Wednesday Question: Best Album of the 1970s?

Some of the greatest albums in history were released in the 1970s - but which ones were best? Vote here!

Ultimate Guitar

The 1970s is when rock n' roll really took off with a life of it's own, with the rise of timeless studio recording techniques and rock musicians as celebrities.

It was the only way to follow the 1960s, a decade of rebellion and revolution. The next generation of teenagers were inspired by the events of the '60s and wanted to make the 1970s live up to their own ambitions. But their view of what rock and partying was all about in the '60s was skewed from its peaceful origins.

The results, for better or worse, was that every aspect of the music world was turned up to 11. Music was louder. Gigs were bigger. Drugs were harder. Men were almost certainly hairier. Yes, the 1970s were crazy, crazy times.

But best of all, developments in the recording world meant that music sounded better, too. It was the sweet spot before digital technology in the 1980s began to corrupt the sweet analog art of capturing live music, and when it was done properly with a great producer, the results were magic.

That's why we think this could be one of the best Wednesday questions in the history of UG:

What are the best albums of the 1970s?

The rules: nominate one album per comment, and upvote any that you agree with. The album had to be released between 1970 and 1979.

There's a lot of great music to choose from, so good luck! We'll post the results on Friday in what could be the best-sounding weekend playlist ever. Have fun!

