Party Like It’s July 1970


Learn more about an era of music and the connections behind the songs. Interwoven with personal anecdotes, commentary and artist history. A unique way to tap into music nostalgia and discovery.

My Personal Chart Blog, July 1970


See my July 1970 chart here

The companion Spotify playlist has all the songs discussed in the blog that are available. Individual playlists for each blog entry are available on My YouTube Channel.



**Underlined songs were on my top 100 this month in 1970 & the number in parentheses is its position on the chart.


Part 1, Superstar Beginnings and Endings

Elton John/Take Me To The Pilot (1)

As was the case with the January 1970 chart Elton John claims the #1 slot. While he had released his 1st album “Empty Sky” in the UK in 1969 it was his self-titled 2nd album that brought him to the States and started his illustrious 5-decade career. Music researcher Joel Whitburn, who has chronicled the U.S. music charts for 50 years through a series of books, places John as the #3 artist of all-time. “Border Song (Holy Moses)” (15) was the 1st song released when the album hit in April and in the last verse (written by John instead of his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin) he speaks to matters that are almost more pertinent today than ever. “Holy Moses, let us live in peace/let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease/there’s a man over there. What’s his colour I don’t care/he’s my brother let us live in peace.”

While this was the 1st song that made a chart in any country for Elton (nothing from “Empty Sky” charted in the UK), it was the cover version of this song that performed better on the Billboard charts. His version reached #92 (#34 in Canada), while Aretha Franklin took it to #37 late in the year. The gospel-tinged song was certainly a perfect fit for.

The 2nd single released was “Rock and Roll Madonna” (9), a rollicking piano boogie stomper that was only released in the UK and again, did not make the official chart there. The b-side was an early version of “Grey Seal” (62) that re-surfaced in a more upbeat version on the 1973 album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. I do prefer that later version, coming in at #11 for the year in ’73. Soon after ‘Madonna’ a song called “From Denver To L.A.” was released. Not on the album, it was featured in the movie “The Games”. It was erroneously credited to Elton Johns and the single was withdrawn quickly because he and his record label objected to its release. It is now quite the collector’s item.

“Take Me To The Pilot”, certainly my favorite song from this album, was slated as the a-side of the next release with “Your Song” as the b-side. We all know how that played out. ‘Pilot’ received airplay mostly on FM album rock radio while “Your Song” became the pop standout earning him his 1st top 10 in the U.S. and 1st chart entry in England ever. I charted a live version of ‘Pilot’ from the 1987 album “Live In Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra” and it again peaked at #1. In 2002 Ewan Macgregor’s version of “Your Song” from the movie “Moulin Rouge” went to #2 on my chart and it is now my preferred version. We’ll see how the original “Your Song” fares when we re-visit 1970 in December. In total I would chart 10 songs form John’s album including “The King Must Die” (72-debut), “Bad Side Of The Moon”, “I Need You To Turn To”, “Sixty Years On” and “The Cage”.

While his career was starting to escalate Joel Whitburn’s #2 artist of all-time, The Beatles, had just released their last studio album “Let It Be”.  The album was far from their strongest, especially after the previous “Abbey Road”. Interestingly this album was recorded prior to “Abbey Road”. Only 3 songs from this would make my chart. The Billboard #1 “Let It Be” (26) had made it to #5 on my chart in May and “The Long And Winding Road” (5) (their last #1 in the States) was, for a brief time in the late 70’s when I was truly absorbing all the Beatles catalog, my #1 song of all-time. “Across The Universe” was just outside my top 100 in July and would enter the following month.   

Read the rest here

By: Radio Tim 
Jul 7, 2020