The #1 Summer Hits of the Early 1970s
Moving on now in our much beloved series of looking back at what were the #1 pop hits in the summertime, we arrive at late summer 1970 through 1973, a changing time when professional recording studios were seriously upgraded and the sounds, therefore, became slicker. Singer-songwriters offered the mellow shelter the Rolling Stones previously gimme'd. R&B/ Soul music reflected both a new social consciousness and a sensual/sexual freedom previously only hinted at. The Beatles were kaput. Vietnam lingered. Cars got lousy gas mileage but they looked like heavy metal machines, distinctive. You never passed a Firebird on the road and mistook it for a Thunderbird.
These days, all the world's indeed an Accord.
We pick up in 1970, where the last blog rudely left off.
25) (They Long To Be) Close To You -- The Carpenters (1970): Burt Bacharach and Hal David had an able voice in Karen Carpenter, but the overwhelming mellowness is a sign of the times and like all trends was more difficult to enjoy when everything else sounded like it, too. Forty-three years removed, it sounds great in the mix with songs from other eras that aren't being played 12 times a day.
24) Make It With You -- Bread (1970): The dog days of August were really feeling the heat and the laziness. David Gates is another top-notch songwriter and just about any Bread hit is a lesson in tasteful musicianship. The fetal position warmth of this song is extremely soothing. Surely written for the cats resting in the windowsill enjoying the sunshine crowd. Purr….
23) War -- Edwin Starr (1970): OK, this wakes up the crowd as September hits. Summer officially says goodbye and school is back in session. Except for those who couldn't get a student deferment and likely felt the reality of this tune more than they would've liked. Another fine songwriting team here: Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong!
22) Brown Sugar -- The Rolling Stones (1971): Memorial Day Weekend 1971 in full effect and the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" brings in the summer. The idea that this song was ever new to people's ears seems impossible. Though the chunky guitar chords make you think of Keith, the song is primarily Mick's, written and recorded back in 1969. If one could clearly understand the words, it likely would never have made it to #1. Unless 'Gold Coast Slave Ships Bound for Cotton Fields" were really 'in' that season.