10 gloriously gooey one-hit-wonder love songs of the 1970s

"Love Is in the Air," indeed.

Image: YouTube / Thinkstock

Love was in the air in the 1970s. Or maybe that was just all the musk people were wearing. It's no wonder that the decade that gave us unbuttoned polyester shirts, mood rings, shag carpeting and leisure suits would also be the golden era of the love ballad. 

The radio was filled with sunset-hued ballads, syrupy strings, fireside acoustic guitars and earnest pleas to "make love." 

Of course, it was also the disco era, and love was certainly in the air. In fact, there was a disco song called "Love Is in the Air." We've included it below in our list of romantic one-hit wonders.

It's time for a couples skate at the roller rink!

1. Minnie Ripperton - "Lovin' You"

Riperton could hit notes that few could hit (until Mariah Carey came along). The chorus of "Loving You" soars so high, it's technically in the "whistle register" of the human voice. The single similarly soared to No. 1. It would be her only hit.

Image: Epic / Discogs

2. Morris Albert - "Feelings"

In 1976, The Gong Show ran a gag in which every contestant on the show sang this goopy ballad. The song has been covered dozens of times since its release in 1974, and not just by game show contestants.

Image: Discogs

3. Starland Vocal Band - "Afternoon Delight"

"The thought of rubbing you is getting so exciting." For lyrics like that, the D.C.–born band won the 1977 Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Boston, the Brothers Johnson and Wild Cherry. Starland also briefly landed their own variety show, too.

Image: Windsong Records / Discogs

4. David Soul - "Don't Give Up on Us"

Eat your heart out, Starsky. Soul, who portrayed "Hutch" on the hit action series Starsky & Hutch, scored a massive hit with this widely known love song. The B-side (bean side?) was "Black Bean Soup," which hardly sounds romantic.

Image: Private Stock / Discogs

5. Peter McCann - "Do You Wanna Make Love"

There might be nothing more 1970s than Peter McCann with his big mustache, tinted aviator shades and fly collar asking, "Do you wanna make love," over a gentle bed of twangy guitars.

Image: 20th Century / Discogs

6. Samantha Sang - "Emotion"

Most might remember this as a Bee Gees song, and it essentially is. Robin and Barry Gibb wrote the track, and the latter slathered his distinct falsetto all over the choruses. Everything the Bee Gees touched in the '70s turned to gold, including this obscure Australian singer.

Image: Private Stock / Discogs

7. Toby Beau - "My Angel Baby"

A poor man's Pablo Cruise, this Texas act, which can also be confused with a man's name, rode the warm glow of its love song all the way to No. 13. It was undoubtedly heard during couples' skate at your local roller rink.

Image: RCA / Discogs

8. John Paul Young - "Love Is in the Air"

Every time you press play on this song, a disco ball lights up, somewhere. Probably in Australian. The Aussie was huge down under, though this was his only hit in the States. Believe it or not, it was co-written by George Young (no relation), the elder brother to Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. Yes, this song has the same producers as Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

Image: Eurodisc / Discogs

9. Bobby Caldwell - "What You Won't Do for Love"

It seems like Bobby Caldwell had far more top hits than this funky number, probably because half of the hip-hop acts of the 1990s sampled this gem.

Image: Discogs

10. France Joli - "Come to Me"

The Canadian scored a disco hit just before the '80s came sweeping in, and the song managed to blend the folky balladry of the past ten years with the futuristic dance to come.

Image: Prelude Records / Discogs

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RedSamRackham 31 months ago
* THough not a 1-hit wonder IMHO worst was Muskrat Love! ♣
Amalthea 32 months ago
Actually, "Black Bean Soup" was a sweet little ditty. I had the 45 AND the album. ♫ "All I want is Black Bean Soup, and you to cook it with me. Be my love while love will stay, and wear your ribbons for me" ♫
caleb53 35 months ago
WOW! I got all worked up with that France Joli video. As my dear old Grandmother, rest her soul, would say..... "MERCY"!
TCKirkham 48 months ago
Oh and one other thing - although he may have only had one top 40 hit, Bobby Caldwell has been a top selling jazz vocalist for nearly 40 years, and Paul Hardcastle the same in the instrumental field - their stuff is well worth checking out as well!
TCKirkham 48 months ago
Say what you want about Starland Vocal Band - although "Afternoon Delight" was their only top 40 hit, they had four incredible albums between 1976-1980, all of them immensely listenable. And they did make it back to the AC chart in 1980 - briefly - with "Loving You With My Eyes" from their fourth album. Bill and Taffy Danoff, Jon Carroll, and Margot Chapman are far too often dismissed, as they always had crisp production and some of the best harmonies anywhere - track down the other albums "Rear View Mirror" (1977), "Late Night Radio" (1978) and "4 x 4" (1980), and you won't be disappointed.
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