Stephen Chapman

The second incarnation of my blog

Approaching 50 years – a song a year (part 1, the 1970s)

In April I will reach the depressingly old age of 50. Where did the last decade go?!

This list of songs, one from each year from the year of my birth was inspired by a friend and as there is no such thing as an original idea, I’ve blatantly stolen it.

For me it’s about selecting a song that represents a memory as well as choosing a brilliant piece of music. It was far more difficult than I thought it would be, especially when I had 5 or 6 songs I wanted for some years and then had to decide. For example, having to place Carly Simon over Neil Young’s Heart of Gold is an impossible choice! Here are the initial 10 songs covering the 1970s and you can access the Spotify playlist here:

1970: Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

This was taken from the number one album from the week I was born and despite it being their final album, there is no hint at animosity in any of the tracks. The title track is a sublime piece of songwriting and arrangement. Sorry I scratched the vinyl when I was 2!

1971: American Pie – Don Mclean

My dad had the cassette of American Pie album in his car and played it over and over. This is likely to be the longest song on this list but it never sounds overlong or pretentious as tells the story of Buddy Holly and other musicians after him.

1972: You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

The lyrics have often been dissected and analysed, missing the point that the melody, vocals and that guitar solo are the reasons why this song has to be on my list.

1973: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – Elton John

A surprising killer guitar riff throughout this song for a song written on a piano. My eldest brother owned the album this track is from; definitely the classic period of Elton’s career.

1974: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan

I first heard Steely Dan on a CD of my other brother and this track jumped out. It is a rolling ballad full of jazz influences.

1975: How Does It Feel? – Slade

The inclusion of Slade will surprise some, but I argue that their music was often overshadowed by the band’s image and I managed to annoy my mum by playing some songs repeatedly. They had catchy singles that I loved when I was 5, but many years later I came across this album track.

1976: Hotel California- The Eagles

Everyone knows this one! I find many of The Eagles songs a bit bland, but these 6 minutes are near perfect and the arrangement of the 3 (at least) guitars at the end is stunning.

1977: Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

The best break up song ever and in my opinion, the best rock song ever, from the best album ever. I had to choose this Fleetwood Mac song over Rhiannon, The Chain and many others.

1978: Grease – Frankie Valli

Memories of the Raymar cinema, disco and the Bee Gees taking over the world. They all come together perfectly in this Barry Gibb composed song. I once owned a jukebox and this was the first 7” single I played on it.

1979: Message In A Bottle – The Police

I’d love to be able to play the guitar riff that drives this song but my reach is a fret short. Power trio rock at it’s best.

One comment on “Approaching 50 years – a song a year (part 1, the 1970s)

  1. Pingback: Approaching 50 years – a song a year (part 2) | Stephen Chapman

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2019 by in Me, music and tagged , , .

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