Forgotten 70s Rock Songs: Rediscovering the Decade's Hidden Treasures

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The Dawn of 70s Rock

The Birth of Album-Oriented Rock

Album-oriented rock, also known as AOR, emerged in the early 1970s as a response to the dominance of singles on mainstream radio. This new genre focused on album tracks rather than hit singles and aimed to provide a deeper musical experience for listeners. The birth of AOR can be traced back to influential albums like Pink Floyd's 'The Dark Side of the Moon' and Led Zeppelin's 'IV', which showcased the potential for longer, more complex songs. Artists like Boston, Kansas, and Styx further popularized AOR in the later part of the decade.

Progressive Rock Takes the Stage

Progressive rock took center stage in the 1970s with its intricate compositions and experimental soundscapes. Bands like Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson pushed boundaries by incorporating elements from classical music and jazz into their rock songs. The genre was characterized by long instrumental sections, complex time signatures, and philosophical lyrics. Albums such as Yes' 'Close to the Edge' and Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' became iconic examples of progressive rock craftsmanship during this era.

"Glam Rock: Style & Subversion"

'Glam rock', also known as glitter rock or glam metal, emerged in the early-to-mid-1970s as a flamboyant subgenre that combined catchy pop melodies with theatrical performances. Artists like David Bowie with his alter ego Ziggy Stardust paved the way for this extravagant style that blurred gender norms and challenged societal conventions. T.Rex's 'Electric Warrior' album is often regarded as one of glam rock's seminal works due to its blend of boogie-based guitar riffs and charismatic vocals.

The Progressive and Psychedelic Wave

Psychedelic Rock's Lasting Influence

The psychedelic rock movement of the 1960s had a lasting influence on the music scene, and its impact continued into the 1970s. Many forgotten 70s rock songs were heavily influenced by the psychedelic sound and ethos. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and Pink Floyd paved the way for this genre with their trippy lyrics, experimental instrumentation, and mind-altering performances. These songs often explored themes of consciousness expansion, spirituality, and social change.

Progressive Rock's Unsung Heroes

While progressive rock gained immense popularity in the late '60s to early '70s with bands like Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson taking center stage, there were several unsung heroes who contributed significantly to this genre during that time period. Artists such as Gentle Giant, Caravan, Van der Graaf Generator may not have achieved mainstream success but left an indelible mark on progressive rock through their virtuosic musicianship and intricate compositions. Their albums showcased complex song structures blending elements of classical music with rock instrumentation.

Concept Albums That Deserve Recognition

'Concept albums' became a prominent trend in the '70s where artists aimed to create cohesive bodies of work centered around specific themes or narratives rather than just individual songs. While iconic concept albums like Pink Floyd's "The Wall" or The Who's "Tommy" are widely recognized for their brilliance in storytelling through music; there are other lesser-known concept albums from that era that deserve recognition too. Examples include Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick," David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust," or Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway." These conceptual works pushed artistic boundaries by presenting immersive musical journeys.

Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Pioneers

The Heavier Side of the 70s

The forgotten 70s rock songs were not just about soft melodies and catchy tunes; there was also a heavier side to the music of that era. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple emerged during this time, bringing with them a new sound that was characterized by loud guitars, pounding drums, and powerful vocals. These bands pushed the boundaries of what rock music could be and paved the way for genres like heavy metal.

Riffs That Defined a Generation

When you think of iconic riffs in rock history, certain songs immediately come to mind. From AC/DC's "Back in Black" to Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," these riffs defined a generation and continue to be celebrated today. The '70s saw an explosion of unforgettable guitar riffs that became synonymous with the era. Songs like Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" showcased the raw power and energy that could be achieved through simple yet infectious guitar hooks.

The Origins of Heavy Metal

"Heavy metal" as we know it today has its roots firmly planted in the '70s. While bands like Black Sabbath are often credited with inventing heavy metal, its origins can actually be traced back even further than that. Influenced by blues-rock and psychedelic music from previous decades, early heavy metal bands took elements from these genres and added their own unique twist. The result was a new form of music characterized by distorted guitars, aggressive drumming, dark lyrical themes, and powerful vocal performances.

