1970s in music


1970s in music

Music of the 1970s saw the rise of experimental classical music and minimalist music by classical composers. Funk, disco, Art rock, progressive rock, hard rock, glam rock, and punk music were also popular. Emerging genres included jazz-rock fusion, 'chamber jazz', reggae and hip hop.

Major trends

The seventies were a time when a new generation of youthful people were exposed to new media and hence newer ideas in almost every field. TV and motion picture brought to varied audiences images, lifestyles and music from diverse regions and peoples. This led to the emergence of a new vocabulary and experimentation in music. After the war the second generation of German musicians began experimenting with music, these included experimental classical music and the tradition of Krautrock or Kraut music, rooted in the experimental classical music. This later influenced both art rock and progressive rock as well as the punk rock and New Wave genres. The main exponents of progressive rock include Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Supertramp, Pink Floyd and Premiata Forneria Marconi. The experimental nature of progressive rock is exemplified in compositions such as "Close to the Edge" by Yes, or "Supper's Ready" by Genesis. Also the start of Hard rock in many forms began with the British bands Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.One of the first events of the 70s was the breakup of the Beatles in 1970. However, the seventies were also when many legendary rock bands started, or hit their peak, including ABBA, Black Sabbath, Queen, Kansas, Boston, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Electric Light Orchestra, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Talking Heads, Blondie, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Patti Smith, Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo, Family, Free, Aerosmith, Badfinger, the Eagles, Kiss, Heart, Rush, The Who, The Doors, Uriah Heep, and Van Halen, to name a few. In Europe, there was a surge of popularity in the early decade for glam rock, thanks largely to the rise of T. Rex, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Gary Glitter and David Bowie, and bands like Slade and the Sweet.

The first half of the 1970s saw many jazz musicians from the Miles Davis school achieve cross-over success through jazz-rock fusion. The exponential groups of the genre were Mahavishnu Orchestra, Soft Machine, Return to Forever, created by Chick Corea, and Weather Report, built upon the keyboards and saxophone of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, respectively. In Germany, Manfred Eicher started the ECM label, which quickly made a name for 'chamber jazz' through the likes of Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett and Terje Rypdal. These two movements attracted many fans of progressive rock after its destruction by punk in 1976–77.

Another experimentation in European classical music was brought about by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Michael Nyman, with what was to be called Minimalist music. This was a break from the intellectual serial music of the tradition of Schoenberg which lasted from the early 1900s to 1960s. Minimalist music sought to appreciate simple music with systematic patterns repeated in complex variations.

These experimentations were also used in several movies made in the early 1970s. In world music the musical collaboration of violinists Yehudi Menuhin and L. Subramaniam was appreciated by a large audience.

The commercial cinemas around the world tended to imitate nuances of disco beats in their movies to present their movies as western and upbeat. These included the increasingly popular Kung-fu movies in far East Asia and Bollywood movies from India. One of the most successful European groups of the decade was the quartet ABBA. The Swedish group, who are still the most successful group from their country, first found fame when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. They became one of the most widely known European groups ever, and were the decade's biggest sellers. "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen" are two of ABBA's most popular songs.

To many people, the Seventies will be most remembered for the rise in disco music. First creeping into dance clubs in the mid-seventies (with such hits as "The Hustle" by Van McCoy), songstresses like Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Dalida and Anita Ward popularized the genre and were described in subsequent decades as the "disco divas." The Village People scored a Top Ten hit with "Y.M.C.A." and the Bee Gees had a string of #1s following their collaboration on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack.

As quickly as disco's popularity came, however, it fell out of favor with the new decade, due to a religious revival and the rise of conservatism. Disco came to be associated with gays and minorities. Conservatives such as Steve Dahl spoke out against disco and held demonstrations against it. Due to this tremendous backlash, disco effectively died in 1981. Along with the demise of disco came the end of the orchestrations and musical instruments (such as strings) which had become associated with disco. Electronic and synthesized music quickly replaced the lush orchestral sounds of the 1970s and rock music resurged in popularity with New Wave bands such as Blondie and Devo, who both formed their respective bands in the seventies. Many of the aforementioned singers who became popular during the disco era found themselves out of tune with the 1980s, and were out of work for many years, until a renewed interest in disco brought many of them back to the forefront. Many songs from the disco era are still very popular dance hits and receive continuous airplay in nightclubs throughout the world.

The 1970s saw a rise in Funk music which spawned the genre Disco. Artists such as James Brown, The Meters ,Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly And The Family Stone pionered the genre. It then spawned commercial artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Brothers Johnson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Tower of Power, Ohio Players, The Commodores, War, Kool & the Gang, Confunkshun, Slave, Cameo, the Bar-Kays, Zapp, and many more.

The mid-seventies saw the rise of punk music from its protopunk/garage band roots in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash were some of the earliest acts to make it big in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Groups like the Clash were noted for the experimentation of style, especially that of having strong reggae influences in their music. Punk music has also been heavily associated with a certain punk fashion and absurdist humor which exemplified a genuine suspicion of mainstream culture and values.

Towards the end of the decade, Jamaican reggae music, already popular in the Caribbean and Africa since the early 1970s, became very popular in the U.S. and in Europe, mostly because of reggae superstar and legend Bob Marley as well as his band, The Wailers, his former bandmate Peter Tosh and other artists like Burning Spear and Jimmy Cliff. The late 70s saw the beginning of hip hop music with the song Rapper's Delight by Sugarhill Gang.

Country music remained very popular in the U.S. In 1977 it became more mainstream after Kenny Rogers became a solo singer and scored many hits on both the country and pop charts. He achieved the biggest crossover success ever for the genre (although he would later be replaced by Garth Brooks).Waylon Jennings was very big and Willie Nelson released Red Headed Stranger.

Top music acts in Australia/New Zealand included Sherbet, Skyhooks, Dragon, Hush and the Ted Mulry Gang.

By year

* 1979 in music - Sony Walkman goes on sale; The Clash - "London Calling"; Pink Floyd - "The Wall"; Death of Sid Vicious
* 1978 in music - "Saturday Night Fever" becomes a cultural phenomenon; Dead Kennedys are formed. The Who's drummer "Keith Moon", dies.
* 1977 in music - The Sex Pistols - "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols"; Death of Elvis Presley; Fleetwood Mac - "Rumours
* 1976 in music - Eagles - "Hotel California"
* 1975 in music - Bruce Springsteen - "Born to Run"; Bob Dylan - "Blood on the Tracks"; Led Zeppelin - "Physical Grafitti"; Iron Maiden is formed; AC/DC - High Voltage; Patti Smith – "Horses"
* 1974 in music
* 1973 in music - Pink Floyd - "The Dark Side of the Moon"
* 1972 in music - Kiss formed; Deep Purple - "Machine Head"; The Rolling Stones - "Exile on Main St."; David Bowie - "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars"
* 1971 in music - Led Zeppelin - "Led Zeppelin IV" (
* 1970 in music - The Beatles disband; Death(s) of Jimi Hendrix & Janis Joplin; John Lennon - "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band"; Diana Ross leaves the Supremes to embark on a solo career


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