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The 1970s - Music

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Until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes... everywhere is WAR.
Until the unhappy and ignoble regime which holds our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique, South Africa, subhuman bondage, has been completely and utterly destroyed... everywhere is WAR
Haile Selassie speech used in the song 'War'.

The above sums up some of the attitudes present in the 1970s. The 1960s gave us free love, but the '70s trod where the '60s feared to go. Music and politics went hand in hand. Nobody dreamt that the countries named in the above speech/lyric would be 'free' by the 1990s.

The rise in the popularity of Scottish bands such as The Bay City Rollers and Rod Stewart led to an invasion of tartan, but that died away with the coming of Glam Rock, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Pop idols wore stars on their faces and glitter everywhere else. Some wore a lot of makeup and still looked tough. At the time, LSD was plentiful and cheap. Between '74 and '76 or so it was possible to get hold of pyramids at around 50p per tab and that was street cost not wholesale prices. Large numbers turned on and tuned in, grew their hair and wore flares.

At the same time disco, had been quietly pulsing away. Many bands arrived on the scene via Soul which, in turn begat Northern Soul. Reggae became popular, with rumours abounding of the quality of Bob Marley's voice with the release of his Live! album - the man at his best. Then there was the classic 'Sticky Fingers' by the Rolling Stones, and anything by Bowie. In the space of four weeks in the legendary summer of 1976 London saw performances by The Rolling Stones at Earls Court, David Bowie at Wembley (the White show) and Bob Marley playing Rastaman Vibration at the Hammersmith Odeon.

When the UK's national music station Radio One began, in many parts of the country, all that listeners could hear was fuzzy noise, the transmitters were simply not pointing in the right direction. Many people listened to the pirate radio stations that sprang up instead. There was Radio Caroline, Radio London and Radio Veronica, illegal stations that broadcast the top tunes. Many of the UK's best-loved DJs, such as Kenny Everett, started their careers at these stations.

In addition to the mainstream music of the times, there are three notable schools of music which spring to mind from the 1970s. The first was the Canterbury Sound of Soft Machine, Caravan, Kevin Ayers, Hatfield and the North. The second was the Velvet Underground-rooted, New York sound of the likes of Talking Heads and Suicide. The third was the two-tone ska revival. The '70s was the period during which Bob Marley successfully mixed rock with reggae to appeal to a wider audience.

For some, the 1970s appears to be a musical void - an impression no doubt tinted by the decade's angry close with the advent of punk and its rejection of almost everything establishment. For many, the time will be remembered for the rise and fall of disco, the dominance of Abba and the emergence of heavy rock/metal bands.

UK Chart Toppers for the 1970s

The '70s British pop charts opened with 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)' by Edison Lighthouse at number one and closed with 'Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)' by Pink Floyd in the top spot. The following is the definitive list of all the number one hits in the UK charts in the 1970s.


  • 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)' - Edison Lighthouse
  • 'Wand'rin Star' - Lee Marvin
  • 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' - Simon & Garfunkel
  • 'All Kinds of Everything' - Dana
  • 'Spirit in the Sky' - Norman Greenbaum (
  • 'Back Home' - England World Cup Squad
  • 'Yellow River - Christie
  • 'In the Summertime' - Mungo Jerry
  • 'The Wonder of You' - Elvis Presley
  • 'Tears of a Clown' - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  • 'Band of Gold' - Freda Payne
  • 'Woodstock' - Matthew's Southern Comfort
  • 'Voodoochile' - Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • 'I Hear You Knockin'' - Dave Edmunds


  • 'Grandad' - Clive Dunn
  • 'My Sweet Lord' - George Harrison
  • 'Baby Jump' - Mungo Jerry
  • 'Hot Love' - T Rex
  • 'Double Barrel' - Dave & Ansil Collins
  • 'Knock Three Times' - Dawn
  • 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' - Middle of the Road
  • 'Get It On' - T Rex
  • 'I'm Still Waiting' - Diana Ross
  • 'Hey Girl Don't Bother Me' - Tams
  • 'Maggie May' - Rod Stewart
  • 'Coz I Luv You' - Slade
  • 'Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)' - Benny Hill


  • 'I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing' - New Seekers
  • 'Telegram Sam' - T Rex
  • 'Son of My Father' - Chicory Tip
  • 'Without You' - Nillson
  • 'Amazing Grace' - Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
  • 'Metal Guru' - T Rex
  • 'Vincent' - Don McLean
  • 'Take Me Back 'Ome' - Slade
  • 'Puppy Love' - Donny Osmond
  • 'You Wear It Well' - Rod Stewart
  • 'Mama Weer all Crazee Now' - Slade
  • 'How Can I Be Sure' - David Cassidy
  • 'Mouldy Old Dough' - Lieutenant Pigeon
  • 'Clair' - Gilbert O' Sullivan
  • 'My Ding-a-ling'- Chuck Berry
  • 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool' - Little Jimmy Osmond


  • 'Blockbuster' - Sweet
  • 'Cum on Feel the Noize' - Slade
  • 'The Twelfth of Never' - Donny Osmond
  • 'Get Down' - Gilbert O' Sullivan
  • 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree' - Dawn
  • 'See My Baby Jive' - Wizzard
  • 'Can the Can' - Suzi Quatro
  • 'Rubber Bullets' - 10cc
  • 'Skweeze Me Pleeze Me' - Slade
  • 'Welcome Home' - Peters & Lee
  • 'I'm the Leader of the Gang' - Gary Glitter
  • 'Young Love' - Donny Osmond
  • 'Angel Fingers' - Wizzard
  • 'Eye Level' - Simon Park Orchestra
  • 'Day Dreamer' - David Cassidy
  • 'I Love You Love Me Love' - Gary Glitter
  • 'Merry Xmas Everybody' - Slade


