The seventies was a decade of possibly the worst fashion of any decade in history. With bell bottoms, chokers, ponchos, frayed jeans, and jewelry made of wood, and other fashion statements that I hope will never surface again… the seventies offered little hope for fashion . However, the seventies was perhaps the greatest decade for rock n’ roll the world has ever heard. Below is a short list of some of the most important musical contributions of the seventies:
The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973), Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan, 1975), After the Gold Rush (Neil Young, 1970), Led Zepplin IV (1971), Rumours (Fleetwood Mac, 1977), What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye, 1971), Call Me (Al Green, 1973), On The Corner (Miles Davis, 1972), Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd, 1975), Band of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix, 1970), Head Hunters ( Herbie Hancock, 1973), Bitches Brew (Miles Davis, 1970), All Things Must Pass (George Harrison, 1970), Moondance (Van Morrison, 1970), Cosmo’s Factory (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970), Off the Wall (MIchael Jackson, 1979), Talking Book (Stevie Wonder, 1972), Piano Man (Billy Joel, 1970), Deja Vu (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, 1970), There’s a Riot Goin On (Sly and the Family Stone, 1971), Tapestry (Carole King, 1971), Low (Davie Bowie, 1977), Innervisions (Stevie Wonder, 1973), Who’s Next (The Who, 1971), Eagles (1972), Their Greatest Hits (Eagles, 1971-1976), Exile on Main St. (The Rolling Stones, 1972), Live at the Roxy (Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, 1973), Elton John (Your Song, 1970), Peter Frampton Comes Alive! ( Peter Frampton, 1976), The Captain and Me ( The Doobie Brothers, 1973), and of course… Let It Be (The Beatles, 1970).
Shaking off the naturalism, daisy chains, and acid tabs of the 1960’s was easier than expected. The 1970’s unfurled as a paradox of both striking diversity and remarkable coherence: From high-concept program nerds and high-octane guitar solos to high-heeled glam-rockers and rough-and-ready punks, the decade saw the rise and dominance of the album-as-unified-statement.
The driving beat, the melodic weaving of youthfull exuberance paired with melodic structure captured the hearts of a generation. To this day the songs of the seventies forever live in the hearts and minds of that generation. Those that were born after that storied decade of musical genius can only imagine the experiences that led to the most famous lyrics in the history of rock n’ roll.
I was blessed to have lived in California during that time. The middle part of that decade, the seventies, I was in college at Chico State University. This was a time of exploration and enlightenment that led to discovery and the baby steps into adulthood.
So many songs of the seventies captured the flavor of growing out of our teens and into the world beyond our cocoon. From the political movements of the day to respecting the earth and its bounty to the sexual and drug exploration that was tantamount to living through that decade of discovery we all grew as people. The songs of the seventies enriched the party or the gathering to the point of creating timeless memories well beyond those that lived during that moment in time.
I feel because of the unrest in the sixties the seventies bore the fruit of that struggle. Music enriched by the poetry of love lost and the ever present statements that bore a commonality to the situations of most teenagers and young adults that have stood the test of time. Personal liberation and rebellion against authority became central themes of the seventies. This new outlook viewed a change in the way we looked at politics, religion, popular culture, and sexuality.
Although historians have portrayed the 1970’s as a “pivot of change” in world history, focusing especially on the economic upheavals that followed the end of the postwar economic boom… for our “Baby Boomer” generation it was a time to honor friendships, family, and experiences that became the driving force behind whom we are today.
Beyond the above mentioned aspect of life is our inherent questioning of authority rather than becoming lemmenes following the masses over the cliff. This “questioning authority” follows the narative that most conspiracy theories are actually true. The seventies instilled in us the ability to see events from many different angles. Sometimes in contrast to the limited perspective being fed us from a media controlled by a hidden agenda.