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1970s Album Reviews

Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness First Finale

The 1970s are beloved by music nerds; artists in a variety of genres cranked out a 40-minute album every year. The late 1960s staked out territory for many genres; the 1970s was when they were explored fully.

Artists like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder broke free from the Motown singles machine and made album length statements. Solo genii like Joni Mitchell and David Bowie followed their own idiosyncratic paths through the decade. Monstrous rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Yes roamed the earth.

As a result, the 1970s are full of great records. I’ve covered a lot of 1970s acts, but there are plenty of omissions – Marvin Gaye, Black Sabbath, Curtis Mayfield, Kraftwerk, and Earth, Wind and Fire are among notable acts on my to-do list.

Note that there’s a separate punk and new wave section for acts like The Clash and Talking Heads.

Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett was the creative force behind the original lineup of Pink Floyd. When his behaviour became too erratic, often … Continue Reading Syd Barrett

Big Star Radio City

Big Star

Formed around former Box Tops lead singer Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, Big Star existed for a brief period of … Continue Reading Big Star

David Bowie Station to Station

David Bowie

Born David Jones, and changing his name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees, Bowie pottered around as … Continue Reading David Bowie

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne is perhaps the archetypal 1970s singer-songwriter – a Californian who wrote sensitive, eloquent songs. Browne was involved with everyone … Continue Reading Jackson Browne

Vashti Bunyan

English folk-singer Vashti Bunyan has had a unique career trajectory, which started when she recorded a Jagger-Richards song in the … Continue Reading Vashti Bunyan

John Cale Paris 1919

John Cale

While his former Velvet Underground bandmate Lou Reed enjoyed a larger public profile, John Cale has always been like an … Continue Reading John Cale


The experimental band Can were formed in Cologne in 1968. Keyboardist Irmin Schmidt and bassist Holger Czukay came from avant-garde … Continue Reading Can

Crosby, Stills & Nash 1969 Debut

Crosby, Stills & Nash

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash all started their careers in other notable sixties bands; Crosby left The Byrds … Continue Reading Crosby, Stills & Nash

Nick Drake Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

A gentle sounding English folk-singer, Nick Drake hardly caused a ripple during his short life-time; he was too shy to … Continue Reading Nick Drake


The Eagles achieved stratospheric success in the 1970s, effectively bridging the country rock and soft rock styles that were popular … Continue Reading Eagles

Brian Eno Another Green World

Brian Eno

Brian Eno started his musical career as a member of Roxy Music, where he used his synthesiser to treat Phil … Continue Reading Brian Eno

Fleetwood Mac Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac formed as a blues band in 1967, when Peter Green recruited Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as his … Continue Reading Fleetwood Mac

Genesis Selling England by the Pound


In the mid-1980s, Genesis and its spin-off projects – Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Mike and the Mechanics – were … Continue Reading Genesis

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris started as a folkie – born in Alabama, she dropped out of college to perform folk songs in … Continue Reading Emmylou Harris

Billy Joel

As he helpfully informs us in his song ‘Leningrad’, Billy Joel was born in ‘49, a Cold War kid from … Continue Reading Billy Joel

Elton John

Sir Elton Hercules John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, in London. He learned the piano as a child and started … Continue Reading Elton John

Carole King Tapestry

Carole King

Born Carol Klein, Carole King was the most successful female songwriter of the second half of the 20th century in … Continue Reading Carole King

King Crimson

Originating from an unsuccessful 1968 album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp, guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael … Continue Reading King Crimson

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were hastily formed by Yardbirds’ guitarist Jimmy Page in order to tour to fulfil contractual obligations – he … Continue Reading Led Zeppelin

Joni Mitchell Court and Spark

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell isn’t always given the respect she deserves. In her prime she was often labelled in terms of her famous … Continue Reading Joni Mitchell

Van Morrison Into The Music

Van Morrison

Van Morrison began his career as the vocalist for the Belfast garage-rock band Them, scoring hits with ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here … Continue Reading Van Morrison

Gram Parsons Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers)

Gram Parsons, or as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die describes him, “Keith Richards’ citrus-heir drug-buddy”, is remembered … Continue Reading Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Rock and roll’s perpetual underdog, Thomas Earl Petty was born in Gainsville, Florida, in 1950. His interest in rock and … Continue Reading Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd are one of rock music’s most renowned bands, and several generations have appreciated the studio wizardry of 1973’s … Continue Reading Pink Floyd

Queen II


Bassist and vocalist Tim Staffell quit trio Smile, but not before introducing his flatmate Freddie Bulsara to the band, joining astronomy student … Continue Reading Queen

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

Roxy Music

Roxy Music were formed in 1971 by vocalist and keyboardist Bryan Ferry who, along with several of his band-mates, came … Continue Reading Roxy Music

A Wizard A True Star Rundgren review

Todd Rundgren

Philadelphia born Todd Rundgren is outrageously talented. He’s a skilled musician on multiple instruments, a strong vocalist with a hint … Continue Reading Todd Rundgren

Judee Sill

1970s singer–songwriter Judee Sill was the first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum record label. But she had a troubled … Continue Reading Judee Sill

Paul Simon Graceland

Paul Simon

It wasn’t surprising that Paul Simon launched a successful solo career after leaving Simon and Garfunkel, given that he wrote all of … Continue Reading Paul Simon

Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

Bruce Springsteen

Based on his radio hits I once classed Bruce Springsteen as a lame rocker, responsible for lowest common denominator anthems such … Continue Reading Bruce Springsteen

Steely Dan

Steely Dan were the quiet achievers of the 1970s, recording an excellent series of meticulously written and arranged albums, with … Continue Reading Steely Dan

Cat Stevens

His birth certificate says Steven Demetre Georgiou and he later went by the name of Yusuf Islam, but he’s best … Continue Reading Cat Stevens

James Taylor

With his warm voice, pretty guitar-picking, and introspective song writing, James Vernon Taylor was the figurehead of the singer-songwriter movement in … Continue Reading James Taylor

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention after 1970’s Full House, his reputation secured as an excellent songwriter and guitarist. He released … Continue Reading Richard and Linda Thompson

Townes Van Zandt Live at the Old Quarter

Townes Van Zandt

Born into a high profile Texas oil family, Townes Van Zandt was groomed as Texas governor, but inspired by songwriters … Continue Reading Townes Van Zandt

Tom Waits Rain Dogs

Tom Waits

In New Zealand we have a sporting cliche, “a game of two halves”. This certainly applies to Tom Waits’ musical … Continue Reading Tom Waits

Jimmy Webb

Jimmy Webb wasn’t the only prominent songwriter to enjoy success in the 1960s, then launch his own solo career; Isaac … Continue Reading Jimmy Webb

Bill Withers

It’s difficult to discuss this enduring 1970s acoustic soul singer without referencing one of my favourite jokes, so let’s get it … Continue Reading Bill Withers

Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness First Finale

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is one of the most outrageously talented figures to emerge from the popular music era. His first song … Continue Reading Stevie Wonder



With their dazzling instrumental chops, lengthy songs, and lush harmonies, London’s Yes perhaps defined 1970s progressive rock better than any … Continue Reading Yes

Neil Young

Neil Young was born in Canada in 1945, where his father was a famous sports broadcaster. Before fame, he played … Continue Reading Neil Young

The Modern Lovers Jonathan Richman

1970s Miscellany

This page collects odds and ends from the 1970s: ABBA | AC/DC | Aerosmith | Bread | The Carpenters | Eric Clapton | The Doobie Brothers | Roy Harper | Janis Joplin | John Lennon | The Modern Lovers | John … Continue Reading 1970s Miscellany