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70s Country Album Songs: (Top 10 Classics You Need to Hear)

The 1970s was a decade of change in the world of country music. The genre evolved from its traditional roots to incorporate more rock and pop influences, resulting in a diverse range of sounds and styles.

One of the defining characteristics of ‘70s country music was the storytelling nature of the songs. Many of the album tracks from this era were deeply personal, often drawing on the experiences of the artists themselves.

This resulted in a sense of authenticity and raw emotion that resonated with audiences and helped to cement the place of country music in the mainstream.

From heartbreak and loss to triumph and joy, the themes explored in ‘70s country album songs were as diverse as the artists who created them.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most iconic ‘70s country album songs and explore the reasons why they remain so beloved by audiences today.

Evolution of ’70s Country Music

The decade began with the continuation of the Nashville Sound, which was characterized by lush orchestration and smooth vocals.

However, as the decade progressed, a new movement emerged that came to be known as the Outlaw Movement.

Outlaw Movement

The Outlaw Movement was a reaction to the polished sound of the Nashville establishment.

The movement was characterized by a raw, stripped-down sound, and lyrics that were often rebellious and anti-establishment.

Artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard were at the forefront of this movement.

70s Country Music
The 1970s saw a significant evolution in country music.

One of the defining moments of the Outlaw Movement was the release of the album “Wanted! The Outlaws” in 1976.

The album, which featured Nelson, Jennings, Haggard, and Jessi Colter, was the first country album to be certified platinum.

It marked a turning point in country music and paved the way for a new generation of artists.

Nashville Sound

While the Outlaw Movement was gaining momentum, the Nashville Sound was still going strong.

The sound was characterized by lush orchestration, smooth vocals, and a focus on crossover appeal.

Artists like Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers were some of the biggest stars of the era.

One of the defining moments of the Nashville Sound was the release of the album “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell in 1975.

The album, which featured the hit title track, was a massive commercial success and helped to solidify Campbell’s status as one of the biggest stars of the era.

Iconic ’70s Country Album Songs

1.Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975) by Glen Campbell:

This crossover smash combined countrypolitan balladry with pop sensibilities, becoming one of the decade’s biggest hits and solidifying Campbell’s status as a country superstar.

2.”The Gambler” (1978) by Kenny Rogers:

With its memorable storytelling and philosophical lyrics, this song became a signature tune for Rogers, encapsulating the outlaw country movement’s blend of grit and wit.

3.Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970) by Loretta Lynn:

An autobiographical ballad that chronicled Lynn’s rise from poverty to country music stardom, this song empowered women and resonated with audiences beyond the country genre.

4.”Thank God I’m a Country Boy” (1975) by John Denver:

This ode to rural life and traditional values became an anthem for many, capturing the spirit of nostalgia and simplicity that defined much of 1970s country music.

5.Jolene” (1974) by Dolly Parton:

A masterclass in songwriting and storytelling, this song explored themes of jealousy and female empowerment, solidifying Parton’s status as a country music legend.

“Jolene” Song.

6.”Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978) by Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings:

This outlaw country duet lamented the hardships faced by cowboys, becoming a poignant reflection on the romanticized versus the harsh realities of rural life.

70s Country Music
The 1970s was a decade of change in the world of country music.

7.Convoy” (1976) by C.W. McCall:

This novelty song about a truck driver’s battle with the authorities became a surprise hit, showcasing the playful and humorous side of country music.

8.”Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” (1977) by Crystal Gayle:

This song, with its unique blend of country and pop styles, topped the charts and became one of the decade’s most recognizable country tunes.

9.The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979) by The Charlie Daniels Band:

This Southern rock-influenced song with its fiddle-driven duel against the devil became a live performance staple and a genre-bending classic.

10.”I Will Always Love You” (1974) by Dolly Parton:

Originally written for Porter Wagoner, this heartbreaking ballad about letting go of a love became a country standard and received even greater recognition with Whitney Houston’s 1992 cover.

Chart Performances

SongYearUS CountryUS Billboard Hot 100Weeks at #1 (Country)
Rhinestone Cowboy1975#1#14
The Gambler1978#1#14
Coal Miner’s Daughter1970#1#834
Thank God I’m a Country Boy1975#1#297
Jolene1974#1#604
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys1978#1#443
Convoy1976#1#18
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue1977#1#23
The Devil Went Down to Georgia1979#1#31
I Will Always Love You1974#1#562
Chart Performances of 70s country songs.

Influential ’70s Country Artists

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is a legendary country artist whose career spans over six decades. He is known for his unique voice, songwriting skills, and guitar playing.

In the ’70s, Nelson released several albums that became instant classics. His album “Red Headed Stranger” released in 1975, is considered one of the best country albums of all time.

The album’s title track and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” became huge hits and helped Nelson become a household name. Nelson’s music has influenced countless artists and continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn is a country music icon who rose to fame in the ’60s and ’70s. She is known for her powerful voice and honest lyrics that often address social issues.

Lynn’s album “Coal Miner’s Daughter” released in 1970, was a huge success and helped her become one of the most popular country artists of the decade.

The album’s title track became Lynn’s signature song and a classic of the genre. Lynn’s music has inspired generations of female country artists and continues to be celebrated today.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is a country music legend who has been active in the industry for over five decades. In the ’70s, Parton released several albums that helped establish her as a major force in the genre.

Her album “Jolene” released in 1974, featured the hit title track and “I Will Always Love You”, which became one of her most famous songs.

Parton’s music is known for its honesty, humour, and relatability. She has influenced countless artists and continues to be a beloved figure in the country music community.

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Legacy of ’70s Country Album Songs

The 1970s were a golden era for country music, with many iconic albums and songs that still resonate with fans today. These albums were often conceptually driven, telling stories and exploring themes that were relevant to the times.

Country music of 70s
Many of the 70s album tracks from this era were deeply personal.

One of the most significant legacies of ’70s country album songs is their influence on modern country music.

Many of today’s biggest stars, such as Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton, cite these albums as major inspirations for their work.

Another notable legacy is the way these albums helped to shape the image of country music.

With their focus on storytelling and relatable themes, they helped to establish country music as a genre that was grounded in authenticity and real-life experiences.

Conclusion

  1. The 1970s were not just another decade in country music; they were an uprising. “Outlaws” like Nelson and Jennings resisted Nashville’s polish with stories of resistance and adversity, packed with real passion.
  2. Meanwhile, Parton and Lynn spun tales of pain and independence, opening the door for female voices to emerge.
  3. Beyond genre-busters, Denver portrayed nature ballads, and Campbell’s crossover songs popularised country music.
  4. Each song stretches limits, delves into intricacies, and has a strong connection to emotions.
  5. This growth was not only musical; it reflected a changing America.
  6. Today, the heritage continues through current twang, meaningful lyrics, and a steadfast love for old tunes.
  7. The 1970s may be history, but their influence on the soul of country music remains strong.

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