July 2, 2020 in Research
The 1970s as a Watershed Period in the History of Rock Music

Since the 1970s, many genres that were popular in the 1960s receded. The beginning of the 1970s was marked by a real burst of rock music. In 1970, the world music community became acquainted with hard rock and such bands as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. Besides hard rock, such genres as progressive rock and glam rock gained significant commercial success. At that time, Britpop, pop rock, and folk rock underwent significant changes. The current paper seeks to examine the 1970s as a watershed period in the history of rock music that has brought new talented bands that conquered the world with the new sound and innovative approaches towards the creation of rock music.

The period of the 1970’s was characterized by innovations and unique approaches to the way music should be created. It was a remarkable decade of essentially new music, mixed with the rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz motives. The emergence of new names, bright personalities distinguished the 1970s period from the previous ones. It was also marked by the end of the Vietnam War. The nation and music industry settled down. Such bands as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Black Sabbath that emerged in the late 1960s, had gained huge popularity in the 1970’s. The perfect combination of blues and hard rock enabled Led Zeppelin to create the new sound. Moreover, Queen, the Eagles, David Bowie, Generation X led by Billy Idol and Yes were other influential rock bands, who gained popularity in the 1970s.

Type of your assignment
Academic level

The adherence to the old sound and values helped musicians to sustain the creativity of the 1960s. The revolutionary sentiments and public dissatisfaction with the political instability of that time could significantly destabilize the music world. However, the restoration of country, folk, and blues in the 1970s led to the development of the authentically new product and turned rock music into the worldwide phenomenon. Many famous rock compositions were recorded in the 1970s, including songs by Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath.

In the 1970s, vinyl records became highly popular among rock enthusiasts, who had record players. The emergence of new equipment made the music more technically experimental if compared to the period of the 1960s. The legendary music festivals such as the Monterey Pop Music Festival and Woodstock ceased their existence due to the fact that the organizers feared possible riots, the spread of drugs, alcohol, and violence. The era of the seventies marked the end of the Beatles as the most famous rock and roll band of all time. It dissolved due to numerous internal conflicts and the inability of the four musicians to find consensus. However, separately, they succeeded in recording own albums and solo careers. The early 1970s were also marked by the deaths of eminent artists such as Jim Morrison from the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, who entered the notorious club of musicians, who died at 27 mostly due to substance abuse. The Rolling Stones significantly affected the way David Bowie and Alice Cooper created the music. Their gigs were famous for the outrageous behavior on the stage, sexual ambiguity, and androgynous quality of their work.

In the 1970s, psychedelic music declined while heavy metal, progressive rock, and hard rock skyrocketed. At that time, bands no longer played in theatres and clubs, but widely toured and performed in the huge sports arenas and outdoor stadiums. Many rock bands that emerged in the 1960’s including Led Zeppelin, the Who, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and the Rolling Stones, started travelling in private jets in the 1970s. Diverse music and market expansion led to the emergence of new rock styles. In general, the early 1970s were dominated by performing soft rock, singing, and songwriting. 

As the era of the 1960s ended, musicians started to widely experiment with music. However, they continued to follow the early rock and roll conventions. The emergence of the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd marked the development of southern and country rock. Progressive rock developed in England in the 1970s embraced psychedelic style and creative experiments with the music sound. Bands performing in this genre focused more on high-quality musicality and unconventional music forms. Musicians explored music by including synthesizers, keyboards, and orchestral instruments in progressive rock. Specific effects such as lasers and light shows made concerts unbelievable and fascinating for a wide audience. James Brown and Little Richard significantly affected the development of progressive or art rock, as well as funk music in the 1970s. Funk music was characterized by the pulsating rhythms, screaming vocals, and amazing standards remaining from jazz. Bass and drums provide strong rhythmic beats. As a result, people want to dance and enjoy energy of the music. Funk artists developed disco music, and made it widely popular in the 1970s. 

The Glam rock movement was not only associated with singing and songwriting, but fashion. This genre was diverse: while some bands played straight-ahead rock, others widely experimented and played psychedelic music. High-heeled boots, unusual hairstyle, expressive makeup, and striking clothes distinguish glam rock from other styles. On stage, bands sought to create the gender ambiguity. Male musicians were dressed like female artists and vice versa. Although glam rock ceased its existence in the mid-70s, it significantly affected the creativity and performance of Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, and Kiss. 

Punk rock emerged in England in the 1970s. However, it gained the wide popularity in the USA. Poor economic conditions, high rate of unemployment, and excesses of mainstream rock lead to the development of this genre. The Ramones was the founding fathers of this intense genre; they mixed the rage of youth with anarchism. The emergence of the Clash and the Sex Pistols popularized punk rock not only in Great Britain, but the whole world. Most of them refused to adhere to the traditional approaches towards the music creation. The musicians play loud, fast, and short songs with anger. This powerful music genre affected songwriting and performance of modern bands. T-shirts, jeans, studded leather bracelets, collars, piercings, shaved heads and spiky haircuts distinguished punk rockers from other movements.

To conclude, the 1970s was the turning period in the rock and roll history characterized by the development of new music genres such as punk rock, progressive rock, glam rock, funk, and hard rock. Moreover, as many people were tired of wars, political instability, and financial issues, they appealed to relaxing music and sought a refuge in huge sports arenas, clubs, and outdoor stadiums. Although the rebelliousness declined after closing the Monterey Pop Music Festival and Woodstock, individuals expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the country was governed. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Sex Pistols enriched the rock music by creating metallic guitar riffs and drum solos. Rock musicians gained a huge success in the 1970s. However, this period was also marked by great losses. The three brightest representatives of rock and roll community died. Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix passed away at the age of 27 and entered the notorious club of musicians, who died at this age. Substance abuse was the main reason of their death. The world also lost the Beatles as the band dissolved due to the internal conflicts. 


Related essays