Best 70s Rock Bands

by Mark Nobes, chief editor

The seventies was, in my opinion, the ultimate decade for rock music. It was certainly the most interesting, with a diverse range of rock styles such as glam, progressive, psychedelic, hard, soft - you name it, it was being played by someone, somewhere!

By the way, the list of bands below is in no particular order of brilliance, and I will be adding some more tracks (whenever I get some spare time_ to the playlist above, too. If you have any request then why not leave them in the comments box at the bottom of the page?


During the 70s, the British rock band left behind their psychedelic stuff and went progressive. Of course, The Dark Side Of The Moon is the album that everyone remembers (and almost everyone bought!), but the previous albums, such as Meddle and Atom Heart Mother, were also extremely impressive, and the latter was particularly underrated.

In terms of commercial success, though, it was The Dark Side Of The Moon that was at the top. Released in March 1973, Pink Floyd's classic eighth studio album spent an incredible 741 weeks in the Billboard Top LP's & Tapes chart and achieved 9x Platinum in the US, and 15x Platinum here in the UK. The video I've included is a live performance of Money, which was the lead single from the album.
If there's one thing you need to do before you die, it's listen to the album and go and see Floyd live - actually, that's two things, so you'd better get a move on!
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon LP


During the 1980s, Yes had a memorable hit with Owner Of A Lonely Heart here in the UK, but during the 70s they were the smoothest progressive rock band around. Rick Wakeman's impressive keyboard skills helped to further change the English band's sound from 60s psychedelic rock to 70s progressive rock, although it was the band's third album, The Yes Album, with keyboardist Tony Kaye that started the progression.

Personally, the ban's fifth studio album Close To The Edge is their finest moment. This is a highly structured, three track epic where vocalist Jon Anderson displays his spitritual influences in the song writing, and you can see the ideas for
The album Tales From A Topographic Ocean evident here, although on that album they took things just a little too far.

There have been many debates over which is their finest album, but there's no doubt that their most progressive albums were Close To The Edge and Fragile. Going For The One (1977) is their last half decent album and it's a shame that they took the commercial pop route during the eighties, although by then they needed a change of direction. However, the band will be best-remembered by many for their 70s work. All of these albums are now available in expanded form and at bargain prices on Amazon.

You can isten to the beautiful guitar work of the song Roundabout in the video above.
The Yes Album by Yes
Yes - Close To The Edge


This is a band that defined rock in the 70s. Driving guitar lines, effected organs, cymbals galore and Ian Gillan's (he replaced Rod Evans) screeching vocals are just a few of the trademarks that made Deep Purple one of the finest hard rock bands of all time/ It all started in 1968 with the album Shades Of Deep Purple. But it was the early 70s line-up that really rocked!

I've included the official video for fireball, which was the band's third single (released in October 1971) and the title track from one of their finest albums.

Deep Purple Fireball
Deep Purple - Machine Head


The Who in 1975
The Who in 1975 (Creative Commons Photo)

Could I really compile a page about 70s rock music without mentioning The Who? This was another British band who matured and altered their sound in the 70s. 

The band started the album with their best album, Who's Next. Released in August 1971, this dynamic fifth studio album had the benefit of the latest technology, which gave the band a unique sound at the time.

I've included the video for Who Are You, the title track from the band's 1978 album, and their last album recorded with drummer Keith Moon before his death, which was a result of his destructive lifestyle.

The Who Quadrophenia (1973)
The sixth studio album by The Who, Quadrophenia, which is not to be confused with their soundtrack album to the 1979 film.
The Who - Who's Next


No one could ever criticise Freddie Mercury for not being an enthusiastic performer, that's for sure - an incredible front man!

Queen were more mainstream than many of the bands of this page, but they gave us hit after hit during the 70s and 80s, with "We Are The Champions" and "We Will Rock You" being the most played songs - they're now regular favourites at sporting events.

Their best-remembered tune, though, has to be the six minute epic "Bohemian Rhapsody". Well, it was actually 5 minutes and 55 seconds, but that's still a heck of a long running time for a single. Released in 1975, this was a tune that had everything but the kitchen sink thrown into it, hard rock, opera, a ballad, guitar solo and bucketloads of cash - this was actually the most expensive single of it's time. 

The song had a revival in the 90s, of course, with the release of the movie Wayne's World.

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody