Joel Goldenberg: The 1970s top-10 hits review part 28

John Lennon performing Instant Karma on British TV in early 1970.

We now resume our look at the top-10 hits of the 1970s, with artists and groups beginning with the letters L and M.

Led Zeppelin-Whole Lotta Love: Of course, this group had numerous well-known songs, but many of them were way too long to be singles. Unbelievably, this single, an utter classic of hard rock, was in mono on 45 RPM, even though a lot of it is stereo special effects that produce a surround effect.

John Lennon- Instant Karma, Imagine, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, #9 Dream. Sorry, John Lennon fans, but in my opinion, with the exception of the soul-baring John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, which had no hits, John was more of a singles artist in the 1970s. My favourite is the dreamy, Beatlesque #9 Dream, and my least favourite is Whatever Gets You Thru the Night with its annoying Saturday Night Live musical intro-type horns as heard in the 1980s.

Gordon Lightfoot- If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, Carefree Highway, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: Lightfoot offered a similar musical intimacy in the 1970s as Carole King did with her classic Tapestry album. My favourites are the lighter Sundown and especially Carefree Highway, a great accompaniment to a leisurely drive.

Little River Band- Reminiscing, Lady, Lonesome Loser, Cool Change: Ultra, ultra slick yacht rock from this Australian group with quite pleasant results.

Lobo- Me and You and A Dog Named Boo, I'd Love You To Want Me, Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend: Very understated pop that sneaks up on you in a good way.

Dave Loggins- Please Come to Boston: Nice, yearning singer-songwriter pop.

Kenny Loggins, with Stevie Nicks- Whenever I Call You Friend: I'm not a huge Loggins fan, but this song is a harmonic and production wonder. Very highly recommended.

Loggins & Messina- Your Mama Don't Dance: Sort of retro rock around the time the movie American Graffiti sparked a 1950s nostalgia craze. Notable in that Elvis Presley covered this song as part of a 1974 live medley.

Looking Glass-Brandy (You're A Fine Girl): Has such a great musical hook it's loved to this day, especially when 1970s musical nostalgia is brought up.

Love Unlimited Orchestra- Love's Theme: This instrumental was one of many examples of why Barry White was a production genius.

L.T.D.- (Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again- Nice funk but, to my ears, not extraordinary.

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Sweet Home Alabama: The most memorable Southern rock song of all time, as well as the greatest answer song (to Neil Young's songs Southern Man and Alabama).

And now the letter M:

M-Pop Muzik: An early New Waver, catchy and slightly annoying in its robotic sound.

Byron Mac Gregor-The Americans: This one bugs the hell out of me, because this stirring spoken-word with musical accompaniment defense of the U.S. during the Vietnam War was originally delivered as an editorial by the late Gordon Sinclair of CBC's Front Page Challenge fame (his son Gord Sinclair was, of course, on Montreal's CJAD for many years) based on his own experience. And yet it's the 25-year-old guy who was not speaking from experience, but speaking as though he was, who had the top-10 hit. This version and the Sinclair original were hits a week apart in 1974, but Sinclair's version only hit #24. Pathetic!

Mary MacGregor- Torn Between Two Lovers: Musically kind of lame, which was the case with many hits of the late 1970s, but thematically pretty risqué.

The Main Ingredient- Everybody Plays the Fool, Just Don't Want To Be Lonely: Very snazzy soul-pop. Highly recommended.

Malo- Suavecito: This one only got to #18, but it was a favourite of mine when I heard it on the radio. When you hear it, you're transported to a steamy summer day in a major American city in 1972.

Melissa Manchester- Midnight Blue, Don't Cry Out Loud: The first song is fine, but I never was crazy about the second — a bit oversung.

Next time: Manfred Mann's Earth Band and others.

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