Another excellent piece written by Jason Klose​. Five of the top American songwriting teams of the 1970s. – by Jason Klose

– Top American Songwriting Duos of the ‘70s

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong

After scoring hit after hit in the 1960s with singles like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” The Temptations’ “Cloud Nine,” “Runaway Child, Running Wild,” and “I Can’t Get Next to You,” the songwriting duo of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong continued their success into the ‘70s with several Top 10 hits. They collaborated on three No. 1 singles: “War” by Edwin Starr in 1970, and two songs by the Temptations, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) in 1971, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in 1972. Other hits include “Psychedelic Shack” and Ball of Confusion” by The Temptations in 1970, and “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by the Undisputed Truth in 1971.

Gamble and Huff

The songwriting and production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff are credited for developing the Philadelphia soul music genre (also known as the Philly sound) of the 1970s. Beginning in the 1960s, the duo had success with hits like “Expressway to Your Heart” by the Soul Survivors” and “Cowboys to Girls” by the Intruders. Throughout the decade of the ‘70s, the songwriting duo’s compositions would consistently reach the Top 5, including three No. 1 pop hits. Those hits include “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, “Love Train” by the O’Jays, “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” by M.F.S.B. featuring the Three Degrees, “When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees, and “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” by Lou Rawls.

Don Henley and Glenn Frey (Eagles)

Eagles co-founders Don Henley and Glenn Frey wrote most of the band’s hit songs along with other members of the band such as Don Felder and Joe Walsh, and outside writers and friends like J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne. But besides being accomplished musicians and the primary lead vocalists, Henley and Frey were essentially the Lennon and McCartney of the Eagles, and the duo wrote many of the groups biggest hits and most memorable songs together including “Desperado,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “One of These Nights,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “After the Thrill Is Gone,” “Wasted Time” and “The Last Resort” from “Hotel California,” and “The Long Run.”

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan)

As the founders of the jazz rock-pop band Steely Dan, singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Donald Fagen and songwriter, guitarist, and bassist Walter Becker composed nearly all of the group’s songs, with complex harmonies and time signatures and cryptic and ironic lyrics. The duo’s 1972 debut album “Can’t Buy a Thrill,” yielded two of their biggest and most popular hit songs, “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years.” Their third album “Pretzel Logic” included their most successful charting single, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” which reached No. 4 in 1974. Their other popular songs in the decade include “My Old School,” “Black Friday,” “Kid Charlemagne,” “FM (No Static at All),” the title theme for the 1978 film “FM,” and “Peg,” “Deacon Blues,” and “Josie” from their multi-platinum hit album “Aja” in 1977.

Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic)

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, arranger, and composer Nile Rodgers and singer, songwriter, bassist, and producer Bernard Edwards co-founded the rock group Chic, which became commercially successful during the disco era of the late ‘70s with the pop singles “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” in 1977, “I Want Your Love” and the No. 1 hit “Le Freak” in 1978, and the No. 1 hit “Good Times” in 1979. Rodgers and Edwards also composed, arranged, produced and performed on many disco and R&B records for various artists, including the Sister Sledge album “We Are Family,” which produced two hit singles, “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the No. 2 hit “We Are Family” in 1979; and Diana Ross’s 1980 album “Diana,” which included the No. 1 hit “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.”

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John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 38 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a newsman so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first Elton John album as a teen. In the ’80s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show ‚”The Cross Canada Report‚” which had two versions (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the evening show at Move 103.5 (formerly QM-FM) in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio. 

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