The '70s is one of the greatest music decades of all time. Some of the most progressive rock and blues sounds came out of this iconic era, and they were created by a throng of talented, prolific rock 'n' roll artists. In tribute, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the best rock bands of the '70s and where they are today… starting with the Rolling Stones. Arguably the best rock 'n' roll band of all time, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Ronnie Wood (not pictured) made up the Stones' most famous lineup (though Mick Taylor, right, was also in the band in the early '70s) — with Bill leaving in 1993. The Stones formed in 1962 and their sound evolved throughout the '70s with iconic albums such as "Sticky Fingers," "Some Girls" and "Exile on Main St.," among others. To celebrate the legendary group's summer 2019 "No Filter" tour, read on to catch up with the Stones plus more '70s rock bands…
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are the most nimble and active rock 'n' roll band of the '70s still performing together today with the same core lineup: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. They released "Blue and Lonesome," a blues covers album, in December 2016 and went on their European tour, "Stones No Filter," in 2017. In June 2019, they launched the tour's North American leg after briefly postponing it so Mick could undergo a heart valve procedure. All four men have remained steadfast icons of cool, even through their ripening.
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Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and John McVie made up the inimitable and incredibly successful band Fleetwood Mac, who were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Ethereal singer Stevie stole the show with her one-of-a-kind vocals, but each member contributed their own musical magic. Their biggest albums have been "Tusk," "Rumors" and "Tango in the Night." From songs like "Go Your Own Way" to "Rhiannon," the group has churned out a ton of lush, bluesy hits. Stevie also famously dated Lindsey from 1968 until the late '70s and was briefly linked to Mick in 1977 — causing a big rift in the band.
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Fleetwood Mac is one of the few bands of the '70s that still performs together after all this time. They've had plenty of drama on and off but have been able to work through it. Christine McVie took the longest break from the band — a 15-year hiatus — and rejoined in 2015. In June 2017, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine released an album of duets — but the guitarist and vocalist was dismissed from the band the following year. Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine and newcomers Mike Campbell and Neil Finn currently make up Fleetwood Mac. The band is on the road in 2019 for the "An Evening With Fleetwood Mac" tour.
Led Zeppelin was one of the greatest heavy rock 'n' roll bands of the '70s. They began as the Yardbirds and progressed into Led Zeppelin with John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The band started touring in 1969 and were on the road regularly until 1980, when John, their renowned drummer, died from asphyxiation at 32 after consuming 40 shots in 24 hours.
Following their breakup, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin all pursued solo careers in the '80s, though the group reunited in 1985 to play a Live Aid show. Members also came together in 1988, this time with John Bonham's son, Jason, filling in on drums for his late father. (They're pictured here with Jason, left, in 2012.) Throughout it all, the rifts in the band remained. The Telegraph wrote in September 2016, "[Jimmy] Page is on record about his frustrations at [Robert] Plant's reluctance to continue Zeppelin following a one-off charity reunion in 2007. Jimmy said, 'Robert would rather play Led Zeppelin with his own band, not with his old band members.'" Zeppelin frontman Robert toured the U.S. in 2016 with his group, The Sensational Space Shifters, and these days is touring Ireland with his group Saving Grace. Jimmy Page reportedly has new music coming in 2019 as well. And John Paul Jones currently plays with the group Tres Coyotes, most recently performing at the Torino Jazz Festival in May 2019.
The Allman Brothers
The Allman Brothers were pioneers of the Southern rock scene. The band was founded in Georgia by brothers Duane Allman (guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals/keyboards) as well as Dickey Betts (guitar/vocals), Jai Johanny Johanson (drums), Butch Trucks (drums) and Berry Oakley (bass). The classic lineup was short-lived due to the deaths of Duane and Berry in the early '70s. The band was widely known for its hit singles "Midnight Rider," "Melissa" and "Mountain Jam.
In May 2017, founding member Gregg Allman (right) died from complications of liver cancer. Drummer Butch Trucks committed suicide in January 2017. Prior to that, the band came together for a legendary Beacon Theatre run in 2008 and a summer tour in 2011, which were both cut short due to Gregg's illness. Surviving guitarist Dickey Betts (left) has been touring with his group, The Dickey Betts Band (in which son Duane plays guitar), and drummer Jai Johanny Johanson leads a jazz-rock outfit called Jaimoe's Jasssz Band.
In the late '70s, Blondie was a force in New York City's punk scene before the band transitioned to a disco-influenced New Wave sound in the '80s. Frontwoman Debbie Harry, with her platinum blonde hair and fierce vocals, led the band to much success along with guitarist Chris Stein. Their biggest songs are "The Tide is High, "Rapture" and "Heart of Glass."
Blondie broke up after the release of their sixth studio album in 1982 and Debbie Harry went on to pursue a solo career. The group reconvened in 1997 and have toured together throughout the world and released new albums ever since. The band's current lineup is Debbie and original members Chris Stein and Clem Burke, with Leigh Foxx, who originally joined in the '90s, and newcomers Matt Katz-Bohen and Tommy Kessler. Catch them on tour in 2019 with Elvis Costello.
Supergroup Journey formed in San Francisco in 1973. The band has gone through several membership phases — with iconic frontman Steve Perry hired in 1977 to lead the band to much commercial success with songs such as "Lights" and "Don't Stop Believin'."
Presently, co-founder and lead guitarist Neal Schon and original member Ross Valory, Journey's bassist, still tour with the band. Arnel Pineda, who sounds uncannily like original vocalist Steve Perry, joined the group in 2007. Steve left Journey in 1987 after the band's "Raised on Radio" tour due to a mixture of health and personal issues. Steve, who released a new album, "Traces," in 2018, reunited with his old bandmates when Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017, though Arnel was the vocalist who performed with them during the ceremony. Catch Journey on the road for a fall 2019 tour.
Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill formed the blues-rock band ZZ Top in Houston in 1969. The band gained national attention with their strong blues roots and country twang. Their greatest albums include "Eliminator," "Tres Hombres" and "Fandango."
Today, ZZ Top still performs and tours together extensively. The bearded band has been traveling the world on a 50th anniversary tour, which wraps up in the U.S. in November 2019.
Black Sabbath is one of the pioneers of heavy metal music. The band includes frontman Ozzy Osbourne (right) along with Geezer Butler, Tommy Iommi and Bill Ward. The band has undergone multiple lineup changes over the years but has left an indelible mark on rock 'n' roll culture.
Due to Ozzy Osbourne's issues with drugs and alcohol, he was replaced in 1979 by vocalist Ronnie James Dio — who was then replaced by various other frontmen over the years. Then something great happened: The original lineup, including Ozzy, reunited in 1997. The group's frequently performed together since then, but said their final goodbyes during their "The End" tour, which wrapped up their more than 40-year career and ended in February 2017 in their home city, Birmingham, England. Today, Ozzy — who's been plagued by cheating scandals in his personal life in recent years — still tours on his own and is gearing up for a big 2020 tour. Tommy Iommi (right) is still an active musician too, as is Geezer Butler (second from left).
Pink Floyd was an incredibly influential English psychedelic rock band in the '70s. The band was founded in 1965 by Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. Guitarist David Gilmour (second from right) replaced Syd in 1968 due to Syd's mental health issues. Members always had a rocky relationship with one another but produced some of the most mind-bending concept albums of all time including "The Wall" and "The Dark Side of the Moon."
In 1982, Pink Floyd split amid mounting tensions between Roger Waters (right) and David Gilmour as well as the exile of Richard Wright — but members have come together here and there for one-off shows over the years. In 2014, David and Nick Mason (left) reunited to release "The Endless River," which included recordings of Richard, who died in 2008. In April 2019, Roger joined Nick to perform "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" in New York City — the first time they'd shared a stage in public since 2011. Roger has continued on with his highly successful solo career and has become an exceedingly vocal and polarizing political activist.
Aerosmith formed in 1970 with Steven Tyler, Tom Hamilton and Joe Perry and the band was completed with rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford and drummer Joey Kramer. Known for their groundbreaking funk-blues-rock sound, Aerosmith is one of the best selling rock bands of all time.
Like many rock bands of the '70s, Aerosmith has experienced its fair share of issues, which included drug and alcohol abuse and the 1979 departure of Joe Perry, who left to embark on a solo career. But after he and Brad Whitford, who'd subsequently left, returned to the fold in 1984, the band regained its early success after the release of "Permanent Vacation" in 1987. They've toured extensively ever since. In January 2019, Aerosmith announced plans for new music, with Joe and Steven sharing that they would be recording a new album soon. The group launched a Las Vegas residency, "Aerosmith: Deuces are Wild," in 2019 and continue to tour as well.
The Eagles were a massive rock band birthed in Southern California in the '70s. The band released an album every year from 1972 to 1976 and disbanded in 1980 following 1979's "In the Long Run." Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Don Henley and Randy Meisner all went on to pursue their own solo careers. Bernie was replaced by Joe Walsh in 1975 and Randy was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit in 1977.
Don Henley (center) and the late Glenn Frey had the most successful post-Eagles solo careers, but the band came back together in 1994 and continued to tour throughout the '90s into the 2000s. In 2007, they released "Long Road Out of Eden." In January 2016, Glenn died while recovering from intestinal surgery. These days, Don, Joe Walsh (far right) and Timothy B. Schmit (far left) still perform regularly. They're currently on tour with a few notable new additions — Glenn's son Deacon Frey (second from right) and country music star Vince Gill (second from left). The band had big news for fans in 2019: They announced that they would be performing their 1976 album "Hotel California" for the first time in its entirety in September in Las Vegas.