The 1970s were a treasure trove of romantic ballads.
Whether they were singer-songwriters, folk artists, or soul icons, they certainly knew how to write a love song back then.
Here are our favorite love songs of the decade …
Billy Paul – ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’
Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert, “Me and Mrs. Jones” describes an affair between a man and his lover, Mrs. Jones.
In the song, the two meet in secret “every day at the same cafe”, where they hold hands and chat. Both are in a sticky situation: “We both know it’s wrong / But it’s way too strong / Let go now”. Yeah.
Commodores – ‘Three times a lady’
Written by Lionel Richie, it was one of the Commodores’ biggest hits of 1978.
Lionel said he was inspired to write the song because of a comment his father made about his mother. His father said to his mother, “I love you. I want you. I need you. Forever ”, hence the three times a lady.
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Songbird’
The song arrived to writer Christine McVie at 3 a.m. She composed and wrote the whole song in half an hour, and played it continuously until she could record it that morning. Nowadays you just use your smartphone!
Eva Cassidy recorded a famous cover, which was released on her 1998 posthumous compilation of the same name.
Carpenters – “We have just started”
A popular wedding song, “We’ve Only Just Begun” actually started as a musical theme for a bank commercial!
After watching the commercial, Richard Carpenter met co-writer Paul Williams at his record company office and asked if a full-length version was available. Although at this point there were only two verses and no bridges, Williams said there was one bridge and an additional verse, forming a complete song. He and Nichols quickly went to write them, and it became a huge success.
The Hollies – ‘The Air I Breathe’
Co-writer Albert Hammond first recorded it in 1972, but The Hollies scored a big hit two years later, and it was also a hit for Simply Red two decades later.
Interestingly, Radiohead’s 1992 song “Creep” uses a similar chord progression and shares melodic content with the song, and as a result, Hammond and Hazlewood sued Radiohead for plagiarism and won.
Hammond said: “Because they were being honest they weren’t sued to the point of saying ‘we want it all’. So we ended up having a little piece.”
Chicago – ‘If you leave me now’
It was the song that brought Chicago to a truly mainstream audience, reaching No. 1 in the UK and US in 1976.
It remains one of the best breakup ballads of all time, and surprisingly doesn’t contain a traditional chorus.
John Denver – “Annie’s Song”
It was John Denver’s only UK success, as most of his other famous pieces had been covered by other artists.
It was written as an ode to then-Denver’s wife Annie Martell Denver, and he wrote it in about ten and a half minutes on a ski lift to the top of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. .
Marvin Gaye – ‘Let’s Go’
Taken from the album of the same name, it became Gaye’s most successful single for Motown and one of his best-known songs.
Originally conceived as a religious then political song, Gaye transformed it into a sensual hymn.
Barry White – “You are the first, the last, my everything”
Released in 1974, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” spent two weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart.
This song was originally written over 21 years ago by Peter Radcliffe as a country song, before Barry completely reworked it.
Billy Joel – “Just Like You Are”
Billy Joel wrote this song for his first wife Elizabeth Weber, but it was not liked by either Joel or his band. It was only released at the request of Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow.
Barry White then recorded a disco version, and both are classic love songs of the time.
Pain – ‘Make It With You’
Bread’s groundbreaking hit was written by singer David Gates, who also played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, and strings on the record, with only drummer Mike Botts.
When the song came out, a local interviewer asked Gates’ mother how her son’s music career was going. Not understanding the title of the song, she replied that her band had just recorded a song called “Naked with You”.
Roberta Flack – “The first time I saw your face”
Roberta Flack took the original version of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and slowed it down, turning it into an arrow ballad.
His version was used in the movie Play misty for me and reached number one in the United States.
Bee Gees – “How deep is your love”
This great ballad was written by the Gibb brothers for the Saturday night fever soundtrack, delivering a slice of love in a disco-heavy film.
Already a big hit in 1977, Take That later took it to number one in 1996, as their last song for 10 years.
Eric Clapton – ‘Wonderful Tonight’
Clapton wrote this song for his then-girlfriend Pattie Boyd (who divorced George Harrison the same year). He wrote it while she was getting ready to go to Paul and Linda McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly party.
Boyd later said: “For years it tore me apart. To have inspired Eric and George before him to write such music was so flattering. ‘Wonderful Tonight’ was the most poignant reminder of all that was good in it. our relationship, and when the going got tough, it was torture to hear it. “
The couple married two years later, but divorced in 1989. Another pretty song, right?
Harry Nilsson – “Without You”
Originally by Badfinger, Harry Nilsson took it to another level with his number one version.
Described by Paul McCartney as “the deadliest song of all time,” Harry can’t believe he’s lost his beloved and isn’t sure what to do next. Heartbreaker.
Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together”
Taken from his 1972 album of the same name, it is perhaps Al’s most famous and signature song.
It reached number one in the United States and has been covered by countless artists since. Even US President Barack Obama gave it a try, performing a brief line of the song during an appearance at New York’s Apollo Theater in 2012, where Al was also performing.
Bill Withers – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’
Produced by Booker T Jones and starring Stephen Stills on guitar, Bill was inspired to write this song after watching the 1962 film Wine and Rose Days. He said of the two main characters: “They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you.
“For the third verse, Bill intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase ‘I know’ 26 times, but he took the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way.
10cc – “I’m not in love”
This British number one sets himself apart with his innovative and distinctive backing track, composed mainly of the group’s multitrack vocals.
Written primarily by Eric Stewart in response to his wife’s claim that he didn’t tell her often enough that he loved her, it was originally intended as a bossa nova song but his colleagues Kevin Godley and Lol Creme didn’t like it at first, and it was drastically changed.
Elvis Presley – “Always on my mind”
Originally a soulful ballad by Gwen McCrae, this song tells the story of someone who admits he hasn’t always done the things he should have done to show his appreciation to his partner, but wants to let him know he was still thinking of him.
The song was passed to Elvis by one of his bodyguards, and he recorded it shortly after his split from Priscilla. It received great success, and it became one of his most successful songs of all time.
Elton John – “Your Song”
Taken from Elton’s self-titled second album, this ballad was first recorded by Three Dog Night, after he allowed them to record it.
Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics to the song after breakfast on the rooftop at 20 Denmark Street, London, where Elton worked for a music publishing house as an office boy, inspiring the phrase: “I got myself. sat on the roof and I threw the moss ”.