After the summer of love in 1969, the 1970s saw a shift in music. Sure, there were still bands with hippie sentiments at heart, but new forms of music were starting to take shape.
The 1970s not only introduced us to disco but other important musical genres. Just think about it… The '70s gave us punk, and on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the birth of a harder form of rock music. In fact, some will say that heavy metal was born in the decade. And what about other musical directions such as ska and reggae? These definitely started to enjoy commercial success during the decade.
Looking at bands, many from the 1960s continued their success into the 1970s. Some even became more popular! Other bands formed during the decade, quickly pushing themselves to the forefront of popular music. Some, like The Sex Pistols, were extremely controversial… I mean, imagine saying the F-word live on TV in the 1970s!
That said, so much great music and so many incredible bands made the 1970s one of the greatest musical decades. So let's cut to the chase, then: if we give you an image, do you think you would be able to identify a '70s band? Let's see how you go! Rock on!
It was in the 1970s that Bob Marley and the Wailers really came to the fore as perhaps the most famous reggae group in the world. They had formed as a ska vocal group in 1963, but it was the '70s and the introduction of instruments that saw their popularity explode.
Although they only released one album, The Sex Pistols changed music forever. Their single "God Save the Queen" went to number two on the U.K. charts in 1977. Some say the charts were doctored to stop it reaching number one in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. The band imploded soon after their tour of the United States in 1978.
After starting as a hard-rock band in the late 1960s, it was a more progressive rock direction that raised the popularity of Rush in the 1970s. Led by bassist Geddy Lee, their 1977 album "2112" really introduced them to the world. The title track was a 20-minute epic which took up all of side one of the LP, while side two consisted of five other tracks. To date, Rush has sold over 25 million albums in the United States.
Sly and the Family Stone had much success from the mid-1960s with their soul- and funk-inspired songs. In the '70s, their direction was a little less commercial, but they still enjoyed success. Sadly, Sly Stone's drug problem saw the band split, although Stone continued to tour under the name. Rolling Stone ranked the band the 43rd greatest band of all time.
Formed by Billy Gibbons in 1969, the decade of the 1970s saw ZZ Top establish themselves as one of the best roots rock 'n' roll bands in the United States. And it was on a two-year break in the mid-'70s that Gibbons and Dusty Hill grew their trademark beards.
Nineteen members have been members of Yes over the years! They are one of the most recognized art rock bands from the 1970s, however. Their 1972 album "Close to the Edge" included a one-side 19-minute title track.
Formed in 1972, Van Halen's first line-up, which saw them through the 1970s, was Eddie and Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony. Their first commercial release, also entitled "Van Halen," reached number one on the Billboard charts after its release in 1978.
Although they formed in the late 1960s, Traffic was at their peak in the '70s. Fronted by Steve Winwood, the band had a top-10 American album with "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" in 1971. Strangely, it didn't chart in the United Kingdom. After more success in the States, the band effectively broke up when during a concert in Chicago, Winwood walked off stage, leaving the U.S. the next day. They reformed twice, once in 1994 and once in 2004.
Formed in 1975, Talking Heads consisted of David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. Their first single, "Psycho Killer," wasn't much of a hit, reaching number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. It showed their sound, however, and is included in the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock. The Talking Heads went on to achieve massive success in the 1980s.
Well, what can you say about Queen that hasn't been said before? Formed in 1970, Queen was fronted by the incredible vocal talents of Freddy Mercury. Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, was the driving force behind the band and an incredible frontman. That said, Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon were musically also very impressive. Mercury died of complications from AIDs, but the band continues touring to this day using a variety of singers, including Adam Lambert.
Formed in 1970, Aerosmith is a hard rock band out of Boston. Their second album, "Toys in the Attic," broke Aerosmith into the big time. Further albums followed in the '70s, with some reaching platinum status.
Formed in 1967, REO Speedwagon released their first album in 1971. Despite changing lead vocalist three times in three years, they proved to be pretty popular on the U.S. concert scene. In fact, their first live album, 1977's "Live: You Get What You Play For," achieved platinum sales status in America.
The Ramones were one of the first U.S. punk bands to gain popularity in the 1970s. In fact, many would classify the band as the start of the punk sound and movement. Although they had limited commercial success, the influence of the band cannot be underestimated.
By the 1970s, the Rolling Stones were one of the biggest bands in the world. The early '70s release of "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street" solidified their success. One of their big hits during this period was "Angie."
Known for their hit "Rocking All Over the World," Status Quo were extremely popular in the 1970s. Interestingly, that single only went to number three on the U.K. charts but "Down, Down" did give them their first and only number one.
Perhaps the biggest band in the world thanks to their success in the 1960s, the Beatles disbanded in 1970. Their final album, "Let it Be," was released in that year. While Paul McCartney went on to form Wings, the other members of the Beatles released solo recordings throughout the decade.
