100 Popular Rock Bands of the 70s – Complete List

The 70s was a crucial period in the history of pop and rock music. This was the time when musical genres were redefined, new styles were being explored and musicians from various parts of the world were experimenting with different sounds. Such artistic endeavors have left behind a rich legacy that continues to inspire modern-day musicians.

If you are a fan of songs from that era or just curious about what some of your favorite bands were doing in the 1970s then this article is for you. Here we have compiled a list of 100 popular rock bands of the 70s that I believe every rock music lover should check out.

This comprehensive list comprises both the popular chart-toppers and critically acclaimed artists who helped define the sound, attitude and culture of rock music during this era.

To make things easier for you I have classified these groups into various categories based on their origin and genres. I’ve also taken consideration into things like fame, album sales, and legacy when compiling our list.

So, here are 100 popular rock bands from the 70s worth listening to.

Best 70s Rock Bands

While there are certainly others that could have made it on this list, we feel that the bands listed here had a particularly big impact on rock music during the 70s.

  • Led Zeppelin
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Police
  • Judas Priest
  • Queen (band)
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Eagles (band)
  • Black Sabbath
  • AC/DC
  • The Allman Brothers Band
  • The Who

70s Classic Rock Bands

70s was an era where a handful of artists changed the world by creating some of the most iconic albums of all time and if you want to know about the absolute best classic rock bands of the 70s, this section is for you.

Some of these bands mentioned below are still touring today, while others have retired from performing altogether. Regardless, they all had an important impact on rock music in the 70s and deserve recognition for their contributions to society.

Here are 11 of the best classic rock bands of the 1970s.

  • Aerosmith
  • Deep Purple
  • The Beatles
  • AC/DC
  • Pink Floyd
  • Foreigner (band)
  • Ramones
  • The Doors
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  • Styx (band)
  • Blue Öyster Cult

70s Hard Rock Bands

Whether you’re a fan or not, hard rock has been a major influence on popular music for decades. Over the years, many bands have come to define the genre with their unique sound and attitude. 

Hard rock bands from the 70s are often considered as the pioneers of this genre. Formed as an evolution from blues-rock and psychedelic rock, the 70s saw a surge in hard rock bands that further popularized it.

The following list looks at the 10 best hard rock bands from the 1970s who certainly helped define and shape the genres and paved the way for many great acts to follow.

  • Motörhead
  • Scorpions (band)
  • Kiss (band)
  • Uriah Heep
  • Rush (band)
  • Iron Maiden
  • ZZ Top
  • King Crimson
  • Budgie (band)
  • Montrose (band)

70s Soft Rock Bands

Soft rock is a subgenre of rock music that was prominent in the 1970s. This genre has been characterized by more laid-back beats and softer sounds, which are often not as intense as other forms of rock.

Soft rock is also typically more melodic than hard rock and often feature acoustic instruments such as guitars, pianos, saxophones, and sometimes an orchestral set which are best for ballads and love songs.

In spite of its mellower sound, soft rock has left a lasting legacy on the music industry and even spawned its own radio stations. So, if you are looking for some great music to listen to then it is hard to go wrong with this list of the best soft rock bands of the 70s.

  • Bee Gees
  • The Carpenters
  • Air Supply
  • Seals and Crofts
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Chicago (band)
  • Hall and Oates
  • Eagles (band)
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • England Dan and John Ford Coley
  • Toto (band)

70s British Rock Bands

Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Pink Floyd are some of the most iconic British rock bands of the 1970s. With their heavy guitar riffs and psychedelic sounds, these bands dominated the airwaves and concert stages throughout the decade.

However, there were also many other great British rock bands that emerged during the 70s. These bands were among the leaders and frontrunners of the British Invasion movement, and they continue to influence new generations of musicians.

Below is a list of ten of the most influential and best British rock bands from the 1970s. Many have stood the test of time over four decades and we would like to thank them for their contributions to music history.

  • The Kinks
  • Joy Division
  • T. Rex (band)
  • Jethro Tull
  • The Clash
  • Roxy Music
  • Genesis (band)
  • The Jam
  • The Yardbirds
  • Brinsley Schwarz
  • The Damned (band)

Rock and Roll Bands of the 70s

The best rock and roll bands of the 70s were a lot different than what we typically see on today. They had plenty of grit and soul, but they also had so much more.

From iconic album covers to major hits, these bands got listeners through some tough times and we’re forever thankful for that. Although there were dozens of bands that could fit on this list, we narrowed it down to the following ten that we feel best represent the era.

  • AC/DC
  • ZZ Top
  • Jethro Tull
  • Styx (band)
  • Blondie (band)
  • Steely Dan
  • Yes (band)
  • Cheap Trick
  • The Beach Boys
  • Talking Heads
  • Bad Company

Famous 70s Rock Bands

In this section, we will talk about some of the most famous rock bands from the 1970s. All these bands achieved massive success both in the United States and abroad and are still remembered to this day.

