Rating the top 10 singles from this week in 1970: Think music was better back in the day? We'll be the judge of that

By Raymond Fiore
Updated April 18, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

The top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, for the week ending April 18, 1970:

10. ”Up the Ladder to the Roof,” the Supremes The first of only a handful of post-Diana Ross top 10 hits, this one’s got some funky conga action. But the vocal, while serviceable, is pretty forgettable. B-

9. ”American Woman/No Sugar Tonight,” the Guess Who One of the most classic of classic-rock jams, period. If, God forbid, you only know Lenny Kravitz’s version, get thee to iTunes ASAP! A

8. ”Love or Let Me Be Lonely,” Friends of Distinction A vocal harmony group akin to the Fifth Dimension or a soul-minded ABBA, FOD specialized in horn-happy nuggets like this ditty, which can still shine on any given spring day. B+

7. ”Come and Get It,” Badfinger Sound like a melody and piano line ripped outta McCartney’s songbook? You are correct! Macca wrote this pleasant, Beatlesque throwaway, though he didn’t loan out his McCharisma. B

6. ”Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon & Garfunkel The classic’s been covered by better singers (Aretha comes to mind), but the original version’s pairing of an elegant gospel-pop score with a simple, poignant lyric (”I will lay me down”) is essential. A

5. ”Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),” Edison Lighthouse If you didn’t fall in love with this pop fluff as an impressionable 12-year-old, you never will. A British group that deserved far less than its one solitary hit. C-

4. ”Instant Karma (We All Shine On),” John Ono Lennon With George Harrison on guitar, Billy Preston on keys, and Phil Spector producing, Lennon’s smash was an all-star slam dunk. Even Yoko’s backing vocals can’t bring it down. A

3. ”Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum Echoing the freak-folk sound of contemporaries David Bowie and Marc Bolan, the unforgettable psychedlic hit spawned an excellent new-wave cover by Doctor and the Medics in 1986, and more recently, it struck credit-card and car-commercial gold. A

2. ”ABC,” the Jackson 5 You can try to be Ms.Too-Cool-for-Preschool and dismiss this as pure Jacko drivel. Or even argue that it’s weaker than many other early-era hits. Valid points. But does it put you in touch with your giddy, pigtail-rockin’ innocence? Case closed. A

1. ”Let It Be,” the Beatles Speaking of gospel-pop covered by Aretha, the title track from the Beatles’ underrated swansong LP is uplifting and ubiquitous as ever. And I’m no easy grader, but this chart can’t be denied its sixth incontestable A.