220px-straight_shooterBad Company – “Shooting Star” – (1975)

“Shooting Star” wasn’t even a single from Bad Company’s 1975 album Straight Shooter. But it has received plenty of airplay on U.S. radio stations over the years and was actually written about the deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison.

pink_floyd_wish_you_were_here_1975Pink Floyd – “Have a Cigar” – (1975)

I love the beginning of this song because it’s kinda bluesy and kind of funky, really. This is one of many Pink Floyd songs written about the world around them that they existed in, namely because it’s about the music business. But it doesn’t really matter what it’s about because it’s the best track from this album.

220px-Queen_A_Night_At_The_Opera#1 – Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – (1975)

I’m not sure a better song has ever been recorded. That’s a big statement. The song begins as a harmonized ballad and when Freddie Mercury starts singing about how he “once killed a man” the music starts picking up, giving it an operatic feel. The lyrics fade in and out throughout the song and bits of hard rock interrupt the opera performance and they do so with great timing. The song peaked at #9 in the U.S. in 1976 and #1 in the U.K. In 1991, it topped the U.K. charts again after the death of Mercury. In the U.S., it peaked at #2 in 1992 after being featured in Wayne’s World – where Wayne and Garth are headbanging to in in their Pacer right at the 4:12 mark when the hard rock kicks in. It’s pretty amazing in every way… I could write a post three times this long on the lyrics alone. But I won’t. Just give it a listen and you’ll get it.

220px-Elton_John_-_Captain_Fantastic_and_the_Brown_Dirt_Cowboy#2 – Elton John – “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – (1975)

This song comes off of my favorite-titled Elton John album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy – which was the first album to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. This is an almost-seven minute song by John and Bernie Taupin, one of the best songwriting duos of all time. It was a top five hit and is just generally a great song.

wholovesyou#3 – The Four Seasons – “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” – (1975)

This is one of the Four Seasons’ signature songs. It came a decade after they were at their peak – it was sort of their renaissance. Frankie Valli isn’t even on lead vocals here – he’s doing the backing part and the bridge. When Bob Gaudio originally wrote it, the song was going to be about the repeal of Prohibition but the rest of the group convinced him to make it about him courting his wife. This was a Hot 100 #1 in 1976 and would later reach #14 in 1994 after it was remixed. The combined chart runs made this song the longest charting song in history up to that point.

Hearts_cover_image#4 – America – “Sister Golden Hair” – (1975)

The twang of the the guitar on this track is what sells me on it. Every. Time. I. Hear. It. This song would’ve been successful five years earlier if it had been written and released then. It has that folky country rock feel that the late-60 and early-70s perfected. It’s America’s best song and one of their most popular. It was also their second #1 single on the Hot 100.

220px-The_Eagles_-_One_of_These_Nights#5 – Eagles – “One Of These Nights” – (1975)

Man the into to this song is dark. It’s just menacing. Then the lyrics kick in and it really doesn’t brighten up any, but it’s not as menacing. This was the Eagles’ second #1 and it has a pinch of disco hidden behind all that wonderful harmonizing backing vocals and great guitar playing. Even Glenn Frey said this was his favorite Eagles song. It’s awesome.

Bob_Dylan_-_Blood_on_the_Tracks#6 – Bob Dylan – “Tangled Up In Blue” – (1975)

This is one of Bob Dylan’s best songs and one of his biggest hits, peaking at #31 on the Hot 100. You can actually understand him too, which is nice. It’s a song that shows just how good Bob Dylan was in his prime. The lyrics – which tell a story in an interesting fashion – are delivered almost non-stop, which is impressive for an almost six minute song. There’s barely even a chorus. It’s just a story – that rhymes brilliantly – and moves around from perspective to perspective. You’ll find a new respect for this track if you really try and follow the lyrics.

 

220px-Aerosmith_-_Toys_in_the_Attic#7 – Aerosmith – “Sweet Emotion” – (1975)

While “Sweet Emotion” wasn’t Aerosmith’s first hit, it did set off a string of success for the band when it was released off of Toys in the Attic in 1975. It peaked at #36 on the Hot 100, becoming the band’s first in the top 40. This song actually has a pretty funky groove to it before the guitars kick in. It pops up nearly everywhere and is one of the band’s best known songs. It was also re-released in 1991 and was accompanied by an unnecessary music video.

Led_Zeppelin_-_Physical_Graffiti#8 – Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir” – (1975)

Physical Graffiti was the last Led Zeppelin album to feature some really great stuff. That hard rock-defining sound they cultivated prior to 1975 was still on full display, but it tapered off pretty quickly after this. Side two of this double album is where all the action is, with the three songs there (and “Kashmir” being the third) being the best on the album. It’s an eight-and-a-half minute epic. It’s one of Zeppelin’s best songs – and the members of the band agree, with Robert Plant calling it “the pride of Led Zeppelin.”

220px-Horizon_(Carpenters_Album)#9 – The Carpenters – “Please Mr. Postman” – (1975)

If you ever go to a garage sale, among the pile of Lawrence Welk and Herb Alpert records, there is bound to be at least one Carpenters album. I don’t care for their music, but this cover of The Marvelettes’ 1961 classic is great. It has a wonderful over-produced pre-synth keyboard sound. It’s just solid pop music.

