Five songs from the 1970s that have no business being as great as they are

These five songs were better than anyone should have expected.
Angus Young of AC/DC
Angus Young of AC/DC / Michael Putland/GettyImages
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Styx - "Come Sail Away" (1977)

What a weird song this is. A spaceship lands and puts someone on the craft, and then takes off. That's what it is about, am I right? The song almost does itself in as well because there is a breakdown with synths that makes literally no sense. The listener kind of has to sit and wait for that to end to enjoy the song again. But Styx makes the breakdown worth it because at the end there is a monstrous guitar riff.

There are two reasons this song is great. One is guitarist Tommy Shaw who plays as if there is no vocal track at all, which is the way music should be made. He was not a subordinate on the track; he was a driving force to the melody.

The other reason the song works to perfection is that singer Dennis DeYoung has the theatrical chops to make the words work. One might not even care what he is singing about because his voice is so pure that he could be emoting about the trash being taken out and we might all be like, "Yeah! Rock on!"

Kiss - "Detroit Rock City" (1976)

This song, which is a fan favorite, failed to chart. In fact, the track ended up being a B-side to "Beth," the overly sweet drivel that drummer Peter Criss wrote. Plus, Detroit has little to do with the origin of the tune other than the word "Detroit" is two syllables with a hard d and a hard t - unusual as most words just have a hit on one letter - and that makes the word perfect for rock and roll. Heck, "Detroit" sounds like the drum pick-up at the beginning of an amazing song.

Instead, the lyrics to the song are much more dire. Paul Stanley said in KISS: Behind the Mask - The Official Authorized Biography that he "didn't know what the song was about...then I remembered on the previous tour, I think it was in Charlotte, somebody had gotten hit by a car and killed outside the arena. I remember thinking how weird it is that people's lives end so quickly." So, yeah...not fun.

The song is, though. Who can't resist singing along to "Get up!...Get down!" One does not even have ever visited Detroit to enjoy the track. We all live in some kind of Detroit anyway. (At least, that's what I say in all my fake political messages.)