*Indicates highest Billboard chart position
1. Up Around the Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Music and lyrics by John C. Fogerty
Jondora Music. BMI. Fantasy 641.
Courtesy of Fantasy Records. No.4*
2. War - Edwin Starr
Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.
Stone Agate Music. BMI. Gordy 7101.
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, LP No. 1*
3. Domino - Van Morrison
Music and lyrics by Van Morrison.
WB Music Corp. ASCAP. Warner 7434.
Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No.9*
4. Mama Told Me (Not to Come) - Three Dog Night
Music and lyrics by Randy Newman.
Unichappel Music. BMI.
Dunhill 4239. Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. No.1*
5. The Rapper - The Jaggerz
Music and lyrics by Dominic Ierace.
Kama Sutra Music, Inc/Sixuvus Revival Music Co. BMI.
Kama Sutra 502. Courtesy of Buddah Records, Inc. No.2*
6. Uncle John's Band - The Grateful Dead
Music and lyrics by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.
Ice Nine Publishing Co. ASCAP. Warner 7410.
Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No, 69*
7. Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
Music and lyrics by Norman Greenbaum.
Great Honesty Music, Inc. BMI. Reprise 0885.
Courtesy of Trans/Tone Productions. No.3*
8. The Letter - Joe Cocker
Music and lyrics by Wayne Carson Thompson
Warner-Tamer/one Publishing Corp. BMI.
A&M 1174. Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc. No. 7*
9. Black Magic Woman - Santana
Music and lyrics by Peter Green.
Murbo Music Publishing, Inc. BMI/Bourne Music Ltd. (PRS) ® 1977 CBS Inc. Columbia 45270. Produced under license from CBS Special Products, a Service of CBS Records, a Division of CBS Inc. No.4*
10. Love on a Two-Way Street - The Moments
Music and lyrics by Sylvia Robinson and Bert Keyes.
Gambi Music, Inc. BMI. Stang 5012. Courtesy of Sugarhill Records. No.3*
11. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies
Music by Bobby Scott, lyrics by Bob Russell.
Harrison Music Corp/Jenny Music, Inc. ASCAP. Epic 10532 Produced under license from CBS Special Products, a Service of CBS Records, a Division of CBS Inc. No. 7*
12. ABC - The Jackson 5
Music and lyrics by Deke Richards, Freddy Perren. Fonce Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. Jobete Music Co, Inc. ASCAP. Motown 1163. Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P. No. l*
13. American Woman - The Guess Who
Music and lyrics by Randall Bachman, Burton Cummings, Garry Peterson and Michael James Kale, Unichappel Music-Six Continents. BMI. RCA 0325. Courtesy of RCA Records, a label of BMG Music. No. l*
14. After Midnight - Eric Clapton
Music and lyrics by John J. Cole.
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. BMI. Atco 6784. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a Division of PolyGram Records, Inc. No. 18*
15. Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf
Music and lyrics by Jerrv Corbetta, J.C. Phillips and David Riordan.
MPL Communications, Inc. ASCAP Uberty 56183. Courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., under license from Capitol Special Markets. No.3*
16. Fire and Rain - James Taylor
Music and lyrics by James Taylor.
SBK-Blackwood Music, Inc/Country Road Music, Inc. BMI. Warner 7423. Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No. 3*
17. The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Music and lyrics by Henry Cosbv, Stevie Wonder and William "Smokey" Robinson Jr. Jobete Music Co, Inc/Black Bull Music and Co. ASCAP. Tamla 54199. Courtesy of Motown Record Companv, LP No. l*
18. Lonely Days - The Bee Gees
Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb.
Gibb Brothers Music. BMI. ® 1976 PolyGram Records. Atco 6795. Courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a Division of PolyGram Records, Inc. No.3*
19. Ride Captain Ride - Blues Image
Music and lyrics by Frank Konte, music by Carlos Pinero. ATM Music. ASCAP. Atco 6746. Produced under license from Atlantic Recording Corp. No.4*
20. All Right Now - Free
Music and lyrics by Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers. Island Music, Inc. BMI. A&M 1206. Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc. No.4*
21. Thank You (Fallelin Me Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly and the Family Stone
Music and lyrics by Sylvester Stewart.
