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Why The 1970s Was The Best Decade For Music

Adi Radia |
November 7, 2014 | 8:04 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Bob Marley (somethinglikegraham/tumblr)
Bob Marley (somethinglikegraham/tumblr)
Bob Marley once said, "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!"

The 1970s can be described as the golden age of popular music. The best thing about the Seventies was the sheer volume and variety of music that was being recorded and performed. Inspired by the wave of change in the 60s, musicians in the 70s took several established genres of music to new and amazing places. Others introduced novel musical traditions to the world. Advances in technology now allowed artists to be more experimental than was technically possible in the 1960s. In the 70s, the performative elements of live shows were also taken to higher dimensions.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is probably the most worshipped group in rock history. They stand out as one of the most influential and successful progressive rock acts to have lived. The group contributed immensely to the evolution of British psychedelic rock music and was revolutionary in it's incorporation of psychedelia in live performances in the form of lights and visual effects. In later years, they increasingly added more theatrics to their shows. Through their collective genius, they released some of the most historic concept albums to date - most notably, "The Dark Side of the Moon" in 1973 and "The Wall" in 1979.

Bob Marley

Distinguished by his iconic dreadlocks, flagrant cannabis use and rebel attitude, Bob Marley emerged as a mass cultural sensation in the 1970s. Marley popularized Jamaican reggae music at the world stage, while disseminating his Rastafarian beliefs to a global audience. His music was infused with spirituality and established a strong post-colonial Jamaican identity, after years of oppression and slavery. Through his lyrics, Marley addressed the need to fight social and political marginalization. Many of his most memorable tunes are also love songs, through which he showcased his romantic side.

Led Zeppelin

In their 12-year reign as the world's biggest rock band, Led Zep achieved huge critical and commercial acclaim, and established themselves as the ultimate live act. With their blues and rhythm driven rock 'n' roll, the group produced an enduring and innovative body of work that has entertained audiences and inspired musicians alike for generations. Fronted by virtuoso guitarist Jimmy Page and electrifying vocalist Robert Plant, the group went on a series of record-breaking live tours where they dazzled crowds with their diverse musical influences and exhilarating energy.


As Detroit's answer to Bob Dylan, Sixto Rodriguez was a genius urban poet who produced his entire body of work in the 70s but went largely unnoticed in the United States during that period. In a bizarre scheme of events and with the aid of bootlegging, however, he unwittingly rose to eminence in South Africa, where his music found relevance as a countercultural voice in the backdrop of the apartheid regime. After playing a number of sold out live shows in South Africa upon being re-discovered in 1998 and his unbelievable life story having been the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary titled "Searching for Sugar Man" in 2012, his career has recently undergone a much called for revitalization.


Formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in Dusseldorf, Germany circa 1970, Kraftwerk are pioneers in the realm of electronic music. The experimental duo laid down the stylistic and musical foundations that led to the subsequent global recognition and development of electronic music in years to come. In the words of Jude Rogers of The Guardian, "Kraftwerk's fusion of art, beats and electronics has become a template copied by musicians everywhere" and "no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture."

Reach Staff Reporter Adi Radia here and follow him on Twitter here.



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