Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Top 100 Adult Songs of the 70's*: #80-71

The rapid fire succession of music specials will get you fired up for the big 60th Birthday Party for the Rock Era we have planned next spring.  We've just skimmed the surface in two days of our newest creation.  The songs get bigger as we get closer to #1, but we want to again remind you that these rankings reflect only the Adult radio format, not the overall Popular format or the public at large. 

What is Adult radio?  Well, it doesn't mean that the music has X-rated lyrics.  It means exactly what the term says--it is music that primarily adults listen to.  The format grew throughout the decade, and in 1978, changed to the name Adult Contemporary.  Soon afterwards, it became the dominant radio format, although in recent years, it became more modern, and along with that change, is no longer the dominant format.  We continue now with The Top 100 Adult Songs of the 70's*:



"Last Time I Saw Him"
Diana Ross

Michal Masser wrote one of Diana Ross's early smashes, "Touch Me In The Morning".  So Diana called upon him again for this 1974 release.  "Last Time I Saw Him" spent two weeks at #1 and eight in the Top 5.  Other songs that were out at the same time included "Love Song" by Anne Murray and "Love's Theme".




The #79 Adult Song of the Decade* was originally recorded by ABBA member Anni-Frid Lyngstad for her solo album Frida Ensam in 1975.  The group recorded the English version of the song the following year.  It reached #1 on the Adult chart for two weeks, but had to give way for big hit "Muskrat Love".  "Fernando" also faced Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", among others.


Elton John
Elton spent five weeks in the Adult Top 3, with this great song; two of those weeks were at #1.  Songwriting partner Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics, and explained on his website:

I'd seen this article in 'Time' magazine on the Tet Offensive. And there was a sidebar next to it with a story about how many of the soldiers that were coming back from 'Nam were these simple sort of down home country guys who were generally embarrassed by both the adulation and, depending on what part of the country you came from, the animosity that they were greeted by. For the most part, they just wanted to get back to a normal life, but found it hard, what with all the looky loos and the monkeys of war that they carried on their backs. 

"Daniel" faced competition from "My Love" by Paul McCartney & Wings, "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", and "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree".


"Peace Train"
Cat Stevens

When he was on The Chris Isaak Hour in 2009, Stevens talked about this song:
Musically, I was revisiting a very Greek-sounding riff - the kind of thing you'd hear on a Greek island. The words were attached to that time, my peace anthem. It ended every show that I did and was quite a show stopper. It was a very important song for me because it stated one of the big goals of my life which was heading straight for that peace.
The Cat Man spent three weeks at #1, with five weeks in the Adult Top 5 back in 1971.  However, the only other Top 100 Adult Song* out at the time was "Superstar" by the Carpenters.


"You Are The Sunshine Of My Life"
Stevie Wonder
Wonder recorded this song at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York City, the studio that Jimi Hendrix had built just prior to his death.  Ray Parker Jr. was one of Stevie's musicians at the time who was with him in the studio.  This song was so strong it didn't want to get out of the Top 5--Stevie Wonder spent seven weeks as one of the most popular Adult songs, including two at #1.  Other songs out at the time included "Daniel", "My Love" by Paul McCartney & Wings, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree" and "Sing".


"Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose"
Tony Orlando & Dawn


Dawn scored a huge hit with this one, reaching #1 on the Adult chart for three weeks and spending eight weeks in the Top 5.  And it did it against songs such as "Delta Dawn" and "Touch Me In The Morning".


"How Can I Leave You Again"
John Denver

This song is an example of the beginning of the divergence of the so-called "Popular" chart from the Adult chart.  And because of the numbers, by this time adults who grew up in the Rock Era far outnumbered teenagers.  "How Can I Leave You Again" went nowhere on the overall chart, but landed at #2 for four weeks among adults.  Only the classics "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees and Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" kept John from scoring another career #1.  Denver also stayed at #3 for four weeks, clearly a top Adult song of the decade.


"Love Is The Answer"
England Dan & John Ford Coley

"Love Is The Answer" went to #1 for two weeks, a smash that also spend an incredible eight weeks in the Top 3 and ten weeks in the Top 5.  Dan & Coley went against Poco's "Crazy Love", "She Believes In Me" (the song we'll hear next), and "Just When I Needed You Most".



"She Believes In Me"
Kenny Rogers

Kenny topped the Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks, spent four more weeks at #2, and eight weeks in the Top 5 with this smash.  It faced three great songs--"Love Is The Answer", "Lead Me On", and "Just When I Needed You Most".



"Just When I Needed You Most"
Randy VanWarmer

Randy VanWarmer moved with his mother to Cornwall, England from the United States when his father died.  His girlfriend from America came to visit him and spent several months, but then returned to the States.  The experience resulted in Randy's one big hit.  "Just When I Needed You Most"  reached #1 on the Adult chart against great songs like "Crazy Love", "She Believes In Me", and "Love Is The Answer".  He too remained in the Top 5 for eight weeks.  Not bad for your first song!


So we have heard 30 songs so far; The Top 70 Adult Songs of the 70's* continues with 10 more songs tomorrow!

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