by Alex Cosper (12/30/12)
As The Beatles were breaking up in April 1970, The Jackson 5 were rising as the new pop sensation of the early seventies, while the Motown sound continued to incorporate more funk. This era still featured a lot of lyrically strong songs such as "Imagine" by John Lennon and "Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. It also marked the beginning of a more glam-oriented rock such as "Get It On (Bang A Gong) by T. Rex. Some of the early hard rock artists such as Black Sabbath began to appear. The development and influence of Jamaican reggae could be felt in hits by Johnny Nash.
The pop scene continued to be a mix of fun all ages acts like The Partridge Family and the heavier sounds of Sly & The Family Stone or Jimi Hendrix. The Doors opened the era as pioneers of poetic rock. There was still a sense that rock music was becoming more artistic and had many directions to explore. The Bay Area band Tower of Power mixes jazz with rock, as did Chicago. Some of the more serious rock had jazz and blues influences. It was exactly the time period when Led Zeppelin's early albums began to define the direction of album rock.
Elton John, The Carpenters, The Grass Roots and Three Dog Night stood out as polished pop architects while Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon demonstrated how ethereal rock music could get in the studio. The album would be a landmark in production as well as songwriting and musicianship. Despite the break-up of The Beatles, each of the members began developing their solo careers with impressive hits such as "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison and "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney.
Big festivals continued to grow in the early seventies. George Harrison's Concert for Bengladesh marked the beginning of huge benefit shows. The sound of freeform radio began to shift to more structured programming with the development of the "Album-Oriented Rock" format. The early seventies also featured several unique instrumentals such as "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter Group and "Dueling Banjos" by Eric Weissberg.
The early seventies also ushered in a more refined folk music that mixed in elements of pop, rock and country. Singer-songwriters such as John Denver, Jim Croce, Carly Simon and James Taylor began to emerge with sing along songs. Don McLean's "American Pie" was one of the most remembered campfire songs of the era.
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