The Top 10 Most Popular Songs of 1970
1970: The Year of the Whale
This year of the Viet Nam (or now, Vietnam) Conflict was very interesting for the music field in that all kinds of unimaginable things to Americans were used to create it, including those from the undersea world.
Whale song was first recorded in 1970, leading marine researchers in the next couple of decades to discover that Humpback Whales had learned the tune of Amazing Grace from slave ship inmates (The Discovery broadcast on the Paul Harvey Show, TVChannel 10 in Columbus, and 610 WBNS in 1970).
Whale song also prompted the filming of the 1986 Star Trek movie The Voyage Home. In the film, two whales, George and Gracie, saved the world of the 23rd century with help from Scottie and the Captain. Not only environmentally relevant, Voyage Home is the funniest of the Trek Film Saga. Parts of it (Spock learning to use colorful language) are parodied in the sci-fi film comedy Paul.
Importantly, 1970 saw the first Earth Day celebrations and the whale theme of the science fiction film meshed well with the concept of saving the environment.
Songs of a Humpback Whale changed the popular mind about whales.
Underwater microphones were used by Mr. Frank Watlington in Bermuda to prove that whales communicate with their own language, but also with music. This recording was chosen by the US Library of Congress as Number 20 on the list of 25 Recordings to be Preserved in 2010.
All 25 music and spoken word recordings join the National Recording Registry as important historic recordings.
US National Recording Registry
New Entries to the National Recording Registry - The Library Today: Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 new additions to the 9th annual National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, ensuring that these cultural, artistic and historical recordings always will be available.
Top 10 From the Billboard Top 100
The Vietnam War began in 1940 with France, picked up the USA about 1964 and continued to 1975. That's a long time for an undeclared war. Part of it was fought with blaring Rock Music after American troops refused to listen to any more classical. The Viet Cong didn't like Rock and Americans were ready for some rockin' sounds (depicted in Good Morning Viet Nam).
Here are the top ten most heard song of 1970, according to Billboard Magazine.
- Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by B. J. Thomas, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Song by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hall David. This one became #85 on the Billboard Hot 100 All Time Hits list.
2. I'll Be There by The Jackson Five. This is the lead song on the Five's Third Album. A ballad to change things up from bubblegum pop and still uplifting.
3. I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family. This TV family headed by Shirley Jones and David Cassidy recorded the song and aired it withy the TV series beginning in 1970.
4. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
5. Close to You by The Carpenters
6. My Sweet Lord by George Harrison
7. War by Edwin Starr. Word on the Internet is that The Temptations recorded this song first, felt it would hurt their careers, and passed it on to Mr. Starr, who made it a hit, with three weeks in the Number One spot at Billboard. It has been covered many times and was featured in an episode about a copyright proceedings trial on television's Boston Legal.
8. American Woman by the Canadians and the Guess Who. The woman in the song was the Statue of Liberty and this was a protest song against the Vietnam War protest. But as Harlan Ellison has written in the 1970s, censorship was rampant. President Richard Nixon's First Lady, Pat, asked the group not to perform it at the White House. Vice President Spiro Agnew was an enforcer for TV censorship according to Mr. Ellison in his 1970s books and columns, especially against depicting the rising drug use in America that killed some of Harlan's friends.
9. Let It Be by The Beatles
10. I Want You Back by The Jackson Five, solo by Michael Jackson. My favorite cover of this song is done by Cheryl Crow, from the Winter 2011 Motown Tribute concert at the White House.
More Favorites From the Billboard Top 100
- Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - #11.
- Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross - #14
- Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum - #19
- Fire and Rain - James Taylor - #26
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie wonder - #41
- Ride, Captain, Ride - Blues Image #49
- Don't Cry Daddy - Elvis Presley - #59
- Travel 'In Band and flipside Who'll Stop the Rain - Credance Clearwater Revival - #67
- Psychedelic Shack - The Temptations - #71
- Evil Ways - Sanatana - #81
- Don't Play That Song - Aretha Franklin - #93. Ms. Franklin's father was a renowned Detroit minister and his sermon on the Crucifixion is also among the 25 Recordings Preserved in 2010 at the Library of Congress.
Psychedelic Shack on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1970
© 2011 Patty Inglish