“The Tears of a Clown” is a song written by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Hank Cosby and originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles for the Tamla Records label subsidiary of Motown, first appearing on the 1967 album Make It Happen. It was re-released in the United Kingdom as a single in July 1970, and it became a #1 hit on the UK singles chart for the week ending 12th September 1970. Subsequently, Motown released “The Tears of a Clown” as a single in the United States as well, where it quickly became a #1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B Singles charts.
This song is an international multi-million seller and a 2002 Grammy Hall of Fame inductee. Its success led Miracles lead singer, songwriter, and producer Smokey Robinson, who had announced plans to leave the act, to stay until 1972.
“I Think I Love You” is a song composed by songwriter Tony Romeo in 1970. It was released as the debut single by The Partridge Family pop group, featuring David Cassidy on lead vocals and Shirley Jones on background vocals. The Partridge Family version was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1970. The alternative rock band Voice of the Beehive scored a hit cover version of their own in 1991. There have also been many other cover versions of this song, most notably, Perry Como, Kaci, and Katie Cassidy.
“Cracklin’ Rosie” is a 1970 song written and recorded by Neil Diamond in 1970, with instrumental backing by L.A. sessions musicians from the Wrecking Crew, from his album Tap Root Manuscript. This was Neil Diamond’s first American #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1970, and his third to sell a million copies. It became Diamond’s breakthrough single on the UK Singles Chart in 1970, reaching #3 in December 1970. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 17 song of 1970. It also reached #2 on the Australian Singles Chart.
The single version released by Uni Records in 1970 was in mono, while the album version from Tap Root Manuscript was in stereo.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is an R&B/soul song written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla Motown label. The composition was first successful as a 1967 hit single recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, becoming a hit again in 1970 when recorded by former Supremes frontwoman Diana Ross. The song became Ross’ first solo number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
“War” is a counterculture-era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release “War” as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations’ version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr’s version of “War” was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but it is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. It was one of 161 songs on the Clear Channel no-play list after September 11, 2001.
The song’s power was reasserted when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took their rendition into the U.S. Top 10 in 1986. It was also covered by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1984, and more recently by the Rock band Black Stone Cherry on its 2016 album Kentucky.
“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. The song 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 #13 song of 1970, and it was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of over one million copies.
When the song was released, David Gates’s mother was asked by a local interviewer how her son’s music career was going. Misunderstanding the song’s title, she replied that his group had just recorded a song called “Naked with You.”
“(They Long to Be) Close to You” is a popular song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, most notably sung by the Carpenters.
The song was first recorded by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as “They Long to Be Close to You”, without parentheses. However, only that single’s flip side, “Blue Guitar”, became a hit. The tune was also recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963 and re-recorded with a Burt Bacharach arrangement for her 1964 album Make Way for Dionne Warwick, and was released as the B-side of her 1965 single “Here I Am”. Bacharach released his own version in 1968. But the version recorded by Carpenters with instrumental backing by L.A. studio musicians from the Wrecking Crew, which became a hit in 1970, is the best known.
The first recorded duet of this song is attributed to Dinah Washington and Lionel Hampton, which can be found on YouTube. The song can be found on Hampton’s 1995 album Jazz Moods. and on the 1996 compilation double-CD Dinah Wasshington, released in the Netherlands on the Bluenite label. As Washington died in late 1963, this is believed to be one of the first recordings of this song.
“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” is a song by American singer-songwriter Randy Newman written for Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. Three Dog Night’s 1970 cover of the song topped the U.S. pop singles charts. Tom Jones and the Stereophonics’s cover version also hit number four on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2000.
Newman says that the song was inspired by his own lighthearted reflection on the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1960s. As with most Newman songs, he assumes a character – in “Mama…” the narrator is a sheltered and extraordinarily straight-laced young man, who recounts what is presumably his first “wild” party in the big city, is shocked and appalled by cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking, and loud music and — in the chorus of the song — recalls his “mama told [him] not to come.”
The first recording of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” was cut by Eric Burdon & The Animals. A scheduled single-release of September 1966 was withdrawn, but the song was eventually included on their 1967 album Eric Is Here.
Newman’s own version of his song was released on the 1970 album 12 Songs, and was characterized by Newman’s midtempo, rollicking piano accompaniment, as well as Ry Cooder’s understated slide guitar part, both of which give the song the feel of a bluesy Ray Charles-style rhythm and blues number.
“The Love You Save” is a 1970 number-one hit single recorded by The Jackson 5 for Motown Records. It held the number-one spot on the soul singles chart for six weeks and the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for two weeks, from June 27 to July 4, 1970 (in the UK Top 40 chart, it peaked at number 7 in August 1970). The song is the third of four Jackson 5 number ones released in a row (the others were “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, and “I’ll Be There”). Billboard ranked the record as the No. 16 song of 1970, one slot behind the Jackson 5’s “ABC”.
“For You Blue” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1970 album Let It Be. The track was written by George Harrison as a love song to his wife, Pattie Boyd. It was the B-side to “The Long and Winding Road” single, issued in many countries, but not Britain, and was listed with that song when the single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and Canada’s national chart in June 1970. On the Cash Box Top 100 chart, which measured the US performance of single sides individually, “For You Blue” peaked at number 71.
A light-hearted track in the acoustic country blues style, “For You Blue” was partly inspired by Harrison’s recent stay with Bob Dylan and the Band in Woodstock. The recording features John Lennon playing lap steel guitar. The song was one of seven Beatles tracks included on the 1976 compilation The Best of George Harrison, while a live version from Harrison’s 1974 North American tour received a limited release on the Songs by George Harrison EP in 1988. Paul McCartney performed the song at the Concert for George in November 2002, a year after Harrison’s death.