  • 'You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me' - New Seekers
  • 'Tiger Feet' - Mud
  • 'Devil Gate Drive' - Suzi Quatro
  • 'Jealous Mind' - Alvin Stardust
  • 'Billy Don't Be a Hero' - Paper Lace
  • 'Seasons in the Sun' - Terry Jacks
  • 'Waterloo' - Abba
  • 'Sugar Baby Love' - Rubettes
  • 'The Streak' - Ray Stevens
  • 'Always Yours' - Gary Glitter
  • 'She' - Charles Aznavour
  • 'Rock Your Baby' - George McCrae
  • 'When Will I See You Again' - Three Degrees
  • 'Love Me For a Reason' - Osmonds
  • 'Kung Fu Fighting' - Carl Douglas
  • 'Annie's Song' - John Denver
  • 'Sad Sweet Dreamer' - Sweet Sensation
  • 'Everything I Own' - Ken Boothe
  • 'Gonna Make You a Star' - David Essex
  • 'You're My First, My last, My Everything' - Barry White
  • 'Lonely This Christmas' - Mud


  • 'Down Down' - Status Quo
  • 'Ms Grace' - Tymes
  • 'January' - Pilot
  • 'Make Me Smile (Come up and See Me)' - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
  • 'If' - Telly Savalas
  • 'Bye Bye Baby' - Bay City Rollers
  • 'Oh Boy' - Mud
  • 'Stand By Your Man' - Tammy Wynette
  • 'Whispering Grass' - Windsor Davies & Don Estelle
  • 'I'm Not in Love' - 10cc
  • 'Tears on My Pillow' - Johnny Nash
  • 'Give a Little Love' - Bay City Rollers
  • 'Barbados - Typically Tropical
  • 'I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)' - Stylistics
  • 'Sailing' - Rod Stewart
  • 'Hold Me Close' - David Essex
  • 'I Only Have Eyes For You' - Art Garfunkel
  • 'Space Oddity' - David Bowie
  • 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E.' - Tammy Wynette
  • 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - Queen


  • 'Mamma Mia' - Abba
  • 'Forever and Ever' - Slik
  • 'December '63 (Oh What a Night)' - Four Seasons
  • 'I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)' - Tina Charles
  • 'Save Your Kisses For Me' - Brotherhood of Man
  • 'Fernando' - Abba
  • 'No Charge' - JJ Barrie
  • 'Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)' - The Wurzels
  • 'You To Me Are Everything' - Real Thing
  • 'The Roussos Phenomenon' (EP) - Demis Roussos
  • 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' - Elton John & Kiki Dee
  • 'Dancing Queen' - Abba
  • 'Mississippi' - Pussycat
  • 'If You leave Me Now' - Chicago
  • 'Under the Moon of Love' - Showaddywaddy
  • 'When a Child is Born' - Johnny Mathis


  • 'Don't Give Up on Us' - David Soul
  • 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' - Julie Covington
  • 'When I Need You' - Leo Sayer
  • 'Chanson D'Amour' - Manhattan Transfer
  • 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' - Abba
  • 'Free' - Denice Williams
  • 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' - Rod Stewart
  • 'Lucille' - Kenny Rogers
  • 'Show You the Way To Go' - Jacksons
  • 'So You Win Again' - Hot Chocolate
  • 'I Feel Love' - Donna Summer
  • 'Angelo' - Brotherhood of Man
  • 'Float On' - Floaters
  • 'Way Down' - Elvis Presley
  • 'Sliver Lady' - David Soul
  • 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie' - Baccara
  • 'Name of the Game' - Abba
  • 'Mull of Kintyre' - Wings


  • 'Up Town Top Ranking' - Althea & Donna
  • 'Figaro' - Brotherhood of Man
  • 'Take a Chance on Me' - Abba
  • 'Wuthering Heights' - Kate Bush
  • 'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs' - Brian & Michael
  • 'Night Fever' - Bee Gees
  • 'Rivers of Babylon' - Boney M
  • 'You're the One That I Want' - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
  • 'Three Times a Lady' - Commodores
  • 'Dreadlock Holiday' - 10cc
  • 'Summer Nights' - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
  • 'Rat Trap' - Boomtown Rats
  • 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy' - Rod Stewart
  • 'Mary's Boy Child' - Boney M


  • 'YMCA' - Village People
  • 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' - Ian Dury & The Blockheads
  • 'Heart Of Glass' - Blondie
  • 'Tragedy' - Bee Gees
  • 'I Will Survive' - Gloria Gaynor
  • 'Bright Eyes' - Art Garfunkel
  • 'Sunday Girl' - Blondie
  • 'Ring My Bell' - Anita Ward
  • 'Are Friends Electric' - Tubeway Army
  • 'I Don't Like Mondays' - Boomtown Rats
  • 'We Don't Talk Anymore' - Cliff Richard
  • 'Cars' - Gary Numan
  • 'Message in a Bottle' - Police
  • 'Video Killed the Radio Stars' - Buggles
  • 'One Day At A Time' - Lena Martell
  • 'When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman' - Dr Hook
  • 'Walking on the Moon' - Police
  • 'Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)' - Pink Floyd

Further Reading

See Also

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