NME's 100 Best Tracks Of The '70s

British music pub NME just dropped its 100 Tracks Of The ’70s list, and let’s just say that their #1 selection is pretty English, something that involves the patriarch of their country’s major religion saving their most famous historical ruler, hint hint. Read the whole list below.

100 Funkadelic – “One Nation Under A Groove”
99 The Pretenders – “Brass In Pocket”
98 James Brown – “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine”
97 Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry’”
96 Kate Bush – “Wuthering Heights”
95 Siouxsie And The Banshees – “Hong Kong Garden”
94 The Slits – “The Slits – ’Typical Girls”
93 Can – “Oh Yeah”
92 Public Image Ltd – “Public Image”
91 The Beatles – “The Long And Winding Road”
90 Madness – “One Step Beyond”
89 The Specials – “A Message To You Rudy”
88 The Kinks – “Lola”
87 Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain”
86 Leonard Cohen – “Chelsea Hotel No. 2″
85 Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've)”
84 Joni Mitchell – “Big Yellow Taxi”
83 Althea & Donna – “Uptown Top Ranking”
82 Giorgio Moroder – “Chase”
81 Chic – “Le Freak”
80 Blondie – “One Way Or Another”
79 The Jam – “The Eton Rifles”
78 New York Dolls – “Personality Crisis”
77 John Lennon – “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)”
76 The Only Ones – “Another Girl, Another Planet”
75 Neil Young – “Heart Of Gold”
74 Brian Eno – “Needles In The Camel’s Eye”
73 XTC – “Making Plans For Nigel”
72 The Who – “Who Are You”
71 Suicide – “Ghost Rider”
70 Wire – “I Am The Fly”
69 Sparks – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us”
68 The Clash – “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”
67 Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain”
66 Prince – “I Wanna Be Your Lover”
65 George Harrison – “My Sweet Lord”
64 Big Star – “September Gurls”
63 Nick Drake – “Pink Moon”
62 Gary Numan – “Cars”
61 Patti Smith – “Because The Night”
60 Elvis Costello – “Oliver’s Army”
59 Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up”
58 The Modern Lovers – “Roadrunner”
57 Squeeze – “Up The Junction”
56 The Velvet Underground – “Rock & Roll”
55 Junior Murvin – “Police & Thieves”
54 Elton John – “Tiny Dancer”
53 Thin Lizzy – “The Boys Are Back In Town”
52 Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
51 Iggy Pop – “Lust For Life”
50 The Cramps – “Human Fly”
49 The Clash – “Train In Vain”
48 Bob Dylan – “Tangled Up In Blue”
47 Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams”
46 Gang Of Four – “Damaged Goods”
45 Blondie – “Hanging On The Telephone”
44 Deep Purple – “Smoke On The Water”
43 Dolly Parton – “Jolene”
42 T. Rex – “Get It On”
41 The Rolling Stones – “Tumbling Dice”
40 The Knack – “My Sharona”
39 Bee Gees – “Stayin’ Alive”
38 Sex Pistols – “Anarchy In The UK”
37 Iggy And The Stooges – “Search And Destroy”
36 Sly And The Family Stone – “Family Affair”
35 Gladys Knight And The Pips – “Midnight Train To Georgia”
34 Rod Stewart – “Maggie May”
33 Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”
32 Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
31 Television – “Marquee Moon”
30 Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together”
29 The B52′s – “Rock Lobster”
28 Kraftwerk – “The Model”
27 ABBA – “Dancing Queen”
26 Lou Reed – “Walk On The Wild Side”
25 David Bowie – “Life On Mars?”
24 AC/DC – “Highway To Hell”
23 Tubeway Army – “Are ’Friends’ Electric?”
22 Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight”
21 Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On”
20 Led Zeppelin – “Stairway To Heaven”
19 Joy Division – “Transmission”
18 Ian Dury – “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”
17 The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar”
16 Bruce Springsteen – “Thunder Road”
15 Stevie Wonder – “Superstition”
14 Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
13 The Undertones – “Teenage Kicks”
12 John Lennon – “Imagine”
11 Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer”
10 Wings – “Band On The Run”
09 Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”
08 Bruce Springsteen – “Born To Run”
07 Blondie – “Heart Of Glass”
06 Donna Summer – “I Feel Love”
05 The Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
04 David Bowie – “Heroes”
03 The Clash – “London Calling”
02 Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”
01 Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen”

Head here for the entire list with blurbs.

