Music Artist Rankings: 1970s

Pink Floyd2
1. Pink Floyd
One of the most predominant and celebrated rock bands of all time, prog- and space-rock legends, known for superlative musicianship.
Essential Album: The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

Led Zeppelin
2. Led Zeppelin
Acknowledged as the most successful and influential band of the heavy rock era, with a catalogue that continues to inspire.
Essential Album: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

David Bowie
3. David Bowie
The mercurial music icon widely considered the original pop chameleon and figurehead for countless musical movements.
Essential Album: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

The Clash
4. The Clash
The most accomplished punk band, critically important provocateurs influenced by reggae, rockabilly, soul, and blues.
Essential Album: London Calling (1979)

Rolling Stones2
5. The Rolling Stones
The premier British rock band for over half a century, creators of the sound and style imitated by countless groups.
Essential Album: Exile On Main St. (1972)

The Who2
6. The Who
An explosive combo that pioneered progressive and arena rock, each new sound increasing their influence and legacy.
Essential Album: Who’s Next (1971)

Photography by Steve Babineau
7. Neil Young
Eternally restless figure who pursued an idiosyncratic solo career touching on everything from noise-rock and synth pop to blues and rockabilly.
Essential Album: After The Gold Rush (1970)

Bruce Springsteen
8. Bruce Springsteen
A passionate showman who gained worldwide acclaim by marrying literate songwriting with bar-band rock & roll plus a flair for the dramatic.
Essential Album: Born To Run (1975)

Bob Dylan2
9. Bob Dylan
Iconic singer/songwriter and musical wanderer who rose to prominence during the ’60s folk revival and changed the world of music.
Essential Album: Blood On The Tracks (1975)

10. Queen
Larger-than-life British arena-glam rockers who mastered the art of the pop single, led by the incomparable Freddie Mercury.
Essential Album: A Night At The Opera (1975)

Fleetwood Mac
11. Fleetwood Mac
Mick Fleetwood’s boys (and girls) morphed from a respected British blues outfit into the world’s biggest pop band by the 1970s.
Essential Album: Rumours (1977)

Black Sabbath
12. Black Sabbath
The embodiment of heavy metal, with the overpowering volume, sludgy attack, and fantasy lyrics that would define the genre.
Essential Album: Paranoid (1970)

13. Genesis
Seminal British prog band whose ambitious, classical-tinged art rock gradually became more accessible by the ’80s.
Essential Album: Selling England By The Pound (1973)

Joy Division 
14. Joy Division
The definitive post-punk group, whose vocalist Ian Curtis sang of despair and self-loathing until his tragic suicide in 1980.
Essential Album: Unknown Pleasures (1979)

Stevie Wonder
15. Stevie Wonder
A teenage soul sensation in the ’60s who racked up smash after smash, then explored adventurous, risky territory on his pioneering ’70s albums.
Essential Album: Innervisions (1973)

Marvin Gaye
16. Marvin Gaye
Monumentally influential soul/R&B vocalist whose music incorporated socio-political issues, atmospheric arrangements, and unified album themes.
Essential Album: What’s Going On (1971)

Nick Drake
17. Nick Drake
Revered British folk singer/songwriter who produced several albums of chilling, somber beauty and gained a cult following after his early death.
Essential Album: Pink Moon (1972)

18. Yes
The definitive English progressive rock band, purveyors of virtuoso playing and vast musical tapestries topped off with gorgeous melodies.
Essential Album: Close To The Edge (1972)

Television, First Avenue NYC 1977
19. Television
Propelled by the guitars of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, they were at the vanguard of New York’s art-punk scene of the ’70s.
Essential Album: Marquee Moon (1977)

John Lennon
20. John Lennon
One of the greatest figures in popular music during the ’60s, followed by a highly adventurous and eclectic solo career.
Essential Album: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)


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