Easy Listening Songs of the 1970s: A Timeless Collection

The 1970s, a kaleidoscope of cultural revolution and musical innovation, saw the prominence of easy listening songs reach new heights.

This era, renowned for its remarkable blend of genres—from the inspiring tunes of folk and the iconic beats of classic rock to the abstract and progressive sounds—crafted a soundscape as diverse as the decade.

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of 70s music, easy-listening songs stood out, not as newcomers, but as comforting giants, offering timeless melodies that have serenaded generations. 

Today, we’re diving into this rich musical heritage, showcasing the best easy listening songs 1970s had to offer and why they continue to resonate with listeners worldwide.

Elton John playing the piano on stage

Easy Listening Gems of the 70s

This curated selection is more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane; it’s an homage to the artistry, lyrical depth, and enduring appeal of the era’s music. 

The key characteristics of the easy-listening music of the 70s are its lush arrangements, soothing harmonies, and storytelling that speaks directly to the soul. 

Whether it’s the comforting strum of a guitar or the velvety touch of piano keys, each song in this collection carries the distinctive warmth and authenticity of the decade. 

So, let’s groove into the serene side of the 70s, where the music plays softly, yet its impact resonates deeply.

1. Don McLean – Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) (1971)

“Don McLean’s ‘Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),’ released in 1971, is a touching homage to the legendary painter Vincent van Gogh

Crafted with poetic elegance, McLean’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of van Gogh’s tumultuous life and his quest for understanding through the lens of his art. 

Set against the backdrop of the folk genre, the song stands out on the ‘American Pie’ album as a serene island in a sea of diverse soundscapes. 

McLean’s gentle melody and compassionate voice invite listeners to gaze into the starry night and see the world through van Gogh’s eyes.

The song’s enduring popularity is a testament to its deep musicality and the universal appeal of its narrative. 

2. Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend (1971)

In 1971, Carole King gifted the world with “You’ve Got a Friend,” a song that has since become an anthem of friendship and support.

Featured on her iconic album “Tapestry,” this track shines as a beacon of the singer-songwriter genre, offering warmth and comfort to listeners with its sincere promise of steadfast companionship. 

King’s gentle piano and heartfelt vocals embody the essence of easy listening, while her lyrics speak to the universal need for a reliable friend.

Adding to the song’s rich legacy, James Taylor’s version, released soon after, achieved remarkable success, further cementing its status in popular music. 

Taylor’s tender rendition, with its soft guitar strums and soothing vocals, captures the song’s spirit, showcasing the powerful bond of friendship through music. 

3. Elton John – Rocket Man (1972)

Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” released in 1972 from the album “Honky Château,” stands as a monumental track in the realms of soft rock and pop.

This song delves into the poignant themes of isolation and the relentless march of technological progress, told through the lens of an astronaut’s solitary journey in space. 

Elton John, with his unparalleled flair for melody and Bernie Taupin’s introspective lyrics, captures the bittersweet intersection of human emotion and the cold expanse of the universe. 

“Rocket Man” not only showcases John’s profound contribution to the genre but also reflects the era’s fascination with space and the unknown.

Its haunting refrain and lush arrangements invite listeners to explore the depths of solitude, making it a timeless piece in John’s illustrious career. 

4. Carly Simon – You’re So Vain (1972)

In 1972, Carly Simon released “You’re So Vain” on the album “No Secrets,” a song that quickly became emblematic of her witty and somewhat cheeky songwriting style. 

Blending elements of pop, folk, and even children’s music, Simon crafted a track that was both catchy and deeply personal, earning her a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

The song’s clever lyrics, rumored to be about a self-absorbed lover, struck a chord with listeners worldwide, making it a staple of 70s music. 

Simon’s contribution to the genre with “You’re So Vain” goes beyond its surface-level catchiness; it delves into the complexities of relationships and the human ego, all while maintaining a playful, almost teasing tone.

This balance of depth and light-heartedness is what has cemented the song’s place in music history, showcasing Carly Simon’s unique voice and storytelling prowess.

5. Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling (1972)

The Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” released in 1972 as part of their debut album, effortlessly captures the quintessential laid-back, West Coast vibe that came to define much of the era’s sound. 

This soft rock and country rock anthem, born out of Jack Tempchin’s musings in the folk coffee shop circuit of San Diego, resonates with a sense of ease and contentment that’s as vast as the California skies. 

The song’s origins, stemming from a creative spark in a communal home among fellow musicians, mirror the collaborative and easygoing spirit of the time.

