10 Best '70s Rock Ballads
Can you name 10 best 70s rock ballads? Everyone has an opinion, and it’s hard to narrow the list to ten songs. Some of the best rock ballads ever recorded are powerful, passionate songs from the 1970s. The ten on our list have stood the test of time, but they will never get old.
- "Imagine." "You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one." English singer-songwriter John Lennon recorded "Imagine" as the title song for his 1971 album. Yoko Ono said the lyrics are a reflection of his belief that "we are one country, one world, one people." Not only is the song a great 70s ballad, it ranks among the greatest songs of all time.
- "Wild Horses." "Wild horses, couldn’t drag me away." The Rolling Stones, an English rock band, released "Wild Horses" for their 1971 album, "Sticky Fingers." Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it’s considered one of the greatest songs of all time. It was a popular cover for many other musicians, including Neil Young, Dave Matthews, and Guns N’ Roses.
- "American Pie." "A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile." "American Pie" is the signature song of Don McLean, an American folk singer-songwriter. He recorded the song in 1971. It recounts the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper—"the day the music died."
- "Stairway to Heaven." "And if you listen very hard, the truth will come to you at last." English rock band Led Zeppelin released "Stairway to Heaven" in late 1971. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant composed it for their fourth studio album. One of the best rock songs ever recorded, "Stairway to Heaven" features nearly eight minutes of guitar layers, wooden recorders, and electric piano.
- "Free Bird." "If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?" American southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded "Free Bird" for their 1973 debut album. The band released it as a single in 1974, and it quickly climbed the charts. Although the song contains lyricals, it’s considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.
- "Love Hurts." "Love is like a flame, it burns you when it’s hot." Although the Everly Brothers first recorded "Love Hurts" in 1960, the song became an international hit with Scottish rock band Nazareth’s 1975 version. The Roy Orbison and Cher covers were successful, but the Nazareth recording is the ballad's most popular rendition.
- "More Than a Feeling." "I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away." American rock band Boston released "More Than a Feeling" as the lead single on their 1976 debut album, "Boston." The song became a staple of classic rock and is a fixture in popular culture. Several films, TV shows, and video games have featured the song, and many other songs reference it. The tune is also available as a mobile phone ringtone.
- "Hotel California." "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." Another memorable 70s rock ballad is "Hotel California," the title song from a 1977 Eagles album. The American band recorded possibly the best-known song from the album rock era. Don Henley, who sang lead vocals, characterized it as "a song about the dark underbellies of the American dream and excess."
- "Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad." "I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you." Most 1970s rock ballad collections feature Meat Loaf’s song, "Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad," from his 1977 album, "Bat Out of Hell." The song is the American musician's twist on an Elvis Presley song, "I Want You, I Need You." The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bonnie Tyler, and other musicians have covered it successfully.
- "Dust in the Wind." "I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone." "Dust in the Wind" was a 1978 hit single for American rock band, Kansas. Like Boston’s hit, the Kansas ballad also appears in American popular culture. Many movies and television shows have featured the song, or its reference, and several musicians have covered it.