The 70’s hit and the hippies were still going for a while. Arguing their point with opposition to the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons; bringing about world peace and hostility to authorities such as the government and big business. A recession hit most countries due to an oil crisis. Right at the end of the decade the Conservatives and Thatcher got into power in the UK, but that’s more for the 80’s. So much animosity and bad in the 70’s, its surprising we got so much good music from it.
Aerosmith: Proved that changing record label could reboot your career. Also provided items, other than clothes, being linked to the band as their signature. Yes, I’m talking about Steve Tyler’s cloth piece on his mic stand.
Album you should check out: ‘Toys in the Attic’ brought them mainstream success. It also contains the epitomise example of a catchy rock tune “Walk This Way”, which would go on to be one of the most popular collaborations ever. This version with Run DMC can be checked out on their 1986 album, ‘Raising Hell’.
The Ramones: They started punk rock, but received only limited success. A critic once wrote, “the band’s first four albums set the blueprint for punk (…) for the next two decades”. They took away long guitar solos and made music quirky again. One observer put it, “instantly nearly every band speeded up”. I’m sure they meant to say ‘sped up’ though.
Album you should check out: ‘Ramones’. If you know of the Ramones, you’ll know that their synonymous with the phrase, “hey ho, let’s go!” Well this album features ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ which is the song that phrase originates from. This is also the album that bought punk and “speeded” everyone else up.
Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and Jon Paul Jones are four household names. Their music was so diverse it’s influenced a range of rock genres and even some artists you wouldn’t think of; out of that including Madonna, Shakira and Katie Melua. Jimmy Page was even seen playing his guitar with a violin bow… that is showmanship right there!
Album you should check out: Led Zeppelin IV. It contains ‘Stairway to Heaven’, one of their biggest hits. It’s has an acoustic start before going into a belter of an electric track. It’s influenced tons of songwriters to write in this style, including ‘Free Bird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, ‘Dream Deceiver’ by Judas Priest and ‘Gunslinger’ by Avenged Sevenfold.
Alice Cooper: He had incredibly daring stage shows and brought horror movies into music that was designed to shock it’s audience, such as guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood and snakes. He also experimented in new genres and gave bands more freedom to follow this idea.
Album you should check out: School’s Out. It may be one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard, but it’s the anthem of school leaver’s every year since it’s release (and that’s a lot of years).
T. Rex: They were a huge Glam Rock band in their day, a music scene that has influenced tons of genres since. They were so big they experienced their own version of Beatlemania which was called ‘T.Rexasy’.
Album you should check out: Electric Warrior. Contains ‘Get It On’, one of the best songs to ever surface from Glam Rock.
Black Sabbath: Who hasn’t heard of Ozzy Osbourne? This was where it all started for him and the great Tony Iommi. This band has not only been an influence to other musicians, but on other forms of media.
Album you should check out: Paranoid. A range of the songs contained on this album are still used in popular culture today. They’ve been in a host of video games, most notably the ‘Guitar Hero’ series. They’ve also been in a lot of films. ‘Iron Man’ being both the title of the song and the comic book movie. Both independently are awesome, together they are astonishing.
Queen: If you haven’t heard of or don’t know these are you’ve been living in a cave surely? One of the most influential bands ever. Not only a collection of amazing musicians, but some of the best songwriters ever. Brian May is so good at guitar the Queen let him play on top of Buckingham Palace. Freddie Mercury is another musician gone before his time, but he was the best front man to have ever lived. Such a show man, such a martyr at what he did. Every single album they released right up to Freddie’s death was nothing short of perfect (including the tracks recorded whilst he was very ill).
Album you should check out: A Night at the Opera. Each album is amazing, but this one has ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on it. Also a rocking version of our own national anthem in just guitar playing glory ends this album. Best version of our anthem ever.
David Bowie: Right at the end of the swinging 60’s David Bowie appeared in the limelight and public eye with his song “Space Oddity”. People were hooked onto Bowie’s music from then on and he became a major icon of the 70’s. And it was in 1972 that he launched his Ziggy and the Spiders tour as Ziggy Stardust. Glam Rock had hit and it was big! (It would make a few revivals here and there in later life, but this was it’s beginnings).
Album you should check out: Aladdin Sane. I could’ve picked ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’, but my favourite ever David Bowie song is on ‘Aladdin Sane’ and that song my friends is ‘The Jean Genie’. Fans of hit TV show ‘Life on Mars’ should be incredibly familiar with this song, but if you’ve not heard this or much other Bowie stuff, it’s a brill place to start, cause you will simply be hooked!
The Stooges: They got off to a very late start in the 60’s, but by the 70’s they did well in Britain thanks to David Bowie mixing their album, under the name Iggy and the Stooges. They started true punk rock in the 70’s and it was the erratic and hectic live shows that they were known for that would inspire generations to come. And it was during these stage shows that Iggy Pop invented the stage dive. Long may it live on!
Album you should check out: Raw Power. It was controversially mixed by David Bowie in 1973 and Iggy Pop remixed and re-released it himself in 1997, but it’s the album that started true punk and made the Stooges deserve to be on this list. This is the beginnings of punk and should not be missed for any punk rock fans!
Sex Pistols: The god’s of non-conformity. Disappointed with Britain in the 70’s, they took on the challenge of fighting back in their own way. I wonder if they were younger what they’d think of Britain today.
Album you should check out: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Technically their only ever studio album. But a fantastic release that shaped punk rock forever. There’s not been an album like it til it’s release and not an album like it since.
The Police: One of the first white big bands to openly include reggae influence in their music, which was and probably still is a predominantly black style of music. The Police also paved the way for one of Britain’s biggest solo artists, Sting.
Album you should check out: Reggatta de Blanc. This is the album that made them big. Also contained the huge hit ‘Message in a Bottle’.
Blondie: An amazing band and fronted by an amazing woman. One of my heroes, Debbie Harry. A band that were right in there with punk in the early 70’s, managed to keep themselves around a lot longer by adapting their sound into the more disco sound. Never afraid to try their hand at something new, Blondie have been an influence of female musicians because Debbie was an incredibly strong and powerful front woman.
Album you should check out: Parallel Lines. Hit after hit on this album. At least half of this album would be classed as Blondie greatest hits. A brilliant start for anyone looking for something with a woman who can sing!
Pink Floyd: One of the big prog-rock bands. Took songs to the extremes. Either REALLY long, or REALLY short, but always put together to form a huge tale of a bigger story. They have been influencing prog-rock ever since.
Album you should check out: The Wall. This one makes it into the 70’s by about a month. But it started other band’s really looking at music as something more than just a moment in their lives. This album was a rock opera, a tale of a man called Pink whose life had frankly been a bit rubbish! This album was turned into a feature film and theatrical effects accompanied it’s performances.
Misfits: The god’s of horror-punk. Bringing horror movies and punk rock colliding together. Simple riffs, catchy tunes and songs about some of my favourite topics, including Halloween (also my favourite holiday!). What more could you ask for from a band?
Album you should check out: Walk Among Us. One of their original albums. There’s been so many collections with unreleased tracks and b-sides that it was really difficult what to pick. But start here and simply follow on, you can’t go wrong.