The first year of the 1970s saw profound changes in the musical landscape. The Beatles ‘officially’ broke up with Paul McCartney releasing his first solo album; Diana Ross made her last appearance with The Supremes, beginning her solo career, and The Doors played their last concert with Jim Morrison, while Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both pass away at 27 years of age from drug overdoses.
Although the love songs of 1970 echoed the previous decade with artists like Elvis Presley and The Jackson 5 who had only just began charting in 1969, the year saw love songs by new acts like The Carpenters, Bread and Chicago who would help to usher in a new sound and style, setting the stage for love in the 1970s.
The goal here was to sift out the love songs with any suspect connotation (lost love, love longing, love gone wrong) and just populate the list with good love (mutual love, shared love, healthy love) to make certain they were the best kind of love songs they could be. 🙂
“Vehicle” by The Ides Of March
A rock-em, grab you and kiss you one-hit wonder, “Vehicle” rocks so hard you might miss the fact that it’s a love song at all. This tune also reflects a changing rock style that would be repeated over and over throughout the decade.
“Make Me Smile” by Chicago
The first Top 40 hit for 70s super group Chicago (a.k.a. The Chicago Transit Authority), declares “I’m so happy that you love me”, an unquestionable message of love and the happiness of love. Although not a ballad, but somewhat of a rocker, this hit resounds in all that is brilliant about love.
“I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5
Although the last line “If you should ever find someone new” is kind of suspect for a love song, there is no questioning that this, the fourth consecutive #1 hit for the Motown Pop-group The Jackson 5, is about as pure and sentimental as a love song can be. “I’ll Be There” is certainly a timeless classic.
“The Wonder Of You” by Elvis Presley
Elvis was still pumping out Pop hits in 1970, and this short but straightforward love song reached #9 on the Pop charts for King Presley in May of 1970. “The Wonder Of You” lyrically is what its title suggests, and would be the second to last Elvis Presley hit to break the Top 10.
“My Baby Loves Lovin’” by White Plains
The second one-hit wonder on this list (they done hit no more), this blatant but up-beat Pop track is fun and bouncy with an infectiously catchy hook. In reality, White Plains was an English studio group, and likely never meant to do anything but hit and run. “My Baby Loves Lovin’” reached #13 on the Top 40 in 1970.
“(They Long To Be) Close To You” by The Carpenters
Perhaps one of the greatest songs of praise for a beloved ever put to pen, unsurprisingly written by the great Burt Bacharach. Karen Carpenters angelic voice, multi-tracked, makes this love song a melodious work of art. It’s no surprise this number – The Carpenters first Top 40 charted hit – peaked at #1.
“Make It With You” by Bread
This was the first Top 40 charted hit for the ‘soft rock’ group Bread, and it shot to #1 in the summer of 1970. Although the title is somewhat suggestive, the lyrics reveal that instead, “make it with you” refers to a commitment far beyond the physical. Bread would continue to pump out great love songs through the early 70s.
“We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters
The second love song on our list by The Carpenters, this tune rejoices in the promise of future love, and the wonder of new love. In reality, there couldn’t be a more perfect song written almost specifically as a first dance at a wedding. “We’ve Only Just Begun” was the second Top 40 hit for The Carpenters, reaching the #2 spot.
Be sure to press play above to hear all these great songs, and, as they say in in 70s, “have a nice day”.
Love the love…
Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.