We love a heavy rock song as much as anyone else, but no one can deny the enticing pull of a soft rock hit every now and then.
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In the ’70s, rockers began to experiment with pop sensibilities. The end result was something that still kept the rock n’ roll staples intact (guitar riffs, thumping drums, etc.), but opted for lighter melodies than their predecessors.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 incomparable soft rock hits from the Bee Gees, the Eagles, and more for you to revisit.
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10. “How Deep Is Your Love” (Bee Gees)
The Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” veers dangerously close to easy-listening music. The dulcet harmonies of the Gibbs cut through a simple piano track like butter. Recorded for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the song became a Top 10 hit for the Bee Gees for a record-breaking 17 weeks (per Genius).
9. “Sailing” (Christopher Cross)
If a song ever warranted a step-touch, it’s Christopher Cross’ “Sailing.” Cross released this track in 1979 and it subsequently skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track feels pillowy soft when coming through your speakers and will instantly help you melt away into the paradise Cross is singing about.
8. “Doctor My Eyes” (Jackson Browne)
Ramping up the tempo a little bit, we’re looking at Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” Browne’s expert lyricism shines through on this track about a world-weary man. ‘Cause I have wandered through this world / And as each moment has unfurled / I’ve been waiting to awaken from these dreams, he sings.
7. “Do It Again” (Steely Dan)
Steely Dan would likely be categorized as jazz fusion before they would be soft rock, nevertheless the easy-breezy guitar-led melody of “Do It Again” lands them a spot on this list. One of their signature songs, “Do It Again” deals with the dark nature of man. As they drag you by your feet / But the hangman isn’t hangin’ / And they put you on the street, the lyrics read.
6. “New Kid In Town” (Eagles)
You can’t make a list of stellar soft rock tunes and not mention the Eagles. Though they have many soft rock hits to choose from, we’ve chosen to revisit “New Kid In Town.” This track keeps a steady mid-tempo the entire way through, driving right along until Glenn Frey sings his final line: There’s a new kid in town.
5. “Everything I Own” (Bread)
Kings of soft rock, Bread also had to have a spot on this list. Bread’s hits are mellow gold of the highest caliber. Taking the soft rock crown amongst the stiff competition in their discography is “Everything I Own.” I would give anything I own / I’d give up my life, my heart, my home / I would give everything I own / Just to have you back again, frontman David Gates sings in his stunning tenor.
4. “Say You Love Me” (Fleetwood Mac)
Christine McVie shines on this Fleetwood Mac track from their self-titled record. “Say You Love Me” is one of the group’s most straightforward, pop-focused tracks. Instead of warping guitars and heavy drums, the group lets McVie’s piano lead the way toward a brighter, more blithe musicality.
3. “A Horse With No Name” (America)
“A Horse With No Name” acted as America’s first single and took them all the way to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. America is another premiere soft rock band that helped define the genre in the ’70s. Few bands stack up to their sense of arrangement and harmony-driven choruses.
2. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (Eagles)
Circling back around to the Eagles, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” is the thesis statement for soft rock as a whole. ‘Cause I get a peaceful easy feelin’ / And I know you won’t let me down, is the exact feeling you want out a good soft rock listening session.
1. “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac)
Last but certainly not least is Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Fleetwood Mac has so many stellar soft rock gems we had to give them two spots on this list. “Dreams” lets Stevie Nicks take center stage with her intimate vocals in tow. Though the lyrics to this track deal with relationship turmoil, the musicality will wipe all your worries away in less than five minutes.
Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns