The beauty and power of these great ’70s singer-songwriters 0

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They wrote the songs that moved you, the songs that touched you, and the songs that made you tap your toes. Trying to rank a list of the greatest songwriters of the 1970s would be almost impossible without getting someone upset.

This is a list of some of the greatest songwriters, but if your favourite doesn’t appear be sure to let us know in the comments.

Paul Simon
Biggest Hit: The Sounds of Silence
Being part of an amazing duo like Simon and Garfunkel wasn’t enough for Paul Simon and the ability to be able to reinvent himself through music made Simon one of the biggest stars of all time. Out of his many hit songs the top two songs that show the differences his duo and single career had are ‘The Sounds of Silence’ — a massive hit written by Simon for Simon and Garfunkel, and  ‘You Can Call Me Al’ from 1986, which he performed as part of his solo career.

Joni Mitchell
Biggest Hit: Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter that inspired an entire generation of new songwriters and was universally loved by fans and critics. Her deep lyrics and haunting melodies made picking her biggest hit hard, however, due to the number of covers and reentries into the music charts ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ will be the one that she will always be known for.

Leonard Cohen
Biggest Hit: Hallelujah
One of the most beautiful, and the most covered songs, ‘Hallelujah’, didn’t appear until 1984. Yet, through the ’70s Cohen was one of the most influential songwriters with songs like ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Bird on the Wire’.

Carole King
Biggest Hit: You’ve Got a Friend
King’s 1971 album Tapestry is still considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time. The album featured the songs ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, and what is considered her greatest song of all time ‘You’ve Got a Friend’. In July, King headlined the British Summer Time Festival where she performed Tapestry in its entirety.

Cat Stevens
Biggest Hit: Father & Son
Before changing his name to Yusuf Islam after a spiritual awakening, the man formally known as Cat Stevens paved his way as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation. His internationally acclaimed album Tea for the Tillerman became a massive hit and featured the iconic songs ‘Wild World’, ‘Hard-Headed Woman’, and his biggest hit of all time ‘Father and Son’.

Carly Simon
Biggest Hit: You’re So Vain
After breaking out as a solo artist from her sister Carly Simon had a breakthrough hit with ‘That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be’ but it wasn’t until 1972 that her hit ‘You’re So Vain’ established her as one of the top singer-songwriters of all time. The main subject of the song has remained a mystery with Simon only giving small hints as to who it could be about.

James Taylor
Biggest Hit: Fire And Rain
This five-time Grammy Award winner had a big hit with ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ it was written by his longtime friend Carole King. The song appeared on his album Sweet Baby James, which  King also helped with. Another massive hit on the album was ‘Fire And Rain’, which is still one of Taylor’s biggest hits.

Dolly Parton
Biggest Hit: Jolene
The Queen of Country’s career has been covered in depth and with a number of great hits. Her iconic song ‘Jolene’ becomes her biggest hit for the sheer number of times that it has been covered and has reentered the charts. A close second is, of course, ‘I Will Always Love You’.

Who was your favourite songwriter of the 1970s? What is your favourite song?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

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