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20 Unforgettable Lyrics From '70s Music

It’s impossible to pin down '70s music as any one particular thing. Across the U.S., folk and protest songs evolved alongside rock, funk, R&B, pop, and soul, while genres such as punk, disco, electronic, and hip-hop arrived on the scene. Clubs and airwaves were flooded with new and exciting sounds, shuffling the top of the music charts on a weekly basis. Hard rock got harder at the same time that jazz got smooth. Horns and strings found their way into emerging dance music, and pop performances grew more elaborate and theatrical with each passing year.

In that eclectic decade, a handful of songs crossed genre boundaries, with lyrics that became embedded in the minds of listeners around the world for decades to come. Even if you were born long after 1979, chances are, the iconic lines of that time are familiar. Here, we’ve collected 20 of the best song lyrics of the '70s, classics that cut to the core of human experience, exploring themes of love, family, and friendship.

Don't it always seem to go / That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
— “Big Yellow Taxi,” written by Joni Mitchell, 1970

If not for you, my sky would fall / Rain would gather, too / Without your love I'd be nowhere at all / I'd be lost, if not for you
— “If Not for You,” written by Bob Dylan, 1970

We all have pain / We all have sorrow / But if we are wise / We know that there's always tomorrow
— “Lean on Me,” written by Bill Withers, 1972

It's easy to get buried in the past / When you try to make a good thing last
"Ambulance Blues," written by Neil Young, 1974

I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow / And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
— "Living for the City," written by Stevie Wonder, 1973

Made up my mind to make a new start / Going to California with an aching in my heart
— "Going to California," written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, 1971

Oh it's such a perfect day / I'm glad I spent it with you
— "Perfect Day," written by Lou Reed, 1972

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
— "Me and Bobby McGee," written by Fred Foster and Kris Kristofferson

Your time has come to shine / All your dreams are on their way
— "Bridge Over Troubled Water," written by Paul Simon, 1970

Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me
— "Bohemian Rhapsody," written by Freddie Mercury, 1975

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year after year
— "Wish You Were Here," written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters

And now she's in me / Always with me / Tiny dancer in my hand
— “Tiny Dancer,” written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, 1971

They say women, they will come and they will go / When the rain washes you clean, you'll know
— “Dreams,” written by Stevie Nicks, 1977

Well I wouldn't trade my life for diamonds or jewels / I never was one of them money-hungry fools / I'd rather have my fiddle and my farmin' tools / Thank God I'm a country boy
— “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” written by John Martin Sommers, 1974

We are family / I got all my sisters with me / We are family / Get up everybody and sing
— “We Are Family,” written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, 1979

You've got to know when to hold 'em / Know when to fold 'em / Know when to walk away / And know when to run
— “The Gambler,” written by Don Schlitz, 1978

Baby, if I think about you / I think about love / Darlin', if I live without you / I live without love
— “Feel Like Making Love,” written by Mick Ralphs and Paul Bernard Rodgers, 1975

I got chills, they're multiplying / And I'm losing control / 'Cause the power you're supplying / It's electrifying
— “You’re the One That I Want,” written by John Farrar, 1978

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me / Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
— “Let It Be,” written by Paul McCartney, 1970

Time may change me / But I can't trace time
— "Changes," written by David Bowie, 1972

Photo credit: macroman/ Unsplash

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About the Author
April Dávila
April Dávila is a lover of words. Her debut novel "142 Ostriches" was released in 2020.
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