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The Days of Radio: Power Ballads of the '70s

Updated on July 4, 2017

Plug Your Headphones and Tune In

Love songs never grow old, but they do change as the years go by. When you tune in on the radio, love songs have taken a different form, when songs like “Baby” and “Love the Way You Lie” are considered as such. Back in the day, men sang love songs as emotionally as the women, and they hurt even more from heartbreaks (so, they say). We go back to the decade that was the '70s and relive beautiful memories of the love songs that stood the test of time from the best recording artists ever. Relax, listen, enjoy and shed your tears if you like, because that’s okay.

We offer a playlist of essential listening. We’ve provided links of the songs from Youtube, not videos but quality audio that you could appreciate. Listen to the song with accompanying lyrics and sing along to your heart’s desire. It’s fun to be mushy once in a while. We’re now On Air.

Midnight Blue

Melissa Manchester

Melissa Sings the Blues

"Midnight Blue" has this interesting build, a jazzy upbeat intro that accelerates with surety, though the song is rooted in folk and country, the fusion is catchy. Interestingly, the lyrics take the side of a woman who is pleading to her lover or husband to set aside their differences for the sake of the good times that they had and if they make it through the night, things may be different, even better—so there’s the suggestion of taking things slow, and the music feels just right.

Obviously, Melissa Manchester has a personal connection with the song wherein she also plays the piano. She wrote the song with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager. It’s a wonderful song to listen to at night or more aptly around midnight, perhaps with a glass of champagne and a little optimism.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Melissa Manchester
Album
Melissa
Date of release
1975
Label
Arista
Composer
Melissa Manchester & Carole Bayer Sager
Producers
Vini Poncia & Richard Perry
Cover versions
Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey, Cristy Lane, Vanessa Williams, Viola Willis and Arthur Prysock

Lyrics

"Midnight Blue"

Whatever it is, it'll keep till the morning
Haven't we both got better things to do?
Midnight blue
Even the simple things become rough
Haven't we had enough?

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all the old times

For all of the times you told me you need me
Needing me now is something I could use
Midnight blue
Wouldn't you give your hand to a friend?
Maybe it's not the end

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all the old times
Midnight blue

I think we can make it
I think we can make it
Oh, wouldn't you give your heart to a friend?
Think of me as your friend

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all of the old, old times

One more time
I think we can make it
If we try
I think we can make it
If we try
Looks like we're gonna make it
Looks like we're gonna make it
If we try
I think we can make it

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

When I Need You

Leo Sayer

The Heartbreak Kid

He sports an afro and looks like he should be hosting a children’s educational program, but when Leo Sayer breaks into his trademark song, everything melts—"When I Need You" is an ode to the lonely hearts and those who cope with long distance relationships, walk side by side with this song.

From the first few lines alone, the song already sums up what kind of love we’re talking about: "When I need you, I just close my eyes and I'm with you" already speak volumes. The song’s tempo adds to the heartbreak with two strong melodies, the first is repeated to close each stanza, and its continuous, breaking only for a saxophone solo and stabs us again with that heartbreak of a melody. This song is classic jukebox, it reached no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Leo Sayer
Album
Endless Flight
Date of release
February 1977
Label
Chrysalis (UK), Warner Bros, (US)
Composers
Albert Hammond, Carole Bayer Sager
Producer
Richard Perry
Cover versions
Celion Dion, Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard, Julio Iglesias, Luther Vandross

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Lyrics

"When I Need You"

When I need you
I just close my eyes and I'm with you
And all that I so wanna give you
It's only a heartbeat away

When I need love
I hold out my hands and I touch love
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day
Miles and miles of empty space in between us
The telephone can't take the place of your smile
But you know I won't be travelin' forever
It's cold out, but hold out, and do I like I do

When I need you
I just close my eyes and I'm with you
And all that I so wanna give you, babe
It's only a heartbeat away
It's not easy when the road is your driver
Honey that's a heavy load that we bear
But you know I won't be traveling a lifetime
It's cold out, but hold out, and do like I do

Oh, I need you

[Instrumental Interlude]

When I need love
I hold out my hands and I touch love
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day

When I need you
I just close my eyes
And you're right here by my side
Keeping me warm night and day
I just hold out my hands
I just hold out my hand
And I'm with you darlin'
Yes, I'm with you darlin'
All I wanna give you
It's only a heartbeat away

Oh, I need you darling

I Honestly Love You

Olivia Newton-John

The Love Muse From Down Under

Its a beautiful, heartbreaking song about two people who are in love but couldn’t be together because they are already committed, and that things are beyond their power. Even though they truly and honestly love each other, they have to let go, they are only fooling each other if they continue on. Such is Olivia Newton-John’s signature song—which was her first no.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also the Grammy Record of the Year and for Newton-John, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The song has a wonderful piano arrangement and Newton-John’s vocals sails along the melody effortlessly. It is also a great instrumental piece, either solo piano or orchestra as evident by the string section. This is just wonderful songwriting.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Olivia Newton-John
Album
If You Love Me, Let Me Know
Date of release
April 1974
Label
MCA
Composer
Jeff Barry & Peter Allen
Producer
John Farrar

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Lyrics

"I Honestly Love You"

Maybe I hang around here
A little more than I should
We both know I got somewhere else to go
But I got something to tell you
That I never thought I would
But I believe you really ought to know

I love you
I honestly love you

You don't have to answer
I see it in your eyes
Maybe it was better left unsaid
This is pure and simple
And you must realize
That it's coming from my heart and not my head

I love you
I honestly love you

I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable
I'm not trying to make you anything at all
But this feeling doesn't come along everyday
And you shouldn't blow the chance
When you've got the chance to say

I love you
I honestly love you

If we both were born
In another place and time
This moment might be ending in a kiss
But there you are with yours
And here I am with mine
So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this

I love you
I honestly love you
I honestly love you


You Light Up My Life

Debby Boone

Debby Does It

Its one of those songs you could name in just one note. One syllable. Debby Boone’s "You Light Up My Life" was the biggest song of the 70s when it spent 10-weeks at no.1 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and held the record for 14 years before another love song took its place—Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” spent 13 weeks at no.1 in 1992.

"You Light Up My Life" has a sordid history when its composer Joe Brooks was indicted for rape when he lured women promising them roles in a film, this included sexual advances toward the original artist of the song, Kasey Cisyk. Brooks originally wrote it as a love song, but later took on a different meaning when Debby alluded the song to her relationship with God. However you interpret it, shows the strength of its melody—it burrows into one’s head however you resist. L.S.S. anyone?

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Debby Boone
Album
You Light Up My Life
Date of release
1977
Label
Warner Bros./Curb
Composer
Joe Brooks
Producer
Joe Brooks
Original version
Kasey Cisyk
Cover versions
LeAnn Rimes, Englebert Humperdinck, Johnny Mathis, Whitney Houston, Kenny Rogers

Lyrics

"You Light Up My Life"

So many nights I'd sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark but now you've come along

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

Rollin' at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I'm turnin' for home?
Finally a chance to say "Hey, I love you"
Never again to be all alone

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

'Cause you, you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

It can't be wrong
When it feels so right
'Cause you.....you light up my life

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

All By Myself

Eric Carmen

Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor Power Ballad

If you’ve seen the Bridget Jones’ Diary movies, this is the heroine’s sad, break-up song. If not, know this: Eric Carmen’s "All By Myself" is the ultimate song about loneliness, particularly dying alone loveless—which is a fate worse than death to some. The melody of this charts topper was borrowed from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Opus 18 which explains the long piano solo (and hey, the man can play). Carmen thought at the time the concerto was in the public domain and had to settle with the Rachmaninoff estate with 12% of the song’s royalties awarded to them.

The song is very popular across the world and is a staple diva performance piece, huge in song contests and karaokes. It reached no.2 in the Billboard Hot 100. A version by Celine Dion in 1996 reached no. 4.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Eric Carmen
Album
Eric Carmen
Date of release
December 1975
Label
Arista
Composer
Eric Carmen
Producer
Jimmy Ienner
Cover version
Celine Dion

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Lyrics

When I was young
I never needed anyone
And making love was just for fun
Those days are gone
Livin' alone
I think of all the friends I've known
When I dial the telephone
Nobody's home

All by myself
Don't wanna be
All by myself
Anymore

Hard to be sure
Sometimes I feel so insecure
And loves so distant and obscure
Remains the cure

All by myself
Don't wanna be
All by myself
Anymore
All by myself
Don't wanna live
All by myself
Anymore

When I was young
I never needed anyone
Making love was just for fun
Those days are gone

All by myself
Don't wanna be
All by myself
Anymore
All by myself
Don't wanna live
Oh
Don't wanna live
By myself, by myself
Anymore
By myself
Anymore
Oh
All by myself
Don't wanna live
I never, never, never
Needed anyone

I Just Fall in Love Again

Anne Murray

The Canadian Songbird

Originally sung by Karen Carpenter, Anne Murray’s version is shorter, punchier and maybe the more listened to. With much respect to the immortal Karen, but here, Anne’s voice is whole and every word of the song resonates with power that she made the song her own. As Stewie in the series Family Guy had said, “She sounds like an angel. It’s like her voice is…” became an instant fan of the Canadian songstress to a point of devotion—which is what the song is about, a loving devotion to one person.

