Forgotten Bands From the ’70s You Need to Listen To Again
The 1970s was a decade full of popular culture and iconic music, but there were plenty of bands and artists that have been forgotten or lost in the mist of time. For fans of classic rock, country, and folk, some of the most influential and entertaining music to come from the 70s has been forgotten and needs to be revisited. If you’re looking for a dose of nostalgia, here’s a list of forgotten bands from the ’70s you need to listen to again.
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO, is a British rock band that was amazingly prolific during the 70s and 80s, but since their peak they have largely been forgotten. Formed in 1970 by Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, and Bev Bevan, the band combined elements of psychedelic rock, classical music, and gospel to create a unique sound that has been imitated by generations of artists since. ELO had a series of big hits during the decade including “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Evil Woman,” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” which highlight the band’s penchant for combining the electric energy of rock and roll with majestic orchestral instruments.
ABBA is a Swedish pop group that is best known for their catchy, upbeat tunes. The group formed in the early 70s and released a string of hits throughout the decade that included “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Take A Chance On Me.” These songs still remain as a part of our collective musical consciousness, but many people don’t realize that ABBA was also responsible for several beautiful ballads as well. Songs like “The Winner Takes It All,” “Fernando”, and “One Of Us” evoke a sense of nostalgia, regret, and longing that is often lost in many of today’s pop songs.
Happy The Man
Happy The Man was a progressive rock band from Virginia that was active in the 70s. Originally formed by guitarist Stanley Whitaker and bassist Rick Kennell in 1973, the band was heavily influenced by classical and jazz music. Despite their influence on the progressive rock genre, Happy The Man is often overlooked and forgotten in the wake of bands like Rush and Yes that reached broader audiences. Tracks like “I Forgot To Push It,” “Open Book,” and “Cliché” showcase the band’s skill for fusing complex foundational instrumentals with an accessible and radio friendly sound.
Amon Düül II
Formed in Germany in 1969, Amon Düül II was one of the pioneering bands of the Krautrock genre. The band was heavily influenced by psychedelia and progressive rock and their music helped to blur the lines between genres. Amon Düül II’s sound combined elements of jazz, post-punk, and world music to create a unique and original sound. Tracks like “Archangels Thunderbird,” “Kanaan,” and “Shadow & Light” demonstrate the band’s ability to combine the avant-garde with the accessible.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) was a Scottish rock and roll band that was active between 1972 and 1977. Led by the flamboyant and eccentric Alex Harvey, the band had a unique sound influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and folk. Stand-out tracks like “Vambo,” “Gang Bang,” and “Faith Healer” helped to define the band’s sound and reach a larger audience. Although the band’s lineup changed numerous times over the years, their music still remains captivating and compelling.
Formed in the Netherlands in 1969, Focus has often been referred to as the “forefathers of progressive rock.” The band was led by master guitarist Jan Akkerman, and their groundbreaking sound combined elements of jazz, classical, rock, and folk. Tracks like “Hocus Pocus,” “Sylvia,” and “House Of The King” demonstrate the band’s innovative use of time changes and adept storytelling. Despite their influence, Focus is often overlooked when it comes to progressive rock, and are in desperate need of revisiting.
Roxy Music formed in London, England in 1970 as an artistic experiment. Originally led by Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry, the band quickly gained both critical and commercial success due to their fusion of punk, pop, and art-rock. Although Eno left the band in 1973, Roxy Music continued to forge their groundbreaking sound and churn out hits like “Love Is The Drug”, “Street Life”, and “Avalon.” The band continued to release music until their disbandment in 1983 and remain as one of the best and most influential bands of the 70s.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Ozark Mountain Daredevils are an American rock ‘n’ roll band that are often overlooked when talking about the music of the 70s. Formed in 1972 in Springfield, Missouri, the band was heavily influenced by folk, rock, and country music. The Daredevils released a series of critically acclaimed albums during their initial tenure, as well as hits like “If You Wanna Get To Heaven” and “Jackie Blue.” Although the band has recently reunited to tour in more recent years, their classic material has been largely overlooked and needs to be revisited.
The Marshall Tucker Band
The Marshall Tucker Band was one of the most popular bands of the Southern Rock genre in the 70s. They were formed in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1972 and combined elements of country, rock, blues, and jazz to craft a unique sound. Tracks like “Can’t You See”, “Heard It In A Love Song”, and “Fire On The Mountain” showcase the band’s ability to combine different genres in an accessible and enjoyable manner. Despite their influence on the genre, The Marshall Tucker Band is often overlooked and their music merits revisiting.
The Grateful Dead is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1965. Although they were most popular during the 60s and 70s, the band largely escaped documented recognition until later decades. During the 70s, the band began to deviate from their early psychedelic sound and reach into more accessible realms of country and folk. Tracks like “Ripple,” “Truckin,” and “Sugaree” capture the band at its best and demonstrate their range and musical talent. Overall, the Grateful Dead has been greatly overlooked and deserves more recognition and respect for their contribution to music during the 70s.
The 1970s gives us a wealth of music to choose from when it comes to nostalgia. Unfortunately, many of the bands and artists from the era have been long forgotten due to the ever-changing nature of popular music. From Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) to the Marshall Tucker Band, there are a myriad of forgotten bands from the 70s that you need to hear again. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock, country, and folk or just curious to explore different genres, these bands represent a unique moment in the history of music and deserve to be remembered.