Heavy Metal: The 1970s

Following the emergence of the heavy metal originators Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and others, the genre continued to pick up steam. Continuing build on these trademark sounds, many new bands appeared during the mid and late-1970s that would leave a lasting impact on the musical world.

The Bands of the 1970s

During the mid and late-1970s, various groups began producing music that fit the style developed by the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Of course, these inventors of the heavy metal sound continued to produce music during the 1970s as well, and these albums should not be forgotten.

Black Sabbath

Arguably the first heavy metal band, Black Sabbath continued to produce extremely popular music. Following the huge success of their 1971 and 1972 albums “Master of Reality” and “Volume 4,” the band released “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” in 1973. This album was particularly interesting because it was only after failing to come up with producible material in Los Angeles that the band returned to England and was inspired to produce the 1973 platinum hit. This album is hailed as one of their best albums, and is considered by some to be among the top albums of all time. After the release two consecutive albums that failed to reach platinum certification, Ozzy Osbourne left the group, and the end of an era had arrived.


Formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970, Aerosmith brought some of the stylistic elements from the British bands of the era to Americans. Their first two albums did not receive a ton of early success. In 1975, however, “Toys in the Attic” shot Aerosmith to instant fame, rivalling the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Their next two releases in 1976 and 1977 were both very popular, both achieving platinum sales. An album released in 1979 failed to reach platinum certification at the time, and was a struggle to produce due to tensions among the bands. This would be the last album produced in the 70s.


Another iconic band during the 1970s is the very eclectic group known as Kiss. Known for their extremely vivid stage makeup, and very lively performances, they were a staple in 1970s. Their performances included wild things like fire breathing, spitting blood, and pyrotechnics. They released several albums that did not garner much fame, despite being widely popular live. Upon releasing a live album entitled “Alive!” in 1975, they finally found studio success. They subsequently released “Rock and Roll Over” in 1976 and “Love Gun” in 1977. Both of these albums saw huge success, reaching platinum certification soon after release. A second live album, cleverly entitled “Alive II, was released in 1977 and was received with great satisfaction. In 1978, Kiss took a route that had never yet been taken. Each of the four members released solo albums that were still marketed under their group moniker. Each of these four albums were huge hits, and the publicity that was gained from them was unprecedented at the time. Their last album of the 70s, “Dynasty,” continued their huge success streak.

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