The 70’s means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some people resort to disco, funk, smooth jazz, and soul music, but others of us think of the incredible rock music or the rise of punk music. Big hair, bell bottoms, Polaroid cameras and the Atari were all big at the time as well, but nothing aged as well as the music that rose out of the drug-fueled haze of the 70’s. We all picked some of our favorites from this decade, and why they were our picks.
Ashlyn: Barracuda By Heart
Heart pioneered female-fronted rock bands, and after listening to Barracuda, it makes total sense why they have that title. Not only are they one of the most sampled bands, but have aged so well. I remember listening to this song with both of my parents when I was younger, and I still get excited when I hear the pure strength of the guitar in this track, especially in the first couple of seconds. My dad always had some rock station on in the car, and Barracuda was not a rare listen. Rock from the 70’s gave us some of the biggest bands + some of the biggest hits in rock that we know today. Heart feels buried under a lot of those other artists, but they are undoubtedly one of the best rock groups of all time.
Austin: Bumpy’s Lament By Isaac Hayes
I love the composition on this track. The simple synth being backed by subtle strings and soothing horns creates an ambience and atmosphere that I love spending time in.
Megan: Heroes by David Bowie
My introduction to the song Heroes by David Bowie began during silent reading in the 7th grade. The novel Perks of Being a Wallflower propelled me into my teen years. To this day it remains one of my favorite stories. While Heroes wasn’t mentioned in the novel, it was a major part in the movie adaption that came out soon after. When the movie came out I of course was beyond excited to go see it. What I didn’t realize is that I would hear a song that evidently would become part of the soundtrack to my life. Almost instantly upon first listen I knew Heroes would resonate and hold significant meaning to me for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine a better song to accompany my memories of living in a much smaller world, driving down the parkway on a summer night, windows down, with the people I essentially grew up with. For anyone who has seen the movie, they’d know the song does exactly what is promised here, and that is to feel infinite. Subjectively, Bowie is one of the best there has ever been at building suspense within a song, it’s as if you’re sitting in a roller coaster waiting for its launch. In Heroes specifically he curates that feeling of anticipation as well as nostalgia. Lyrically it’s a song of inspiration, and in a sense innocence. Maybe it’s because I was introduced to the song during my adolescence, but at a time where my world was so small, Heroes gave me the sense that anything was possible.
Angela: Sweet Home Alabama by LYNYRD Skynyrd
This is a song I grew up listening to. I so vividly remember driving to rodeos during the summer and hearing it play on the radio. From the second the first guitar note hits, I’m instantly taken back to those Arkansas backroads I was raised on. For me, music has always been somewhat of a time capsule; a way to remember certain times in my life based around what songs I was listening to. This song reminds me of a time in life that was so innocent. When all that really mattered was which pair of boots I was going to wear and if I wanted my hair in one or two braids. It’s a time that passes far too fast for all of us, so I like being reminded of it from time to time.
Isak: Foreplay/ Long Time By Boston
Although this song’s runtime is almost 8 minutes long, I never skip it. This song is off of Boston‘s self-titled which was released back in 1976. One of my favorite things about 70s music in general is the rock organ that we hear in the intro (the “Foreplay” part.) It is a massive build for a few minutes then the songs opens up with a lot of space and of course an electric guitar to lead the charge. Foreplay / Long Time also does something a little unique for the chorus by having an acoustic guitar to take the rhythm. In fact this is something that Boston is known for, combining the acoustic guitar in quieter parts of a song and then an electric guitar with high gain and reverb to steal the show. Additionally, this song features on of my favorite guitar solos ever with all of these simple techniques that tap into the song’s structure perfectly. Combine that with the great vocal work and strong drums this is a song that is a masterpiece in composition. I highly recommend that you give it a listen yourself and to turn up the stereo.
Dayton: Wish You Were Here by Pink FLoyd
The 1970’s was a wonderful decade for music. Bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd all released some, if not all of their best work in this decade. Pink Floyd however, happens to be my favorite which is why I’ve chosen Wish You Were Here for this week’s station rewind! I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a lot of their music when I was younger, so this song, album, and band are very nostalgic for me too, as I hope is the same for you.
Justin: Got to give it up by marvin gaye
The instrumental in this song is what makes it so special. The tight drum groove helps provide the song with a danceable structure, and Marvin’s vocals soar above the mix when they’re present. The quintessential funk song for all the right reasons. So good that Pharrell Williams had to pay 7.4 million for copyright infringement for stealing it.
Gary: Lean on me by Bill Withers
While sitting inside a family-owned pizza restaurant in Seattle on a crisp, cool, May afternoon, the true wonder of Lean on Me was revealed to me. While my family and friends filled the room, our boisterous waiter took control of the room stereo, increasing the volume until Bill Withers voice filled every inch of space in the room. All of us around the table joined in with him, singing Lean on Me loudly and swaying back and forth, all while fully understanding the meaning of friendship, family, love, camaraderie, and the promise that those closest to you will be there for you when you need them, just the same as you will be for them.
Davis: Brandy (YOU’RE a Fine girl) by Looking Glass
This one-hit-wonder is perhaps one of my favorite songs of the seventies for many reasons. Firstly, it’s a great karaoke song and my small vocal range can manage to hit the notes sung by Looking Glass. Secondly, my best friend and I share this song in our theme music playlists. Every time we are on a road trip or driving to a faraway hike, we are sure to queue this song up. This song also introduced me to my favorite genre, Yacht Rock.
Ryan: Pigs on the wing 1 & 2 By Pink FLoyd
This one was a little more difficult to come up with an answer for, as there are many incredible tracks released in the 70s. I originally went with “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin, but because I went with a Led Zeppelin track last week for the 60s, I decided on the classic “Pigs on the Wing” (both 1 & 2) by Pink Floyd. I first heard these tracks when I bought “Animals” on CD from a local record store in Moscow, Idaho. I may or may not have been a little toasty, so when this song came on it felt like I was transcending universes, especially when “1” bridges into “Dogs“. I think ever since then, I’ve been drawn to Pink Floyd‘s common theme of anti-war and anti-fascist rhetoric, and it has been instrumental in the way I look at politics in general. “Animals” may be one of my all time favorite records, so it only made sense to select a track off of it. If I could’ve, I would’ve listed the entire track list.