As popular music took its first step into the new decade, the pop charts saw many newcomers, and no shortage of great love songs. Chicago would chart again, proving itself a viable 70s heavyweight, and newcomers like a funky eyeglass wearing pianist named Elton John would make his chart debut. Even a Young Michael Jackson would make his first solo chart effort separate from his brothers… Who knew how well that would work?
The love songs on this list have been carefully and meticulously vetted, leaving only the ones that reflect all that is wonderful about love. No breakups, no heartache, just love, love, love!! Scroll to the bottom of the list, press play, and listen to the love.
“Never Ending Song Of Love” by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
“Never Ending Song Of Love” is a simple yet charming love song, peaking at #13 on the Pop charts. Perhaps one of the most interesting songs on the list in that over time, the “Friends” part of the groups name included huge names like Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Duane and Gregg Allman, Leon Russel and Rita Coolidge to name a few.
“Beginnings” by Chicago
Although originally released on Chicago’s debut album Chicago Transit Authority in 1970, it was re-released in 1971 as a single, with “Color My World” (see below) as the b-side. Although referring specifically to new love (hence “Beginnings”), the tune also fits perfectly as a love song for any point in a relationship.
“Color My World” by Chicago
“Color My World” charted alongside Chicago’s “Beginnings” as the b-side of that single, but received equal airplay. This beautiful love song could have easily held its own as an a-side, and remains an almost timeless classic. The music is fairly simple; however the lyrics are a profound proclamation of love.
“All I Ever Need Is You” by Sonny & Cher
The title says it all. The only duet on the list, “All I Ever Need Is You” rose to #7 on the Top Pop 40 in 1971. Although a somewhat dated number, its poppy sound is catchy, this tune may have easily ended up on a soundtrack of a chick-flick or two.
“Joy To The World” by Three Dog Night
Not to be confused with the Christmas classic of the same name, this 1971 mega-hit (#1 for six weeks). Although the band members themselves describe this as a silly kids song, the last line of its famous chorus clearly rejoices of love, “joy to you and me”. Okay, so maybe the rest of the songs lyrics are a little nonsensical and silly, but as Paul McCartney would later ask… “What’s wrong with that?”
“I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King
The b-side of Carole King’s #1 hit “It’s Too Late” (NOT a “good love” love song), “I Feel The Earth Move” expresses love as a feeling caused by the subjects presence. A fun sing-a-long love song, written by Carole herself from her iconic album Tapestry.
“An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night
The second love song from Three Dog Night on the list from 1971, interestingly a song about a love song, with the unquestionably romantic lyric “One I’m sure they wrote for you and me”, making it a great love song. “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song” was a #4 hit for Three Dog Night, although it was initially written with The Carpenters in mind, Richard Carpenter rejected it, and the rest is history.
“Your Song” by Elton John
The first Pop Top 40 hit for the 24 year old newcomer Elton John, who topped the charts at #1 with this now timeless classic love song. The resounding theme of this tune is touchingly sincere and charming, claiming “I don’t have money to buy a house where we both can live, so I wrote you a song instead”. Over time, Elton would continue to write hit after hit, and buy very, very big houses. 🙂
“If” by Bread
Admittedly, this one gives me chills. Although melancholy sounding, this 1971 #4 Pop hit by Bread is anything but. At just over two and a half minutes, “If” is a clever and deeply romantic love song. The metaphoric lyric “When my love for life is running dry, you come and pour yourself on me” is merely a glimpse of the love in this 70s Soft Rock classic.
“Baby I’m – A Want You” by Bread
Bread again!! “Baby I’m – A Want You” is the fourth Top 10 hit, and second highest chat song for this breakout early 70s band who left an indelible footprint of mellow on the decade. Written by lead singer David Gates, this love song rose to #3 on the Pop Top 40, and has been covered again and again since.
“Got To Be There” by Michael Jackson
The first single off the album of the same name, this tune was the first Top 40 solo hit for the then 13 year old Michael Jackson (you may have heard of him), charting at #4 on both the Pop and R&B charts. This well produced classic is charmingly innocent, and a truly romantic dedication of good, good love.
“Groove Me” by King Floyd
This Funkified love song was actually released in late 1970, peaking at #6 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1971, reaching #1 on the Soul/R&B charts. It was the first Top 40 hit for King Floyd, and is a fun, upbeat and quasi-danceable Soul ditty.
These great love songs of 1971 were from both fresh and familiar faces. As the decade marched on, some would remain, some would fade away and, naturally, more new voices would arrive on the scene. There’s just no stop to love, as the decade of the 1970s would prove to have many more love songs to come.
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.