Best of British

Best British Groups of the 70s

Remember the 70s? A time of tie-dye shirts, flared trousers, and a mix of several styles of music. British pop groups of the 70s incorporated everything from slow ballads to glam rock and more besides in this laid back decade.

The clothes were awful, the shoes were awful and let’s be honest, the hairstyles were REALLY awful – but the music was good and had a blend and variety of sound like no other decade.

Here we take a look at some of the best 70s British Pop Groups that graced the pop charts.

Glam Rock

british groups of the 70s

If anything defined the 70s music scene then it had to be Glam Rock. A uniquely British music style that arrived in a cloud of glitter. It was new, sparky and at the same time outrageous and glamourous.

Hence the name ‘Glam Rock’. This music spurned admirers and followers for decades to come. Legendary greats like David Bowie and Adam Ant cited glam rockers like Marc Bolan of T-Rex as one of their influencers.

Today their legends of 1970s music lives on and lots of tracks still have airplay today. Not to mention snippets of familiar tunes have often been sampled and used as the backing tracks for more modern popsters music.

How many of these 70s British Pop Groups do you remember?

Slade

Slade british 70s groups and rock band
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Slade is an English rock group that comes from the city of Wolverhampton. They became famous on the music scene in the early 1970s, racking up 17 consecutive top 20 records and six number one hits.

They have been named the most successful British Pop Groups of the 1970s. Slade was the first group that had three singles go straight to number one. The band had six number one hits in total all written by frontman Noddy Holder and Jim Lea.

They are best remembered for their chart-topping single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, which has sold well over a million copies.  Slade has sold over 50 million records globally.

Want to know the Best British Bands of the 1980s? Find out who they were HERE.

Brotherhood of Man

brotherhood of man eurovision song contest winners 1970s

Brotherhood of Man started life as a frequently-changing line-up of session singers. They achieved huge success with the song “United We Stand”. By 1973 the band changed to a four-member lineup.

This version of the group had several hits throughout the mid to late 1970s including “Kiss Me Kiss Your Baby”, “Oh Boy (The Mood I’m In)” and “Figaro”, and were winners of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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They had their biggest success in the UK, managing three number one singles and four top twenty albums. The group remains together and still performs shows throughout Europe.

Brotherhood of Man have released a massive 16 studio albums, and their overall sales worldwide are in excess of 15 million records.

Pink Floyd

pink floyd progressive rock - british 1970s groups

The now-famous Pink Floyd was a British rock band that had humble beginnings in mid 60s London. They eventually saw international fame and were recognized for their mix of forward-thinking and somewhat progressive music.

The band is also known for staging entertaining and elaborate live performances with extensive light shows and tech tricks.

Pink Floyd first gained popularity performing on the underground music scene in London and managed to release two charting debut singles and a successful first album.

Frontman Roger Waters became the songwriter for this famous group and from there Pink Floyd achieved a string of popular hits.

Their albums Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall sold by the thousands and were listed as two of the highest-selling albums in pop history. Pink Floyd is probably one of the most famous British 70s groups of all time.

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T-Rex

The group was initially named Tyrannosaurus Rex until lead singer and flamboyant frontman Marc Bolan began to shift the band’s sound from an acoustic sound to a more modern electric one.

Following this their name was shortened to the more readily recognized T. Rex and the popular “Ride a White Swan” solidified the group’s commercial success as part of the emerging glam rock scene. T. Rex achieved much fame in the UK with a run of eleven top ten singles and four number one songs.

Marc Bolan was the lead singer, songwriter, and only consistent member of T-Rex which had an ever-changing lineup. He died in a car crash after recording the group’s final studio album in 1977. T. Rex is often cited as being an influence for many modern-day singers and artists.

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac is a British-American band, that was formed in London in the late 60s. The group has sold in excess of 100 million records globally and is one of the best-selling groups in the whole world.

When Fleetwood Mac was founded it was primarily a British blues band and had a number one hit with “Albatross” and a few smaller, less memorable singles. By 1974, most band members had left or been fired meaning the group was missing a lead singer.

Subsequently, Mick Fleetwood was introduced to Lindsay Buckingham who he invited to be their new lead guitarist. He signed up on the condition that Stevie Nicks would also come and join the Fleetwood Mac lineup.

This gave the band their more familiar sound, and the first album recorded with the new lineup, ‘Fleetwood Mac’, saw much success. The follow-up album ‘Rumours’ produced several hit singles and remained for weeks on the album charts. It achieved sales that topped 40 million copies and is number 8 on the list of all-time highest-selling albums.