One thing that was common among all these bands is that they all left a major impact on the music scene and continue to influence current artists.

So without further ado, here are ten of the most famous 70s rock bands.

  • Led Zeppelin
  • Pink Floyd
  • Queen (band)
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Black Sabbath
  • AC/DC
  • ZZ Top
  • Deep Purple
  • The Doors
  • Kiss (band)

Heavy Metal 70s Rock Bands

Thanks to the success of bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, heavy metal grew in popularity during the 70s. Thanks to this, many other groups were able to pursue their dreams and make a living as rock stars.

The following list consists of 10 extremely influential and successful heavy metal bands from the 1970s that were pioneers of the genre.

In the early 70s, heavy metal was still in its infancy. However, by the end of the decade, it had become one of the most popular genres in music. This was largely due to the efforts of the bands on this list, who helped bring metal to the mainstream and make it a household name.

  • Judas Priest
  • Iron Maiden
  • Scorpions (band)
  • Kiss (band)
  • Def Leppard
  • Rainbow
  • Iron Butterfly
  • Blue Cheer
  • Sir Lord Baltimore

70s Punk Rock Bands

The 70s was a time of great change for punk rock. This genre, which was once seen as a subculture, gradually became more mainstream and developed its own unique sound.

As the decade progressed, punk rock bands began to experiment with new styles and sounds. This led to the creation of several new subgenres, including hardcore punk, anarcho-punk, and goth punk.

Despite the genre’s growing popularity, punk rock remained largely underground throughout the 70s. However, this would change in the early 80s when several punk bands achieved mainstream success.

Below is a list of five of the most important and influential punk rock bands from the 1970s. While not all of them achieved mainstream success, they all played a major role in the development of punk rock.

  • Ramones
  • The Clash
  • The Stooges
  • New York Dolls
  • The Damned (band)
  • Buzzcocks
  • Black Flag (band)
  • Blondie (band)
  • Dead Kennedys
  • The Dead Boys
  • The Dead Boys
  • Devo

Southern Rock Bands of The 70s

Is there a difference between southern rock and other forms of rock? Sure, there’s a little nuance. However, modern listeners have come to know southern rock as one of those categories that act as a catch-all for bands from the south.

Southern rock first appeared in the late 60s with the Allman Brothers Band and their self-titled debut album. Little did the world know the south would go on to become one of rock’s most prominent regions, producing numerous major acts.

By the mid-70s, southern rock had entered its golden age. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band were ready to take over the music industry by storm, while other talented acts like ZZ Top and the Outlaws were waiting in the wings.

What follows is a list of some of the most important southern rock bands from the 1970s.

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • The Allman Brothers Band
  • The Marshall Tucker Band
  • ZZ Top
  • Molly Hatchet
  • 38 Special (band)
  • Blackfoot (band)
  • Wet Willie
  • Outlaws (band)
  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • Charlie Daniels

70s American Rock Bands

When rock music first came around, most people considered it a strictly British phenomenon. However, that all changed with the rise of psychedelic rock and blues rock in the late 60s. Thanks to bands like Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, American groups were finally getting their due.

This lead to an explosion of incredible talent in 1970s, with many bands rising to prominence. The decade was an especially good one for American rock, with a wide variety of styles being represented.

Below is a list of ten of the most important and influential American rock bands from the 1970s. You may notice that most of them came from the state of California. This was not a coincidence, as this region would go on to become one of the most prominent in rock music.

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • The Byrds
  • Steely Dan
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • The Temptations
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Heart (band)
  • The B-52’s
  • Boston (band)
  • Buffalo Springfield

Canadian Rock Bands 70s

Canada’s rock scene was as good as any other in the world, and during the 70s it produced some of the greatest rock bands to date.

It is very hard to narrow down a list of only the ten best Canadian rock bands from the 70s, but I have done my best and came up with this list of top music groups which were extremely influential and important during their time.

These ten bands not only helped define Canadian rock music during the 70s, but also had a significant impact on the international music scene. Thanks to them, Canada is now known as a hotbed for great rock music.

  • The Guess Who
  • Bachman–Turner Overdrive
  • Rush (band)
  • April Wine
  • Loverboy
  • Steppenwolf (band)
  • Trooper (band)
  • Triumph (band)
  • The Stampeders
  • Max Webster
  • Five Man Electrical Band
  • Doug and the Slugs

70s Country Rock Bands

Country music was already popular in the United States during the 1960s. However, it truly came into its own during the 70s, thanks to incredible performers like the ones mentioned below.

While bands like The Byrds helped bring country rock to mainstream audiences during the 60s, they were largely overshadowed by more prominent rock groups of the time. This all changed with the rise of country-rock bands in the 70s.

They were able to win over audiences by blending authentic country elements with more mainstream rock sounds. This led to the creation of several subgenres, including progressive country rock, outlaw country, and Southern rock.

