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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1970 #1. Bridge Over Troubled Water (1 Viewer)

rockaction

Footballguy
13. Derek and the Dominos “Layla” (from Layla and Assorted Love Songs)

https://youtu.be/TngViNw2pOo

I always get a creepy feeling whenever I hear this classic song. Not the first half; that’s just straight up rock and roll, one of Clapton’s very best efforts (his VH1 acoustic solo version from the early 90s is very good as well.) 

No it’s the second half that unnerves me. It’s a beautiful piano and guitar instrumental which was featured in several movies, most famously (and bloody) in Goodfellas- some damn fine movie making there. This second half of the song was written by Jim Gordon, the drummer of the band and a paranoid schizophrenic. Only a few years after composing this masterpiece, Gordon began to hear voices in his head that urged him to murder his own mother. So he did so, first poisoning her and then decapitating her. Jim Gordon was promptly locked up in a mental institution in Northern California, where he has remained ever since. Is there a piano there? Does Gordon ever sit down and play the instrumental part of “Layla”? That’s just speculation on my part. But it’s why I get the creeps listening to it.
Oh my, tim. Oh my.

I never liked the song and found it to be wankery, but that's just massively sad.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
timschochet said:
14. Neil Young “After the Gold Rush” (from After the Gold Rush)

https://youtu.be/KAOE3ENMGuo

I’ve placed a few Neil Young songs on this list already, including some like “Helpless” and “Ohio” which many consider to be among his finest work. Personally I believe that this piano ballad rises above even those splendid efforts, and if “After the Gold Rush” isn’t Young’s best song ever (I might be even more partial to “Old Man”) it’s damn close. 
The lyrics are more obscure than many of Young’s other songs, but the imagery involved is so beautiful that it matches some of the best of Bob Dylan. And the stark but hauntingly beautiful piano melody reminds one of the best of Joni Mitchell. Yet neither of them could have written and performed this classic; it’s vintage Neil. 
It's based on an unfilmed script written by Dean Stockwell about LA being devoured by a flood. 

As far as rankings

After the Gold Rush 16

Old Man 12

Southern Man 10

Helpless 5

Ohio 4

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
13. Derek and the Dominos “Layla” (from Layla and Assorted Love Songs)

https://youtu.be/TngViNw2pOo

I always get a creepy feeling whenever I hear this classic song. Not the first half; that’s just straight up rock and roll, one of Clapton’s very best efforts (his VH1 acoustic solo version from the early 90s is very good as well.) 

No it’s the second half that unnerves me. It’s a beautiful piano and guitar instrumental which was featured in several movies, most famously (and bloody) in Goodfellas- some damn fine movie making there. This second half of the song was written by Jim Gordon, the drummer of the band and a paranoid schizophrenic. Only a few years after composing this masterpiece, Gordon began to hear voices in his head that urged him to murder his own mother. So he did so, first poisoning her and then decapitating her. Jim Gordon was promptly locked up in a mental institution in Northern California, where he has remained ever since. Is there a piano there? Does Gordon ever sit down and play the instrumental part of “Layla”? That’s just speculation on my part. But it’s why I get the creeps listening to it. 
Well that certainly gets things headed back in the right direction.  :thumbup:

 

timschochet

Footballguy
12. Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (from Signed, Sealed & Delivered)

https://youtu.be/pUj9frKY46E

Most of the time whenever Stevie Wonder is discussed in the music threads in this forum, it’s for his brilliant albums in the early 1970’s such as Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life, and rightfully so. But prior to those works, Wonder, like all Motown artists, was known primarily as a singles guy, and he never produced a single better than this one. 
 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
12. Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (from Signed, Sealed & Delivered)

https://youtu.be/pUj9frKY46E

Most of the time whenever Stevie Wonder is discussed in the music threads in this forum, it’s for his brilliant albums in the early 1970’s such as Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life, and rightfully so. But prior to those works, Wonder, like all Motown artists, was known primarily as a singles guy, and he never produced a single better than this one. 
 


Man, your thinking is just so...uptight, Lebowski.

 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
12. Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (from Signed, Sealed & Delivered)

https://youtu.be/pUj9frKY46E

Most of the time whenever Stevie Wonder is discussed in the music threads in this forum, it’s for his brilliant albums in the early 1970’s such as Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life, and rightfully so. But prior to those works, Wonder, like all Motown artists, was known primarily as a singles guy, and he never produced a single better than this one. 
 
The album is pretty damned good, too. To my mind, probably the best pre-What's Going On LP Motown ever did. It's chock full of hooks and good songs. Stevie would get ahold of his trust fund the next year and release Where I'm Coming From, which isn't as good as this album, but gives a good preview of just what he was about to get up to.

