The summer of love went up in smoke with Altamont, but where did peace and love go? As the 1960s entered a new decade, the world began to recover from years of war and social movement after social movement.
The early 70s faced a crisis of identity as doors opened to personal liberation and rediscovered individualism after a decade of free love and community mindsets revealing themselves more disillusioning than unifying. The rest of the culture tried to find its place in the meantime, resulting in a cosmic tide of musical styles in which the remnant love of the previous decade found its way.
Here are the 7 best love songs of the 70s, all melting away in a lava lamp of disco decadence, occult rock, funkadelia and blue-eyed soul.
7. “All My Love” – Led Zeppelin
In Fast times at Ridgemont High, Mike Damone, a high school student in the 70s, reveals his “five-point plan” for seducing girls. The fifth and most important of all stages? “When it comes to kissing, whenever possible, put to the side one of Led Zeppelin IV“, he confides.
Whereas Led Zeppelin IV rocks is an album that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of romance. Rather a softer side of Zeppelin can be found on their 1979 and final release, Enter through the outer doorwith the slow-paced, yet still passionate rock ballad, “All My Love.”
Written in tribute to singer Robert Plant’s son, Karac, who died suddenly at the age of five, the message is simple, but universally profound, a message of promise. All my love / All my love / All my love for you.
6. “You are the first, the last, my everything” – Barry White
The most distinctive voice of the decade, Barry White was able to infuse a love song with blushing sensuality, yet subtle eroticism, to create not just a melody, but a moment. Its voluptuous timbre, as rich as Howard Hughes, could stop time. He could make you feel his words deep inside you. He might make you believe that you are the first and the last and his everything.
Opening up in his pillow-smooth manner, White laid it all bare with the 1974 classic “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.” Singing what everyone, love or not, wants to hear, his bass reached new depths with lyrics like You are my sun, my moon, my guiding star / My kind of wonderful, that’s what you are.
5. “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton
The ’70s marked a new era for country icon Dolly Parton. Her 1973 song “I Will Always Love You” put a nail in the coffin of her career with musical partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, setting the singer on a trajectory to stardom.
The song’s desperate lyrics and distant arrangement are unmistakably a quintessential ’70s country classic.
4. “How deep is your love” – Bee Gees
Their three-part harmonies have become synonymous with the 1970s, so the Bee Gees could never go unnoticed on this list.
A 1977 track, sandwiched between disco bops like “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever,” “How Deep Is Your Love” touches on the soft rock side of the three Gibb brothers. A warm and tender ballad, the tune epitomizes the love song of the 70s, much like the appearance of a white-cheesy leisure suit.
3. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder
Rich in early ’70s soul, Stevie Wonder’s signature track, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” is recognizable from the first sitar note. That’s right, sitar. George Harrison may have made it cool, but Wonder used the instrument to create the instant groove-inducing earworm with the 1970 hit.
A song about acknowledging the mistakes you’ve made in love, the lyrics send the ultimate commitment priority mail. Signed sealed delivered.
2. “Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain and Tennille
Although love didn’t keep the actual couple together, it did help them create one of the most enduring love songs of the ’70s. The 1975 classic “Love Will Keep Us Together” from the musical partners and life Captain & Tennille became the song the rock yacht was built on.
Soft rock instrumentation with throaty bass and tinkling keys floats like a buoy as the song promises I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again while others pretend / I need you now and I’ll need you then, stop (stop) / ‘Cause I really love you, stop (stop ) / I’ll be thinking of you / Look into my heart and let love keep us together.
1. “Let’s Stick Together” – Al Green
I-I am, I’m so in love with youstammers the opening lines of Al Green’s dreamy 1972 classic about unconditional love and surpassing oneself. Let’s stick together / I love you so / Times are good or bad, happy or sad sings the choir against pleading horns and galloping drums.
“Let’s Stay Together” lives past the ’70s, having blessed numerous rom-com soundtracks and graced more than a few first dances.
Photo: Capitol Records