It’s hard to believe I’ve posted a 100 FORGOTTEN MUSIC reviews. I thought for this centennial posting, I’d feature a triple CD set of music from the 1970s. This set is unique because “name” groups like The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Fleetwood Mac are represented. And singers like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Donna Summer are included, too.

Of course, there are some head-scratchers here like The Undertones’s “Teenage Kicks” and the Buzzcocks’s “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” And the odd inclusion of Country songs. But, all in all, I think this set presents the 1970s fairly accurately. Do you remember these songs? Are any of your favorites here? GRADE: A-


Disc: 1

  1. Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
  2. Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky
  3. Elton John – Tiny Dancer
  4. Bill Withers – Lovely Day
  5. Earth, Wind & Fire – September
  6. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh What a Night!)
  7. ABBA – Dancing Queen
  8. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
  9. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It on
  10. Commodores – Easy
  11. Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You
  12. Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing
  13. The O’Jays – Love Train
  14. Barry White – You’re the First, the Last, My Everything
  15. The Temptations – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
  16. Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
  17. Chic – Le Freak
  18. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

Disc: 2

  1. John Lennon – Imagine
  2. Don McLean – American Pie
  3. The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)
  4. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
  5. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  6. Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  7. Billy Joel – Piano Man
  8. The Who – Baba O’Riley
  9. Free – All Right Now
  10. Boston – More Than a Feeling
  11. Mott the Hoople & David Bowie – All the Young Dudes
  12. Rod Stewart – Maggie May
  13. Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) the Reaper
  14. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
  15. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell
  16. Thin Lizzy – the Boys Are Back in Town
  17. Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over the World
  18. Ram Jam – Black Betty
  19. The Knack – My Sharona

Disc: 3

  1. John Travolta & Olivia Newton – John – The Grease Mega-Mix
  2. Jackson 5 – ABC
  3. Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
  4. Blondie – Heart of Glass
  5. Donna Summer – I Feel Love
  6. Santana – Oye Como Va
  7. Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle with You
  8. Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
  9. Harry Nilsson – Everybody’s Talkin’
  10. Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now
  11. 10CC – I’m Not in Love
  12. Carole King – It’s Too Late
  13. Kenny Rogers – the Gambler
  14. Dolly Parton – Jolene
  15. John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
  16. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
  17. Paul McCartney & Wings – Live and Let Die
  18. Roxy Music – Love Is the Drug
  19. The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
  20. Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)
  21. Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star

45 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN MUSIC #100: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL 70s (3-CD set)

  1. Patti Abbott

    I know quite a few. I guess the cost of including some of the lesser known ones is minimal or perhaps they pay they to include them

    1. george Post author

      Patti, I consider many of these songs “filler.” But, there are enough solid hits by name groups and artists to make this set worth listening to.

      1. Todd Mason

        There’s nothing particularly obscure about the Undertones nor certainly the Buzzcocks…they hit the UK charts even If not the US, and they are convenient scoop-ups (the Undertones on Sire Records, for example) for the people who package NOW THAT’S discs.

        While I never need to hear Meat Loaf nor most of the Four Seasons, among others here, again, there’s enough to make a pleasant listen, certainly.

        And “Jolene” is the only country song I see here, it’d be a stretch to call LS or certainly Johnny Nash such, though I suppose one can insist. The Parton song was a crossover hit.

      2. george Post author

        Todd, I think whoever assembled this compilation was intent on giving every listen a variety of Seventies songs.

      3. Todd Mason

        Oh…I missed “The Gambler” at first pass. Painfully popular crossover hit. I certainly heard it often enough on Top 40 stations at the time.

      4. george Post author

        Todd, “The Gambler”–a popular song featuring Kenny Rogers–turned into a popular series of TV movies on CBS.

      5. Todd Mason

        Likewise the Denver song–eye skipped over, and it was so much like pop-folk that it was barely a country song. As well as a monster hit. Certainly better than the Rogers.

