The Hard Rock of the 1970s
Led Zeppelin with their jet

Hard Rock was started in the 1960s, but it was in the 1970s that the music developed into a major influence on the music scene with the formation of major groups. At the end of the 1960s these groups were creating their sounds in the music festivals, but the 1970s saw them maturing into legendary rock acts. Hard rock is a combination of aggressive vocals with loud electric guitars, bass guitars and drums. The music attracts audiences who are specially attuned to the very heavy sound of the music, but it doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some bands who wished to sell more records would tone down their sound and become pop rock artists, or glam metal performers. The first big rock bands were also known as heavy metal bands. Led Zeppelin were created in 1968 and consisted of Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Their influences of blues and folk music helped to create their unique sound, and turned them into one of the biggest heavy rock bands.

Throughout the 1970s they produced classic album after classic album and it is claimed it came to a peak in 1971 with the release of the iconic Led Zeppelin IV. They were extremely busy always either in the recording studio, or on tour playing to packed audiences. They were the archetypal Rock Band with Page writing the music and Plant producing the lyrics. They had in Robert Plant an effervescent front man and Jimmy Page, in the eyes of many, was the greatest lead guitarist in the world. They travelled the globe on their private Jet, they rented out entire sections of hotels and played concerts in the world’s biggest arenas.

Black Sabbath came from Birmingham in the UK and were led by lead singer Ozzy Osbourne. They burst on to the music scene in 1970 with three hit albums and they played through the 1970s building up huge numbers of followers. With the group touring regularly they also partied hard becoming infamous for their drug and alcohol abuse. This came to a head in 1979 when Osbourne was dismissed from the band. He went onto forge successful solo career releasing 11 albums and he is commonly known as the “Godfather of Heavy metal”. In 1972 at the Rainbow Theatre in London Deep Purple performed the loudest concert ever heard. It is believed that Deep Purple along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were the pioneers of hard rock. They sold 100 million records world-wide and in the early 1970s their music was at its best.

The group had several different line ups over the years, but their most well-known artists were Richie Blackmore on lead guitar and Ian Gillan the lead vocalist. The band really came to prominence in 1970 with the release of their fourth album “In Rock” which really confirmed their unique sound. Throughout the decade the group continued to produce records, although in time their style changed. Gillan departed from the band in 1973 after falling out with Richie Blackmore. Blackmore himself was so unhappy with the 1974 album “Stormbringer” that he left the band to form his own group Rainbow. Deep Purple have had endless changes in its personnel yet still play today. They were a major part of heavy metal’s entrance into the music scene, and some of their 1970 records are as popular today as they were when they were released. The initial hard rock bands paved the way for other bands such as ACDC and Van Halen to enter the music industry. Other musical genres such as glam rock also followed and the influence of the early heavy metal bands of the 1970s is still heard today.