There is something about the retro sounds of seventies classics that always manages to stir something in me. Everyone who’s close to me has heard my crackpot theory that I was a Woodstock hippie in a previous (short-lived) life.
Or maybe it just has to do with the fact that my mom refused to let me change the radio in her car – forever set to the oldies station.
Which is why it’s not hard to believe every time I get on a bus or in a car for a long trip I find comfort tuning in to playlists dedicated to some of the best hits of the “Me Decade”.
Here is a list I’ve compiled of must-have tunes that make me feel like I’m on a Slow Ride in my VW Type 2.
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
A must-have road trip song. If whoever is manning the AUX cord doesn’t blast Bohemian Rhapsody – then I’m taking the bus. This song is a fail-safe way of keeping morale high and there’s a part for everyone to sing – or if you’re anything like me, you can quickly run out of breath trying to sing all parts (not excluding the guitar, drums and … you get it).
It’s a timeless masterpiece that lifts your spirits even on the gloomiest days.
- Hold The Line – Toto
So, here’s an unpopular opinion. As much as I love “Africa”, the Toto song most likely to be stuck in my head for a month is definitely Hold The Line.
If you’re dozing off , the rock piano riff at the beginning is exactly what you need to keep yourself amped up and energetic. Hold The Line is such a simple song, but it brings together so many different layers if you listen closely enough.
It’s also a great song for everyone in the car to sing along to … or the public bus – depending on how social you’re feeling.
- Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
Someone once asked me: If you could join any band, which one would it be? And while I know the band had drama to spare (in and out of the band) I can’t help but get starry-eyed every time I hear Rumours.
Out of so much pain and sacrifice came an album of a lifetime.
While Go Your Own Way is mostly a pessimistic and scornful anthem, the rhythm of the drums is upbeat enough to make you think differently.
- Rich Girl – Hall & Oats
Hall & Oates are definitely a major guilty pleasure of mine… which I just don’t feel all that guilty about.
There’s very little that gets me in a good mood, but then I hear Daryl Hall’s vibrato and it turns into a full-on one-sided sing-off. And yes, I also can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but it’s true.
Rich Girl is one of those never-fail feel-good songs.
Say money but it won’t get you too far.
- Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
No chorus. No bridge. It’s just Mark Knopfler’s distinctive vocals and the first guitar note that captivate listeners.
I once read that Knopfler was known for his unique storytelling through song because he got a lot of his idea from just observing people. Sultans of Swing is a textbook example of that.
This song was made for smooth, worry-free cruising.
- December 1963 (Oh! What A Night) – The Four Seasons
Don’t get me started on Frankie Valli’s iconic vocal range and Bob Gaudio’s impeccable songwriting. I could write and write and write…
But to keep it short and simple – if there’s ever been an earworm you’d welcome this would be it.
- Space Oddity – David Bowie
Okay. I know this one is fringe-y and was originally released in 1969 – but it is a must-have (as is this entire playlist, so what’s my real excuse?). A legend like Mr Bowie should not and cannot be ignored. The moment the first notes from this psychedelic tune comes through even the crappiest sound system, you suddenly become Major Tom and it’s time to commence countdown.
- Bennie and the Jets – Elton John
If you’ve ever been bold enough to karaoke or if you’ve ever hit your head hard enough as a child (like I have) and enjoy karaoke-ing – you’ll find you gravitate to one song more than others when the obnoxious hour of the night hits.
And when Obnoxious O’Clock hits – I think Bennie and the Jets is what really gets the party going.
There’s something about when Elton John croons: “You’re gonna hear electric music/Solid walls of sound” that convinces you it’s worth singing along … loudly.
And no.. it’s not “electric boobs”.
- September – Earth, Wind and Fire
There’s always that one song that proves to be our fail-safe tune to get us out of a funk.
Whenever September comes on I can’t help but embarrassingly groove along every. single. time. It might probably my all-time favourite 70s song.
- A Horse With No Name – America
An ultimate classic. And what better song to roll your windows down and cruise along to. Even if it’s a rainy drive, the lyrics and the guitar riff are enough to make think of the dessert – or at least somewhere much warmer.
Bunnell tells a story that’s more than just an aimless nomad wandering the dessert. You can read into it as much as you want, but there’s definitely a message of an appreciation for nature.
Easy listening, everybody.