Comments (80)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. It’s not really very similar to how I imagine my list would be, but it seems fairly well thought through (especially for NME).

  3. I love lists. You love lists. We all love lists. Who doesn’t love a good list ?
    I especially like it when things are listed in order.

  4. make a spotify playlist, anyone!

  5. This is a very solid list actually.

  6. Man this list blows

  7. Quite interesting that the first list in a long time from the NME not to include Kasabian comes on the same day it is announced that the current editor is leaving.

  8. to have Fleetwood Mac sandwiched in between The Clash and The Sex Pistols is pretty hilarious…whats NOT is that NME ranks Wings over Lennon

  9. No ELO? Pftt…

  10. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey. Easily better than band on the run, what are they thinking?

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Um, no, fuck you. The Clash were awesome.

      • Yeah wut the…. they should have had 1977 in there too. And something from the first album.

        Screw it, this should have just been 100 best Clash songs of the 70′s.

      • There is nothing less cool than writing “Fuck the Clash”…well, maybe naming your band “The Hipstars”

        • Also, there is one thing “less cool” than writing “Fuck the Clash” or naming your band “The Hipstars” (like it’s such a hipster cliche to bash The Clash, so fuck you, too, [&U2] by the way), and that’s commenting that “there is nothing less cool than (insert offending behavior which clearly demonstrates offenders inferiority to your cool ass).

          • It’s cute that you think making any statement about what is uncool renders the speaker uncool – and then proceed to do exactly just that.

            Also, I just thought Hip-Stars was a really bad pun. No intended social commentary there.

        • or “Migrane Headaches”

      • So awesome that they are entitled to 3.5 entries on the list of 100 best tracks of the 70′s, probably the most influential decade in terms of contemporary music? Sorry, you’re right, fuck me.

        • It’s NME’s list. NME likes The Clash. The Clash get 3.5 songs. Start a blog. Make your own list. Then The Clash can have no songs. It’s pretty simple, actually.

          • NME publishes list to elicit readership but not commentary? Stereogum tags list to elicit readership but not commentary? Commentator comments on other commenter’s commentary yet derides commenter for commenting?

            I guess because you like the Clash a lot, you can whittle the argument down to “go away since I don’t agree with you”. Reasonably, objectively, & without schmarmy asshole reductionism, make a sensible argument that any one band should receive multiple entries on a “best of” list from any decade. NME is a music media organization, not an editorial board or blogsite. They offer music criticism under the banner of having some level of objective approach to the art form. The headline isn’t “Our Editorial Best 100 from the 70′s”. While I appreciate that not all people agree an a list of any kind (see the previous comment that you criticized), “fanboyism” kind of diminishes one’s credibility.

            And, oh yeah, fuck you.

          • Huh? NME no longer exists to offer music criticism under the banner of having some level of objective approach to the art form; they exist to make a profit. They’re a music media conglomerate dipping their hands in multiple business ventures. Music criticism is really only there as a nod to the days when they were legitimately invested in music journalism. They publish lists to sell magazines and draw hits to their website so they can bump ad revenue because lists are an easily digestible concept for the general public. And yes, all lists by organizations like NME can assumed to be an “Editorial Best” because that’s how they’re decided. They aren’t using objective criteria to judge anything. The fact that you’re getting worked up over this is really quite ludicrous.

            And you were the one who began with the reductive argument of, “No one likes The Clash. Fuck The Clash.” You never offered any specific reason why they’re bad. So if you’re angered by my response, well…you set the stage for it with your own childish mewling.

            But it’s cool, bro. We can still be online buds, right?