        In the charming documentary about Thao Nguyen’s first visit to her parents’ birth country, Vietnam, NOBODY DIES, Nguyen, of the band Get Down Stay Down, sings a Vietnamese song to her cousins she’s meeting for the first time, after a big family dinner,, and they reply with a spontaneous rendition of “Country Roads”…

  2. wolf

    I also know probably more than half of the songs and have quite a number of favourites there. At the top are:
    American Pie
    Bridge over troubled waters
    Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
    Maggie May
    I Can See Clearly Now
    Seems I’m rather mainstream here – though of course my real favourites aren’t on these CDs.

      1. wolf

        Well, these were the songs you heard every day on German (or English, Austrian, …) radio – my favourites I had to buy myself or borrow from a friend and copy.

      2. george Post author

        Wolf, most of the songs on this 3-CD set were played constantly in the 1970s. However, there are some puzzling choices in this batch of “hits.”

  3. Michael Padgett

    There are a few mistakes here like the loathsome Meat Loaf but, for the most part this is an admirable collection. For my money McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” is the best post-Beatles song by any member of the band, although I do prefer the Guns ‘N’ Roses cover. And Lou Reed on a compilation!! Will wonders never cease?

  4. Jeff Smith

    This is a solid set, with only a few head-scratchers. I’m actually impressed. If I were listening to an oldies station that was playing these, I wouldn’t turn it off.

  5. Deb

    I love so many of the songs here, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite—possibly “Love Is the Drug”—but ask me again tomorrow and I’ll undoubtedly give a different answer!

    Btw, George, for the Disc 3 track listing, you don’t give the name of the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John song, but m assuming it’s either “Summer Lovin’” or “You’re the One That I Want,” both from “Grease.”

    Also, in the 1980s, Fine Young Cannibals did a great version of “Ever Fallen in Love”—I think it’s better than the Buzzcocks’ original.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, thanks for spotting that missing John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John song. It’s listed as “The Grease Mega-Mix” which includes the songs they sang in the hit movie: “Summer Lovin'” and “You’re the One That I Want” and more. I have a Fine Young Cannibals CD with “Ever Fallen in Love” on it that I need to listen to!

  6. Steve Oerkfitz

    I find the first cd pretty lame with a couple of exceptions. The other two are much better with The Who, Dylan, Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople, Buzzcocks (strange choice), Roxy Music, Santana and John Lennon. Still a lot of crap-John Travolta, Meatloaf, Kenny Rogers, Frankie Valli, Barry White and Boston to name a few. Still I kind of wonder who this is aimed at. I don’t know of any radio station that would play both Travolta and the Buzzcocks. I think this set probably originated with a British company. The Buzzcocks and The Undertones were big in Britain but not in the U.S. In a perfect world I would replace a lot of these artists with Tom Petty, Springsteen, Talking Heads, Blondie , Ramones, The Clash, Joan Jett, The Go Gos , Police, The Kinks and Elvis Costello who are more representative of my 70’s and whose music holds up better today.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, the only organizing principle I can discern about the choices of songs for this 3-CD collection is: Something for Everybody.

      1. george Post author

        Todd, I wonder how long NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL will be profitable. Most young listeners eschew CDs in favor of hearing songs on their phones or other devices.

      2. Todd Mason

        Their audience tends to skew a bit older now, much as the country audience (still the strongest for CDs) does…and certainly the classical audience does, as well.

      3. george Post author

        Todd, I may have mentioned that before the coronavirus shut down all the thrift stores around here, I was finding plenty of great CDs in classical music, pop, and soul for a pittance. Clearly, many listeners out there are dumping their CD collections.

  7. Jeff Meyerson

    Can anyone read #3 and not think, “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”?

    Or is it just me?

    Earth, Wind & Fire. ELO. Marvin Gaye. Hot Chocolate. Barry White. Wild Cherry. The Temptations. Gloria Gaynor. ABBA. All in Disc 1. I never liked that Four Seasons song.