Murray had sung this song in many occasions. It peaked at no. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I Just Fall in Love Again” and “You Needed Me” are two of her favorites.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Anne Murray
Album
New Kind of Feeling
Date of release
January 1979
Label
Capitol
Composers
Steve Dorff, Larry Herbstritt, Gloria Sklerov and Harry Lloyd
Producer
Jim Ed Norman
Original version
The Carpenters
Cover version
Dusty Springfield

"I Just Fall in Love Again"

Dreamin', I must be dreamin'
Or am I really lying here with you?
Baby, you take me in your arms
And though I'm wide awake, I know my dream is comin' true

And oh I just fall in love again
Just one touch and then it happens every time
There I go by, just fall in love again and when I do
I can't help myself, I fall in love with you

Magic, it must be magic
The way I hold you when the night just seems to fly
Easy for you to take me to a star
Heaven is that moment when I look into your eyes.

And oh I just fall in love again
Just one touch and then it happens every time
There I go by, just fall in love again and when I do
I can't help myself, I fall in love with you

Can't help myself, I fall in love with you

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Don't Give Up On Us

David Soul

Hutch & Soul

Besides fighting crime in Starsky & Hutch, David Soul also took to the airwaves with a once-in-a-lifetime Billboard no. 1 hit “Don’t Give Up On Us.” The song is your typical tearjerker with an up tempo, recognizable bridge and all throughout, Soul tackles the song like a seasoned pro, the reason the song became a huge radio hit. His voice has the quality of a lullaby, and looked confident with his singing, unfortunately he didn’t have a stable songwriting camp and never made a hit song like this again. That and a duet with Starsky just never happened.

In 2005, after the release of the movie Starsky & Hutch which starred Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, Soul revived this song—an updated version complete with conga drums and double bass, with his voice having matured, the new version didn’t have the sentimentality of the original but it still has David’s soul.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
David Soul
Album
Single
Date of release
1976
Label
Private Stock
Composer
Tony Macaulay
Producer
Tony Macaulay

Lyrics

"Don't Give Up On Us"

Don't give up on us, baby
Don't make the wrong seem right
The future isn't just one night
It's written in the moonlight
Painted on the stars
We can't change ours

Don't give up on us, baby
We're still worth one more try
I know we put a last one by
Just for a rainy evening
When maybe stars are few
Don't give up on us, I know
We can still come through

I really lost my head last night
You've got a right to start believin'
There's still a little love left, even so

Don't give up on us, baby
Lord knows we've come this far
Can't we stay the way we are?
The angel and the dreamer
Who sometimes plays a fool
Don't give up on us, I know
We can still come through

It's written in the moonlight
Painted on the stars
We can't change ours

Don't give up on us, baby
We're still worth one more try
I know we put a last one by
Just for a rainy evening
When maybe stars are few
Don't give up on us, I know
We can still come through

Don't give up on us, baby
Don't give up on us, baby

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Very Special Love

Maureen McGovern

The Governess of Song

Although it was the popular Superman love theme “Can You Read My Mind?” a straight power ballad composed by none other than John Williams, that carried the self-titled album of McGovern, it’s this song, the third track off the album, that seems better crafted with even a funky bass groove and cool backing vocals. It also displays McGovern’s magnificent vocal range and reach. And well, the lyrics is less corny.

What’s this “special love” anyway? The lyrics talk about a woman who is quite smitten by someone with a love that "burns her inside" and "squeezes her tighter." Good lord. Then there’s a background tale here with the girl having been unlucky with love and that men had treated her unkindly, quite possibly like a tramp, until this very special someone saves her like a knight in shining armor whom she says is not "like the rest" and "one of the best." Who is this guy? Is he even a guy? See, there’s mystery here.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Maureen McGovern
Album
Maureen McGovern
Date of release
1979
Label
Warner Brother/Curb
Composer
Michael Lloyd
Producer
Michael Lloyd

Lyrics

"Very Special Love"

I never believed in love
I was deceived by love
I never had much luck with lovers before
And I couldn't compete
I seemed just part of the street
To be walked on by everyone but then

Then I found a very special love in you
It's a feeling that's so totally new
Over and over, it's burning inside
I found a very special love in you
And it almost breaks me in two
Squeezing me tighter
But I'm never gonna let go

You're not like the rest
I know you're one of the best
You give more than you should and take nothing in return (in return)
Stay always with me
And I always will be
The one person that you can count on always to love you

And I found a very special love in you
It's a feeling that's so totally new
Over and over, it's burning inside
I found a very special love in you
And it almost breaks me in two
Squeezing me tighter
But I'm never gonna let go
But I...

