Punk, New Wave, Dance, Disco, Soul and Reggae - It's All Here - The 1970s! by Ronnie Slade
In terms of the range and variety of music, the decade to which Lennon referred was anything but a drag. The 1970s were a boom period on both sides of the Atlantic, both for the creative output of artists and musicians and for the fortunes of the music industry itself. Record Sales, both albums and singles, were growing beyond executives' wildest forecasts. More music was being made available than ever before; newer styles and fresher, more innovative sounds were coming to the fore. Punk, new wave, progressive rock, soul, reggae, dance and disco; they all either burst onto the scene for the first time in the 1970s or, if already established, were developed, enhanced and improved.
Having seen the ideals of the "peace and love" era amount to little, people approached the 1970s hoping for positive developments. Many looked to the music to provide the answers - or at least a distraction from the real world. People wanted music to reflect the times in which they lived but they also wanted to use it as a soundtrack to having a good time.
In the 1970s heavy rock came into its own, thanks largely to British bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and the Ozzy Osborne - fronted Black Sabbath. Led Zeppelin accounted for 64 million album sales in the 1970s - with each of the seven albums the band released in the period topping the charts in the UK and getting a Top Two placing in the US.
But there was more to the UK's rock invasion of the US than a bunch of galvanising riffs and heavy bass lines. Pink Floyd captured fans everywhere with their deeply constructed compositions, heaping electronic sounds onto guitars and keyboards.
Other bands whose high production values were matched by their ability to turn out albums full of searingly good songs included the Anglo - American Fleetwood Mac. Rumours became a Number One album in the US and the UK and went on to become the second - biggest selling long - player of the decade. Smooth rock was also a forte of the Eagles. At the outset the band had a distinctly country vibe, but as the albums came and went they developed a sharper sound, nowhere more evident than on their career highlight, Hotel California.
All in all, it can be argued that the 1970s witnessed a greater breadth and variety of music than any other period before or since. Certainly the evolution of music during this time - the speed with which it changed throughout those ten years - resulted in a great swathe of different sounds. There was, after all, a time before radio formatting took hold of the airwaves and established creative ghettos. It was a time when an album could work its way up the charts and build upon a groundswell of support. When all is said and done, the 1970s were indeed a golden age for popular music in all its many forms.