The 1970’s saw the emergency of new genres and artists which changed the music scene permanently. The days of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and R&B dominating were over, replaced with a wide and interesting spectrum of genres, with disco, funk, and soul becoming arguably the most popular genres of the decade. Despite typical Elvis style rock ‘n’ roll fading in popularity, rock was far from dead. Glam rock, progressive rock, hard rock, punk and early metal took to the stage.
Disco is often attributed to the African-American community, and whilst it arguably played the largest role in making the genre more mainstream, a disco scene had been emerging in the UK in the early ‘70s, known as Northern Soul. There were tens of thousands of professional DJs touring the UK, combining upbeat soul with the mod scene. However, it really took hold of popular western music during the years after 1974. American artists such as The Bee Gees, Chic and Diana Ross recorded several hits, taking the music industry by storm.
Modern rock music was born in the 1970’s, emerging from the rock ‘n’ roll that came before. Some legendary bands made a name for themselves in this decade. This included Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, The Who, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, The Clash, and The Ramones. The list is endless. Glam rock bands such as T-Rex and Slade also made themselves known in the 70’s. This helped build a platform for the glam rock of the ‘80s played by Bon Jovi and Van Halen.
However, the most influential rock artist of the 1970’s was undoubtably Pink Floyd, who subsequently became one of the biggest bands in history. They are known as the band who popularised progressive rock, a genre characterised by long, atmospheric rock tracks, using keyboard synths alongside guitars and drums to portray an emotional or psychedelic “vibe”. Listen to Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond here. Bands such as King Crimson, Yes, and Rush also helped bring prog rock to the forefront of 1970’s music.
Overall, 1970’s music can be summarised as a turning point from ‘50s and ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and blues to the modern music we know and love today.
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