February 2016

Elton_John_-_Madman_Across_the_Water#18 – Elton John – “Tiny Dancer” – (1971)

You know 1971 was one helluva year for music when Led Zeppelin and Elton John check in at numbers 19 and 18 on your countdown. “Tiny Dancer” – which is not at all about Tony Danza – is the best song from Madman Across the Water – although “Levon” is pretty close (and pretty similar). This is one of those songs of Elton’s that people absolutely love and it wasn’t even a huge hit when it was released. It just gets better with time.

Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_IV#19 – Led Zeppelin – “Rock and Roll” – (1971)

With one of the best, most recognizable beginnings in rock and roll, “Rock and Roll” is our choice from Led Zeppelin IV. Yes, it got chosen over “Stairway to Heaven.” It’s just awesome and has been used in what seems like a ton of advertisements over the past few years.

Paul_Revere_And_The_Raiders_-_Indian_Reservation#20 – The Raiders – “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” – (1971)

This awesome rock song by The Raiders (Paul Revere and the Raiders up until 1970) was a #1 hit in the U.S. It was recorded by a couple of artists prior to this band doing it, but they really did it. The lyrics are well done. The beat is kind of threatening – not often are there hit songs about a fairly sad part of American history… unless, you know, you’re Gordon Lightfoot.

the_fortunes-here_comes_that_rainy_day_feeling#21 – The Fortunes – “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” – (1971)

The Fortunes were a band from Birmingham that didn’t sound particularly British, at least not in this song, which was never actually even a hit in the U.S. (it peaked at #15 in the U.K.). The song is actually really nice and sounds like it could’ve been by a number of other bands of the period.


Amy_Winehouse_-_Back_to_Black_(album)Amy Winehouse – “Rehab” – 2006

One of the most sadly ironic songs of all time, Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” was the single that put her on the map. It was her only top 10 hit in the U.S. and won three Grammys, including Record of the Year. This song stands to remind of us Amy’s sheer vocal talent.

220px-Incubus_ScienceIncubus – “Vitamin” – 1997

Incubus really hit it big in 1999 with “Drive” but before that they were more of a fringe band – even though this, their second album, was certified Gold by the RIAA. This song was never a single, but in the late-90s it was bundled with this album’s biggest single on a video game that got a lot of play around here. Almost 20 years later (holy crap) I still dig it.

Reddy-WomanHelen Reddy – “I Am Woman” – 1972

I remember singing this song to someone and they didn’t believe me that the opening lyrics actually were “I am woman, hear me roar.” Which… I guess, makes Helen Reddy the original Katy Perry. This was Reddy’s first #1 hit and her first really big hit. It’s one of her two best-known songs, with “Delta Dawn.”

220px-Spinners_cover#1 – The Spinners – “I’ll Be Around” – (1973)

What? The #1 song from 1972 is actually from 1973? Well sort of. The album came out in April 1973 but this single was released in August of ’72 and was a Billboard #1 hit in the fall of 1972. Anyway, this song is beautiful. It’s one of the smoothest soul songs you’ll ever hear and it has been sampled and covered many times. It’s damned near perfect.

220px-The_Eagles_-_The_Eagles#2 – Eagles – “Take It Easy” – (1972)

The first single from the Eagles’ first album should have been a sure sign to everyone that this band was going to be something else. It remains one of their most beloved songs and would probably be their signature tune if “Hotel California” wasn’t a thing. It was written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey (who sings the vocals on this track). And pretty much ever fan of the Eagles’ can sing more than just the opening lines of this one…

StillinloveAlGreen#3 – Al Green – “Love and Happiness” – (1972)

Al Green’s best work? Perhaps. You can’t argue against the organ and the horns or that voice – ever. It might be the best soul song ever recorded. It came from Al Green’s 1972 album I’m Still in Love With You but wasn’t released as a single in the U.S. until 1977 – but had better performance on the charts in ’72. Which is weird.

Cant_buy_a_tcant_buy_a_thrill#4 – Steely Dan – “Do It Again” – (1972)

Steely Dan’s crowning achievement, “Do It Again” peaked at #6 and from the opening percussion you know that this is going to be a funky soft rock smash. This song exemplifies the unique sound Steely Dan always managed to achieve with their work. It’s unlike any other artist out there and I don’t want to say they peaked early, but this is hard to top.

Be_Altitude-_Respect_Yourself#5 – The Staple Singers – “I’ll Take You There” – (1972)

“I know a place…” This is one of the best soul songs ever. A #1 hit, it spent 15 weeks on the chart and was the best song The Staple Singers ever did (although they would have another #1 later on). It’s just so smooth… you don’t get this kind of smooth quality to music today.

220px-Fragile#6 – Yes – “Roundabout” – (1971)

It always amazes me that this song was released as early as it was (1971 in the U.K., 1972 in the U.S.). It seems like something that would’ve come much later. But that bassline… if you’ve ever wondered “how do I make my bass the integral part of a song” – this. This is how you do that. It’s a pretty long song, but it’s one of Yes’ best-known works.