Everyone knows the 1970’s were great years for singer-songwriters, but until I put together some playlists from that decade, I didn’t realize how massive the list of artists actually is. This is not so much an article, as it is a large list to take us back to that golden time. For each name listed, there are a couple of their 70’s song titles for reference. You’ll probably remember most of these songs, and be reminded of more great songs by many of these artists.
James Taylor…Fire And Rain, Shower The People
Jackson Browne…Doctor My Eyes, Running On Empty
Bob Dylan…Tangled Up In Blue, If Not For You
Cat Stevens…Wild World, Father & Son
John Denver…Rocky Mountain High, Annie’s Song
Bill Withers…Lean On Me, Ain’t No Sunshine
Karla Bonoff…Someone To Lay Down Beside Me, Lose Again
Elton John…Your Song, Rocket Man
Harry Nilsson…Coconut, Without Her
Carly Simon…You’re So Vain, Anticipation
Carole King…It’s Too Late, You’ve Got A Friend
Randy Newman…Sail Away, Mama Told Me Not To Come
John Lennon…Imagine, Instant Karma
Stephen Stills…Love The One You’re With, Change Partners
Paul Simon…American Tune, Kodachrome
Dan Fogelberg…Longer, Leader Of The Band
Leon Russell…Tight Rope, This Masquerade
Stevie Wonder…Superstition, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
Gordon Lightfoot…Sundown, Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald
Joni Mitchell…Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me
Billy Joel…Piano Man, Just The Way You Are
Neil Young…Heart Of Gold, After The Gold Rush
Rod Stewart…Maggie May, You Wear It Well
Van Morrison…Domino, Moondance
Jim Croce…You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, Time In A Bottle
Gerry Rafferty…Baker Street, Right Down The Line
Neil Diamond…Sweet Caroline, Song Sung Blue
Kris Kristofferson…Me & Bobby McGee, Loving Her Was Easier
Harry Chapin…Taxi, Cats In The Cradle
Dave Mason…We Just Disagree, Feelin’ Alright?
John Sebastian…Welcome Back, Stories We Could Tell
Jimmy Buffett…Margaritaville, Come Monday
J.D. Souther…You’re Only Lonely, Faithless Love
Paul McCartney…Maybe I’m Amazed, Band On The Run
J.J. Cale…After Midnight, Cocaine
Eric Clapton…Wonderful Tonight, Layla
George Harrison…My Sweet Lord, What Is Life
John Fogerty…Centerfield, The Old Man Down The Road
Jonathan Edwards…Sunshine (Go Away Today), Sometimes
Ringo Starr…It Don’t Come Easy, Photograph
Joan Baez…Diamonds & Rust, Winds Of The Old Days
John Prine…Angel From Montgomery, Hello In There
Graham Nash…(Please Come To) Chicago, Simple Man
The above three are really singer-songwriters who just happened to have their own backing bands.
Tom Petty…Breakdown, Refugee
Bob Seger…Night Moves, Turn The Page
Bruce Springsteen…Born To Run, Thunder Road
It’s not a complete list of artists (the names are only from my collection), but it gives an idea of the abundance of singer-songwriters in the 1970’s. You can find individual articles on many of these artists on this site.
Bonus: To round out the information on the decade…more great songwriters could be found in 70’s bands.
Led Zeppelin, Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, The Allman Brothers Band, Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Doobie Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chicago, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, America, Loggins & Messina, Supertramp, Steely Dan, Boston, Steve Miller Band, Foreigner, The Moody Blues, Heart, The Guess Who, Kiss, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Yes, and more.
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.