The early part of the 1970s saw the maturing in the careers of certain artists that had first appeared the second half of the 1960s. There were a large number as the majority of these were rock bands and rock was a relatively new genre of music. As rock music became louder three bands became known as the “holy trinity” of heavy metal music. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple dominated the early part of the decade.
They toured the world constantly performing in large sold out concerts, and produced numerous albums that would in time be the blue print for future bands to emulate. The reputation of these three bands didn’t always reflect in their record sales. There were other groups that were more popular with mainstream listeners and their records sold more. One genre of rock that was particularly appealing to mainstream audiences was glam rock.
Certain artists and their bands would appear in bright, psychedelic type costumes that had been pioneered by Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960’s. Mixed with the male artists often wearing make-up groups such as Marc Bolan and T-Rex, David Bowie and Slade sold many records and their version of rock was more commercialized that other rock acts who didn’t want to stray away from hard rock. As the second half of the decade emerged another new genre of rock appeared and that was punk rock. Born in late 1976 punk rock was a reaction to the commercialization of rock music. The songs were fast and short and the themes of the records were anti-establishment.
A large number of groups were created in the short time that punk rock was a major feature on the music scene, and by the end of the decade it was already disappearing. However some of the groups sold many records and the influence of the music on the post-punk bands, and other genres of music, was huge. The Sex Pistols were responsible for pushing punk rock into the public limelight. The group were the brainchild of entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. They shocked the world’s press with their behavior and anti-feelings towards the British Monarchy yet despite the contempt the majority felt about them, they sold many records.
The hypocrisy of the group was that they were anti- establishment yet they were commercially exploited by McLaren, Westwood and the record label EMI. The same could be said about the Clash, who sold many records on the back of lead singer Joe Strummer’s left wing political views. It later emerged that Strummer himself had been educated at a private school. The Super Groups started to emerge in the 1970s. Queen started out as a heavy rock band, but they were soon producing records that would merge rock music with classical input. The group was fronted by Freddie Mercury who was arguably the greatest lead singer of all time. He possessed a vocal range that many of the world’s top opera singers would have been be proud of and married this with an unbelievable stage presence.
This era was also dominated by disco music. Films were being made centred around music and dance and from their success bands started to emerge. The film “Saturday Night Fever” catapulted the Bee Gees into the public lime light. Already a successful band the group’s popularity reached a new high as many of its songs appeared on the film’s sound track.
The film also popularized the image of the disco with many people going to these venues to dance. This dance music was being produced by soul, funk and jazz groups that sold many records. Groups like Earth Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang, The Jacksons and KC and the Sunshine Band sold many records in the 1970s and dominated the top of the charts both in the United States and in Europe. The 1970s had a greater variety of musical genre than any other decade and has strongly influenced the types of music that are listened to today.