10 Greatest Music Albums of the '70s

What are the 10 most influential albums of the 1970s? 

The '70s was another varied decade for music. Hard rock music was in its golden era, we had the emergence of punk, and pop was taken into completely new directions with disco being the main theme.  The '70s was a very experimental and transitional period for music in general, and perhaps one of the strongest decades for it.

So, in no particular order, here are ten of the most significant albums released in the '70s. Each and every one of these popular albums were real game-changers in their own right, and here's why...

Doors, ‘L.A. Woman’

L.A. Woman was the sixth studio album by the Doors, and most notably the last to feature James Morrison before his death. The Doors were already a major force to be reckoned with, but this album had more significance because of its timing and style.

With a more blues rock feel to this album than the previous psychedelic tones, L.A. Woman is still regarded as one of the most important albums of its genre, and of the band's legacy.

Pink Floyd, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'

Pink Floyd were already established long before The Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973, but this album took the band, and the progressive rock genre, to even greater heights.  It is still regarded as the best music album of all time, both conceptually and progressively.

This album delved into avenues never seen before, paving the way for future experimental rock. This was, perhaps, the greatest musical achievement since the remarkable Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles a few years prior.


Chic, ‘C'est Chic’

C'est Chic is the second studio album by American rhythm and blues band Chic. C'est Chic includes the band's classic hit "Le Freak", which topped the US Hot 100 chart, US R&B, and US Club Play in October 1978, selling six million copies in the US alone and is to date both Atlantic Records' and parent company Warner Music's best-selling single ever – a record it's held for 35 years. The album also contains the hit single "I Want Your Love"

This album was mainly responsible for propelling R&B to new heights. It was voted album of the year by Billboard Magazine, and is regarded as one of the most influential albums of its genre. 

Simon and Garfunkel, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'

Bridge Over Troubled Water may not be to everyone's taste, but this is the biggest selling album of the decade, and by some margin too. With the iconic title track, this album set new records and once it hit the charts, it just never seemed to go away.

It takes a lot to shift an album of such magnitude, and even though you could argue it isn't the most spectacular album as a whole, it did teach us one thing at least - that one great song is all you need.

David Bowie, 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars'

Described as a loose concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is about Bowie's titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous bisexual rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. The album, and the character of Ziggy Stardust, were influenced by glam rock and explored themes of sexual exploration and social taboos.

This album took music making to new levels of significance, culturally, historically, and artistically. This album became a voice for the minority, and a flagship 'go to' listen for a large slice of a generation who needed the assurance they weren't alone.  What's more, musically, this album is an absolute masterpiece! 

Black Sabbath, 'Black Sabbath'

What was the first heavy metal album ever made? It's an ongoing debate, and we're not about to get all caught up in that complex affair. But, without question, the most significant heavy metal album ever made is Black Sabbath

Loaded with bone crushing metal epics, this album set the tone for a new wave of rock - this was harder, it was darker, and it was full of grit. Tons of metal bands would follow, but none would hold anywhere near the significance as Black Sabbath. Was their debut album the first? Maybe, but it certainly was the most important.

Led Zeppelin, ‘Led Zeppelin IV’

Hard rockers, Led Zeppelin, were making great strides during the build up to the release of Led Zeppelin IV, and with great momentum on their side, it really did feel like they hit their glorious peak with this masterpiece.  Everything just seemed to come together with this record, and from there, they really set the tone (and the bar) for how the '70s rock scene would develop.

Their colossal number, "Stairway To Heaven", is still regarded as one of the most important rock ballads in history. It took song writing to new heights, and helped pave the way for how ballads would be considered, even with the heavier bands.

ABBA, ‘Greatest Hits’

Like them or not, you can't deny how huge ABBA were in the 1970s.  In fact, they were bigger than huge - they were mega colossal huge! The Swedish quartet took pop music to new levels of success with hit after hit!  It's easy to see how their 'Greatest Hits' record became one of the best selling albums of the decade.

‘Saturday Night Fever’

Movie soundtracks got taken to a new level when Saturday Night Fever came out. This album had huge significance, due to the fact this kind of thing hadn't really been done before - certainly not to this scale of success.  This disco themed movie and album hit the market just at the right time, with a sense of disco dominating the 1970s.

This soundtrack album was in the top five best selling records of the '70s, and it helped pave the way for future movie soundtrack successes.  Even now, the three leading chart singles were from movie soundtracks.  This may have never been the case, had it not been for Saturday Night Fever.

The Sex Pistols, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ 

Never Mind The Bollocks exploded onto the music scene in 1977, and even though it was the Sex Pistol's only studio album, it was all they needed, such was its impact. 

This album broke up the hard rock and heavy metal stranglehold, ripped up the script, and created a new space for the punk rock genre.  It was gritty, rebellious, and totally against the grain, but that's what made it so edgy and appealing, even to the masses.  When it comes to importance or influential albums of the 1970s, you could argue that Never Mind The Bollocks is the most significant of them all.

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