One aspect of music is that it is subjective. One person thinks is a great song, another may hate. Granted, musicians may have more liking to songs due to its complexity or lack of, but music is a major part of life. We remember where we were when a song is released (back in the day, when it was actually released on radio and was charted, unlike the downloaded society we have now). The song brings back certain memories of where we lived, what we were doing, or who were with when that song has that special meaning.
However, songs end up being overplayed throughout the years, and with today’s limited radio format, the same songs get played every hour. That is why I made this list of overplayed songs of the 1970s (I will do one of the 1980s later). Keep in mind that a regional aspect is also in play in my list. I may hear this song every hour in Ohio, but someone in California may not hear these on their radio stations. I do not have satellite radio either, so that is a non-factor. The qualifications are that it is overplayed throughout the years in my area. I also want to state that these songs are not bad songs-they are remembered throughout the years for a reason, but I would like a break from these songs.
So here are my picks for the Most Overplayed Songs of the 1970s (in no particular order). Feel free to dispute them.
- Hotel California-The Eagles (1977). I like the Eagles, and a lot of their songs are classics. This song made it to #1 on the charts, but it is long and a guitar player’s song. As a drummer, I can’t tell you how many bands I was in that had to play this song just because the guitar player wants to solo for 5 minutes. The audience got bored very quick playing this in a cover band. Many people still dispute what the song is about (Christians claim it’s about the church, which was disputed by the band themselves, to others saying it’s about the record company). Regardless of what the song is about, this is a song that the deejay steps out of the booth to take a lunch break. There are other great songs that the band does not get played on the air (I love 1974’s “James Dean” and “Ol ‘55” from “On The Border” album). This Hotel needs to shut down for a season.
- We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions- Queen (1977). This song is played together at every sporting event in the world it seems. I think it is one of Queen’s lesser quality songs. I can’t name the many Queen songs that I’d rather hear than this one (“Bohemian Rhapsody” is another one that can be added to this list). Freddy Mercury was one of the greatest singers is all music, and I feel gets ignored in the Greatest Rock Singers of all time argument. I think many people are tired of this song.
- Freebird- Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974-1977) . This song charted a few times, with the most famous in 1975 at #19. The live version hit #38 in 1977. Like “Hotel California,” this is a guitar player’s song, and when it comes on the radio or a band plays it, it is bathroom break time. The song is very long, and I got tired of it being a pro wrestling fan when The Fabulous Freebirds used it during their runs. I have never been a fan of Southern Rock and every band ends up playing the song if they play covers. By the time the song is over, the band could have played 2-3 more songs in their set list. The song is usually played late at night or after midnight on the radio stations. Some stations have limited it’s play due to it being so long, but it’s still play too much. If I don’t hear this song for 20 years, it’ll still be too soon. Plus the fact that every person on the planet shouts out the name of the song at every concert, regardless of the artist, makes me hate the song even more.
- Turn The Page-Bob Seger (1977 studio track, 1979 live version). Much like other songs in the 1970s, this song was never released as a single, but the way it gets played, you’d think it was a #1 hit worldwide. It seems everyone has done a version of this song. I saw Garth Brooks perform it when I saw him in concert once. Seger is another artist that I am not a major fan of, so it may sound bias, but this song is another too long to be played on radio. Yes, I know albums were huge in the 1970s and people wanted longer songs, and listened to the album in whole, as opposed to today’s single downloaded songs. This song is as long as the road trip it describes in the song. The song is slow and boring-it does not rock.
- I Want You To Want Me-Cheap Trick (1977 studio, 1979 live). I love Cheap Trick, and even though they have been finally inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, they are still underrated. I have seen them in concerts several times, and I know they have to play some of the hits, but this is a song I could handle if it was retired for a while (it’ll never happen even though the band does a great job mixing their set lists). Most casual fans do not know that the studio version is different and is used to the live version. This song was tough for me to add to the list because it rocks, and has a catchy guitar and drum beat, but it seems to be the only song played on radio by the band besides “Surrender” or “The Flame.” I’d love to hear “Voices,” or “I Can’t Take It” played on the radio.
- Rock and Roll All Night-Kiss (1975 studio, 1976 live). I love Kiss. Kiss, The Beach Boys, and The Oak Ridge Boys were the earliest music experiences I had as a child. I like all the versions of Kiss- I am particularly a big fan of the Eric Carr Years. I am not one of those fans that say that Ace and Peter are not in the band, so Kiss does not exist. That being said, I know this is a song that put the on the map and is a Rock and Roll Anthem, but I could handle the song being less played on radio and at events. Even though the live version is better than the studio version, I was never a huge fan of the song. The same goes for “Detroit Rock City.” I would love to hear songs like “Mr. Speed” or “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” or “Reason to Live.” Radio stations; play something from Revenge album, which I feel was one of their best albums. I am older now, and don’t need to Rock and Roll All Night.
- Stairway To Heaven –Led Zeppelin (1971). This is another song that you’d think was a huge hit all over the world, but the song did not chart in the U.S. Another thing that amazes me is how some people claim that this band is the greatest band in music history. I have nothing against the musical talents of the band members, but I would state bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Who could be listed before I’d named Zeppelin. The song is credited as one of the greatest songs of all time, but there has been several lawsuits stating the song was ripped off (as of this writing, the matter has enough steam to go into the courts). If it is the greatest songs of all time, what is it about? Many cannot even tell you what all the words are to the song either. I think the greatest Rock and Roll Song should actually be Rock and Roll, not an orchestrated ballad.
- China Grove-The Doobie Brothers (1973). This song has been taught in many guitar lessons ever since it came out and hit #15 on the U.S. Charts. The song has a basic beat to it, but is played to death in my area. To me the song bores me musically. If someone was going to have me suggest a song by the band, I’d choose “The Doctor” from 1989, which was their last hit on the charts. China Grove is another guitar player song, where guitar players in cover bands always want to play the song. From the Classic Rock to the Oldies Radio stations, this song is heard almost every hour or two hours of the day, and always ends up being played on top of it whenever the stations have caller requests. This song amazes me of its popularity and it’s continued playing.
- Show Me the Way-Peter Frampton (studio 1975, live version 1976). Most people know this song by the use of Frampton’s talk box effect during the song, which helped the song go to #6 on the U.S. Charts. Frampton wasn’t the first artist to use the effect, but many fans of the 1970s think of him when that effect is discussed. This song has been covered by many artists, but it seems this song is played almost every hour on Classic Rock and Oldies radio stations. This is another song that can retire for several years from radio rotation.
Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Feel free to comment and subscribe to this page!