“Peaceful Easy Feeling” not only showcases the Eagles’ knack for blending genres but also immortalizes the serene, sunny disposition of the 70s West Coast lifestyle. 

With its smooth harmonies and mellow guitar riffs, the track remains a timeless ode to finding comfort and solace in the simple things, echoing the warm, breezy essence of California.

6. Billy Joel – She’s Always a Woman (1977)

In 1977, Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman,” from the album “The Stranger,” offered a tender and nuanced exploration of love and femininity, all beautifully underscored by Joel’s signature piano melodies.

This singer-songwriter genre masterpiece stands out for its soft, gentle composition, which contrasts with the complexity of its subject. 

Joel’s lyrics paint a portrait of a multifaceted woman—both fierce and gentle, confounding yet deeply loved. 

The song’s elegance lies in its ability to capture the essence of real human emotion and the depth of intimate relationships through simple, yet profoundly moving, musical and lyrical expression.

“She’s Always a Woman” remains a timeless tribute to the strength and mystery of femininity, encapsulated within the delicate framework of Joel’s piano-driven melody.

7. Meat Loaf – Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad (1977)

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf, from the 1977 album “Bat Out of Hell,” dives deep into the emotional intricacies and complexities of relationships through its compelling storytelling. 

This soft rock classic stands out for its raw honesty, capturing the bittersweet reality that love doesn’t always align with desire. 

Meat Loaf’s powerful vocals deliver the song’s poignant message with a depth that resonates with anyone who’s navigated the rocky terrain of love and longing.

The song’s narrative, perfect for reflective car rides, delves into the heartache of unreciprocated feelings, articulating a universal truth about love’s imperfections. 

Its emotional depth and relatable lyrics make “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” a timeless exploration of the human condition, underscored by Meat Loaf’s passionate performance.

8. Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs (1977)

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Silver Springs,’ offers a hauntingly beautiful reflection on love’s aftermath, particularly from Stevie Nicks’s perspective on her breakup with Lindsey Buckingham.

 Its emotional depth is palpable, with Nicks’s raw, evocative vocals interweaving with the band’s dynamic musical arrangements, creating a tapestry of sound that encapsulates the complexities of human relationships. 

The song’s genres—blending alternative/indie, pop, rock, and folk—highlight Fleetwood Mac’s versatility and ability to convey profound emotional experiences. 

‘Silver Springs’ stands as a testament to the band’s artistic cohesion and personal turmoil, showcasing the power of music to capture and express the nuanced shades of heartbreak and longing.

9. Engelbert Humperdinck – After The Lovin’ (1976)

Engelbert Humperdinck’s “After The Lovin’,” released in 1976 and featured on the album of the same name, stands as a quintessential emblem of 70s balladry. 

This pop and easy listening classic, which soared to No. 1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, showcases Humperdinck’s velvety vocals set against lush orchestration, embodying the romantic fervor of the era. 

The song masterfully captures the tender moments of intimacy and reflection following a passionate encounter, resonating deeply with listeners through its heartfelt sincerity and emotional depth. 

Its enduring popularity underscores the song’s timeless appeal and Humperdinck’s significant contribution to the landscape of 70s music, marking “After The Lovin'” as a definitive romantic anthem of the decade.

10. Earth, Wind & Fire – After The Love Has Gone (1979)

Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘After The Love Has Gone,’ from their 1979 album ‘I Am,’ is a masterclass in blending soulful melodies with funk’s dynamic energy, complemented by sci-fi-like sounds that add a unique texture to the track. 

This Grammy-winning song not only showcases the band’s versatility and innovative approach to music but also delves deep into the thematic exploration of love’s aftermath.

The fusion of genres creates a rich auditory experience that resonates with listeners, highlighting the emotional depth and complexity of relationships. 

Earth, Wind & Fire’s mix of styles in ‘After The Love Has Gone’ marks a pivotal moment in funk and soul, highlighting their impact on the 70s music scene.

Billy Joel performing live

Final Words

In closing, the easy listening songs 1970s gifted us are more than mere melodies; they’re the very heartbeat of an era defined by musical exploration and emotional depth. 

From the soothing strains of “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” to the comforting chords of “You’ve Got a Friend” and the soul-stirring “After The Love Has Gone,” these tracks have become timeless treasures.

They continue to resonate, offering listeners solace, joy, and a touch of nostalgia, bridging generations. 

The enduring appeal of these easy-listening classics underscores their significant role in shaping the soundscape of the 70s and their lasting impact on music lovers around the world.