“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.
“The Long and Winding Road” is a ballad written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney) from the Beatles’ album Let It Be. It became the group’s 20th and last number-one song in the United States in June 1970, and was the last single released by the quartet.
While the released version of the song was very successful, the post-production modifications by producer Phil Spector angered McCartney to the point that when he made his case in court for breaking up the Beatles as a legal entity, he cited the treatment of “The Long and Winding Road” as one of six reasons for doing so. New versions of the song with simpler instrumentation were subsequently released by both the Beatles and McCartney.
In 2011, Rolling Stone ranked “The Long and Winding Road” number 90 on their list of 100 greatest Beatles songs of all time.
“Everything Is Beautiful” is a song written, composed, and performed by Ray Stevens. It has appeared on many of Stevens’ albums, including one named after the song, and has become a pop standard and common in religious performances. The children heard singing the chorus of the song, using the hymn, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, are from the Oak Hill Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee. This group includes Stevens’ two daughters. The song was responsible for two wins at the Grammy Awards of 1971: Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Ray Stevens and Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance for Jake Hess. Stevens’ recording was the Number 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in the summer of 1970. The song also spent three weeks atop the adult contemporary chart. Many country stations played the song, peaking it at #39 on Billboard’s chart. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 12 song of 1970. The song includes anti-racist and pro-tolerance lyrics such as “We shouldn’t care ’bout the length of his hair/Or the color of his skin.”
This song was a major departure for Stevens, as “Everything Is Beautiful” is a more serious and spiritual tune, unlike some of his earlier (“Gitarzan” and “Ahab the Arab”) and later (“The Streak”) recordings, which were comedy/novelty songs.
“No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” is a song by the Canadian rock band The Guess Who. It was released on their 1970 album American Woman, and was released on the B-side of the “American Woman” single without the “New Mother Nature” section. The single was officially released as “American Woman/No Sugar Tonight” and peaked at #1 on the RPM magazine charts (three weeks) and #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Cash Box, which at the time ranked sides independently, “No Sugar Tonight” reached #39.
According to Randy Bachman, the inspiration for the song arose after an incident when he was visiting California. He was walking down the street with a stack of records under his arm, when he saw three “tough-looking biker guys” approaching. He felt threatened and was looking for a way to cross the street onto the other sidewalk when a car pulled up to the men. A woman got out of the car, shouting at one of them, asking where he’d been all day, that he had left her alone with the kids. The man suddenly was alone and his buddies walked away. Chastened, he got in the car as the woman told him before pulling away: “And one more thing, you’re getting no sugar tonight”. The words stuck in Bachman’s memory.
Bachman then wrote a short song in the key of F♯ called “No Sugar Tonight”. When he presented the song to Burton Cummings and the record company, he was told that the song was too short. Bachman and Cummings expanded the song by adding to it a song Cummings had written that was also in the key of F♯, “New Mother Nature”. The song was originally written without the “in my coffee” and “in my tea” wording. The band was ordered to alter the lyrics to make the sexual connotation less obvious.
“American Woman” is a song released by the Canadian rock band The Guess Who in January 1970, from their sixth studio album of the same name. It was later released in March 1970 as a single backed with “No Sugar Tonight”, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard magazine placed the single at number three on the Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970 list. On May 22, 1970, the single was certified as gold by the RIAA.
Produced by Jack Richardson, the single was recorded on August 13, 1969 at RCA’s Mid-America Recording Center in Chicago.
“ABC” is a 1970 number-one hit by the Jackson 5. First aired on American Bandstand on the ABC network) on February 21, 1970. It was released on February 24.”ABC” knocked The Beatles’ Let It Be off the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970, and was number one on the soul singles chart for four weeks. It was written with the same design as their first 1970 hit ‘I Want You Back’. ABC was performed on the American Bandstand (21st February, 1970), Ed Sullivan Show (10th May, 1970), The Groovy Show (10th June, 1970), Flip Wilson Show (4th November, 1971), Save the Children Benefit Concert (September, 1972), The Jackson 5 Show (5th November, 1972), Royal Variety Show (5th November, 1972), One More Time (10th January, 1974), Sandy In Disneyland (10th April, 1974) and The Jacksons TV Series (7th July, 1976).
It is considered one of the band’s signature songs. It is one of the shortest titles to hit #1, and is the first alphabetically in a list of #1 its on the Billboard Hot 100.
50 Cent told NME that the song was the first he remembered hearing: “I’ve always loved MJ, so I guess it was probably a good place to start music: right here, with the ABCs.”
“Let It Be” is a song by the Beatles, released in March 1970 as a single, and (in an alternate mix) as the title track of their album Let It Be. At the time, it had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number 6. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney. It was their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band. Both the Let It Be album and the US single “The Long and Winding Road” were released after McCartney’s announced departure from and subsequent break-up of the group.
The alternate mix on their album “Let It Be” features an additional guitar solo and some minor differences in the orchestral sections.