Hallandoatesselftitledcover#10 – Hall & Oates – “Sara Smile” – (1975)

It’s like when they shot this album cover, they went “let’s try and look as much like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie as possible. And Oates, put more makeup on. The 70s were a confusing time. This was Hall & Oates first top ten hit in the U.S., climbing to #4. It’s a fantastic song – nice soft, rock. It’s also one of the reasons we’re breaking everything pre-1980 down year by year… because music like this bled over into the 1980s and every year seemed to have a different feel about it.

220px-ELO_Face_The_Music_album_cover#11 – Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman” – (1975)

This pre-disco rock song is what put ELO on the map. It sounds so glittery yet it is such a fine, tightly choreographed symphonic rock… and then you add Jeff Lynne’s amazing vocal range… it’s wonderful. This was the band’s first major, global hit charting in the top ten in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. It remains one of their best-known songs.

220px-Ted_nugent_album_cover#12 – Ted Nugent – “Stranglehold” – (1975)

Ah, The Nuge. This hard rock song from Ted Nugent was released on Ted Nugent’s first solo album. And he doesn’t even perform the vocals here – they’re done by Derek St. Holmes. This song is a rambling eight and a half minutes but it’s worth it because the entire time, it’s building. There is wailing guitar and sparse vocals – a menacing sound. There’s a really long instrumental section that is generally cut out of the single edit, but it all goes down after the seven minute mark – specifically when Ted shreds it at 7:45. It’s an epic piece of rock and roll.

220px-Album_Main_Course#13 – Bee Gees – “Nights on Broadway” – (1975)

The Bee Gees dominated the charts in the late 1970s. But their mid-70s stuff wasn’t quite as “guaranteed-#1” as the later stuff. Actually, 1975’s Main Course was a sort of comeback album for the Brothers Gibb, who hadn’t scored back-to-back top 10 hits since 1968. It’s a nice song because it doesn’t fall into the disco trap that their later music would. The vocals are Gibb-fantastic in their own special quivering way and the music is funky. This song also was the basis for the “Barry Gibb Talkshow” on SNL.

Fool_for_the_City#14 – Foghat – “Slow Ride” – (1975)

“Slow Ride” is a classic, uh, classic rock song, by Foghat, the strangely named band from London. This is the band’s signature and best-known song. The LP version was over eight minutes long, while the single was cut down to less than four – either one is good. It’s just good, solid hard rock from the 1970s.

220px-War-WhyCan'tWeBeFriends#15 – War – “Low Rider” – (1975)

War released some catchy songs back in the day, perhaps none more so than this. It evokes images of low rider cars in Southern California and does so brilliantly with a nice mix of funk and Latin music. It’s the best Chicano rock song ever and if you picture anything other than Cheech wiping down his car, you’re crazy.

220px-OMDs_1974#16 – Ozark Mountain Daredevils – “Jackie Blue” – (1974)

Boooo! Some idiot messed up his years. This album was actually released in October of 1974 and the single was from ’74 as well, even though it didn’t peak on the Hot 100 (at #10) until 1975. This is one of those good, mid-70s country rock/southern rock hits. The guitars are twangy and the vocals soft. It’s a great song, but unfortunately for me, from the wrong year. But it’s staying right here.

fletmac#17 – Fleetwood Mac – “Say You Love Me” – (1975)

What is great about this, Fleetwood Mac’s second self-titled album, is it is the first of the modern Fleetwood Mac sound. It’s the first album to feature Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in the revised lineup. Their sound transformed from blues-y rock to radio-friendly rock – and boy did the band take off. This was one of two #11 singles from this album and it was the start of something really big.

220px-LoveWillKeepUsTogether#18 – Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together” – (1975)

The thing I like about this song is it’s way over-produced synthetic sound. This was the first single from Captain & Tennille and it is their signature song, even though it was written and originally recorded by Neil Sedaka. The Captain (and Tennille) took it to #1, however. Ironically, this married couple was not able to keep it together and divorce papers were filed in 2014.

httpwww.amazon.comsref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_6url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=fooled%20around%20and%20fell%20in%20love%20elvin%20bishop&sprefix=fooled%2Cdigital-music%2C188#19 – Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” – (1975)

Elvin Bishop got his start performing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Eventually going solo, Bishop released Struttin’ My Stuff in 1975. This would be his biggest hit, charting at #3 on the Hot 100. The blues-ey guitar throughout the song is Bishop, but the vocal is not. It’s actually sung by Mickey  Thomas, who normally sang backing vocals for Bishop. It’s really good.

220px-Gary_Wright_-_Dream_Weaver_-_lowres#20 – Gary Wright – “Dream Weaver” – (1975)

Gary Wright had a few singles get radio airplay, but this is easily his signature song. It’s kind of a very early version of synthpop and was Wright’s biggest hit, climbing all the way to #2 on the Hot 100. Famously, it is used in the movie Wayne’s World when Wayne sees Cassandra performing for the first time.

220px-Blue_Sky_Night_Thunder#21 – Michael Martin Murphey – “Wildfire” – (1975)

I remember seeing Michael Martin Murphey perform this song on Letterman what seemed like a few years ago (turns out it was in 2007… and that was seven years ago, which is insane). This was his biggest pop hit in the U.S., reaching #3 on the Hot 100 – pretty high considering it’s essentially a country song. It’s a sort of cowboy song – telling the story of a woman who died chasing a pony in a blizzard. Yes, that’s a weird subject for a top five pop song. But it’s good.