1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_message message_box_color=”mulled_wine” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]”Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”

    Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.

    We were born before the wind
    Also younger than the sun
    Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
    Hark, now hear the sailors cry
    Smell the sea and feel the sky
    Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

  • After the Gold Rush – Neil Young

    Written, composed, and performed by Neil Young and is the title song from the 1970 album of the same name. In addition to After the Gold Rush, it also appears on Decade, Greatest Hits, and Live Rust.

    Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming
    Sayin’ something about a queen
    There were peasants singin’ and drummers drumming
    And the archer split the tree
    There was a fanfare blowin’ to the sun
    That was floating on the breeze
    Look at mother nature on the run in the nineteen seventies
    Look at mother nature on the run in the nineteen seventies

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  • Working Class Hero – John Lennon

    From his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, his first album after the break-up of The Beatles.

    As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
    By giving you no time instead of it all
    Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

  • Me and Bobby McGee – Kris Kristofferson

    Released on his first album “Kristofferson” in 1970.

    Busted flat in Baton Rouge
    Waitin’ for the train
    Feelin’ nearly faded as my jeans
    Bobby thumbed a diesel down
    Just before it rained
    Rode us all the way to New Orleans

  • Layla – Derek & The Dominos

    Written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, originally released by their blues rock band Derek and the Dominos, as the thirteenth track from their album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (November 1970). Its famously contrasting movements were composed separately by Clapton and Gordon.

    What’ll you do when you get lonely
    And nobody’s waiting by your side?
    You’ve been running and hiding much too long
    You know it’s just your foolish pride

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  • Maybe I´m Amazed – Paul McCartney

    Written by Paul McCartney that was first released on his 1970 album McCartney. McCartney dedicated the song to his wife, Linda, who had helped him get through the break-up of the Beatles.

    Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
    Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you
    Maybe I’m amazed at the the way you pulled me out of time
    And hung me on a line
    Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you

  • Up Around The Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Written by the band’s lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, John Fogerty. The song was composed and recorded only a few days prior to the band’s April 1970 European tour and was included on the album Cosmo’s Factory. Released as a single, with “Run Through the Jungle” on the flipside, the double-sided single climbed to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1970.

    There’s a place up ahead and I’m goin’
    Just as fast as my feet can fly
    Come away, come away if you’re goin’
    Leave the sinkin’ ship behind
    Come on the risin’ wind,
    We’re goin’ up around the bend

  • Mama Told Me Not to Come – Randy Newman

    Released on his 1970 album “12 Songs”, and is characterized by Newman’s midtempo piano accompaniment, as well as Ry Cooder’s slide guitar part, both of which give the song the feel of a bluesy Ray Charles-style rhythm and blues number.

    Will you have whiskey with your water
    Or sugar with your tea
    What are these crazy questions
    That they’re asking of me
    This is the wildest party
    That there ever could be
    Oh, don’t turn on the light
    ‘Cause I don’t want to see

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  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed – The Allman Brothers Band

    It first appeared on their second studio album, Idlewild South (1970), released on Capricorn Records. The song—a jazz-influenced instrumental—was written by guitarist Dickey Betts, among his first songwriting credits for the group. Betts named the song after a headstone he saw in Rose Hill Cemetery in the band’s hometown of Macon, Georgia.

  • The Man in Me – Bob Dylan

    Written by Bob Dylan & released on his 1970 album “New Morning”.

    La la la la
    La la la la
    La la la la
    La la la la
    The man in me will do nearly any task
    And as for compensation, there’s little he would ask
    Take a woman like you
    To get through to the man in me

  • What Is Truth – Johnny Cash

    A single by American country music artist Johnny Cash released in February 1970. Generally viewed as a protest song, a rarity in country music at the time, the simple criticism of the Vietnam War, and war in general.

    The old man turned off the radio
    Said, “Where did all of the old songs go
    Kids sure play funny music these days
    They play it in the strangest ways”
    Said, “it looks to me like they’ve all gone wild
    It was peaceful back when I was a child”
    Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys
    Are trying to be heard above your noise?
    And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”

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  • The Man Who Sold the World – David Bowie

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_message message_box_color=”mulled_wine” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]“The Man Who Sold the World” stands as one of the creepiest songs in Bowie’s oeuvre. The fact that the vocals sound reminiscent of a snake hissing through water do little to alleviate this. Like many Bowie songs, this proved to be a popular standard. The most famous cover of which no doubt remains Kurt Cobain’s haunting, anguished version in Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged special.