Mijac Music. BMI. Epic 10555. Produced under license from CBS Special Products, a Service of CBS Records, a Division of CBS Inc. No. l*
Time Life Music
President: Paul R. Stewart
Vice Presidents: Terence J. Furlong, Carol Kaplan
Executive Producer: Charles McCardell
Recording Producer: Bill Inglot
Series Consultant: Joe Sosfy
Creative Director: Don Sheldon
Art Director: Robin Bray
Associate Producer: Brian Miller
Assistant Producer: Robert Hull
Art Studio: Nina Bridges
Chief Financial Officer: Eric R. Eaton
Production Director: Fernando Pargas
Production Manager: Karen Hill
1970 was produced by Time-Life Music in cooperation with Warner Special Products. Digitally remastered at K-Disc, Hollywood, Calif.; Ken Perry, engineer.
The Author: John Morthland has been an associate editor for Roiling Stone and Creem. He has freelanced for virtually every rock magazine published during the last 20 years
Time-life Music wishes to thank William L. Schurk of the Music library and Sound Recordings Archives, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, for providing valuable reference material
TIME-LIFE MUSIC is a division of Time-Life Books Inc. © 1989 Time-Life Books Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.SA. TIME-LIFE is a trademark of Time Incorporated U.SA.
Cover art by Enzo Messi and Urs Schmidt. © 1989 Time-Life Books Inc.
Picture credit: Back panel photo courtesy Michael Ochs Archives, Venice, Calif.
Manufactured for Time-Life Music by Warner Special Products, a Warner Communications Company.
® 1989 Warner Special Products.
WARNER SPECIAL PRODUCTS
Rock in 1970 was the sound of things beginning to fall apart, The music-and the hype surrounding it-had represented an unprecedented show of unity through the rock boom of the late '60s, Whether it was true or not, musicians and fans had all been perceived as sharing a common vision, which grew out of the fact that as members of the same generation they shared a common experience.
If any single event shattered that illusion, it was the Rolling Stones' free concert at Altamont Speedway near San Francisco on December 6, 1969, During the performance a gun-waving black youth was knifed to death by Hell's Angels serving as security guards, Three others died that afternoon, as did the idea of a generation of gentle hippies united behind their music, an image framed by the events at the Woodstock festival earlier that year.
But the music would have fragmented anyway. By 1970, after all, the Beatles were
breaking up, and many other musicians crucial to the '60s explosion were looking in other directions. Mostly they were reacting to the increasing unwieldiness of a music scene that seemed to have grown too big and too loud.
Van Morrison, for example, had fronted the Irish group Them, often lumped in with the British bands during the original English Invasion. That group was short-lived, but Morrison moved to America and delved into an increasingly moody and singular brand of jazz-inflected R & B. Critics considered his music to have reached its apex with 1969's stunning Astral Weeks, but it didn't yield commercial dividends until songs like Domino and Blue Monev were pulled from the album His Band and the Street Choir.
Eric Clapton had been a member of the English blues-rock trio, Cream, one of the first bands to achieve so-called "supergroup" status. He then helped found Blind Faith, the first working band consciously put together as a "supergroup" (they broke up after one album). Clapton, seeking anonymity and purity, then toured Europe as one of many guest guitarists with Delaney and Bonnie, who had fused country blues and gospel with a rock setting to become the tastemaking act of the moment. That union also yielded Clapton's first solo album and a hit single, After Midnight, written by laid-back Oklahoman J.J. Cale and recorded with Delaney and Bonnie and producer Leon Russell.
The Grateful Dead, primary organizers of the disastrous Altamont concert, had heretofore been known for their long, spacey, electric jams. By 1970, though, the Dead were arranging concise, well-rehearsed songs. Some of their best work is on Workingman's Dead, an acoustic album of countrified harmony tunes. Among these was Uncle John's Band, which eschewed psychedelia while reinforcing the San Francisco group's image as a "family band."
Unlike the Dead, James Taylor had not been a hit act in the '60s. In fact, Fire and Rain, his breakthrough recording, referred specifically to the failures of his group, the Flying Machine, with its line "Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground." Taylor, whose drug addictions were documented by himself and the pop press for years, had spent time in a mental institution with the Suzanne of this song. Taylor's style opened doors for older acoustic artists writing self-referential songs that were said to represent rock growing up and taking itself seriously.