          • Well, London Calling (from which “London Calling” and “Train in Vain” come) was released in the middle of December 1979. So, yeah, it is technically a “70′s” album, but almost all critics put those songs in the 80′s, the decade during which they were popular (the songs, not the band). People were buying the album in the 80′s. So, I have beef with trying to smuggle those tracks onto the list. The Clash had two well-regarded albums before that, neither of which were recognized by the list (“White Man. . .” was released as a single).

            I don’t have any emotional investment in the list. The list is bullshit; I’m calling bullshit; I listed the reasons why it’s bullshit. That’s why people make lists, to generate conversation (like this). I don’t hate The Clash; I’m just not as crazy about them as Bono is. They deserve a nod, but not 3.5 nods to the exclusion of some fairly seminal bands and songs. I also didn’t say that “no one” likes the band. I just said that they are no one’s favorite from the 70′s. If people were asked to name the “best” band from the 70′s, an overwhelming minority of people would name The Clash or Blondie. My argument wasn’t reductionist a) because my first post had no premise to argue against excepting the list, which I did, and b) the “Fuck The Clash” was just me trolling in the same vain as NME (for publishing) and Stereogum (for tagging) the list. So, DNFTT if you ain’t down to party.

            Also, I’m not really, nor have I been, “mewling”. Ranting, maybe. Bitching, probably, but not mewling. I’m apparently not a “bro”, but a “hipster” (maybe even a “hipsta”) due to my criticism of The Clash. Unless “bro” and “hipster” are now synonymous. I don’t have any emotional investment (aside from entertainment) in anyone’s posts. I say “Fuck The Clash”, you say “Fuck you”, I say “Fuck you” back. That’s the beauty of the anonymity of the interweb.

  12. I love this decade for music

  13. I don’t even think Paul McCartney would agree “Band on the Run” is a better song than “Imagine”.

    • “Imagine” might be the best thing to come from any of The Beatles

      • Imagine is not even John’s best song, it’s boring. I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever i could go on, there’s far more deserving John songs to be called his best. As a ’70′s song Jealous Guy is a better John song than the dreary Imagine.

  14. This looks like a list my mom would put together. Zing!

    On second thought, my mom is pretty cool, so it’s all good.

  15. Marquee Moon should be 30 slots higher

  16. Where’s ‘Silver Machine’? !

  17. How in the fuck does Blondie get 2 tracks when Zeppelin get only one, and no Yes Roundabout? Im calling bullshit!

    • crabtron  |   Posted on Apr 13th, 2012 +1

      Blondie gets 2 tracks because those two tracks are “Heart of Glass” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” Well alright, maybe the latter is a bit of a stretch. But “Heart of Glass needs no explanation.

      That said, I don’t know much about 1970s music in general. Your comment could be sarcastic and I wouldn’t know the difference, having few personal reference points for that decade.

      • Okay, to underscore my previous complaint, how does Blondie get three tracks?

        • crabtron  |   Posted on Apr 13th, 2012 0

          Oops, didn’t realize that “One Way or Another” was also up there. Yeah, that one simply doesn’t deserve to be up there, they’ve done plenty of songs better than that. Oh well. I’ve already spent too much time actually discussing the merits of something NME came up with.

      • Well there is no way Blondie is that much of a standout in the decade of Zeppelin, Bowie, Floyd, Yes, etc.

  18. There is one now, do a search for it.

  19. lol Sex Pistols. God, what a terrible band.

  20. How is there only one Led Zeppelin song on this list?

  21. I wish it was nme’s top one hundred lists of the seventies! That’d be a lovely list.

  22. The Police: shut out.

  23. Faces
    The Cars
    Van Morrison
    Graham Parker

  24. A few admissions from my perspective:
    Neil Young – After the Gold Rush
    Pink Floyd – Brain Damage/Eclipse
    Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
    Anything from Gram Parsons
    David Bowie – Golden Years
    Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
    Beach Boys – Surf’s Up
    Paul McCartney – The Back Seat of My Car
    The Clash – Rudie Can’t Fail
    Slade – Come on Feel the Noize

  25. They must be taking the piss. Where’s Baba O’Riley by The Who?

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