If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.
For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.
Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:
- Made me sick without even listening to it again
- Made me want to break my radio
- Made my stomach turn
- Brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
- Reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
- Could make me want to break my stereo
- Would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
- Would make me boo a band who started playing it
- Suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on bad music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere)
The 70s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.
Make It – Bread -1970
“Make It with You” is a song written by David Gates and originally recorded by the pop-rock group Bread, of which Gates was a member. Gates and drummer Mike Botts are the only members of the group to appear on the recording which was a #1 hit.
The song first appeared on Bread’s 1970 album, On the Waters. Released as a single that June, it was the group’s first top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and spent the week of August 22, 1970, at number one, their only single to do so; it also reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart. Billboard ranked “Make It with You” as the No. 13 song of 1970, and it was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of over one million copies.
Just a really sappy song. Weak lyrics prevail. He even has to say to the listener, “If you’re wondering what this song is leading to…” Just play the song, and we’ll find out where it’s leading. It reads like a bad greeting card sentiment. The big message in this song is to make it with some girl. I hate this song.
We’re All Alone – Rita Coolidge – 1978
This is a song written by Boz Scaggs, which became a 1977 top-ten hit for Rita Coolidge in the US and the UK. Scaggs introduced it on his 1976 album Silk Degrees. The song was first a hit for Frankie Valli. Scaggs included it as the B-side of two of the four single releases from that LP, including “Lido Shuffle”.
The Rita Coolidge version of “We’re All Alone” was featured on the album Anytime…Anywhere released in March 1977.
Coolidge would recall: “When I was with A&M Records, it was like a family. I would visit Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, and it was a very open, communicative group of people. One day I was in Jerry Moss’s office and he said that the Boz Scaggs album Silk Degrees was in a million homes and there was a song on it that was perfect for a woman to sing. He said, ‘It’s called “We’re All Alone” and as he’s not doing it as a single, I think you ought to record it.'”
The original lyrics of “We’re All Alone” include the lines “Close your eyes ami” and “Throw it to the wind, my love”. Coolidge sings these lines as “Close your eyes and dream” and “Owe it to the wind, my love”.
Although the first single off the US release of Anytime…Anywhere was “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher”, “We’re All Alone” was the first single taken off the album in the UK where it reached #6 in August 1977 when “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” was moving up the US Top 10; that same month “We’re All Alone” reached #6 in Ireland. In September Coolidge’s version of “We’re All Alone” entered the Dutch charts where it would peak at #15 (in August the Walker Brothers’ version had reached #22 on the Dutch charts).
This is another example of a 70’s sap fest. Just a limp song. Don’t worry, I worked backward into this series. Each post will get more insane as we go along, but we had to start somewhere.
The Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr. – 1972
Sammy Davis Jr.‘s version appears on the Sammy Davis Jr. Now album. Though Davis admitted to disliking the song, finding it too saccharine, it became his only number 1 hit, spending three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart starting 10 June 1972, and two weeks at the top of the easy-listening chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1972. The track featured backing vocals by the Mike Curb Congregation, who had earlier released their own unsuccessful version of the song. It is recognized as one of Davis’s signature songs, and “The Candy Man” came to be his moniker later in his career. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male at the 15th Annual Grammy Awards.
In 2014, Sammy Davis Jr.’s lead vocals from the original 1972 recording were sampled to create a “virtual duet” with singer Barry Manilow, which appeared on Manilow’s album My Dream Duets.
My mother loved Sammy Davis Jr, and I don’t know why. I’ve always been a rocker but in middle age have grown to love and respect the artists and singers of yesteryear. Sinatra is brilliant and there are so many others. But I could never get my ears around the tone of Sammy’s voice. It just doesn’t appeal to me.
I know it was introduced in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which is a creepy movie unto itself for so many reasons, but I just don’t get why this song was written.
I hate this song. It’s just so sugary and weird. Does anybody know a candyman? Did anybody grow up in a neighborhood where there lived a candyman? I’m assuming that would be a guy that goes around offering candy to children. I think that’s known as something else.
