Only Love: 1970-1974 follows the pattern of other entries in JCI's Only Love series, offering a seemingly random collection of 20 hits from a given genre or style covering a period of five years. These songs weren't necessarily the biggest hits of these particular five years, although there are a number of classics and smashes here. It may be hard to deduce exactly why these songs were chosen -- especially since the compilers apparently define the "love" genre as anything vaguely romantic, musically or lyrically -- but the end results are nevertheless quite entertaining. All of the songs are featured in their original hit versions, not remakes, which isn't always the case with mid-line collections. Furthermore, a few cuts aren't easy to find on other collections or even greatest-hits albums, which means that the Only Love series is interesting to collectors as well as casual fans. Most importantly, each volume captures the feeling of the era, even if it's missing several big hits, and that's what makes the series a nice introductory overview for curious listeners. Among the highlights on Only Love: 1970-1974 are Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me by Now," Lobo's "I'd Love You to Want Me," Ray Stevens' "Everything Is Beautiful," Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis," Eddie Holman's "Hey There Lonely Girl," the Spinners' "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," Bread's "Make It with You," the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," Don McLean's "Vincent," Dionne Warwick's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," Luther Ingram's "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right", and the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe."
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine