Rock Ballads of the 70s

Top 20 Rock Ballads of the 70s

These rock ballads really made the 70s better.

by Konstantin Simidchiyski

They don’t call the 70s the Golden Age of rock music for nothing. It’s quite a special time for the genre, and let’s be honest – they provided us with some terrific tunes. Today we will talk about the best rock ballads of the 70s. We are pretty sure you’ll find some real gems here.

There’s a reason why every new band out there is studying the old-timers and their craft. When we talk about rock songs, best thing is versatility. The 70s gave us all kinds of sound – classic, psychedelic, blues, soft, heavy, etc. And when we discuss rock ballads, classic bands were extremely good.

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But enough with the chit-chat. Let’s start our list right now:

Eric Clapton – “Wonderful Tonight”

Eric Clapton is a musician who doesn’t need any introduction. His contribution to rock and blues music is absolutely undisputed. Clapton writes “Wonderful Tonight” for his new wife Pattie, and let’s be honest – every woman out there would like to receive a gift like this. It’s one of the finest 70s rock ballads album songs!

Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”

Decades after their breakthrough, Led Zeppelin is still considered one of rock music’s most influential and essential bands. And “Stairway to Heaven”? It’s a complex song that many believe is the most crucial rock song ever recorded. And one of the best rock ballads ever.

Deep Purple – “Soldier of Fortune”

Written by true rock legends like Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale, “Soldier of Fortune” remains one of the most famous Deep Purple songs ever. Although it was never released as a single or in the charts, it gained some cult following by the fans. It’s a fine example how nice 70s rock music was!

Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird”

When we talk about rock songs, new artists can only learn from the old masters. The American band Lynyrd Skynyrd created the melodic “Free Bird” in memory of Duane Allman – one of the best guitarists of all time who tragically died very young because of a motorcycle crash.

Aerosmith – “Dream On”

When talking about ballads, rock giants Aerosmith is one of the best in the business. This band just knows how to play with their listeners’ emotions. One of their most famous rock ballads is “Dream On” – a record you can also hear a lot in the present. You have to love the 70s rock and roll!

Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”

Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” finds its place in our list of the best rock ballads of the 70s. It’s an enormously personal record because the band creates it for its former member Syd Barrett. Barrett left Pink Floyd after his physical and mental deterioration because of heavy drug abuse. It’s just a beautiful song. And one of the most memorable Pink Floyd ballads of all time.

The Rolling Stones – “Wild Horses”

Probably one of the most covered rock songs of all time, The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” was written by Mick Jagger himself. It’s believed he wrote the tune about his lover Marianne Faithfull, although Jagger denied it. It doesn’t matter, though – what matter is how good this song is. It’s one of the 1970s rock ballads that deserve our attention. And one of the Rolling Stones ballads we love to hear everytime.

Eagles – “Hotel California”

When we talk about rock songs, 70s wouldn’t be complete without the Eagles’ most famous tune. Many fans and journalists discussed what “Hotel California” means and if this is a place. In multiple interviews, Eagles confirmed that “Hotel California” has a deeper meaning – it’s about America’s hedonism and self-indulgence. Many people consider this song one of the Top 10 rock ballads.

Neil Young – “Heart of Gold”

One of the most famous rock ballads of the 70s, Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” is an excellent example of the masterful songwriting these musicians were capable of. The lyrics here are very metaphorical – Young sings of the heart of Gold which could offer him the treasure he requires. We can’t forget it in our 70’s rock ballads song list.

Bob Dylan – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”

In his prime, Bob Dylan really knew how to write amazing songs, didn’t he? “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is one of his most famous tunes and one of the best rock ballads of the 70s. Dylan created it for the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and the lyrics tell about the emotions of a dying sheriff – someone knocking on Heaven’s door. How they’d say it in Spanish – it’s one of the mejores baladas de los 70.

Nazareth – “Love Hurts”

Although not written by the Scottish band Nazareth, it’s them who made this song famous worldwide. The Brits covered “Love Hurts” in 1974 and instantly made it a global hit. And let’s be honest – who would say that love doesn’t really hurt? We can’t miss to put it in our 70s ballads list.

Simon & Garfunkel – “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

An American folk rock duo, Simon & Garfunkel, gave us some fine music during their active period. During the 70s, they recorded one of their most beautiful ballads – “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The song reached №1 position in various charts and remains a prominent song today. Now it’s one of the popular rock ballads.

Rod Stewart – “The First Cut Is the Deepest”

Having sold more than 250 million albums, Sir Rod Stewart is among the most successful musicians of all time. His career started in the 60s, while in the 70s, he made some enormous steps in his development as an artist. It was when he gave us the ballad “The First Cut Is the Deepest” – a song we can listen to every day.

Elton John – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”

Few people in history can write songs as good as Sir Elton John. Who can argue about that? In the 70s, Sir Elton delivered some beautiful rock ballads, but arguably one of the best is “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”. In this song, he sings about a man he helped in the past, but now he faces rejection.

Kansas – “Dust in the Wind”

The famous American progressive rock band Kansas recorded their most well-known hit, “Dust in the Wind,” in 1977. It’s part of their fifth studio album, Point of Know Return. It’s their most successful song, too, as it’s the only one that reached 6th place in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s also their only song to be certified Gold.

Meat Loaf – “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”

He’s no longer among us, but Meat Loaf was such an exciting artist. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” is one of his most celebrated rock ballads. It peaked in the 11th position on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s his second-highest charting song in the United States, too.

The Beatles – “The Long and Winding Road”

Recorded for The Beatles‘ 1970 album Let It Be, “The Long and Winding Road” is a terrific example of this band’s impressive creative process. Paul McCartney mainly wrote it, and was issued just a month after the band’s breakup. Now we can proudly include it in our list of the most beautiful 1970s ballads.

Eric Carmen – “All By Myself”

Eric Carmen is a well-respected musician who had a successful stint at the band The Raspberries. Playing on different instruments such as piano, viola, and guitar, Carmen enjoyed a thriving career as a solo artist, too. In the middle of the 70s, he released the beautiful ballad “All By Myself,” which instantly became a hit. And we shall say – one of the best rock ballads of the 70s.

Badfinger – “Without You”

Many rock ballads are about love, and Badfinger’s “Without You” makes no exception. The lyrics tell the story of someone whose lover leaves. And there’s nothing sadder than this. Even the great Mariah Carey covered the song in 1990 – it proves how good it is. It remains one of the best rock ballads of the 70s.

Styx – “Lady”

Written and performed by Styx, “Lady” is one of the finest records in the band’s catalog. At first, it became a hit only in their hometown Chicago, but with time it gained some national prominence – it peaked at №6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Styx’s founder Dennis DeYoung wrote the tune for his wife Suzanne – the first song ever he wrote for her. Now we can call it one of the best rock ballads of the 70s.

So, do you agree with our list of the best 1970 ballads? Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment – tell us which songs we’ve missed to include!

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