Friday, September 5, 2014

The Top 100 Adult Songs of the 70's*: #60-51

 In our newest music special, Inside The Rock Era chronicles the growth of what would become the most popular music format in the 80's, Adult Radio.  The Top 100 Adult Songs of the 70's* is a fascinating contrast of the Easy Listening music which dominated Adult radio at the beginning of the decade, and Adult Contemporary, which pushed Easy Listening aside by the end of it.



"All I Ever Need Is You"
Sonny & Cher

Here's one of the last big hits Sonny & Cher had.  It took over from Bread's "Baby I'm-A Want You" at #1 at the end of 1971 and remained there for five weeks.  "All I Ever Need Is You" logged eight weeks in the Adult Top 5, far better than it did on the Popular chart.  The song competed against "Peace Train" and "American Pie" to achieve its numbers.



"Ooh Baby Baby"
Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt indeed had a knack for taking previous hits and making them better.  That's something that's extremely hard to do!  Linda only got to #2 with this one (for two weeks), but she hung around at #3 for an incredible five weeks, and spent nine weeks in the Adult Top 5, lodged behind Adult smashes such as "Time Passages" and "My Life".


"My Life"
Billy Joel
In the business of ranking songs, you don't want to take the lazy man's approach and only go by song ranking--any third-grader could do that.  The most accurate rankings are going to come from a thorough analysis, such as looking at weeks at #2, weeks in the Top 3, weeks in the Top 5, weeks in the Top 10, and most importantly, what was the quality of competition out at the same time? 
This song for instance, only reached #2--a simple man would say that isn't as strong as a #1 song.  But you look deeper, and find out that it was #2 for five weeks behind "Time Passages", one of The Top Adult Songs of the Rock Era*.  In other words, in most other time periods, "My Life" would have multiple weeks at #1.  Taken into that context, you see why it should be ranked this high in the decade.  Other songs out at the same time included "Too Much Heaven" by the Bee Gees and Nicolette Larson's "Lotta' Love".  "My Life" spent seven weeks in the Adult Top 5.  


"My Love"
Paul McCartney & Wings

Henry McCullough came up with the guitar solo in this song on the spur of the moment during recording.  To his credit, Paul McCartney, who usually didn't record this way, let McCullough give it a shot.  This huge hit reached #1 for three weeks against "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", "Yesterday Once More", and Elton John's "Daniel".  It only spent five weeks in the Adult Top 5, though, which is a strike against it for songs in this range.


"I Can See Clearly Now"
Johnny Nash

Johnny Nash wrote "I Can See Clearly Now", which he recorded in London with the members of Average White Band, who would go on to have their own hit "Pick Up The Pieces" in 1974.  This smash racked up four weeks at #1 against competition from "Garden Party" and "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me".  But it only spent one other week in the Top 5.


"Time In A Bottle"
Jim Croce

Released after his tragic death, this song's strength was testament to how many loved Jim Croce's music.  It was released smack dab in the middle of heavy competition from Helen Reddy's "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)", "The Way We Were", "Love's Theme", and "The Most Beautiful Girl".  Still, "Time In A Bottle" posted respectable numbers of two weeks at #1 and six in the Adult Top 5. 


"Where Is The Love"
Roberta Flack & Donnie Hathaway

Ralph MacDonald and William Salter originally wrote this for the 5th Dimension, but MacDonald was working on the session for upcoming album by Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway, and decided to let them record it.  Flack & Hathaway met while both attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.  "Where Is The Love" rose to #1 despite two huge hits ("Song Sung Blue" and "Alone Again (Naturally)") being out at the same time.  "Where Is The Love" also posted three weeks at #2 and six total weeks in the Top 5.


"Annie's Song"
John Denver

John from Denver scored one of his biggest career hits with this one--#1 for three weeks and seven weeks in the Top 5 against great songs like "Feel Like Makin' Love" from Roberta Flack, "You Won't See Me", "Please Come To Boston", and "Sundown".



"Love Is In The Air"
John Paul Young
This Adult smash registered two weeks at #1, and seven in the Top 5, going against three huge Adult hits--"Time Passages", "Right Down The Line", and "Fool (If You Think It's Over".  John Paul Young performed this song at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.



We're up to this fantastic song written by Leon Russell.  Richard Carpenter received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for his magic.  We'll let on that "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" is ranked in the upper half of The Top 100*.  This song went head-on against that one, and landed two weeks at #1.  It also faced down "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens, and added three weeks at #2, a total of seven weeks in the Top 3, and eight in the Top 5.

That's a great way to end this segment.  The Top 50 Adult Songs of the 70's* are what you have to look forward to as Inside The Rock Era kicks the special into high gear tomorrow!

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