Below is a list of five of the most important and influential country-rock bands from the 1970s that helped popularize the genre.

  • Poco
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • Pure Prairie League
  • New Riders of the Purple Sage
  • 38 Special (band)
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Little Feat
  • The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  • The Kentucky Headhunters
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

70s Pop Rock Bands

The 70s was a time of great change for pop rock. This genre, which was once seen as a subgenre of rock music, gradually became more independent and developed its own unique sound.

As the decade progressed, pop rock bands began to experiment with new styles and sounds which led to the creation of several new subgenres, including power pop and art rock.

Despite the genre’s growing popularity, pop rock remained largely underground throughout the 70s. However, this would change in the early 80s when several pop rock bands achieved mainstream success.

Bands like The Carpenters, The Jackson 5, and Simon & Garfunkel dominated the music charts during the early 70s. However, by the middle of the decade, a new wave of pop rock bands began to emerge.

These bands helped bring pop rock to mainstream audiences and make it one of the most popular genres in music. With that said, here is a list of five of the most important and influential pop rock bands from the 1970s.

  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • The Hollies
  • The Jackson 5
  • Supertramp
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Badfinger
  • Kansas (band)
  • Three Dog Night

70s Prog Rock Bands

Although it was not as popular as other genres, progressive rock had a strong impact on the music scene during the 70s.

Thanks to this movement, many groups were able to experiment with their sounds and play longer songs that often featured complex arrangements, tempo changes, and lyrical themes.

Below are a few of the best prog rock bands of the 70s that helped popularize the genre. These bands were not afraid to experiment with their sounds or break taboos when it came to lyrical themes. This helped them to stand out from the rest of the pack and achieve massive success.

  • Gentle Giant
  • Van der Graaf Generator
  • Soft Machine
  • Premiata Forneria Marconi
  • Marillion
  • The Nice
  • Hawkwind
  • Ange
  • Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes
  • Curved Air
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Gentle Giant

70s Glam Rock Bands

Glam rock is a genre of rock music that emerged in the early 1970s in the United Kingdom. The style was often characterized by outrageous clothes, makeup, and hairstyles, as well as sexually suggestive lyrics and performance.

Many of the most popular glam rock bands in the 70s were from the United Kingdom and include acts such as T. Rex, Roxy Music, and David Bowie.

Below is a list of the best glam rock bands that defined the genre in the 70s with their unique style and sound. Although some of these bands may not be around today, their music will definitely live on forever.

  • The Sweet
  • Roxy Music
  • T. Rex (band)
  • Slade
  • New York Dolls
  • Mott The Hoople
  • Wizzard
  • Mud (band)
  • Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
  • The Glitter Band
  • Sparks (band)
  • Bay City Rollers
  • Silverhead

70s Blues Rock Bands

By the late 1960s, blues rock had become one of the most popular genres of music in the world. This was largely due to the success of bands such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and Led Zeppelin.

The 70s continued this trend and saw the emergence of many great blues rock bands. These bands often combined traditional blues with rock to produce some of the most memorable tracks in music history which are still popular to this day.

Below is a list of the 10 best blues rock bands of the 1970s. These bands helped define the genre and left a lasting legacy on the music industry. We hope you enjoy their music!

  • John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
  • Canned Heat
  • The Yardbirds
  • Ten Years After
  • Savoy Brown
  • The Animals
  • Foghat
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • Humble Pie
  • Little Feat

70s Female Rock Bands

When you think about rock music, the first people that come to mind are usually male. This is because many of the best-known rock bands of all time have been led by men, including Queen, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, and Van Halen.

However, it was not always this way. By the start of the 70s, female rock bands were becoming more and more common. These women often carried the torch during a time when rock music was dominated by men, and they left a lasting impression on the genre.

Below is a list of 10 best female rock bands of the 1970s that have paved the way for many great acts to follow. These women are pioneers who helped break down musical barriers with their talent and raw energy.

  • The Runaways
  • Fanny (band)
  • The Pleasure Seekers
  • The Ace of Cups
  • The Heart Beats
  • The Shaggs
  • Lydia Lunch
  • the Welders

Swedish Rock Bands of the 70s

Do you know who are The Hives, Europe, or ABBA? These may not be household names to you, but they should be. All of these bands are Swedish and rose to fame in the 70s.

Sweden’s music scene started to take off during this decade. Many great artists emerged from the country, including the members of ABBA who would go on to become one of the most successful bands in history.

This list honors the lesser-known yet equally talented Swedish rock bands that came out of the 70s.

  • Ebba Grön
  • Wilmer X
  • Tages (band)
  • The Spotnicks
  • Snowstorm (band)
  • Samla Mammas Manna

Wrap

So, there you have it, 100+ popular rock bands of the 70s.  I hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It has been a pleasure to research and compile all of this information for you.

Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family. And if you have any thoughts or feedback, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!