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Rock Bands in the 70s

Black guitar on a retro background

Rock bands in the 70s were as varied as the music itself.

From the lighter pop rock of Billy Joel and Elton John to the harder side with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Queen; rock bands in the 70s had something for everyone.

In terms of overall popularity, influence and sales, Stevie Wonder had to be one of the top 70s acts, followed by Zeppelin, Elton John and Pink Floyd.

The Stones managed to crossover from their beginnings as a Brit band in the 60s, recreating themselves and adding fresh new sounds to their classic Rolling Stones repertoire.

The Eagles were huge, turning out hit after hit, including Take It Easy (1972), Desperado (1973) Lyin’ Eyes (1975), Hotel California (1976) and New Kid in Town (1976).

Glen Frey and Don Henley can thank another 70s rock band icon, Linda Ronstadt, for bringing them together.

Fleetwood Mac was one of the biggest rock bands in the 70s, putting together hit after hit, including Rhiannon, Landslide, Go Your Own Way, You Make Loving Fun and the unforgettable Tusk, which featured the USC Trojan Marching Band.

Paul McCartney reinvented himself with Wings, featuring his wife, Linda. They assembled a string of songs, including Listen to What the Man Said and Silly Love Songs, none of which held up well compared to his work with The Beatles. But that’s quite the act to have to follow.

A lot of 70s rock band faithful became members of the KISS Army, snatching up the group’s albums and merchandise.

Their first mass exposure to audiences came in 1976 on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, performing Detroit Rock City and Beth. Within two years, the group had earned $17.7 million.

The 70s were blessed with a huge supply of rock bands, including The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Clash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, Derek & the Dominos (Eric Clapton) the list is significant not only in its breadth, but depth as well.

Many of the rock bands of the 70s were actually carryovers from previous eras. Chicago with its big horn section had gotten its start at the end of the sixties.

The Beach Boys found new audiences in the 70s era for their music, as did Elvis Presley, Santana and Joni Mitchell.

There seemed to be plenty of room for everyone in the 70s, as radio stations had not yet narrowed their formats and there were still plenty of AOR (Album Oriented Rock) stations that would play alternate cuts and lesser-known artists.

This freeform programming kept the rock bands in the 70s out in the public eye, even when they were creating songs that weren’t commercial by any stretch.

This included the rock anthem, American Pie, which at 8 ½ minutes, was too long for AM stations.