Anyway, you're right - "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a fantastic performance.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
11. Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” (from Ladies of the Canyon)

https://youtu.be/2595abcvh2M

The story is that Joni took a vacation to Hawaii and was depressed by the excessive (in her mind) building in Oahu. So she sat down and wrote what would become the main environmental anthem for decades to come.

Everything about this song is delightful and iconic, especially Joni’s fervent “please!” to stop using DDT, and her little laugh at the end. Perhaps not quite as influential as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring,  but close? 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
timschochet said:
11. Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” (from Ladies of the Canyon)

https://youtu.be/2595abcvh2M

The story is that Joni took a vacation to Hawaii and was depressed by the excessive (in her mind) building in Oahu. So she sat down and wrote what would become the main environmental anthem for decades to come.

Everything about this song is delightful and iconic, especially Joni’s fervent “please!” to stop using DDT, and her little laugh at the end. Perhaps not quite as influential as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring,  but close? 


DDT saved lives because it stopped the spread of malaria. Especially in third world countries, the rate of cancerous buildup from spraying DDT on things couldn't even compare to the lives it saved from malarial complications.

Mitchell was a talented songstress with a great point about conservationism, but when conservationism mixes with ignorance about policy and reality, she's got to go.

Same with Ohio. I have great sympathy for the National Guard in the face of those unruly sixties hippies with their bags of piss and ####. They're lucky more didn't get shot and killed in '68.

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
Same with Ohio. I have great sympathy for the National Guard in the face of those unruly sixties hippies with their bags of piss and ####. They're lucky more didn't get shot and killed in '68.
I think Neil wrote Ohio in ten minutes or something.  I love Neil.  I like the song but it feels incomplete.  It could have used another verse or a real bridge.  I remember when I decided I was going to learn it.   That too took ten minutes.  Maybe I just expect more out of Neil.   

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I think Neil wrote Ohio in ten minutes or something.  I love Neil.  I like the song but it feels incomplete.  It could have used another verse or a real bridge.  I remember when I decided I was going to learn it.   That too took ten minutes.  Maybe I just expect more out of Neil.   
Oh yeah, I'm just being contrarian. Sometimes I do that. There's no way I'm siding with the people who shot people at Kent State. I always just wonder how certain police entities stood down in the face of the protests of '68, which were often violent and driven by bags of urine and feces flung at cops and other menial laborers there to keep the peace and not let riots run riot.

This is really just a lament about everything.

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
Oh yeah, I'm just being contrarian. Sometimes I do that. There's no way I'm siding with the people who shot people at Kent State. I always just wonder how certain police entities stood down in the face of the protests of '68, which were often violent and driven by bags of urine and feces flung at cops and other menial laborers there to keep the peace and not let riots run riot.

This is really just a lament about everything.
I figured you were out to get a reaction.   I wasn’t touching that narrative and stuck to a discussion on the song.  The guitar riff is cool in Ohio and the brief lyrics are strong.  Too bad Neil didn’t spend another ten minutes on the song and really make it special.   

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I figured you were out to get a reaction.   I wasn’t touching that narrative and stuck to a discussion on the song.  The guitar riff is cool in Ohio and the brief lyrics are strong.  Too bad Neil didn’t spend another ten minutes on the song and really make it special.   
Smart.

The chorus is really memorable. "Four dead in O-HI-O"

He immortalized the state in that song to a certain generation, and probably not in a way they want it remembered.

 
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Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
Smart.

The chorus is really memorable. "Four dead in O-HI-O"

He immortalized the state in that song to a certain generation, and probably not in a way they want it remembered.
The only Rutgers football game I’ve been to they played against Kent State. All I could associate them with the was the event and the song almost 50 years later.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
I think Neil wrote Ohio in ten minutes or something.  I love Neil.  I like the song but it feels incomplete.  It could have used another verse or a real bridge.  I remember when I decided I was going to learn it.   That too took ten minutes.  Maybe I just expect more out of Neil.   
He did. And Neil's stuff is rarely ever that complex from a musical theory structure (except for Words, which is in a weird time signature and which likely for that reason he never played it live with Crazy Horse). There's a reason that a bazillion bar bands cover Neil, most of his stuff is pretty easy to learn. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
10. The Velvet Underground “Sweet Jane” (from Loaded

https://youtu.be/nkumhBVPGdg

Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand, Jack is in his corset, Jane in her vest, me, I’m in a rock and roll band. Huh. 

The top ten greatest songs of 1970 begin with this all time classic from Lou Reed and the gang. The story is that record executives warned the band that their next album had better be “loaded with hits” or it would be their last (hence the Loaded). Reed was pissed off and left for a solo career before the record was finished; he took “Sweet Jane” with him, recording it several more times over the years. (It’s been covered by many other artists as well, most notably by the Cowboy Junkies, though I’ve never been a huge fan of that version. If I can’t have the original, then give me the Mott the Hoople cover. Ian Hunter sings the lyrics with a fine sense of irony.)

