The '70s' Seven Sexiest Soft-Rock Songs

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This list is not just for the couples who perk up anytime the Cialis commercial airs. It's not only for the cubs who do their homework and will try to impress the cougars with their 1970s music knowledge.

Oh, the list is for them; but not only for them. It's for everyone. Everyone that thinks their partner could use a musical nudge towards the boudoir.

Sure, there are more recent songs to choose from, tunes by acts known for the panty-drop, but where's the ingenuity in that? Besides, how far removed from Bread and America are Coldplay and Ed Sheeran? Same thing, really.

7. "Kiss You All Over," Exile Consider what Exile is proposing here in this ode to foreplay...being kissed all over. The kiss is an art form we need to preserve, friends. It's the first indicator for the promise of a relationship. No one goes straight to toe-sucking on a first date.

The eyelid, the chin, that bone behind the left ear, the nape of one's neck, the curve at the base of the spine -- all good places to practice and all being offered "til the night closes in." What happens after that could be something that turns 50 Shades of Grey a few shades red.

Kissing: it's good stuff. Try it out.

6. "Magic," Olivia Newton-John Somehow Olivia Newton-John became the poster girl for '70s wholesomeness, the anti-Farrah. Maybe it was because of her star turn as goody-two-shoes Sandy in Grease. But her singing career was filled with the types of coos and purrs that had adolescent boys daydreaming about explosions with "Olivia Neutron-Bomb." Take a listen to "Have You Never Been Mellow?" That song is nothing but a sultry, whispered invitation to relax, Frankie Goes to Hollywood style.

In this one, ON-J is singing directly to the listener. "Come take my hand,...you have to believe we are magic..." It's forward, even a little bossy, the kind of stuff submissives enjoy. There's probably not an album cover where Newton-John is brandishing a cat o' nine tails, but it may have fit with "Magic." [Note: although the Xanadu soundtrack was released in the summer of 1980, "Magic" would almost have to have been written in the very late 1979, if not sooner. So, close enough.]

5. "Summer Breeze," Seals & Crofts This song was covered by The Isley Brothers, the truest purveyors of 1970s sexed-up songs, second only to the one-man mojo of Marvin Gaye.

If Ronald Isley took your song and turned up the heat, it was already at least scathingly hot. The entire first stanza is pure voyeurism. That bit about looking through the window to see the significant other waiting in a kimono, nothing but warm, quivering epidermis underneath, handing you a neat scotch as you enter the door on a Friday night, the whole house smelling of jasmine. Yeah, baby. Yeah.

4. "Maybe I'm Amazed," Paul McCartney As often as I hear people discussing the Beatles, I almost never hear the word "sexy" associated with their music. Once they went their separate ways, McCartney -- ever the romantic one -- stretched beyond silly love songs and gave us "Maybe I'm Amazed," which sounds like a revved-up romp.

Dramatic piano flourishes, climactic organ and Paul singing "Oh! Oh! Oh!" repeatedly at the song's apex. It sizzles and is a long, long way from "Love Me Do."

Story continues on the next page.

3. "Do That to Me One More Time," Captain & Tennille Sometimes uncouth people will suggest that '70s soft-rock is "cheesy" or "sappy," and that's because of acts like Captain & Tennille. The wimpiness of the Air Supplies and Dan Fogelbergs of the era are a turnoff. Captain & Tennille had a televised variety show that cemented their place in cornball history.

What people didn't realize is how surreptitious their songs were. C'mon. Don't tell me "Muskrat Love" isn't on Richard Gere's playlist. The nice thing about "Do That to Me One More Time" is Tennille never really says what's being done to her. So let your imagination run wild, adventurous paramours. And, if it feels good, do it one more time.

2. "Sara Smile," Hall & Oates I could be cheating a little with this one. Is Hall & Oates really in the same category as Gordon Lightfoot or Eric Carmen? I don't think so. Both these guys have soulful voices. Before they got caught in MTV's pop whirlwind of the 1980s, they laid down some sensual grooves. They're not soft-rock, really. They're somewhere between soft rock and Quiet Storm R&B . Call 'em a light drizzle.

Anyway, isn't this song about cuddling? Three or four times Darryl Hall sings about holding Sara and keeping her warm and not letting her take the walk of shame without some honest-to-Pete snuggling. That's manly.

My, how times have changed. When they wrote this song almost 40 years ago, they probably never envisioned a world where people turned cuddling into industry. At least Sara didn't have to pay for spooning.

1. "Could It Be Magic," Barry Manilow Anticipation. That's what Barry Manilow is singing about here, the excitement that builds slowly and ripens and can no longer be contained by will or strength or laws. "Could this be the magic...at last?" Manilow repeats.

The music crescendos as he begs and beckons and finally conquers. Barry Manilow -- he writes the songs that make the whole world get freaky.


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