It is nearly impossible to represent any decade with a single CD, and the 70s may be more difficult to represent than some decades. The 70s saw progressive rock become a defined genre, though it later acquired a number of other names, such as art rock. The 70s were also the beginning and end of disco, and the start of new wave. We also saw Elton John become the first megastar of the new decade. Through it all there was rock music in all its glorious diversity.
This CD picks a few representative songs that capture a small flavor of the glorious rock explosion of the 70s. Boston showed us that a bunch of highly educated guys could create rock that was well formed, exciting and high enjoyable. "More than a Feeling" from their debut album leads off this single.
The Hollies were a firmly established group in the 1960s, but in 1971 they released their tribute to Creedance Clearwater Revival, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress." This song was very different than the group's earlier hits, with a firmer, harder driving beat. Also in 1971, Yes, one of progressive rock's earliest members, released "Roundabout." This song was released from "Fragile," one of the group's earliest and best received albums.
In 1973, the Doobie Brothers released their third album, "The Captain and Me," and "China Grove" became a #15 hit for the group. The album reached #7 on the charts, and helped propel the Doobie Brothers into greater success through the 70s.
The 1973 song "Radar Love" by Golden Earring is more popular than its #13 US chart position would indicate. This song has been used in a number of movies and remains a favorite of cruisers of any generation. The song helped make "Moontan" a #12 chart hit in North America. The Dutch group's other hit was in the 80s.
Rock was typically fun and enjoyable in the 70s. Bachman-Turner Overdrive created a series of hits that were radio friendly and made excellent party music. The song "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" from the 1974 album "Not Fragile" propelled both to #1 chart positions in the US.
Some groups enjoyed the unfettered edges of rock. Foreigner had a number of harder edged hits, including "Feels like the First Time" from their self-title 1977 debut album. Both the album and the single reached #4 on the charts, and gave the group momentum into the 80s.
The song "All Right Now," from Free's 1970 album "Fire and Water," helped make this short-lived group famous. This group recorded original albums from 1969 to 1973, when personal problems aided in dissolving the group. The very young age of the members, some in their teens when the band was formed, may have contributed to the difficulties. Regardless, "All Right Now" is recognized as a classic rock song.
Alice Cooper was originally the name of the group, but eventually Vincent Furnier became Alice Cooper. In 1972, Alice Cooper released "School's Out," and the title track became a signature song for Alice Cooper, as well as a signature song for high school and college students from multiple eras, including the current generation.
The group Deep Purple had a heavy sound that is sometimes included in psychedelic rock. In 1972, the group released the album "Machine Head," and in 1973 "Smoke on the Water" became a #3 hit in the US. The album reached #7 in the US and helped Deep Purple achieve commercial success.
Foghat had a relatively short career, with the 1975 album "Fool for the City" perhaps marking their peak. "Slow Ride" from this album was a top 40 hit, and is a frequent request on 70s stations. Though the group tanked with the ascendancy of disco and then punk, for a short term it was groups such as Foghat that ruled the airwaves.
Sometimes 70s artists had an excellent background for their 70s fame. Such was the case with Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame. In 1970 Stills released a self-titled album, which yielded one of his most recognized songs, "Love the One You're With," which sounds more like the 60s than the 70s, but is still an excellent song.
Any true collection of rock of the 70s would encompass dozens of CDs, but if you want to have a taste of mainstream rock, here is a reasonably good collection of music. But this is just a taste. In some cases you should move on to the albums. Lucky for you, most of the original albums are now available on CD. Enjoy!
on June 19, 2008
Superb compilation album, as it doesn't just concentrate on the obvious Rock Singles, of the decade, some of which are included here. I have one criticism though. They should have strtched this to a Double CD Compilation, with just the same balance of album based tracks and singles. One other point in its favour is, that it put album based versions of Golden Earring's "Radar Love" Free's "Alright Now", instead of the usual single length version. All in all, it makes good listening.