The 70s era was key to the British music scene especially the bands. Apart from the music being unique and iconic, the way the bands presented themselves played a huge part in their popularity. According to many, the dressing sense was quite awful but one couldn’t ignore the hits that climbed the charts. Each day saw a new single breaking records and sort of became a trend.
From Queens to the Rolling Stones, the 70s Britpop band era was way ahead of its time. So let’s revisit history and recall some of the top British bands that occupied the 70s music scene.
Originating from the city of Wolverhampton, Slade was one of the biggest English bands of all time. The band jumped into the scene and became tremendously popular in the early 70s. In total, the band released 17 consecutive records that were amongst the top 20 records and six number one hits.
As a result, the band was termed the most successful British band of the 70s. Slade was also the first band to have three singles climb the number one spot. Frontman Noddy Holder and Jim Lea are credited to write and produce six number one hits. Their single “Merry Xmas Everybody” was the biggest hit of the time, having sold more than a million copies. Globally, the band has sold over 50 million records.
For years, people have believed that Pink Floyd was actually a single artist and not a group. Infact, back in the 70s, Pink Floyd was one of the best British groups. The band jumped into the scene with reasonable hits in the 60s. The band became popular due to their progressive music and forward-thinking.
In addition to that, the band is also credited for offering the fans entertaining live stage performances with tech tricks and extensive light shows. Much of Pink Floyd’s recognition and popularity stems from the fact that they played underground. Therefore, by the time they came out, they were quite well-known. As a result, they were able to release two charting debut singles along with a successful first album.
Roger Waters serving as the frontman of the group was also a songwriter who is credited for writing some of the biggest hits of the band. The band’s albums The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon sold by thousands. The success of the albums was such that they became one of the highest-selling albums in the history of pop music.
T-Rex was a 70s English band named Tyrannosaurus Rex. At the time, the band specialized in playing and making acoustic music. However, frontman Marc Bolan began shifting the direction of the band towards a more modern electric sound. Keep in mind that the electric music genre was hugely popular at that time. As a result, the band reduced its name to T-Rex.
The band released their single “Ride a White Swan”, which marked their commercial success. Even today, the single is credited for playing a huge role in the emerging glam rock scene at the time. T-Rex successfully managed to produce eleven top ten singles and four number one songs.
Additionally, Marc Bolan was the only member who never changed sides. He was performing as a songwriter, lead singer, and the only consistent member when the band was undergoing changing lineups. Unfortunately, Bolan passed away in a tragic car accident after having recorded the final studio album of the band in 1977.
Formed in the late 60s, the Fleetwood Mac is a British-American band. In total, it is estimated that the band managed to sell over 100 million records globally. Therefore, making it one of the best-selling British bands in the world. In the beginning, the Fleetwood Mac was a British Blues band. At the time, the group had released “Albatross”, which was a number one hit along with other smaller singles.
The year 1974 saw the band missing a lead singer since there were a lot of firings and members leaving the group. Mick Fleetwood was introduced to Lindsay Buckingham who was invited to play as a lead guitarist by Fleetwood. However, he signed on a condition that Stevie Nicks would also join the line-up of the Fleetwood Mac.
The new line-up offered the band a familiar sound. The first album of the new line-up ‘Fleetwood Mac’ was released experiencing quite a bit of success. Following the album, another was released titled “Rumors” that offered several hit singles. The album broke several records and pushed the band into the 70s superstardom.
The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues were formed in the mid-1960s as an English rock band. The band is recognized for its blues-style music and unique rhythm. Their album ‘Days of the Future Passed’ turned them into pioneers of the 70s.
The album received critical acclaim and praise for playing a role in the development of progressive music and also became a standard for concept albums. The band’s most successful singles include “Go Now” and “Nights in White Satin”. In total, the band has sold over 70 million records worldwide.
The 70s era cannot be discussed without mentioning Queen. Led by one of the greatest showmen in history, Freddie Mercury, the band was destined to be a huge success considering its music and the way the band presented it. It was not only Freddie Mercury serving as one of the strongest pillars but also guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon.
Their song Bohemian Rhapsody released in 1975 is a prime example of their unique musical approach. It was one of the very few bands at the time that could successfully experiment with different types of music. It was not only the song itself but the video as well that did rounds all over the world. Deemed as a very versatile group, the band produced disco, Radio Ga Ga, and Another One Bites the Dust considered legendary hits for decades to come.
According to some, Led Zepplin was the biggest English rock band of the 70s. The band unlike others received critical acclaim and worldwide success by focusing on releasing albums rather than singles. Even though they are recognized as a heavy rock group but Led Zepplin had much more versatility and subtlety to offer.
All this could be seen in their finest songs such as ‘Stairway to Heaven. With Robert Plant as a rock god frontman and sublime talents such as guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul, there is a good reason why Led Zepplin is not considered the greatest British rock group of the 70s but of all time.
The Black Sabbath was formed in the 60s in Birmingham and is considered one of the top rock bands of the 70s. The band featured singer Ozzy Osbourne and was credited to be at the forefront of the heavy-metal music scene. The band had adopted its name from the movie sharing the same title and produce horror-inspired lyrics and music.
Their debut album was released in 1970 and received huge commercial success. The Rolling Stones Magazine, MTV and VH1 hailed the band as one of the greatest metal bands and hard rock artists. In total, Black Sabbath managed to sell over 70 million records worldwide. As a result, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame as well. In addition to that, the band also managed to secure two Grammy awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 70s British band scene was huge for the fans as well as the music world. Although there are a lot of others names that could be mentioned but the ones highlighted above made the most impact. Despite the fact that bands underwent several changes in their line-ups and other complicated scenarios, they still managed to pull off some of the greatest hits in history. Therefore, it would be practically impossible to understand the significance and role of the 70s without going into the details of what these bands offered at the time.