The 1970s is known for many things: disco, bell-bottoms, afros. However, what a lot of people don’t remember about the ’70s was that it brought a new age in music with funky beats and groovy riffs. Music from the ’70s continues to inspire musicians today. Let’s take a look at the best of the coolest rock Jamz from this era.
Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
Kashmir is an epic song off of Led Zeppelin IV, one of their more popular albums. It has been said that Kashmir is based on a traditional song by the same name recorded by an artist named Muhammad Wali in 1976 which was later re-released in 1993. With its distinctive percussive elements and instruments, Kashmir is definitely one of the coolest rock Jamz from the ’70s.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
All Along the Watchtower was released by Bob Dylan in 1967; however, it didn’t gain much traction until Jimi Hendrix covered it in 1968 on his album Electric Ladyland. This is one of the cool rock Jamz recorded during Jimi Hendrix’s short career with The Jimi Hendrix Experience before he disbanded the group to form a band called Band of Gypsys. It has been said that this influenced Dylan to release a live version of this song as well.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Sweet Home Alabama was a popular song by the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was a response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” which discusses the racism and bigotry of white southerners. This laid-back tune is one of those cool rock Jamz that has been remixed, covered, and sampled but never replicated.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Jammin’
Jammin’ is one of those songs that has been featured in several films such as Forrest Gump and Dazed and Confused. It was released on the posthumous compilation album Legend in 1984; however, it was recorded in 1977 on the Kaya album. It has also been said that this song is at least partially influenced by “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.
The Band – The Weight
The iconic song by The Band, their first single off of Music From Big Pink, is about carrying the weight of the world on one’s shoulders while getting support from your fellow man to help get through anything.
This is definitely one of the coolest rock Jamz from this period not just because it reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 but because of its message and positive tone throughout the entire piece.
Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven (1971):
This is one of the most well-known songs in rock history – for good reason. The song has a special place in everyone’s mind, with its catchy tune and lovely acoustic guitar opening. It is no wonder that it became so popular!
Another interesting fact about this song is the solo at the end of Stairway To Heaven was never planned, John Paul Jones had not heard the lyrics before he had to play his keyboard solo.
Heart – Crazy On You (1976):
Hearts have become rather famous throughout their career for being an all-female group of musicians. They are really talented singers and guitar players which helped them stand out from other rock bands of their time period.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son (1969):
“Fortunate Son,” tells the story of how wealthy people were able to avoid fighting in wars. It features an interesting electric guitar solo that has some rather futuristic-looking effects. The rest of the band makes it sound like you are actually there at the 19th-century battle, with their great use of acoustic, tambourine, and drums.
The Rolling Stones – Waiting On A Friend (1981):
Although this song was technically written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elton John played the piano on the recording. I love how it incorporates some blues elements with rock music; It makes me laugh thinking of this elegant pianist surrounded by all of these rock musicians at one point in time! The bass guitar riff is rather funky too!
Aerosmith – Walk This Way (1976):
This song became really popular once it was used in the movie The Warriors which came out in 1979. If you listen to this track, you can understand why people would want to use it in a movie about bikers!
The Doors – Light My Fire (1967):
This is another one of those classic songs that everyone knows quite well; There are even parodies of it on YouTube! For me, these lyrics are written in a way that makes it seem like the singer of this song is trying to warn their lover about smoking weed.
“Travelin’ Band” by Creedence Clearwater Revival was released in 1970. John Fogerty wrote this song inspired by his past as a member of the “Golliwogs”, another band he was previously involved with.
It is well known for being CCR’s only charting single on the US Hot 100 that wasn’t either sung by Tom Fogerty or Doug Clifford. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on Cashbox Top 100 Singles.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975):
This song comes from Queen’s album A Night At The Opera which was their fourth studio album. Although this song was not a big hit at first, it gained popularity after it was featured in a movie called Wayne’s World two years later.
Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970):
One of Black Sabbath’s most famous songs, it is the second song on their album Paranoid. It has a rock ballad feel to it with its slow start and then builds into something rather mysterious.
Pink Floyd – Money (1973):
This was the seventh track on Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side Of The Moon which originally came out in 1973. It’s very unusual for them to sing about money in this particular song because most of their other tracks are more abstract than that!
Aerosmith – Dream On (1973):
Written by Steven Tyler when he was still struggling as a musician, he wanted this song to act as his autobiography. He decided against it because he didn’t want people wondering why Aerosmith wasn’t playing in arenas back then if this was what they were capable of.
The Beatles – I Am The Walrus (1967):
This song is one of my favorites by The Beatles! It has a really trippy sounding feel to it, especially with its use of zither and the clavioline which makes it sound like some kind of science fiction film or something. There’s also that weird laughter going on in the background at one point, very intriguing.
“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival was released in 1969. The song topped out at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, kept from the top slot by Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension. Bad Moon Rising was also the first chart-topping song CCR ever had.
“Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin was released in 1971 and is one of my personal favorites. This song reached #4 on both the British single charts and US Top 40 Pop singles chart, making it one of two Zeppelin songs to make it onto the US Top 40 charts.
“The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band was released in 1973 and topped out at #1 on both the US Pop singles chart, Canadian Singles Chart, and Australian Singles Chart. At its time of release, this song sold over one million copies within five weeks of its release.
“Money (That’s What I Want)” by The Flying Lizards was initially released in 1979 but re-released in 1980 with new vocals by David Cunningham after he purchased the master recording rights from producer Mickie Most for only 50 pounds sterling – hence why this version is commonly known as “the cover that nobody wanted”.
This rendition made it to #1 on the British singles chart, making it one of very few covers to top out the charts of another version after being initially released.
“Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum was released in 1969 and hit #1 on both the US Pop singles chart and US R&B singles chart. This song is known as a pioneering glam rock classic and was influenced by artists such as; The Byrds, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys.
“Crimson And Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells was released in 1968 and topped out at #1 on the US Pop singles chart and is most known for its use in a number of genres including; acid rock, glam rock, power pop, psychedelic rock, alternative rock, punk rock.