Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1970

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the '70s. The '60s are over, and people are once again ready to feel bad about themselves. It was in this year, 1970, that Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 first began airing nationwide, bringing the Billboard charts into prominence over the regional countdowns that had been popular before it, and to ring in the new decade in our poll, we’ve got 25 songs to choose from. It was in this year that we see the final #1 by the Beatles and the first #1 by a former Beatle, as well as the first #1 by the 11-year-old future King of Pop, which would set off a wave of family bands reaching the top of the charts over the next few years.

So, out of these options, what’s your favorite?

  • denotes one half of a double A-side

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 2012 2013

Ye gods what a lousy set of choices.

Art’s voice wins it.

Edwin Starr’s War was the first single I ever bought. I was 12.
Bridge Over Troubled Water gets my vote, though.

I voted for “Everybody Is a Star” just because I’m guessing few if any others will. Sly and the Family Stone had a lot of great songs, but for some reason I’ve always loved this one best, and it’s nearly forgotten today.

I suspect “Bridge” will win, but it’s way too bombastic for my tastes. Surprisingly for me (being a 60s guy), I find there are more overall worthy songs this year than in the past couple. Each of the initial run of Jackson 5 singles was great, “Venus” will always be a favorite (despite being a rather shameful rip-off), “War” still stands up, and “Tears of a Clown” remains a classic in spite of being overplayed (and three years old to boot).

It’s between War and Momma Told Me for me. For ballads, Bridge wins out over Winding Road, but I like them both.

Everyone loves Bridge and I bet it wins. It always struck me as too, I dunno, …produced? overwrought? For me it was between Tears of a Clown, For You Blue and Crackin’ Rose, which I voted for, probably because all these years later I’m not heartily sick of it.

The Long and Winding Road is one of my favorite Beatles songs, but I can’t stand the overproduced, Spector-ized version that made it to #1 in 1970. This version from the 2004 rerelease is infinitely superior, IMO.

I’ll go with the Sly and the Family Stone, “Thank You…”. Always loved how the title spelling was constructed, very clever and cute.

A lot of really good choices. I love the Beatles, I love Art Garfunkel’s voice, I love “No Sugar,” but… to me, the best song on there is “I Want You Back.”

Pop is supposed to be fun, people!

I Want You Back is exemplary. It is the song against which all other pop songs should be measured.

Precisely. Which is why I voted for it over the likes of “The Long and Winding Road”, “Let It Be”, and “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (all great songs; yes, even the Carpenters tune, because one cannot deny the greatness of Burt Bacharach).

My Sweet Lord.

George’s post-Fabs masterpiece. The music is transcendental, and I’ve always loved the simplicity, honesty, and purity of the lyrics and vocal delivery. Interesting perhaps, because the message itself does nothing for me- I’ve always been agnostic

Me too. Overproduced, overwrought, takes itself too seriously. Probably my least liked S&G song.

Surprisingly great list. Lots of enduring songs - heck, Shocking Blue’s Venus is a really durable song, and Mama Told Me Not to Come is one of the Official Songs of the Era™.

I went with Tears of a Clown. There’s a reason why Dylan referred to Smokey Robinson as the US Poet Laureate.

Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
In order to shield my pride I’ve tried
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness


No disputing Smokey’s greatness, but there has always been considerable dispute over what Dylan did or did not say about him.

The variation one usually hears is Dylan referring to Smokey as “the greatest living American poet.” But many years ago, I heard that this was one of those rock Urban Legends.

Sure enough, the first Google hit when you put in “Dylan” and “Smokey Robinson” is this one. You’ll have to wade through a whole bunch of preening author talk to get to the meat of the matter, but skip down to the seventh paragraph after the Marty Stuart quote for the real story.

Then check out the final reader comment at the end. Turns out Dylan did speak of Smokey and poets in the same breath — just not in quite the terms usually ascribed to him.

When Bob was at the height of putting on reporters and everyone else around him (think Don’t Look Back), there was this exchange with one of them at a December 1965 press conference:

Just as gratifying to me to see his shout-out for Charlie Rich!

I agree, which is why I went with ABC because of the line

Young Michael Jackson was astonishingly talented!

“I Want You Back” won a very tight contest over “War” for my vote. Bread finished dead-ass last, managing to be even worse than Ray Stevens.

Thus concludes the Beatles’ shocking shutout from the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System vote. Maybe one of the four will manage to win one as a solo act (or as part of Wings). John Lennon’s “Just Like Starting Over” (hitting #1 right after his death) will likely be a strong contender.

My Sweet Lord, what a terrible year. American Women should be shedding Tears of a Clown like Raindrops Falling On My Head. They say Everybody Is a Star but I say Let It Be. It’s as simple as ABC There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to make me Think I Love You, Venus, for for forcing us on The Long and Winding Road that brought us No Sugar Tonight instead of a Bridge Over Troubled Water. Isn’t It a Pity The Love You Save could never convince me to Make It With You, Cracklin’ Rosie. I Think I Love You, 1960s. I Want You Back, I long to be Close to You. Everything Is Beautiful when I think of those times. Thank You.

I voted for “War.” It’s the only appropriate response.

That was pretty damn good.

Yeesh. I hope the next poll includes Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine, which is one of the only listenable songs from the 70s.