    An aside, if I may. When my aunt (mother’s sister) got married for the third time (oy vey, the less said the better), she invited us and some cousins and those surviving aunts who were still in the New York area at the time, to come over and Meet. Leo. (We had already met the guy when my parents visited from California and they came to meet them. Let’s just say, he never went anywhere without his own bottle of vodka.) Among the guests: 80+ year old Great Aunt Yetta. Leo proceeds to announce that, “This is our theme song,” then puts on “I Will Survive” at Spinal Tap volume and he and my aunt start boogeying around the room! Poor Aunt Yetta was holding her ears, and I was thinking of a Lily Tomlin quote: “Is this happening or is it the hash?”

    /end aside

    Disc 2 – The Knack. Meat Loaf. Rod Stewart. Billy Joel. Dylan. Fleetwood Mac. Don McLean. Not a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Boston or “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
    Disc 3 – Elton John & Kiki Dee (Jackie saw them do this live in Central Park). Santana. Stealers Wheel. Nilsson. Johnny Nash. Carole King. Gerry Rafferty. Wings. Do not care for the movie of GREASE (original off-Broadway was so much better, and Adrienne Barbeau was Rizzo!) or “The Gambler” – always hated it.

    Good collection, overall.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you and Steve are right about the odd choices for this set. But, there’s enough here to keep it in my 1970s rotation.

  8. Carl V. Anderson

    Being a child of the 80’s I grew up feeling an aversion to 70’s music…then I got a little older and realized how many songs written and performed in the 70’s were ones I really liked and still do to this day. I’ve also found that movies have made a big impression on me liking songs I hadn’t previously thought I liked. That’s why I love when soundtracks include popular, or once-popular, music. It gives it a new life and brings a new appreciation.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        When I think of the 70’s it’s mainly the NYC scene-Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones, Television or English punk and Ska-The Clash, Elvis Costello, The English Beat or the rise of Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. Plus some of the best work by the ex Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dylan, The Kinks, The Who. I never think of disco-it just wasn’t relevant to anyone I new. It was for party people not real music lovers.
        And by the way shouldn’t Hall and Oates be here?

      2. george Post author

        Steve, although Hall & Oates released 8 albums in the 1970s, their big seller–PRIVATE EYES–came out in 1981. Maybe, for CD compilation purposes Hall & Oates are classified as an 1980s group.

      3. wolf

        I hated Disco – and still do in a way …
        Couldn’t stay in a place where it’s played for a longer time.
        A bit OT:
        In our German supermarkets and hardware stores etc background music is mainly 70s – I feel so lucky …
        What about places like Walmart nowadays?
        I haven’t been to the USA for the last eight years – but have fond memories of course.

  9. Beth Fedyn

    LOTS of good stuff here. It’s not forgotten by me.
    I didn’t do disco but I enjoyed much of the music.

      1. george Post author

        Todd, the long running NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL… series sells because of the range of songs on their discs. Yes, they include “name” artists and groups because they can afford to.

      2. Todd Mason

        Well, they sold well (best) at first because they were grabbing up hits when radio was fading as a music delivery system, and not everyone was that good at downloading…and they built up an audience which hasn’t abandoned them…

      3. george Post author

        Todd, I still pick up NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL discs when I run across them. They still show up at WAL-MART and TARGET for about $12.

  10. Jeff Smith

    Jeff M.: There’s a fantasy novel called “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer.” I haven’t read it, but Ann liked it a lot.

    George: While I did and do like a lot of this music, as I said, it doesn’t touch on what I mostly listened to in the 70s. That was Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and the many, many progressive groups around at the time. I still listen to them, and I see Yes when they tour every year (not this year, of course).

      1. Todd Mason

        Wow. Steely Dan and other more jazz-influenced bands, such as War and (perhaps more properly a ’60s band, but…) Pentangle, always did more for me than the pop-proggy bands, with the notable exception of King Crimson (particularly after they got rid of their atrocious original lyricist). Genesis the best of that trio cited, for me.

        One notes nothing from War.

        There were some very good disco recordings, not least several listed above.

  11. Todd Mason

    Hah! Not seeing others’ responses first, and even seeing your own responses to mine out of order, provides for more redundancy than usual!

    I’m listening to Thao Nguyen’s NPR interview for the first time now, and she just noted how much the new album was inspired in part by her reading Ursula K Le Guin and Octavia Butler…


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