It’s not well known, but the Velvet Underground actually did survive Reed’s exit and recorded yet another album in 1973 called Squeeze. Doug Yule was the only member of the band left over from the previous two albums, and since he wrote all the songs this could reasonably be called a Doug Yule solo record. Nobody listened to it, not even the band’s former fans, and this version of the Velvet Underground died an ignominious death shortly thereafter. But you know what? Squeeze is available on Apple Music and I listened to it a few months back. And it’s really not bad at all. Does it compare to the classic Reed material? Of course not But…it’s not bad. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Nobody listened to it, not even the band’s former fans, and this version of the Velvet Underground died an ignominious death shortly thereafter. But you know what? Squeeze is available on Apple Music and I listened to it a few months back. And it’s really not bad at all. Does it compare to the classic Reed material? Of course not But…it’s not bad. 
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook listened to it, because they named their band after it. 

Like most others, I have not listened to it. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
10. The Velvet Underground “Sweet Jane” (from Loaded

https://youtu.be/nkumhBVPGdg

Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand, Jack is in his corset, Jane in her vest, me, I’m in a rock and roll band. Huh. 

The top ten greatest songs of 1970 begin with this all time classic from Lou Reed and the gang. The story is that record executives warned the band that their next album had better be “loaded with hits” or it would be their last (hence the Loaded). Reed was pissed off and left for a solo career before the record was finished; he took “Sweet Jane” with him, recording it several more times over the years. (It’s been covered by many other artists as well, most notably by the Cowboy Junkies, though I’ve never been a huge fan of that version. If I can’t have the original, then give me the Mott the Hoople cover. Ian Hunter sings the lyrics with a fine sense of irony.)


Oh my. One of my favorite songs of my forties, really. It took me quite a while to fall in love with this song, or Lou's great solo record Transformer, but here we are. The story about the Cowboy Junkies and the bridge to the song is an interesting one, so I'll leave it here. Lou had written "Sweet Jane" and due to record label pressure, the band's whim, or his own direction, the original version of the record did not include a bridge that Lou, post-release, considered very important and one that should be in there. Anyway, long saga short, he parted ways acrimoniously a bit with band and label, if I recall correctly, and would perform the song solo with the bridge intact. The Cowboy Junkies version emphasizes the bridge very much and not the verses or choruses of the song so much. The bridge in question goes

Heavenly wine and roses
Seem to whisper to her when she smiles
Heavenly wine and roses
Seem to whisper to her, hey, when she smiles


It's a quite remarkable cover the Junkies do, slowing down the song and making it very quiet and emphasizing the bridge of it. It's "Sweet Jane," but it's such a re-working of the song as to almost be a different arrangement. Regardless, it's the most interesting take, IMO, of the song, which deserves to be in the top ten of this list.

Such a fantastic song.

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
He did. And Neil's stuff is rarely ever that complex from a musical theory structure (except for Words, which is in a weird time signature and which likely for that reason he never played it live with Crazy Horse). There's a reason that a bazillion bar bands cover Neil, most of his stuff is pretty easy to learn. 
You did the Neil thread last year and really got me hooked.  His songs are generally simple but something seems missing in Ohio.   Still a great song that I love to play.  The guitar riff is excellent.  

 

timschochet

Footballguy
9. David Bowie “The Man Who Sold the World” (from The Man Who Sold the World)

https://youtu.be/u3MX-rUtS6M

So this song has a rather unusual history. Practically nobody listened to it, or the album, when it was released- even though “Space Oddity” had been released the year before, that wasn’t really a hit either (and wouldn’t become one until the mid-70s)- Bowie wouldn’t get any radio play until a year later with “Changes”, and he didn’t become a star until his Ziggy persona a few years after that. “The Man Who Sold the World” was a regarded as a novelty from Bowie’s pre- Hunky Dory days and largely forgotten…

 But not by everyone. Critics and fellow musicians praised it wildly over the years, and then Kurt Cobain famously covered it during his MTV Unplugged appearance with Nirvana. After that “The Man Who Sold the World” became widely regarded as one of Bowie’s very best classic songs- which it absolutely is. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
But not by everyone. Critics and fellow musicians praised it wildly over the years, and then Kurt Cobain famously covered it during his MTV Unplugged appearance with Nirvana. After that “The Man Who Sold the World” became widely regarded as one of Bowie’s very best classic songs- which it absolutely is. 
I'd never heard it until the Nirvana unplugged thing. I knew there was a Bowie album by that name, but that was it. 

 

BassNBrew

IBL Representative
No argument whatsoever about how great it is. As I wrote in the OP, most difficult rankings I’ve ever done and I don’t expect much agreement in what I finally came up with. 


