Flashback to 1971: Top Pop Songs That Dominated the Charts, Including Paul Revere & the Raiders' 'Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)

The Number One Hits Of 1971

In 1971, Paul Revere & the Raiders scored a #1 hit with “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian),” a song that drew attention to the injustices faced by Native Americans. The song’s success helped bring awareness to the plight of indigenous people, and it remains an important moment in the history of socially conscious pop music.
December 26, 1970 – January 22, 1971
George Harrison
My Sweet Lord / Isn’t It a Pity
As a solo artist, George Harrison’s music often included spiritual themes and Eastern influences, setting his work apart from his time with the Beatles.
My Sweet Lord became embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit due to its similarity to the Chiffons’ He’s So Fine, while Isn’t It a Pity was a heartfelt exploration of sadness and loss.
January 23, 1971 – February 12, 1971
Tony Orlando and Dawn
Knock Three Times
Tony Orlando and Dawn was a pop group featuring Tony Orlando, Telma Hopkins, and Joyce Vincent Wilson.
The catchy, upbeat Knock Three Times tells the story of a man communicating with his neighbor through knocks on the ceiling.
February 13, 1971 – March 19, 1971
The Osmonds
One Bad Apple
The Osmonds were a family group of brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, and Donny Osmond.
The Jackson 5’s sound influenced One Bad Apple and became the Osmonds’ first number-one hit.
March 20, 1971 – April 2, 1971
Janis Joplin
Me and Bobby McGee
Janis Joplin was an iconic American rock singer known for her powerful, soulful voice and electric stage presence.
Me and Bobby McGee, written by Kris Kristofferson, became Joplin’s only number-one single and was released posthumously.
April 3, 1971 – April 16, 1971
The Temptations
Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)
The Temptations is a legendary Motown vocal group with a constantly changing lineup, though the classic lineup included David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks.
Just My Imagination is a soulful ballad demonstrating the group’s extraordinary vocal harmonies.
April 17, 1971 – May 28, 1971
Three Dog Night
Joy to the World
Three Dog Night was an American rock band known for their interpretations of songs by various songwriters, with vocalists Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and Chuck Negron.
Joy to the World, written by Hoyt Axton, features a catchy melody and memorable opening line, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.”
May 29, 1971 – June 11, 1971
The Rolling Stones
Brown Sugar
The Rolling Stones, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at the forefront, are an influential British rock band known for their blues-influenced sound and provocative lyrics.
Brown Sugar is a controversial song with provocative lyrics, reflecting the band’s edgy image during this period.
June 12, 1971 – June 18, 1971
The Honey Cone
Want Ads
The Honey Cone was an American R&B and soul girl group formed by lead singer Edna Wright, Shellie Clark, and Carolyn Willis.
Want Ads is a playful and upbeat tune about a woman seeking a new partner through newspaper advertisements.
June 19, 1971 – July 23, 1971
Carole King
It’s Too Late / I Feel the Earth Move
Carole King is a prolific singer-songwriter who began her career as a composer before transitioning to a solo artist.
It’s Too Late is a poignant ballad about a relationship’s end, while I Feel the Earth Move is an upbeat, piano-driven pop-rock song.
July 24, 1971 – July 30, 1971
Paul Revere & the Raiders
Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)
Paul Revere & the Raiders was an American rock band led by keyboardist Paul Revere and singer Mark Lindsay.
Indian Reservation is a protest song that addresses the historical mistreatment of Native Americans in the United States.
July 31, 1971 – August 6, 1971
James Taylor
You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor is an American singer-songwriter known for his introspective lyrics, soothing vocals, and folk-rock sound.
You’ve Got a Friend, written by Carole King, is a comforting ballad about the support and companionship of friends.
August 7, 1971 – September 3, 1971
Bee Gees
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
The Bee Gees were a British-Australian pop group of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, known for their harmonies and evolving sound.
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is a melancholy ballad showcasing the brothers’ harmonies and emotive songwriting.
September 4, 1971 – September 10, 1971
Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Paul McCartney, a former Beatles member, and his wife, Linda McCartney, collaborated on several projects during their marriage.
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey is a whimsical, multi-part song that blends various musical styles and features an array of sound effects.
September 11, 1971 – October 1, 1971
Donny Osmond
Go Away Little Girl
Donny Osmond, a member of the Osmond family, gained fame as a teen idol and later transitioned to a successful solo career.
Go Away Little Girl is a pop ballad about a young man resisting the advances of a younger girl, originally recorded by Steve Lawrence.
October 2, 1971 – November 5, 1971
Rod Stewart
Maggie May / Reason to Believe
Rod Stewart is a British rock singer known for his distinctive raspy voice and a career spanning various genres, from rock to pop and folk.
Maggie May is a narrative song about a young man’s relationship with an older woman, while Reason to Believe covers a Tim Hardin folk song.
November 6, 1971 – November 19, 1971
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
Cher is a pop icon with a career spanning six decades, known for her distinctive contralto voice and her ability to reinvent herself in music, film, and fashion.
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves is a story-driven song that addresses prejudice and social judgment themes.
November 20, 1971 – December 3, 1971
Isaac Hayes
Theme from Shaft
Isaac Hayes was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and producer who significantly shaped the sound of Southern and Memphis souls.
The Theme from Shaft is a funk and R&B instrumental that served as the theme for the 1971 film “Shaft,” it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
December 4, 1971 – December 24, 1971
Sly and the Family Stone
Family Affair
Sly and the Family Stone was an influential American band led by Sly Stone, known for their funk and soul sound that incorporated rock, jazz, and psychedelia elements.
Family Affair is a socially conscious song that reflects the band’s personal struggles and experiences, featuring a distinctive electric piano part.
December 25, 1971 – January 14, 1972
Brand New Key
Melanie Safka, known mononymously as Melanie, is an American singer-songwriter known for her folk-influenced sound and introspective lyrics.
Brand New Key is a playful, whimsical song with a memorable melody featuring Melanie’s distinctive voice and a simple arrangement.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1971 include:
Al Green, Aretha Franklin, The Bee Gees, Bill Withers, Bobby Womack, Bread, Carole King, The Carpenters, Cher, Chicago, The Chi-Lites, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Honeycone, Ike & Tina Turner, Issac Hayes, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Jean Knight, Joe Tex, Johnnie Taylor, Marvin Gaye, Melanie, The Osmonds, The Persuaders, Rod Stewart, Rufus Thomas, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, The Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, The Stylistics, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Tom Jones, Tommy James, Tony Orlando, Tyrone Davis, The Undisputed Truth, Wilson Pickett

(HPS music data is compiled from charts, including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

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