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The 25 Greatest Love Songs of the 1970s
Wild horses couldn't drag us away.
Read this first! Bloggers, DJs, and critics helped us assemble this comprehensive list of great love songs. Before you tell us what we missed, a few notes. One, we excluded breakup songs and come-back-to-me songs and please-sleep-with-me songs. These are love songs — songs you could play to your current squeeze immediately after saying, "Steve/Miriam, this song explains my feelings for you, which may be nuanced but are ultimately positive," and not expect to sleep on the couch. Two, we limited it to one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions, like The Beatles, because they're The Beatles. Lastly, come back next week for the best love songs of the '80s, and click here for the best love songs of the '60s. Okay, now you can tell us what we missed. Have fun! — The Nerve Editors
25. Barry White, "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" (1974)
"Putting on the Barry White" has become synonymous with "trying to seduce your date in the most ridiculous way possible." But no matter how many would-be Casanovas misuse his work, Barry remains irresistible. "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" is sweet and a whole lot of fun, as any partner should be. — Kristin Hunt
Listen: Barry White, "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe"
24. Carly Simon, "Nobody Does It Better" (1977)
Recorded as the theme song for the James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me, Carly Simon's quintessential power ballad (written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager) is an overwhelming ode to He Who Does It Best. Simon's full-bodied vocals are undoubtedly full of love and wonder, even if when Simon claims that "nobody does it better," you can't help but envy them both a little. — Maura Hehir
Listen: Carly Simon, "Nobody Does It Better"
23. David Bowie, "Be My Wife" (1977)
Bowie, at the apex of his chilliest, most cerebral, most coke-whacked period, is wildly convincing as a libertine realizing he can't sustain on kicks alone. "I've lived all over the world. I've left every place." And if his love is one born of desperation, well, that kind gets its day in the sun too. "Please be mine. Share my life. Stay with me. Be my wife." The nakedness of that declaration retains its power, no matter what suspicions you might have over its likely outcome. — Jeff Klingman
Listen: David Bowie, "Be My Wife"
22. George Harrison, "What is Life" (1970)
Coming early on George Harrison's first solo album, "What is Life" remains one of the sweetest pop tunes ever produced by the brilliant, reserved ex-Beatle. Weaving his characteristic devotional sensibilities into otherwise lighter lyrics, Harrison also delivers a euphoric sax/trumpet/tambourine combination that complements his signature guitar and vocal work. "What is Life" makes you want to hug a stranger and kiss your lover at the same time. — Marina Cukeric
Listen: George Harrison, "What is Life"
21. Tom Waits, "Somewhere" (1978)
As written for West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim in the late '50s, "Somewhere" was already devastatingly beautiful. Tom Waits's interpretation, which opens up his album Blue Valentine, cuts right to the heart of it. This recording is place- and timeless. — Gary Calamar, of KCRW
Listen: Tom Waits, "Somewhere"
20. Donna Summer, "Love to Love You Baby" (1975)
A pioneering track for early disco, "Love to Love You Baby" was also one of the most erotically charged songs of its time. Summer recorded the vocal track while lying on the floor of a darkened studio, channeling Marilyn Monroe to deliver her orgasmic performance. The result is a classic of sexual devotion. — Peter Smith
Listen: Donna Summer, "Love to Love You Baby"
19. Buzzcocks, "Love You More" (1978)
From a band normally concerned with heartache comes this excited little gem, which (admittedly) doesn't quite shake the angst ("I've been hurt so many times before"). For all its delicious harmonies and early-punk exuberance, it's also a sharp picture of that shaky, "Oh, shit, love!" phase that characterizes so many young relationships. — P.S.
Listen: Buzzcocks, "Love You More"
18. Lou Reed, "Perfect Day" (1972)
Some people think this song is about heroin. And while that's certainly a possibility given the singer, I prefer to see it as a sweetly restrained ode to that one glowing day with someone you love: time is fleeting, but we'll always have that day at the zoo. (Come on — you can't go to the zoo with heroin.) — Alex Heigl
Listen: Lou Reed, "Perfect Day"
17. Sister Sledge, "Thinking of You" (1979)
If you can absorb the funkiness of Nile Rodgers' guitar playing, and the sweetness of Kathy Sledge's vocal, on "Thinking of You," and not fall in love with everyone and everything for four minutes, you are a harder soul than I. — P.S.
Listen: Sister Sledge, "Thinking of You"
16. John Lennon, "Love" (1970)
Can love get any more straightforward than this? "Love is you, you and me. Love is knowing, we can be." The lyrics from this Lennon classic are sparse, to-the-point, poignant, and naked. It's a lullaby of sorts that works as a song of hope and desire. Yet if you pull it out of the context of the Lennon's pure love for Yoko Ono at the time, you can hear echoes of weariness and heartache. Phil Spector plays the piano, Lennon strums and sings. All you need is love, indeed. — Bruce Warren, of WXPN
Listen: John Lennon, "Love"