    The title track of his third album, which was released in the US in November 1970 and in the UK in April 1971.

    We passed upon the stair
    We spoke of was and when
    Although I wasn’t there
    He said I was his friend
    Which came as some surprise
    I spoke into his eyes
    I thought you died alone
    A long long time ago

  • See Me, Feel Me – The Who

    From The Who´s album “Tommy” (1969). It was released as a single in September 1970.

    See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
    See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
    See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
    See me, feel me, touch me, heal me, heal me

  • All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

    Issued in November 1970 as the title track to his triple album of the same name, after the Beatles had rejected it for inclusion on their Let It Be album in January 1969. The composition reflects the influence of the Band’s sound and communal music-making on Harrison, after he had spent time with the group in Woodstock, New York, in late 1968, while Timothy Leary’s poem “All Things Pass”, a psychedelic adaptation of the Tao Te Ching, provided inspiration for his song lyrics.

    Sunrise doesn’t last all morning
    A cloudburst doesn’t last all day
    Seems my love is up
    And has left you with no warning
    But it’s not always going
    To be this grey
    All things must pass
    All things must pass away

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  • Bitches Brew – Miles Davis

    Released on “Bitches Brew” (double album) on March 30, 1970, on Columbia Records. The album continued his experimentation with electric instruments previously featured on his critically acclaimed In a Silent Way album. With the use of these instruments, such as the electric piano and guitar, Davis rejected traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a looser, rock-influenced improvisational style.

  • Box of Rain – Grateful Dead

    From their 1970 album American Beauty. The song was composed by bassist Phil Lesh and lyricist Robert Hunter, and sung by Lesh. In later years, the song was a favorite and the crowd would shout “Let Phil sing!” to hear the song.

    Look out of any window
    Any morning, any evening, any day
    Maybe the sun is shining
    Birds are winging or
    Rain is falling from a heavy sky

  • Northern Sky – Nick Drake

    From the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake’s 1970 album Bryter Layter, produced by John Cale. During the recording sessions for the album, the chronically shy and withdrawn songwriter formed a friendship and a mentorship of sorts with producer Joe Boyd. Boyd was an early supporter of Drake, and saw commercial potential in the acoustic and unaccompanied demo version of the song, and recruited former Velvet Underground member John Cale to produce. Cale added piano, organ and celesta arrangements, initially against Drake’s wishes.

    I never felt magic crazy as this
    I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
    I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
    Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
    But now you’re here
    Brighten my northern sky.

  • Lola – The Kinks

    Written by Ray Davies and performed by The Kinks on their album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround (1970), Part One. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transvestite, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards a person named Lola who “walked like a woman and talked like a man”.

    I met her in a club down in North Soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola
    See-O-L-A cola.

  • Coal Miner’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn

    An autobiographical 1969 country music song written and performed by Loretta Lynn. Released in 1970, the song became Lynn’s signature song, one of the genre’s most widely known songs, and provided the basis for both her autobiography and a movie on her life.

    Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter,
    In a cabin, on a hill in Butcher Holler
    We were poor but we had love,
    That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of,
    He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar

  • Fire and Rain – James Taylor

    A folk rock song written and performed by James Taylor. Released on Warner Bros. Records as a single from his second album, Sweet Baby James, in February 1970, the song follows Taylor’s reaction to the suicide of Suzanne Schnerr, a childhood friend, and his experiences with drug addiction and fame.

    Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
    Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.
    I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song,
    I just can’t remember who to send it to.
    I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
    I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.

These came close:

  • Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  • 1970 – The Stooges
  • Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
  • Gasoline Alley – Rod Stewart
  • Love the One You´re With – Stephen Stills
  • War – Edwin Starr
  • Black Night – Deep Purple
  • Ball of Confusion – The Temptations
  • Rose Garden – Lynn Anderson
  • Good Year for the Roses – George Jones
  • Samba Pa’ Ti – Santana
  • All I Wanna Do – The Beach Boys
  • Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine – James Brown
  • Almost cut my hair – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Bridge over troubled water – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Spirit in the Dark – Aretha Franklin
  • Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
  • Amos Moses / Jerry Reed

Spotify Playlist:


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4 thoughts on “1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear

  1. The 1960’s started the rock rolling into another amazing decade. I’m old enough to remember every song and had many of the albums. I would have included War by Edwin Star and dropped Bowie!

    1. Thanks for the the comment Trese. Well, 1970 was a great year in music. The post should probably have been revised as “30 songs Released in 1970…”, and “War” would definitely been included.

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