“Here’s a way to dance my way out of my constriction, ” croons the most famous song from George Clinton’s sci-fi funk collective. Quite literally, the act of dance used as a means of social change, a populace implored to boogie its way to freedom. A hell of a lot more fun than a worthy protest folk song, frankly.
Chrissie Hynde’s ultimate calling card, as she sidles up, leather jacket on, lips in a snarl - possibly with a tambourine in her hand to kill the mood, but still super cool. Rarely has a song so basic sounded so alluring, although the less said about the waitressy video, the better.
Songs about sex are very rarely that sexy themselves, falling down either on the side of awkward or icky. But ‘Sex Machine’ positively throbs and thrusts, keeping you in the moment and in the mood, building to an eventual happy finish.
Bob at his lilting best, looking back at his impoverished past in the ghettos of Trench Town in Jamaica. Imploring his girlfriend not to cry with the promise that things were going to get better, its hypnotic charm make it one of the best-loved of Bob’s catalogue.
Serene, pristine and deranged, nobody should underestimate quite how shocking it was when the teenaged Bush emerged to the world with this haunting piano melodrama of her own creation. Casting herself as tragic heroine Cathy from Emily Bronte’s gothic romance, perhaps the reason so few pop songs are based on classic novels is that they’d have to live up to this.
Siouxsie Sioux proved herself as far more than a scenester from punk’s notorious ‘Bromley Contingent’. This oriental-flavoured day-glo riot proved she had the personality and musical muscle to forge a career that would outlast and outgrow the scene that she came from. It was very quickly acknowledged as a classic.
The zippy and infectious signature tune from the definitive female force of the punk rock scene. Ari Up makes a simple, direct, but biting attack on the perceived attitudes to femininity, at once offering up a delicious and mischievous alternative.
As the 70s hit their stride, Cologne’s krautrock pioneers evolved into more expressive and extreme forms of jazz-inflected sound. Their third record ‘Tago Mago’ is described as their most extreme, but this has stood the test of time as one their most beloved. Although rather less catchy than the Ash track of the same name.
In which the former Johnny Rotten did the unthinkable at the time and reinvented himself in an outfit just as compelling as the Sex Pistols. Musically a more mature strain of post-punk, but not lacking in his signature bile, here was a lacerating attack on what he saw as his exploitation at the hands of Malcolm McLaren.
The Beatles nudge into the '70s by the skin of their career, and we find McCartney at his most McCartneyish for the band’s swansong. Looking back on one the most thrilling journeys in music history, Macca sounds sentimental and weatherbeaten, a man finding peace, and the song is one of the warmest and fuzziest of the decade.