The Moody Blues

moody blues british progressive rock group
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Formed in Birmingham in the mid-1960s The Moody Blues are an English rock band recognised for their unique brand of rhythm and blues-style music. When their second album, Days of Future Passed, was released, it established the band as pioneers in the development of progressive rock music and was hailed as a landmark moment for concept albums.

The group’s most successful singles include the popular singles “Go Now”, and the dramatic and atmospheric “Nights in White Satin”. The Moody Blues have seen global album sales of over 70 million, and they have achieved a combined total of 18 gold and platinum discs.

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10cc

10cc british 70s group music

10cc are an English rock band that was founded in Stockport, who achieved their greatest success in the 70s decade. The band originally was made up of four musicians who had written and recorded together for several years, before becoming the more well known “10cc”.

The band had an unusual set up in that it contained two songwriting teams, one “commercial” and one “artistic”. Each member of the team was a singer, writer, and producer and could play several instruments. The writing teams often switched partners to create songs together.

After the departure of band members Godley and Creme, remaining members Gouldman and Stewart were the main artistic talent of 10cc. Stewart eventually left also and Gouldman currently leads a touring version of 10cc. The group is perhaps best remembered for their 1975 hit single ‘I’m Not in Love’.

The Who

the who british 70s rock group

The Who were a British rock band that started life in mid 60s London. “I Can’t Explain”, was the groups first single and reached the top 10 in the UK charts. It was quickly followed by a string of hits, including the popular “My Generation”.

Their music has been featured in popular movies of the time such as Quadrophenia and Tommy, a 70s rock opera featuring a deaf, dumb, and blind pinball playing kid. The band was involved in much of the film’s adaptation.

The Who is still regarded as a major influence by many modern-day rock bands and musicians. On stage, they gained notoriety as the band that destroyed their equipment and guitars in a destructive form of art and expression.

The group is considered one of the most influential rock bands in history, most popular British groups of the 70s, and has sold over 100 million records around the world.

Black Sabbath

black sabbath british heavy metal 1970s

Black Sabbath was a rock group formed in late 60s Birmingham and featured singer Ozzy Osbourne. This heavy metal group receives much credit as being forerunners of heavy metal. 

Adopting the title Black Sabbath after the movie of the same name the band started incorporated occult themes and horror-inspired lyrics. In keeping with this theme, their 1970 debut album hit the shelves on Friday the 13th.

The group has achieved much commercial success and was ranked as one of the greatest metal bands and hard rock artists by MTV, VH1, and Rolling Stone magazine.

Black Sabbath has achieved record sales that total over 70 million and have been inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have also won two Grammy Awards and been the recipients of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Joy Division

joy division post punk british music

Joy Division was a rock band that was formed in the mid-1970s. The band was created after two of the members were inspired by a Sex Pistols concert. Their first records were much influenced by early punk music.

However, Joy Division soon developed their own style and sound that identified them firmly as one of the leaders of the post-punk era.

The lead singer Ian Curtis was plagued with many problems from including a marriage that was failing, health issues, and depression. Curtis committed suicide aged just 23 unwittingly elevating Joy Divison’s place as one of the more famous British pop groups.

The group’s second album was released two months later, and the now famous “Love Will Tear Us Apart” featuring Curtis on lead vocals became their most successful single. After the band split the popular group New Order was formed by the remaining members.

Roxy Music

roxy music bryan ferry 70s groups britain
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Roxy Music is a popular British band that was formed in 1970 by charismatic frontman Bryan Ferry, the band’s lead singer and primary songwriter. The group saw much success throughout Europe and Australia beginning with their first album release, Roxy Music in 1972.

The band used some sophisticated elements of glam rock and provided a model for many subsequent new wave acts. The group presented their sophistication with the use of stylish clothing. Roxy Music was listed by  Rolling Stone Magazine as one of it’s 100 The Greatest Artists of All Time.

The band’s last recorded album was Avalon (1982), which went platinum in the USA. More recently Roxy Music played a series of 40th-anniversary shows in 2011 but has since ceased performing. Roxy Music has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Summary

This is by no mean an exhaustive list, the bands, successful solo artists, and famous British groups of the 70s are simply too many to list. These are some of the most popular ones of the decade that we knew and loved.

Which groups would you like to see added?

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