The Singer-Songwriters of the 70s

Folk Rock and Its Evolution

The folk rock genre emerged in the 1960s and continued to evolve throughout the 1970s. Influenced by traditional folk music, this genre combined elements of acoustic guitars, harmonicas, and introspective lyrics. Artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell became prominent figures in the folk rock movement, using their music as a platform for social commentary and storytelling. The songs from this era captured the essence of a generation searching for meaning amidst societal changes.

Storytellers of the Decade

The forgotten rock songs of the '70s were not only known for their musicality but also for their poetic storytelling. Many artists during this decade embraced the role of storytellers through their music, crafting narratives that resonated with listeners on a deep emotional level. From Bruce Springsteen's epic tales of working-class struggles to Neil Young's introspective ballads about love and loss, these storytellers captivated audiences with their ability to transport them into different worlds through song.

Acoustic Gems and Poetic Lyrics

'70s rock was not just about electric guitars and powerful anthems; it also had its fair share of acoustic gems with poetic lyrics. Artists like Cat Stevens, James Taylor, and Carole King showcased their mastery over acoustic instruments while delivering heartfelt performances filled with profound lyricism. These songs provided an intimate listening experience that touched the souls of many listeners during that time period.

Southern Rock and Country Influences

The Rise of Southern Rock

The forgotten 70s rock songs saw the rise of Southern Rock, a subgenre that blended elements of rock and roll with country music. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and ZZ Top emerged during this time, creating a new sound that resonated with audiences across America. With their distinctive guitar riffs, soulful lyrics, and twangy vocals, these Southern Rock bands brought a fresh energy to the music scene.

Country Crossovers and Rock Anthems

In the context of forgotten 70s rock songs, there were numerous country crossovers and rock anthems that became popular during this era. Artists such as Eagles with their hit song 'Hotel California,' Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way,' and Steely Dan's 'Reelin' in the Years' showcased how rock could blend seamlessly with elements of country music. These crossover hits not only dominated the charts but also left a lasting impact on the music industry.

The Outlaws of Rock

'The Outlaws of Rock' refers to those rebellious artists who pushed boundaries in the world of rock music during the forgotten 70s era. Led Zeppelin's iconic track 'Stairway to Heaven,' Pink Floyd's epic album 'Dark Side of the Moon,' and David Bowie's experimental masterpiece 'Heroes' are just some examples of how these outlaws challenged traditional norms by exploring new sounds, pushing musical boundaries, and leaving an indelible mark on generations to come.

The End of an Era: Late 70s Rock

Punk Rock's Emergence

The emergence of punk rock in the 1970s was a game-changer for the music industry. With its raw and aggressive sound, punk challenged the status quo and provided an outlet for rebellion. Bands like The Ramones, Sex Pistols, and The Clash paved the way for a new wave of musicians who were unafraid to express themselves authentically. Punk rock songs from this era may have been forgotten by mainstream audiences, but their impact on the genre cannot be underestimated.

The Decline of Psychedelic and Progressive

As the psychedelic and progressive movements of the late '60s began to fade away, a decline in popularity followed suit in the '70s. However, this period also gave rise to some incredible rock songs that deserve recognition. While bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd continued to dominate the charts with their epic compositions, there were many lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered. These forgotten '70s rock songs showcase a wide range of styles and influences that contribute to shaping the diverse landscape of rock music.

Transition to '80s Rock

'70s marked an important transition period between different eras of rock music. As disco started gaining popularity towards the end of decade, traditional rock sounds had to adapt or risk being left behind. This led to a shift towards more commercially appealing radio-friendly tunes as well as experimentation with synthesizers and electronic elements that would later define much of '80s rock music. The transitional phase witnessed both established acts experimenting with new sounds while emerging artists sought ways to make their mark on an ever-evolving genre.