Musical interests in the 70s were quite diverse and country music had quite a following.
Especially given the fact that many 70s country music artists were “crossing over” and making their mark not only on the country genre but also on rock, pop, and/or easy listening as well.
Many new singers and groups emerged during the 70s and some remain among the most influential in the history of country music.
70s Country Pop
The country music sound easily made its way into the pop music of the 70s with singers that appealed to a wide variety of tastes.
Many of these 70s country singers were enjoying air time on both pop and country stations, hence their wide reaching popularity.
This music did not employ the traditional honky-tonk sounds of classic country music but rather more mellow tones backed by strings and other orchestral instruments in addition to accompaniment by acoustic instruments.
Many called this new genre “countrypolitan”. Some of the most popular countrypolitan singers of the 70s include John Denver, Charlie Rich, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Ann Murray, Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Eddie Rabbitt, and Crystal Gayle (younger sister of traditional country music’s Loretta Lynn).
Top 70s country hits that were part of this genre included:
- Lucille – Kenny Rogers
- Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
- Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell
- The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. – Donna Fargo
- Rose Garden – Lynn Anderson
- Let Me Be There – Olivia Newton-John
- Here You Come Again – Dolly Parton
- Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
- Rocky Mountain High – John Denver
70 Country Rock
A fusion of country and rock and roll, so-called Country Rock music was widely heralded in the 70s.
Most of the singers in this genre were non-country but were eventually embraced by those country music fans that enjoyed something a little more progressive than traditional country music.
These artists/bands included Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, The Byrds, Pure Prairie League, and The Eagles.
A similar type of country music known as Southern Rock was also popular during the 70s. It differed from Country Rock in that it had a more bluesy feeling and employed a lot of riffs on electric guitar.
Popular Southern Rock artists of the 70s included The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
A few popular 70s Country Rock and Southern Rock songs included:
- Desperado – The Eagles
- You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – The Byrds
- Falling In and Out of Love – Pure Prairie League
- Heard It in a Love Song – Marshall Tucker Band
- Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers band
Traditional Country Music
Despite all the trends that put country music in line with other popular musical types, traditional country music still had plenty of followers.
Singers like Conway Twitty, Dottie West, Marty Robbins, Sonny James, and Loretta Lynn continued to be popular with 70s country music fans, crooning songs that told stories of love lost and other popular themes that are abundant in the country genre.