521 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Black Sabbath (1970)
    I prefer this instant classic (such great tunes as: "War Pigs", "Paranoid", "Planet Caravan", "Iron Man" etc): Black Sabbath - "Paranoid" (1970)
    For me its Master of Reality-its a fantastic balance of the heavy and delicate
    And let's not forget "Fairies Wear Boot", "Electric Funeral", "Hand of Doom", and "Rat Salad". All great songs that I enjoy listening to.
    Both of those albums came out in the 1960s. How about Sabbath Bloody Sabbath? More exciting anyway
    Neither of those albums came out in the 1960s. And as great as the other Ozzy albums were, Paranoid and Black Sabbath are the albums with the really great classics.
    No they both came out in 1969 with only a month or 2 difference i believe, independantly released, however then put onto major label and released again in 1970
    Maybe this is unknown for the most people here, but it is real classic album - and not only for jazz, but for all progressive music. Miles Davis - "Bitches Brew" (1970) Just excerpt:
    logged in at school just to say i agree, Miles Davis is awesome. Nice choice
    This should make the list, but theres so many choices and more popular records I highly doubt it will.
    Not my favourite, I prefer Birth of the Cool personally. Easily a contendor for best album of the 70s none the less.
    Led Zeppelin 4
    Truly great album, the 70s had many great albums it makes it so hard to pick a best one, but I must pick. 2112 -rush
    any AC/DC love?
    Highway to Hell deserves a spot on this list. An absolute testament to the legacy of Bon Scott.
    As much as I love Highway to Hell, I still think that Powerage should rather be on the list. Both are great albums, but Powerage has the upper hand.
    I agree. Powerage is the AC/DC's rawest, baddest and most kick ass album they ever did.
    Let There Be Rock is twice as raw as Powerage IMO. My personal AC/DC favorite, but hasn't had nearly as much influence or scope that Highway to Hell has had on music, therefore I think HTH deserves the spot since this is a top 10 best list.
    I wouldn't call powerage raw. that's probably my favorite, but it's pretty polished compared to a lot of their stuff. I'm sticking with Highway though, I think a lot of people forget how good it is because of how many times they've listened to it. Try to remember your initial reaction.
    My vote is for "Led Zeppelin III")
    Love both of those albums but I've got to go for "Houses of the Holy".
    NO QUARTER, best Zep song hands down.
    To me not their best...but definitely great enough for Tool to do a cover that is just as awesome.
    That song is a big reason why that one's my favorite.
    That song isn't on that album. Houses of the Holy was left off of the album of the same name because they thought it didn't fit in, or something like that. It was actually released on Physical Graffiti.
    YES. But I wonder will people give Physical Graffiti some love?
    The Rover is my favourite Zeppelin tune, so Physicial Graffiti is up there. But EVERY track on Houses of the Holy is incredible, so I place my Zeppelin vote there.
    I'm not the world's biggest Zeppelin fan, but I've got to say my favorite is Houses of the Holy.
    Frank Zappa - "Apostrophe (')" (1974) Just great musicianship.
    Yabba Who
    I came here to add One Size Fits All, but instead I'll support Apostrophe. Roxy & Elsewhere ranks pretty high with me as well. Hell, they're all good.
    Oh man, the bass solo on Apostrophe alone makes this amazing.
    Darkside of the Moon
    This album is AMAZING!!!! Into the Void,....Embryo,....Children of the Grave,....not a single bad song on that album. Undoubtedly one of the best from the fathers of metal.
    When I read the question I immediately scrolled down looking for this album. Sure I love Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, but Master of Reality and Band of Gypsys are my favorite 70s albums.
    definitely this, my jaw completely dropped when I found out that children of the grave was written in 1971! the other songs in there are just as awesome of-course but I mean it was thrash before the term even existed, way ahead of it's time.
    Absolutely fantastic album, though I'd say The Wall just edges it - how can an album with this masterpiece on not win every single contest!?
    Yeah but, you can't perceive Floyd albums by songs. If you look at the big picture DSOTM wins this one
    Gerard Way Jr
    Yeah, The Wall has a lot of filler between big hits. DSOTM is hit after hit without losing its conceptual ground. Personally, I'm a bigger fan of WYWH, but there's no denying Dark Side's impact.
    Because out of the classic Pink Floyd albums, the Wall is probably the sh*tiest. Animals man.
    Obviously greatest. And the revolutuon in music mastering.
    Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac.
    Terry Reid - Seed of Memory - under rated i wish everyone knew about this guy
    terry reid is great! i absolutely agree more people need to listen to that man. thank you rob zombie for introducing me on the devils rejects soundtrack
    My absolute favorite album of all time. It's impossible for me to listen to just one song off of it without playing through the entire album. Zeppelin may be by favorite band, but I really hope Dark Side of the Moon wins.
    There is a right answer to this question And it is Dark Side of the Moon. Wish You Were Here is up there too. And The Wall though the seventies were over by then, in spirit, if you ask me. Dark Side wins greatest album of the latter twentieth century, easy. But what other classic albums were begat by this explosive decade in pop music?
    considering this is a guitar website I'm real surprised that this hasn't been mentioned yet, a true masterpiece of Latin Psychedelia Santana - Abraxas (1970)
    This classic (even it's live): Jimi Hendrix - "Band Of Gypsys" (1970)
    If live albums count, I'm gonna nominate a greatest hits album... Creedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle (1976)
    And, perhaps, it has little to do with rock and metal music, but it is an absolute masterpiece. Mike Oldfield - "Tubular Bells" (1973)
    "Tubular Bells" is amazing but as far as Mike Oldfield goes, I prefer "Ommadawn". It's much more personal and the playing conveys more emotion. Also it's full of parts that never fail to give me goosebumps.
    Yes, it is also great - I have to choose between "Tubular Bells" and "Ommadawn"
    Have to post my personal favorite of all time: Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
    Growing up in the 70's this was my favorite album. Still listen to it quite a bit.
    This album is quite good too
    Billy Joel - The Stranger. It's got many classics
    This. Absolutely this. Probably in my top 5 of all time, just a great album, but I dont think it will be on this list considering we're on a guitar based site where most people seem to be into heavier music.
    Yes - "Close To The Edge" (1972)
    "Close to the Edge" is an amazing album, but I have to mention "Relayer" though. It is a great record and to me, "Gates of Delirium" is one hell of a song.
    Im amazed that no one mention Fragile yet, good album too close to the edge is probably my favorite though
    I have the feeling Pink Floyd might dominate this list.
    i Agree, as much as i hate it when lists do this, they should just group all the floyd albums into the # slot
    Genesis - "Selling England By The Pound" (1973)
    Yes you are right! Come on everybody, step out from behind the obvious. Haven't LZ 4 and DSOTM gotten enough awards. Step outside the box
    What a great album. "After The Ordeal" must be one of the best instrumental tracks I've ever heard.
    Don't Ask
    Fantastic album, beginning to end. Every time I turn it on, Dancing With the Moonlit Knight gives me the feeling that music simply cannot get any better. And the rest of the album is at least as good. The Battle of Epping Forest is absolutely amazing, and when that 7/8-part gets going about halfway into The Cinema Show, well, the album is complete. In my opinion, not only the greatest album of the 70s, but the greatest album of all time, rivaled only by the follow-up, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
    Although released before his breakthrough Born To Run, this album is vastly different than that which followed it, it get's almost progressive in parts, with many blatant Jazz influences, and an organ and piano that remain intertwined for most of the album in a very unique way, along with some of the most fantastic stories Springsteen has ever written. Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)
    Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic
    Kayla And Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek And The Dominoes
    Who's Kayla? :
    "Kayla And Other Assorted Love Songs " is the only album released in 1970 by Derek And The Dominoes . It is best known for its title track, "Layla ". The album is often regarded as Eric Clapton 's greatest musical achievement.
    Rush - Fly by Night Alice Cooper - Welcome to My nightmare (or Billion Dollar Babies) Kiss - Alive! Rainbow - Rising Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny 70's were the best