In 1987, the song was recorded by charity supergroup Ferry Aid (which included McCartney). It reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks and reached the top ten in many other European countries.
Bridge over Troubled Water” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. Produced by the duo and Roy Halee, the song was released as the follow-up single to “The Boxer” on January 26, 1970. The song is featured on their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Composed by singer-songwriter Paul Simon, the song is performed on piano and carries the influence of gospel music. The original studio recording employs elements of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” technique using L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew.
It was the last song recorded for their fifth and final album, but the first fully completed. The song’s instrumentation was recorded in California while the duo’s vocals were cut in New York. Simon felt his partner, Art Garfunkel, should sing the song solo, an invitation Garfunkel initially declined. Session musician Larry Knechtel performs piano on the song, with Joe Osborn playing bass guitar and Hal Blaine closing out the song with drums. The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, including Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
The song became Simon & Garfunkel’s biggest hit single, and it is often considered their signature song. It was a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, and it also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and New Zealand. It was a top five hit in eight other countries as well, eventually selling over six million copies worldwide, making it among the best-selling singles. It became one of the most performed songs of the twentieth century, with over 50 artists, among them Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, covering the song. It was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Everybody Is a Star”, released in December 1969, is song written by Sylvester Stewart and recorded by Sly and the Family Stone. The song, released as the b-side to the band’s 1970 single “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970 at a time when chart position for both sides of the single were measured equally and not independently. “Star” was intended to be included on an in-progress album with “Thank You” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime”; the LP was never completed, and the three tracks were instead included on the band’s 1970 Greatest Hits compilation. The single was the final classic-era Family Stone recording; it would be 23 months until the next release, the single “Family Affair” in late 1971.
Sly, his siblings Freddie Stone and Rose Stone, and Larry Graham trade bars for the lead vocal, delivering Sly’s assurance that every person is special in their own way. The song with which “Star” originally shared a 7″ single, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, marks the beginning of the Family Stone’s second era, during which the music would take on a darker, more funk-based feel.
The song has been covered by several acts, including The Jackson 5, Madonna, Fishbone with Gwen Stefani and Family Stone member Rose Stone, and others. The Roots sampled the song for their 2004 single “Star”, from their LP The Tipping Point. This version of the song, featuring Roots MC Black Thought commenting on how people attempt to earn fame in the wrong way, was also included on a Family Stone tribute/covers album, Different Strokes by Different Folks, released in July 2005. In 1977, the cast performed the song on an episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is a 1969 song recorded by Sly and the Family Stone. The song, released as a double A-side single with “Everybody Is a Star”, reached number one on the soul single charts for five weeks, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 19 song of 1970.
“Thank You” was intended to be included on an in-progress album with “Star” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime”; the LP was never completed, and the three tracks were instead included on the band’s 1970 Greatest Hits LP. “Thank You” and “Star”, the final Family Stone recordings issued in the 1960s, marked the beginning of a 20-month gap of releases from the band, which would finally end with the release of “Family Affair” in 1971.
The song’s length on the original hit single and the Greatest Hits LP is 4:48 and was re-channeled to simulate stereo on the popular Greatest Hits LP. The previously unreleased full-length version (6:18) was mixed by Bob Irwin in true stereo and its only issue was on a 1990 Columbia promotional CD Legacy: Music for the Next Generation. On the subsequent (and currently available as of 2015) The Essential Sly & The Family Stone 2-CD set, the track is in stereo but is the standard 4:48 length hit version.
The song was ranked number 402 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
“Venus” is a 1969 song written by Robbie van Leeuwen. In 1970, the Dutch rock band Shocking Blue took the song to number one in nine countries. In 1981 it was sampled as part of the Stars on 45 medley. In 1986, the British female pop group Bananarama returned the song to number one in seven countries. The composition has been featured in numerous films, television shows and commercials, and covered dozens of times by artists around the world.
“I Want You Back” is a 1969 song by the Jackson 5 which became a number-one hit for the band and the Motown label in early 1970. The song, along with a B-side cover of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, was the only single used in the Jackson 5’s first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. It went to number one on the Soul singles chart for four weeks and held the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending January 31, 1970. “I Want You Back” was ranked 121st on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” is a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. David and Bacharach also won Best Original Score. The song was recorded by B. J. Thomas in seven takes, after Bacharach expressed dissatisfaction with the first six. In the film version of the song, Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than in the 7-inch release. The film version featured a separate vaudeville-style instrumental break in double time while Paul Newman performed bicycle stunts.
The single by B. J. Thomas reached number 1 on charts in the United States, Canada, Norway and reached number 38 in the UK Singles Chart. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in January 1970 and was also the first American number-one hit of the 1970s. The song also spent seven weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song of 1970. According to Billboard magazine, Thomas’ single had sold over 2 million copies by March 14, 1970, with eight-track and cassette versions also climbing the charts.