The Steve Miller Band attained massive success with their 1974 single "The Joker." It not only went to number one on the Billboard charts but sold over a million units, thus attaining platinum status. More success followed later in the '70s with the singles "Fly Like an Eagle," which reached number two on the charts, and "Rock'n Me," another number-one hit.
Released in 1973, "The Dark Side of the Moon" is certainly the album that defined Pink Floyd during the '70s. Incredibly, it remained in the Billboard charts for 743 weeks from 1973 to 1988. Two singles were released off the album, "Money" and "Us and Them."
With thirteen top-20 hits in Britain during the 1970s, The Sweet, or sometimes just Sweet, enjoyed a relative amount of fame during the decade. They are perhaps best known for their singles "Fox on the Run" and "Ballroom Blitz."
The Jackson 5 sold more than 100 million albums during their career. Having started in the 1960s, it was the 1970s and particularly the disco era in which they thrived. Their singles "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There" released in the early 70s all followed each other to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Formed 1975, Motörhead was fronted by bassist, singer and chief songwriter, Lemmy Kilmister. Known for their driven heavy-rock sound, they influenced many other British heavy-metal acts.
The case of the Moody Blues' biggest hit, "Nights in White Satin," is a strange one. Released in 1967, it fared poorly in the United States. When released in 1972, it climbed to number two, selling over a million units.
A glam-rock band, Mott the Hoople are best known for their single "All The Young Dudes." Released in 1972, the song went to number three on the U.K. charts. It was written for the band by David Bowie, who heard they were on the verge of throwing in the towel after little success. That single changed it all for the band!
The career of The Police was short lived. Formed in London in 1977, the band was comprised of Sting (vocals, bass), Andy Summer (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). But The Police didn't even last a decade. In that time, however, they were one of the greatest bands on the planet! "Can't Stand Losing You" was their first major hit, reaching number two on the U.K. charts in 1979.
The Runaways formed in 1975 and featured Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and Joan Jett. They were massive in Japan of all places thanks to their single "Cherry Bomb." Joan Jett went on to have a very successful career after the band split in 1979.
One of the biggest bands in the world today, U2 formed in 1976 in Dublin. Their earlier years saw no major releases except an EP, "U2-3," which was available in Ireland only. A short tour to London followed, but the band only really took off at the beginning of the 1980s.
Steely Dan were formed in 1972 and by 1975 were done with touring, becoming a studio-only band. Their blend of jazz, rock, pop and R&B gained them a cult following. Their most famous hit, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," reached number one on the Billboard charts.
Formed in 1970, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are one of the most successful British bands of the '70s, especially across the Atlantic in the United States.
The New York Dolls, along with the Ramones, were responsible for the early punk sound in the United States. Their two albums, "New York Dolls" (1973) and "Too Much Too Soon" (1974), proved popular even as the band fell apart relatively quickly.
Formed in 1971, Wings included Linda, Paul's wife, as well as former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings managed one number-one hit in the United Kingdom, 1977's "Mull of Kintyre."
Art rockers Roxy Music were formed in 1970. Lead singer Bryan Ferry was also the band's chief songwriter. Initially, Roxy Music had success in Europe, but in the 1980s, this transferred to the United States as well.
Legendary guitarist Joe Walsh was part of James Gang, a rock band formed in 1966 and active until 1977. Two of their early '70s albums attained gold status in the United States.
Earth, Wind & Fire were one of America's top bands in the 1970s. They were prolific during the decade, releasing nine albums in just 10 years. Legendary jazz artist Miles Davis called Earth, Wind & Fire his favorite band.
Formed in 1977, Dire Straits are fronted by the legendary guitarist, Mark Knopfler. Their first single, "Sultans of Swing," was an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Formed in 1977, Cheap Trick's first album was extremely popular in Japan. Their second, a live recording called "Cheap Trick Live at the Budokan," saw them breakthrough in America as well. In 1979, "I Want You to Want Me" gave them their first top-10 hit in their home country.
The Bee Gees formed way back in 1958. It was the 1970s, however, and disco in particular that saw the band have a massive spike in their popularity with singles such as "How Deep Is Your Love," "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" providing number-one hits.
There is no denying the influence that Black Sabbath had on rock and heavy-metal music. Fronted by Ozzy Osbourne, Sabbath's self-titled debut album reached number eight on the British album charts.
Another massive influence on the heavy-metal and hard-rock scene, AC/DC sprang to prominence in the 1970s. Formed in Australia in 1973, AC/DC are characterized by hard-hitting riffs courtesy of Angus Young. Their major breakthrough came in 1979 with the album "Highway To Hell," which reached number 17 in the United States.
"Thinking man's punk" is probably the way you would describe The Clash. Fronted by Joe Strummer, The Clash achieved success all around the world. Their second album, "London Calling," was a major factor in them breaking into the American market.
Formed in 1967, CCR as they were known had much success. Their 1970 album "Cosmo's Factory" was number one on the U.S. album charts and the best seller in their catalog. The band broke up in 1972.