Found a very special love in you
It's a feeling that's so totally new
Over and over, it's burning inside
I found a very special love in you
And it almost breaks me in two
Squeezing me tighter
But I'm never gonna let go

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

I'll Never Love This Way Again

Dionne Warwick

Extraordinary-legendary

The lyrics, a woman’s testimony of her love for a man, come hell or high water will never change even if they part ways. "So I keep holding on before the good is gone"—the line suggests that she cherishes their memory as hard as she could, as often as she is able and that there will be no regrets should the man leaves. Her love has reached its peak and she will never love the same way again.

Warwick’s delivery is accentuated by power chords until it reaches a full crescendo. “I’ll Never Love This Way Before” is a showstopper and only the distinct, magnificent voice of Dionne Warwick was able to make this song happen.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Dionne Warwick
Album
Dionne
Date of release
January 1979
Label
Arista
Composer
Richard Kerr & Will Jennings
Producer
Barry Manilow
Cover versions
Cheryl Ladd, Tom Jones, Billie Jo Spears

Lyrics

"I'll Never Love This Way Again"

You looked inside my fantasies
And made each one come true
Something no one else had ever found a way to do
I've kept the memories one by one
Since you took me in
I know I'll never love this way again

I know I'll never love this way again
So I keep holding on before the good is gone
I know I'll never love this way again
Hold on, hold on, hold on

A fool will lose tomorrow
Reaching back for yesterday
I won't turn my head in sorrow
If you should go away

I'll stand here and remember
Just how good it's been
And I know I'll never love this way again

I know I'll never love this way again
So I keep holding on before the good is gone
I know I'll never love this way again
Hold on, hold on, hold on

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Alone Again (Naturally)

Gilbert O'Sullivan

It's That Song!

You’re driving your car. A bit sleepy so you turn on the radio and toggle the tuner searching for something loud. Then this song comes in. And you stop and listen. And you’re immediately caught by the melody, swaying your head, moving your lips—your trip just became interesting. Why? The answer’s easy. Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” is one song that doesn’t sound like any other song. It is a freak of nature.

It is a storytelling song: a man was stood up on his wedding day, went to a tower where he contemplated on jumping while remembering his parents’ demise. The song easily caught fire when it was released, reaching the top spot in Billboard Hot 100. It is one of the most popular songs of its decade and still is to this day as it was included in movie soundtracks like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Stuart Little 2, Stuck on You, Love, Rosie and many more.

Listen to the Song

Song Information

 
 
Artist
Gilbert O'Sullivan
Album
Himself
Date of release
1972
Label
MAM
Composer
Gilbert O'Sullivan
Producer
Gilbert O'Sullivan
Cover versions
Nina Simone, Neil Diamond, Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Ester Phillips

Sing the Song! Karaoke Version

Lyrics

"Alone Again (Naturally)"

In a little while from now
If I'm not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower

And climbing to the top
Will throw myself off
In an effort to make clear to whomever
What it's like when you're shattered

Left standing in the lurch
At a church where people saying
My God, that's tough, she stood him up
No point in us remaining

We may as well go home
As I did on my own
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay
Looking forward to, well, who wouldn't do
The role I was about to play

But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces

Leaving me to doubt
Talk about God in His mercy
Who, if He really does exist
Why did He desert me?

And in my hour of need
I truly am, indeed
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that there are more hearts
Broken in the world that can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do?
What do we do?

Alone again, naturally

Now, looking back over the years
And whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died
Never wishing to hide the tears

And at sixty-five years old
My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn't understand why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken

Leaving her to start
With a heart so badly broken
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken

And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally

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    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 5 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      The 70's definitely produced so many different style and genres of music. I remember my father playing a few of these from time to time. Growing up in the 80's and 90's I was spoiled with some of the best music ever to grace the stage of listening. Great and fun hub.