Feel Like Making Love – Roberta Flack – 1974
Released nine months before the album of the same title, the song became one of the greatest musical successes of 1974, as well as of Roberta Flack’s recording career. It scored a week at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making it Flack’s third #1 single, making her the first female vocalist since 1940 to top the chart in three consecutive years. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” also had five weeks at #1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. And two weeks at #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts of both Canada and the U.S. Flack produced the record under the pseudonym, Rubina Flake. It went on to receive three Grammy nominations for Flack: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
This is another weird song about sex. I write a dating and relationship blog and this seems odd to me. Check out these lyrics:
Walkin’ in the dark, seein’ lovers do their thing, ooh
That’s the time I feel like making dreams come true, oh baby
When you’re touchin’ me and my feelings start to show, ooh
That’s the time I feel like making dreams come true, oh baby
Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill – 1977
This is a 1977 ballad written by Dan Hill (lyrics) and Barry Mann (music) on the album Longer Fuse. It was first released as a single by Canadian pop-rock artist Dan Hill. His version of the song became the most successful and his biggest hit. Since its original release “Sometimes When We Touch” has been released by several different artists in various musical formats.
Hill was inspired to write “Sometimes When We Touch” from a previous relationship. In an interview with CBN News in 2017, Hill explained that the song was about being in love with someone who did not have similar feelings for him, “She was interested in another man, so that was breaking my heart. So I thought I needed to write a song that would capture her and win her over—that would be so passionate in a sense that she’d see that I’m the only guy for her.”
Yea, dude. That sounds like classic stalker behavior. She’s in love with someone else. Why are you talking about putting your hands on her? Why do you want to hold her till you die? Murder/Suicide in a hail of police gunfire? What is it, Dan? It’s supposed to be about unrequited love. That’s a pretty common theme in songs. Why are you talking like she’s already yours when she’s clearly not. Also, what’s all this about breaking her and dragging her to her knees? Dan, this all sounds like an obsession, premeditated sexual assault, and possibly kidnapping.
Run for your life, girl!
Dan Hill is so much of a nice guy, he used to get beaten up by England Dan and John Ford Coley. I know for a fact that one of the members of Player used to steal his lunch money.
It sounds like he’s trying to be a bargain-basement Gordon Lightfoot and it’s just not happening. Hate this song!
Playground in My Mind – Clint Holmes -1972
This is a 1972 single by Clint Holmes. It was written by Paul Vance with Lee Pockriss and is a nursery rhyme-styled song which features a duet with record producer Vance’s son, seven-year-old Philip (born 28 July 1965, died 13 December 2009, who sang the boy’s and the girl’s parts of both Michael and Cindy) on the chorus. (Okay, that’s weird right there.)
“Playground in My Mind” was released in the U.S. in June 1972 but did not reach the Hot 100 chart until 24 March 1973, whereupon it rose to #2 on 16-23 June 1973, behind “My Love” by Paul McCartney and Wings. The single stayed on the chart for 23 weeks. The song was granted gold disc status by the R.I.A.A. on 3 July 1973.
The release went one better in Canada, topping the RPM 100 national singles charts there for three consecutive weeks in the same year (23 June – 7 July). On the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, “Playground in My Mind” reached #1.
I hate this song. I remember when it came out. I was 10 years old and my friend Michael was 9. He liked it because his name was Micheal. He used to sing it all of the time. It made me want to push him down an embankment onto the railroad tracks.
Why is it that when this guy is sad he goes to a playground in his mind? He’s an adult. Why is he talking to this kid Michael? Did he give the kid the nickel? And for what? And what’s with little Cindy talking about having a baby. This tune sounds like a song for guys they warn neighborhoods about.
I’m just creeped out by this song. Listen to the song once just so you know what I’m talking about but the video is horrible as well. Just a dizzying montage of creepy toys and stuff.
I never want to hear this song again.
Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton – 1972
This is a song written by Peter Callander and Geoff Stephens and performed by Wayne Newton. The song appeared on Newton’s 1972 album, Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.
“Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” reached number 3 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and number 4 on the Hot 100. The song spent one week at number 1 on the Cashbox chart on August 5, 1972, and three weeks at number 1 in Australia. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in July 1972.
The song was ranked number 10 on Billboard magazine’s Top Hot 100 songs of 1972. The song also was ranked number 7 on the Kent Music Report’s 25 songs of 1972.
The song was produced by Wes Farrell and arranged by Mike Melvoin.
It’s a really short song that sounds dated even when it came out in 1972. Many of these songs were written by people that never sang them. They literally gave them to these artists. Maybe this worked when Wayne had that little boy voice and look, but as you can see in this video he’s clearly singing this dreck to a bunch of blue hairs in Vegas. I don’t know, it’s just a contrived piece of garbage. We get it, Wayne, your kid doesn’t want you to leave his mother so go back and make it work even though you clearly don’t love her anymore and you’re just going to do the right thing for your kid. Never a solution.
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