The 10 Best '70s Throwback Jamz
4. "Mary Jane," Rick James
Rick James added a healthy does of heavy rock to that steadfast funkage back in '78, which led to not only what became his signature sound -- "punk-funk -- but also this little ditty. A wave of artists using those elements -- The Temptations and Smokey Robinson, for instance -- but no one did it quite like Rick James, bitch. We cannot resist the urge to bust out some seriously bad dance moves when we hear him belt out this ode to the sticky-icky, and you shouldn't either.
3. "Maggie May," Rod Stewart
This tune, written about Rod Stewart's affair with an older woman, is the song that defined his career, and it was recorded in just a couple of sessions. Stewart's band didn't even have access to cymbals in the studio, so the famous crashing sound had to be overdubbed in the days following the recording session. We still think this lovelorn, ambivalent song about Maggie is perfect, no matter how it came together.
2. "Midnight Train To Georgia," Gladys Knight & the Pips
Random fact: this uber-famous hit was initially recorded by another artist, Jim Weatherly, as "Midnight Plane to Houston," which is awesome and all, but hardly what makes us such a fan. What makes us adore this rendition is its soulful, unearthly sound. From Ms. Knight's velvet-covered vocals to the Pips' fantastic everything, it's everything one could ask for in a '70s jam.
1. "What's Going On," Marvin Gaye
Everything about this song is right, from Marvin's ethereal vocals, which are so powerful in their understated, brilliant way, to its socially conscious message. There's so much to this tune -- it's one part soul, one part gospel, and a million parts mournful -- and we wouldn't change one single note.
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