The 1970s was an incredible decade for music. So, I know dozens of singers, songwriters, and bands deserve their spots on this list. But I was an MTV baby who didn’t discover this great music until later in life. So, I have selected the musicians and bands that I personally love today.
1. Carole King
The legendary singer-songwriter and musician Carole King makes incredible music. Her soft, sultry singing voice lures you in while her piano playing soothes you. King’s 1971 Tapestry album is one of the greatest albums ever.
While every track is fantastic, “So Far Away,” “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “I Feel the Earth Move” stand out. Carole King wrote several hit songs for other artists. For example, The Shirelle’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” She also wrote Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Both songs she recorded versions of on Tapestry, and they are great. “The Drifter’s “Up on the Roof” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” were also both written by King.
2. Bee Gees
The Bee Gees are one of the most unique musical groups in history. While all the Gibb brothers can sing, Barry’s falsetto voice defines their signature sound.
While probably best known for their contributions to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack featuring hits including “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “You Should Be Dancing,” they have many other hits. I love “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away,” “Tragedy,” and “Too Much Heaven.”
Additionally, they wrote several hit songs for other artists (they also did incredible covers). For example, “Emotion” by Samantha Sang, “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman, “Hold On to My Love” by Jimmy Ruffin, “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
Also, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by Al Green, “More Than a Woman” by Tavares, and “Grease” by Frankie Valli. Their One Night Only DVD (and live album) are excellent. There is no other group like them.
British rock band Queen has a fantastic discography with an unmatched sound. It’s an embarrassment that it took me so long to discover them. Wayne’s World introduced me to their iconic track “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Still, it wasn’t until the film of the same name came out that I paid any attention to their music. And whoa, what a voice. The band as a whole is fantastic, but Freddie Mercury has an unmatched charisma and sound.
Some of their greatest hits include “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “We Are the Champions,” “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Somebody to Love,” “We Will Rock You,” “Under Pressure,” and “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
The Carpenters brother (Richard) and sister (Karen) duo created a one-of-a-kind melodic sound that still sounds incredible today.
“(They Long to Be) Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Yesterday Once More,” “Top of the World,” “Superstar,” “The Rainbow Connection,” and “Goodbye to Love,” are among some of their best hits. The Carpenter’s Christmas Album, Christmas Portrait, is a lovely annual listen.
5. The O’Jays
R&B group The O’Jays are the pinnacle of ’70s soul music. “Back Stabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” “Forever Mine,” “Used Ta Be My Girl,” “Cry Together,” “Love Train,” Now That We Found Love,” “Livin’ for the Weekend,” and “Time To Get Down” are some of their greatest hits.
6. Fleetwood Mac
Speaking of unique voices unmatched by today’s music, Stevie Nicks’ is hauntingly beautiful. Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me,” “Dreams,” “The Chain,” “The Landslide,” “Rhiannon,” “Gypsy,” “Say You Love Me,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Loving Fun,” are some of their biggest hits.
7. Al Green
Singer, songwriter, record producer, and pastor Al Green made several beautiful songs in the 1970s that I listen to today. I also had the incredible experience of seeing him perform live in the 2000s, and that man can move! He puts on a remarkable show.
Some of his best tracks are “Let’s Stay Together,” “Love and Happiness,” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” “L-O-V-E (Love),” “I’m Still In Love With You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “For the Good Times,” and “Take Me to the River,” are all fantastic song.
The Eagles have an iconic sound with an outstanding discography. They are a rock band that arguably sounds like older country. It’s an unreplicated feeling to listen to their hits.
Some of those include, “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” “Desperado,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Take It to the Limit,” “New Kid in Town,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Witchy Woman,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “The Best of My Love,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”
9. Stevie Wonder
Stevie — Stevie — Stevie Wonder is a remarkable artist. I love his ’60s hits “For Once in My Life,” “My Cherie Amour,” and “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday.”
His ’70s bangers include “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Sir Duke,” “As,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “I Wish,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “Higher Ground,” and “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing.”
But this legend continued into the ‘8os with “Lately,” “My Love,” “Part-Time Lover,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” and “Overjoyed.” Stevie Wonder is a legend and is worthy of your play today.
10. Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye had several fantastic tracks in the ’60s, such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” and “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You.”
However, he had many influential hits in the ’70s, too. Some of these include “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get It On,” “Sexual Healing,” “Mercy Mercy Me,” “Distant Lover,” “What’s Happening Brother,” “Stop Look Listen,” and “Just to Keep You Satisfied.”
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.