Where to Start: The Heavy ’70s

This, admittedly is a hard one. Let’s say we take the über-gods out. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Hawkwind, bands like that. Even if you’re just getting started on ’70s rock, you already know they were massively influential and you don’t need me to rehash, fun as it is to do on occasion.

The purpose of this list is to give you some more obscure artists to check out and see where the foundation of modern heavy rock (be it stoner, doom, etc.) comes from. I’ll admit to having zero personal expertise on the ’70s. I was born in 1981, so it’s not like I was there. Nonetheless, bear with me and maybe you’ll find something you haven’t yet heard.

Or maybe you know everything about ’70s rock and want to school me in the comments. Hey, I’ll take it. Here’s my list of starting points, no real order:

Captain Beyond, Captain Beyond (1972)

Atomic Rooster, Death Walks Behind You (1970)

Leaf Hound, Growers of Mushroom (1971)

Black Widow, Black Widow (1971)

The Human Instinct, Stoned Guitar (1970)

Toad, Toad (1971)

Blue Cheer, Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

You’ll notice the last one was released in 1968, definitively not part of the ’70s. Well, that’s only because Blue Cheer were so fucking ahead of the game that they got out one of the loudest rock albums of all time before anyone else even thought to turn to 11. Vincebus Eruptum is essential to understanding the heavy ’70s and the heavy every decade since. You won’t even know how bad you were missing it. Then get OutsideInside, because it’s even better.

There are more: Rainbow, Warhorse, Glass Harp, Pappo’s Blues, Comus, Bloodrock, Grand Funk Railroad, Thin Lizzy, Budgie, Humble Pie, everything that Rockadrome Records has reissued (Jerusalem, Iron Claw, etc.), Mountain, Uriah Heep, on and on. If you have more to add to the list, do it up and leave a comment. Always killer to learn more stuff that’s out there.

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18 Responses to “Where to Start: The Heavy ’70s”

  1. Nice list, still a lot of usual suspects, some new names as well. No Iron Butterfly?

    Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Humble Pie live. Especially ‘king biscuit flower hour presents’ Great record, a band on fire. That rendition of ’30 days in the hole’ is slowly creeping up to be my most favourite song like evah…

  2. Mike says:

    Waht about Master’s Apprentice – Choice Cuts? Uriah Heep?

    And seriously…John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.

    Not seriously heavy, but seriously influential guitar work.

  3. greenskeeper says:

    Don’t forget Cactus.

  4. Admiral Kienel says:

    -hm… if you like black widow: “black sabbath” by coven should be something you like…
    -and: genisis anyone? (trespass, nursery crime, foxtrot) the folk side of heavy-prog-who-cares-sounds-good-to-me-rock…
    -jethro tull.
    -from japan: flower travelling band (“satori”)
    lucifers friend (listen: ride in the sky)

    hm. that´s it for now… go listen to “radar love” by golden earring!

  5. Admiral Kienel says:

    i just remembered:

    fenriz: trapped under vice II

    good sampler…

    you should listen to it…


    a jolly good time…


  6. bleehhh says:

    No Cactus? Atomic Rooster might be slighlty more underrated(from what I’ve heard) but sheesh, I’m no hardcore Zep fan. Can’t really speak for Hawkwind, ’cause I’m not down with the more Steve Miller folk-influenced numbers which comprise most hawk i’ve heard.

    Lucifer’s Friend is a good one(they changed their styles every album according to the wiki), and Buffalo might also be worth checking out. Stereotypical 70s rock, but they do it in a manner befitting of their name(. Actually only know of them because they were on DISH’s Ink’d station once.) Some good shit from what their Myspace seems.

    And Wishbone Ash should be a fairly obvious one. And I don’t think we can forget about Spooky Tooth. Or Trapeze if you like Glenn Hughes vocals.

    You mentioned one I don’t know, however. Just who the hell are Comus? Might check out, but I’m still working my way through GFR’s catalogue( for every E Pluribus Funk, they put out 2 Pheonixes) so we’ll see.

  7. Dude! DUST. Their S/T and Heart Attack are awesome! Check ’em out

    And Silberbart! 4 Times Sound Razing is an awesome album “Wahaaa I whisper; Chub Chub Cherry”


    Bang’s S/T rocks too

  8. paul says:

    frigid pink.

  9. “I hear sirens calling me…”. Congrats to this great list but I miss one of the best and earliest stoner metal bands of the 70’s: Sir Lord Baltimore.
    And what about The Stooges? Iggy Pop’s bloodcurdling screams on Funhouse are the beginning of the 70’s!

  10. Sourgrain says:

    Sounds crazy but early Scorpions is really fuckin heavy….and even a little psychedelic. Also UFO pre Schenker and the first few with M.S.(Space child, Rock Bottom). Another band is Armageddon… actually has members of the Yardbirds( Keith Relf) just before he electrocuted himself, as well as Captain Beyond(Bobby Caldwell). How about West, Bruce and Lang too ( Whydontcha, and Love aint Worth the Blues ,which is a re-make of the stones Play with Fire are great cuts)…… its really easy to get sucked into buying $200 in music after looking at these lists.

  11. Gina B says:

    Bloodwyn Pig
    Strawberry Path

  12. Corm1000 says:

    Also check out High Tide and Andromedia as well as hard stuff.

  13. Dwain says:

    first off excellent finds here thanks everyone and i’d like to supply my own essential band of the 70s here: May Blitz, thanks to a dad who was a blazing stoner i had the privilege of listening to this amazing band from an early age http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckRNRhcpW9s

  14. Dwain says:

    this is the track that continues to floor me

  15. dritho says:

    The Groundhogs,

  16. Robby J says:

    I like the bands people have been mentioning so far here,but also don’t forget bands like MC5,later-era Jefferson Airplane,also an awesome Welsh psychedelic rock band by the name of Man,also Amon Duul II and Ash Ra Tempel,both awesome German Space Rock legends!…

  17. Ian brown says:

    Oh come on guys PINK FAIRIES and the freekin’ EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND not forgetting ARMAGEDDON and the mighty GROUNDHOGS.

    • Fernando says:

      Right on, Ian! all those bands you mentioned are superb, and vaaaastly underrated. i’ll throw in a couple more: Writing on the Wall, the Human Beast, May Blitz, Second Life, Stray, Stray Dog, Hairy Chapter (best name ever!), Buffalo, Sandoz, Flower Travellin Band, Speed Glue and Shinki, Samuel Prody, early Guru Guru (first three albums), and a German trio no one’s heard about: Silberbart. i believe the latter created the weirdest and HEAVIEST early 70s album, bar none- kinda like if you mixed Sabbath and Hendrix with early Can and loads of unadultareted lsd!

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