10 American Classic Rock Bands That Rocked The ’70s
ZZ Top live in 1982 - mark stevens / Youtube
While we have the British to thank for the boom of rock in the United States, Americans took the craft seriously and enhanced the scene with their very own sonic offerings. In the light of radios being the main medium of music proliferation in the era, artists and bands didn’t need to worry about not hitting the charts, so long as they had a frequency in which they could showcase their songs in. With that, here are America’s representatives in the world of rock and roll.
Dubbed as the female version of Led Zeppelin, Heart came out strong when they signed in with a local label in Vancouver to release their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1975. The world was in awe with Ann and Nancy’s sibling tandem, combining effortless stage presence and massive songwriting talent in a single act.
Jazz brass was never better when Chicago wielded it with such proficiency. From soft ballads like “If You Leave Me Now” to downright gritty rockers like “25 or 6 to 4”, Chicago delivered the goods to great effect, especially with guitar prodigy Terry Kath providing the driving force of their music.
The Doobie Brothers
Split into two distinct eras, the Doobie Brothers dominated the early ’70s thanks to their flexibility in making great music. From the good ole’ rocker sound of Tom Johnston’s tenure to the soulful and jazzy style of Michael McDonald’s craft, the Doobie Brothers fluidly adapted to either without compromising quality at all.
Starting out as a jazz fusion act, Journey tried its best to break into the mainstream but to no avail. But when Steve Perry lent his soaring vocals and timely songwriting into the fold, the band began to score hit after hit, becoming a major arena rock act for the following years to come.
Texan blues legends ZZ Top were the proof that perseverance takes you to places you’ve never been. After officially launching their first-ever show to an audience of one, the band proceeded to dish out some of the raunchiest blues/Southern albums in history, their long beards bearing witness to every studio jam that landed them what they deserved.
Arriving late in the decade, Van Halen decided it was time to rewrite the rules of rock, especially lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen. From his incessant finger tapping to catchy pop riffs, EVH was able to reshape guitar execution for the years to follow, while the band gained notoriety of stealing the shows of its headlining acts such as Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath.
Starting early in 1976 but without any solid return of investment, Blondie toiled and tried again two years later with the release of Plastic Letters. Carrying a mix of punk, pop, and New wave, the band was ready to take on anything, trailblazed by the face of the group, Debbie Harry.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty masterfully crafted folk, hard rock, and Americana when he and the Heartbreakers made waves in the UK. After being ignored in their own territory for so long, the band finally gained the attention they needed as the decade closed, releasing the epic Damn the Torpedoes catalog.
People knew Aerosmith weren’t messing around when they debuted in 1973 with their self-titled release. Hailed as the bad boys from Boston, the band proved their sleazy, gritty brand of rock to appeal to the masses until infighting and substance abuse got in the way, that is.
The Allman Brothers Band
Southern rock never really hit a high point until the Allmans entered the scene. Skyrocketing to superstardom thanks to their Fillmore East stint, their blues-based sound, coupled with a vibrant rhythm section to back Duane’s searing slide, was all the band needed to make a mark.