’s harp is best of all, its runs streaming and glistening across the surface, traveling from meditation to ecstasy, an emergence of love all of its own making. Like the best spiritual jazz it is a journey into the unknown, a celebration of transcending oneself through the specific intonation of living that is music. – Tyler Parks


179. T. Rex
Jeepster
(1971; Reprise)
Available on Electric Warrior

The song’s irresistible boogie is one thing, the fact that it was an integral part of one of glam’s flagship releases is another, but who could resist singing along with choice lines like “You slide so good with bones so fair/You’ve got the universe reclining in your hair“? And only Marc Bolan could convincingly assert he’s a jeepster for anyone’s love. Oddly enough, the song’s release as a single without Bolan’s permission ultimately led him to seek out a new label. I certainly can’t fault the label exec who made that decision; it would have been a real shame if this song didn’t become a hit. – Chris Karman


178. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Free Bird
(1973; MCA)
Available on (pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd)

What would a ’70s list be without this track? Regardless of one’s visceral reaction to Lynyrd Skynyrd or this song in particular, it boasts a tasty guitar solo that is now cemented as a permanent fixture in rock music. Heck, Conan O’Brien covered this song on his last Tonight Show with an all star band (Beck, Ben Harper, Will Ferrell), but even that didn’t really do the song justice. “Free Bird” is much like a car, gradually picking up speed. Everyone who’s familiar with the song waits for the rhythm to pick up, and then the guitar builds up some steam, and just keeps going at a rate swift enough to muss your hair. But still, there’s no denying that solo is fucking awesome, and anyone who does can drop the ‘too-cool-for-school’ act already. – Giovanni Martinez


177. Roxy Music
Editions of You
(1973; Reprise)
Available on For Your Pleasure

Roxy Music had their share of sassy glam rockers, odd and arty ballads, and dancefloor funkers, though on their For Your Pleasure highlight “Editions of You,” the band put all that aside for a pulsing, punchy rocker that got punk rock right about three years early. Of course, the elements are a little different — squealing saxophone, some dirty sounding organ, a characteristically chaotic keyboard solo courtesy of Brian Eno. Regardless, you know punk when you hear it, and Roxy Music, draped in glittery fabrics and elegant furs, did it with more style and panache than anyone else, if only that one time. – Jeff Terich


176. Al Green
Call Me
(1973; Hi)
Available on Call Me

What a beautiful time… we had together,” Al Green sings on his defining and sultry 1973 nightcap. Notice the past tense — had. For how romantic, sultry and completely rapturous the sounds of “Call Me” are, it’s actually sort of a bummer. In fact, the entirety of Call Me is more or less about heartbreak and trying to pick up the pieces after love goes wrong. But with its rich Hammond organ, climactic strings and funky beats, the song more or less ensures that should that call ever come, someone’s gonna get some. – Jeff Terich


175. Creedence Clearwater Revival
Have You Ever Seen the Rain
(1970; Fantasy)
Available on Pendulum

Now a ballpark sound system staple during rain delays, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” from 1971 was CCR’s 600th hit single, or somewheres in there. The song features one of John Forgerty’s best vocals, but this imagistic lamentation for ’60s-era idealism gets its melancholy tone from the organ that kicks in after the first chorus. We’re usually too busy singing along to catch it. – Stephen Chupaska


174. The Ramones
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
(1977; Sire)
Available on Rocket to Russia

A perfect example of how a punk song should be –short, sweet and boasting swagger and sweet guitar riffs in equal measure. The Ramones aren’t hailed as the kings of American punk for nothing, they developed a style and maintained a consistent level of straightforward, simple sublimity for the duration of their career. Sometimes they adapted, varying between more aggressive punk and lighter, more relatable pop-punk, and this song certainly falls into the latter category. While it keeps in the band’s spirit of simple and to-the-point hooks, the lyrics are catchy, and its melody is almost anthemic — it’s all too easy to find oneself bellowing out the lyrics along to the song. It may have been emulated a million times (see: The Vaccines’ “Wreckin Bar”) but there can only be one true original. – Grace Barber-Plentie


173. Mott the Hoople
All the Young Dudes
(1972; Columbia)
Available on All the Young Dudes

One of the greatest songs David Bowie ever wrote ended up as a gift to Mott the Hoople. After a frustrating few years trying to hack it and never quite getting there, Mott were on the verge of splitting up when the Thin White Duke gave them a boost, produced their next album and handed them a real cracker of a power ballad. Built on Mick Ralph’s iconic guitar riffs and Ian Hunter’s charismatic sing-speak, “All the Young Dudes” is a true classic of the glam rock era, from a band who never overdid it on camp. But over time it’s become something of a universal anthem, a cry of solidarity to any young dude looking for an escape on a Saturday night. – Jeff Terich


172. Joni Mitchell
Blue
(1971; Reprise)
Available on Blue

Though it comes from an album renowned for defining the possibilities of confessional songwriting, “Blue” resists easy comprehension. And while many songs on Blue detail Mitchell’s travels around Europe after her split with Graham Nash — the excitement of motion, but also the longing for home — “Blue,” the song, is static, a moment of reminiscence swallowing up the moves it took to arrive where she finds herself, and home is hardly a place that can be returned to, whether one kisses a sunset pig or not. The defining moment of the song remains: “Acid, booze and ass, needles, guns and grass, lots of laughs,” which can’t help but feel like a litany said for the demolished optimism of 1960s youth culture. No song bluer, or which remains longer, tattoo-like, than the song of dying hope. – Tyler Parks


171. Leonard Cohen
Last Year’s Man
(1971; Columbia)
Available on Songs of Love and Hate

There’s a whole school of singer-songwriters that are appreciated as poets foremost and musicians second, and Leonard Cohen was undeniably a model for such artists. As for his ’70s output, there are about 50 Cohen equally deserving of this spot, equally beautiful in their own right, though “Last Year’s Man,” quite simply, is perfect. Its gripping imagery and simple melody, along with a slew of other simple, yet elegant, Cohen tracks, have provided the inspiration for any young scribe with a heart on his sleeve and passion on his chest. – A.T. Bossenger

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