Music 50 Years Ago

The year is 1970, war is raging in Viet Nam, young people have taken to the streets in protest with a 100,000 person march on Washington, four students are shot on the campus of Kent University by the National Guard. Richard Nixon is in the White House.

Notable Musical Happenings of 1970

  • The largest rock festival ever is held on the Isle of Wight. 600,000 attend. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, Chicago, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Joan Baez, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Jethro Tull perform.
  • Jimi Hendrix dies of an overdose in London
  • Janis Joplin dies in a cheap motel from a heroin overdose
  • Simon and Garfunkel release their final album together, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
  • The Beatles formally disband and release “Let It Be.”
  • Elvis debuts his iconic signature white jumpsuit.
  • Edwin Starr releases “War.”

Music will transition during the 1970’s from the tumultuous sounds of the 50’s and 60’s to a more tolerant, amicable style. The transition to rock & roll for disco, soft rock, jazz, soul and hard rock had begun.

When we look for the go-to-authority for music charts, Billboard is No. 1. To close out 1970 these singles topped Billboard’s Music Chart:

1Bridge Over Troubled WaterSimon & Garfunkel
2(They Long to Be) Close to YouThe Carpenters
3American WomanThe Guess Who
4Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My HeadB.J. Thomas
5WarEdwin Starr
6Ain’t No Mountain High EnoughDiana Ross
7I’ll Be ThereThe Jackson 5
8Get ReadyRare Earth
9Let It BeThe Beatles
10Band of GoldFreda Payne


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