All these artists had strong spiritual bents, an extention of '60s acid mysticism and the peace-and-love philosophy. The most popular songs of 1970 were Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water and the Beatles' Let It Be, and similar themes permeated the pop charts in any number of other guises. Spirit in the Sky was a witty, infectious cry for salvation by Norman Greenbaum. He, along with the other members of the good-timey Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band, had hit with The Eggplant That Ate Chicago in 1966. Greenbaum lived as a chicken farmer in the hippie Promised Land of Marin County, just north of San Francisco – in the town of Petaluma, the self-proclaimed "Egg Capital of the World."
But the Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother best demonstrates how fully hippie notions of brotherhood and spirituality permeated the mainstream. The song was cowritten by Tin Pan Alley types with few ties to rock. Bobby Scott, who'd composed scores for movies, and Bob Russell, the lyricist on Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Brazil, were introduced to each other at a California nightclub by Johnny Mercer. Though Russell was dying of cancer and the pair met in person only three times, they managed to turn out this song based on the slogan from a Father Flanagan-Boys Town poster Scott recalled from his Catholic childhood.
The overwhelming success of the Hollies' song was proof that the contrived pop song could still dominate sales, even if "underground" rock got all the attention. One group that played well-crafted pop was Three Dog Night, whose Mama Told Me (Not to Come) (first recorded three years earlier by Eric Burdon) was written by Randy Newman. The smartest, least contrived pop songwriter working in Los Angeles, Newman had little success with his own songs. Meanwhile, Blues Image's Ride Captain Ride had nothing to do with the blues; The Rapper was the sole hit for a group, the Jaggerz, named after the lead singer of the Rolling Stones; and the Guess Who, a Canadian band together for 11 years, gained its first No.1 record by tapping into the protest market with the scornful American Woman, English singer Joe Cocker mounted one of the year's biggest tours after he and Leon Russell, in effect, swiped the hip Delaney and Bonnie gang and expanded it to some 40 members. With this group, Cocker remade the Box Tops' soulful teen hit of 1967, The Letter.
In black music, new directions were being forged by guitarist Jimi Hendrix and by Sly and the Family Stone, The Family Stone was led by a former, all-night soul deejay from Oakland, Sylvester Stewart, who had also produced some of the seminal mid-'60s bands from San Francisco. Sly's flamboyant group of men and women, blacks and whites, perhaps best personified the '60s ideal of unity, and his polyrhythmic soul music was, as one of his album titles boasted, "a whole new thing." He was the undisputed sorcerer of the Woodstock festival. Sly Stewart's Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Agin) turned out to be a transitional, albeit great, work. Even as the song reinforced hippie positivism, its violent imagery recalled Stewart's high school days as a Northern California gang leader. The song also pointed toward the rage that provided the foundation for his 1972 album, There's a Riot Goin' On, born out of the struggle for his soul between himself, show business, black militants, drugs and the white counterculture,
Motown remained firmly rooted in its own past but mindful of Sly's rhythmic revolution and of the need for more topical music, The Jackson 5's ABC was a blatantly imitative follow-up to their first single, I Want You Back, but with all that sass and snap, nobody was complaining. War was first cut by the Temptations for the album Psychedelic Shack. This was during the peak of the anti-Vietnam era; Motown was bombarded with letters urging them to release the song as a single, but the company did not want to saddle the Tempts with a countercultural image. Writer-producers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, therefore, cut War with Edwin Starr, who had recently settled a lengthy legal action against the label and was looking for a hit.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' The Tears of a Clown followed a more circuitous route to the top of the charts. Motown producer Henry Robinson and Stevie Wonder had the instrumental track but could not come up with lyrics, They gave the song to Smokey, who was reminded of Pagliacci by the calliope sounds (Pagliacci lives in legend as the circus clown who makes everyone laugh and then retreats to his dressing room to cry alone), Smokey and the Miracies didn't like the song, but included it on their 1967 album, Make It Happen, as filler. It languished there until 1970, when a British Motown executive, looking for a follow-up to the Miracles' The Tracks of My Tears, realized the label already had a "Tears" tune by the group. He pulled the song off the old album and it quickly conquered first England, then America. Ironically, though Smokey Robinson was considered by many to be the leading song-poet of the decade, this was his first No. 1 record as an artist.
- John Morthland