Probably due to a lack of quality material that stands the test of time IMO.  My deceased mom loved Crackling Rosie, I'd rather you shove a hot poker in my eyeball.  Sure it belongs on the list, but damn this would be one on my least favorite years to rank.  

 

timschochet

Footballguy
8. Van Morrison “Into the Mystic” (from Moondance

https://youtu.be/syIUmrSJWAU

I want to rock your gypsy soul, just like in the days of old, and together we will fold, into the mystic

Van Morrison’s greatest song ever is one of his most soothing- in fact so much so that a BBC survey of hospital surgeons found that they preferred this music  to all others when performing surgery! 
This tune is almost flawless from beginning to end. In terms of style it might belong more on Astral Weeks than on Moondance but since it’s the best song on either album, who really cares? 

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
Is it just me or do the last 3 picks sound like the same song, but with different singers, each with a slightly different approach?

Not only do I not remember them, they don't seem memorable at all, unless you truly love that particular type of song.  :shrug:

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Is it just me or do the last 3 picks sound like the same song, but with different singers, each with a slightly different approach?

Not only do I not remember them, they don't seem memorable at all, unless you truly love that particular type of song.  :shrug:
These are pretty good picks for 1970, all things considered. They might sound similar, yes, but put on a pop tune of today and tell me it doesn't sound reasonably similar to the others.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Is it just me or do the last 3 picks sound like the same song, but with different singers, each with a slightly different approach?

Not only do I not remember them, they don't seem memorable at all, unless you truly love that particular type of song.  :shrug:
I don’t think any of them are similar at all. 

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
These are pretty good picks for 1970, all things considered. They might sound similar, yes, but put on a pop tune of today and tell me it doesn't sound reasonably similar to the others.
We're not talking about the greatest 100 songs of 2020 or 2021 and it would be pretty hard to find 100 truly good ones in either year.  In fact, all 3 of these would be much better than most of the songs that I hear today.

But we are talking about 1970, one of the best ever for rock music, and these 3 just aren't Top 10 material for that year, IMO. 

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
Is it just me or do the last 3 picks sound like the same song, but with different singers, each with a slightly different approach?

Not only do I not remember them, they don't seem memorable at all, unless you truly love that particular type of song.  :shrug:
You don’t know Sweet Jane or Into the Mystic?

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
We're not talking about the greatest 100 songs of 2020 or 2021 and it would be pretty hard to find 100 truly good ones in either year. 
Not if you know where to look. There’s tons of great music in 2020 and 2021 - maybe not on pop radio stations but it’s out there.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Into the Mystic is a top 10 song all time...#8 of the year seems off.
Lol I always love it when I get criticized  for ranking a song too high, and then get criticized for ranking it too low. 
The latter though doesn’t usually happen when a song is placed in the top 10. You must really love “Into the Mystic”! I do too, but damn there are some giants coming up…

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
Lol I always love it when I get criticized  for ranking a song too high, and then get criticized for ranking it too low. 
The latter though doesn’t usually happen when a song is placed in the top 10. You must really love “Into the Mystic”! I do too, but damn there are some giants coming up…
Yeah, sometimes you can't win.  :)

It's really hard to agree on music and the discussions are part of the fun here.   :hifive:

 
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Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
Not if you know where to look. There’s tons of great music in 2020 and 2021 - maybe not on pop radio stations but it’s out there.
I agree that every year has it's share of good and bad songs. But I find that it's a lot harder to find the good stuff in recent years. It seems like music has headed into so many different directions, and many of them don't appeal to me.

 

TripItUp

Footballguy
Lol I always love it when I get criticized  for ranking a song too high, and then get criticized for ranking it too low. 
The latter though doesn’t usually happen when a song is placed in the top 10. You must really love “Into the Mystic”! I do too, but damn there are some giants coming up…


Yep, Into the Mystic is an all timer for me and probably my #1 for this year...looking forward to seeing the rest of the list here.

 

TripItUp

Footballguy
A lot of great remakes from this year...like all time remakes.

Eric Clapton Layla

Waylon Jennings Midnight Rider

Nirvana The Man Who Sold the World

 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
I agree that every year has it's share of good and bad songs. But I find that it's a lot harder to find the good stuff in recent years. It seems like music has headed into so many different directions, and many of them don't appeal to me.
Really? I think it's easier than ever for fans to find new music they enjoy.

 

TripItUp

Footballguy
72. “Instant Karma” Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band 

53. “Immigrant Song” Led Zeppelin 

34. “Wild World” Cat Stevens

32. “If You Could Read My Mind” Gordon Lightfoot 

19. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” Creedence Clearwater Revival 

12. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” Stevie Wonder

8. “Into the Mystic” Van Morrison 


These are the most underrated from this list IMHO.

 

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