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Top Ten Rock Songs of the 1970's

You listened to them, the charts were topped, and history remembered. Here they are folks, the top 10 greatest rock songs of the 1970s and some additional fun facts.

Led Zeppelin in Concert

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin Stairway to Heaven remains the best-selling sheet music of any rock song in history and is ranked #31 in Rolling Stone’s ‘Top 500 Songs Of All Time’, despite it having never been released as a single in the US charts.

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen This “mock opera” currently ranks as the 3rd best-selling UK single of all time despite Elton John thinking the song was “too ‘weird’ for the radio”.

Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple Inspiration for this song title came from the image of Lake Geneva covered in a blanket of smoke, after someone fired a flare gun at the ceiling during a Frank Zappa show, setting the building on fire.

AC/DC in concert.

Highway to Hell by AC/DC This was the first AC/DC song to make the charts in the US and has sold over 7 million copies in America. It is the nickname for the Canning Highway in Australia which has a steep decline by a famous pub called The Raffles. With no stop signs or speed limits, many are killed by driving too fast over the intersection earning the road its haunting nickname.

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd This was Skynyd’s first single to chart. The spoken “Turn it up” heard in the beginning was not planned. Ronnie Van Zant was telling an engineer to turn up the volume in his headset before recording his track and it sounded good so they left it in the final mix.

Dancing Queen by ABBA This was the only one of ABBA’s 14 US Top 40 hits to make it to #1, in addition to being #1 in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and West Germany. Many have argued that ABBA came up with the world’s first europop disco hit.

American Pie by Don McLean There are many interpretations of this song from various lyrics such as “The quartet practiced in the park” is about the Beatles singing at Shea Stadium and “I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news, but she just smiled and turned away” is probably about Janis Joplin who OD in 1970.

Layla by Derek & the Dominoes Two versions of Layla made the charts, which is a rare feat, the first time in 1972 and again 20 years later, this time without the piano coda. The “unplugged” version won the 1992 Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song beating out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, which according to Entertainment Weekly is one of the ten biggest upsets in Grammy History.

The Who in concert

Baba O’Riley by The Who This was the first song on ‘Who’s Next’, the most successful album of The Who’s career despite having never been released as a single in America or the UK. The song is often referred to as “Teenage Wasteland” since the title is never mentioned in the song.

Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd The lyrics of the song, “we don’t need no education” came from a chorus of English schoolchildren and in 2004, those kids-turned-adults sued to procure royalties for the song which ultimately proved unsuccessful. The name Pink Floyd comes from a compilation of two musicians the band admired: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Thanks for reading! Don’t miss ‘I Feel The Earth Move : A Rock and Roll Journey Through the 1970s” playing at Greenville Little Theatre from August 4-13. Check out our website for more information and call our box office at (864)-233-6238 to get your tickets today!

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