Country and Western Music in the 1970s

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Country music has been played and listened to around the world since it first appeared in the 1930s. In the 1970s a number of new and established artists produced a number of records that would result in the music becoming as popular it had ever been. With so many new music genres being created in the 1970s country and western as well as holding its own it was also able to adapt to new technology creating new sounds. With country music there are always different styles of sounds and in the early 1970s both Countrypolitan and Bakersfield Sound were popular.

Glen Campbell

The Countrypolitan sound was a combination of polished string sections with crooning vocals. The leading artists included Glen Campbell and Tammy Wynette. Glen Campbell sold more than 45million records world-wide and during the early part of the decade even hosted his own television program “the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour”. Musically he is best known for his hit single “Rhinestone Cowboy”. As well as selling over 2 million copies the song has been used widely in films and television series, and is synonymous of the country and western sound. Tammy Wynette was made famous by her single “Stand by Your Man”. She was the first real big female country performer and many of her songs appealed to female fans as they dealt with divorce, loneliness and difficult relationships. Outlaw country music emerged in the early 1970s which was a combination of country with rock and blues music. Willie Nelson produced many records during this period combining both a successful acting career with his music. He produced many top selling albums and his style of music as a popular seller during the decade. The middle part of the 1970s saw a group of new acts appear on the music scene producing a style of music that was to become known as country pop. This genre of music saw a combination of new and established performers produce records looking to take advantage of this more lucrative market.

Dolly Parton

This catapulted country and western performers into a wider audience with many of the acts becoming international household names. Dolly Parton had been writing and singing country songs since 1967 but during the 1970s her record sales increased dramatically as her records became more appealing to mainstream audiences. She was able to take advantage of this with songs such as “Here You Come Again” and “Two Doors Down” becoming major hits. The style of these songs was totally different to the hit records she had produced in the earlier past of the decade such as “Please Do Not Stop Loving Me”. Regardless of her style Dolly Parton was a major musical performer during this time. Crystal Gayle came to prominence in the 1970s emerging from a family of country performers with her two sisters Peggy Sue and Loretta Lyn also in the record business. In 1977 her fourth album “We Must Believe in Magic” achieved over a million sales and she was the first country female performer to reach this milestone. Her biggest selling single “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue” became an international hit and overall she produced twenty number one singles in the country music charts. There seemed to be large numbers of female country artists during this period with Olivia Newton-John and Marie Osmond also selling many records’

Country and western had a huge impact on the music industry in the 1970s. It sold many records and unearthed a number of performers who are still active today.