The Best of ’70s Folk Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best of ’70s folk music, including artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Browne.

’70s Folk Music Overview

’70s folk music is often considered some of the best ever created. The era saw the genre’s biggest stars, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor, produce some of their most iconic work. The folk music of the ’70s was defined by its confessional, introspective lyrics and stripped-down instrumentation.

The definition of ’70s folk music

During the 1970s, the definition of folk music was expanded to include all music made by singer-songwriters, regardless of their style or subject matter. This expansion was due in part to the success of singer-songwriters like James Taylor, whose confessional lyrical style struck a chord with young listeners. Folk music had always been about personal expression, and Taylor’s success showed that there was an audience for this type of music.

Other singer-songwriters who found success in the 1970s included John Prine, Jackson Browne, and Carole King. The popularity of these artists led to a renewed interest in traditional folk music, which had been mostly overshadowed by rock ‘n’ roll in the previous decade. This resulted in a popularity boost for folk legends like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

The 1970s also saw the rise of political folk music, as artists used their platform to express their views on social issues like war, poverty, and racism. Songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio” became anthems for the anti-war movement. Other political folk songs addressed specific issues like women’s rights (“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy) and the environment (“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell).

Overall, the 1970s were a time when folk music enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the success of singer-songwriters and the rise of political folk songs.

The origins of ’70s folk music

The origins of ’70s folk music can be traced back to the early part of the 20th century with artists like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. The genre began to gain popularity in the 1950s and 1960s with the advent of the folk revival, which saw a renewed interest in traditional folk music. The ’70s folk scene was largely influenced by the political climate of the time, with many artists using their music as a way to express their views on social issues. The decade saw a number of iconic folk musicians emerge, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell. ’70s folk music is often credited for helping to launch the career of one of the most successful pop musicians of all time, Bruce Springsteen.

The Best of ’70s Folk Music

The ’70s was a decade of great change and turmoil. The country was healing from the Vietnam War, and people were searching for a way to connect with each other. Music was one of the ways that people did this. Folk music was especially popular because it was a genre that anyone could play. It didn’t require expensive instruments or training. All you needed was a guitar and a voice.

The best ’70s folk albums

The ’70s saw a great deal of change in the folk music world. With the rise of singer-songwriters, the popularity of fusions like country rock and jazz fusion, and the ever-growing influence of pop music, folk music underwent something of a transformation. Nevertheless, many great folk albums were released during the decade, by both established artists and newcomers. Here are ten of the best.

-Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (1975)
-Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
-Carole King, Tapestry (1971)
-Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971)
-James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971)
-Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
-Emmylou Harris, Pieces of the Sky (1975)
-Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
-Neil Young, After the Gold Rush (1970)
-Don McLean, American Pie (1971)

The best ’70s folk songs

The 1970s were a time of tremendous change in the music industry, and folk music was no exception. While the genre hadn’t experienced the same level of mainstream success as it had in the ’60s, there were still plenty of great songs released during the decade. Here are 10 of the best.

“The Times They Are A-Changin'” – Bob Dylan
“Blowin’ in the Wind” may be Dylan’s most famous song, but “The Times They Are A-Changin'” is his most iconic. Released in 1964, the song perfectly encapsulated the feeling of change that was sweeping across America at the time.

“City of New Orleans” – Steve Goodman
Written by Goodman and performed by Willie Nelson, “City of New Orleans” is a sentimental ode to one of America’s most iconic cities. The song became a surprise hit in 1972, reaching No. 1 on the country charts and earning Goodman a Grammy nomination.

“Desperados Under the Eaves” – Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon’s 1976 self-titled debut album contained several classic songs, but “Desperados Under the Eaves” is arguably the best of them all. The song perfectly captures Zevon’s wry sense of humor, and its lyrics about alcoholism still resonate today.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” – Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 ballad about the sinking of an ore carrier on Lake Superior is one of his most well-known songs. The tune Recounts events leading up to shipwreck, and features some truly beautiful lyrics about maritime life.

“I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 anthem about overcoming relationship troubles has become one of the most popular pop songs of all time. The song has been covered by everyone from Bette Midler to Cake, and its message of resilience is as powerful now as it was 40 years ago.

“Fire and Rain” – James Taylor
James Taylor’s 1970 hit “Fire and Rain” is one of his most personal songs, recounting his experiences with drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. The tune remains an essential part of Taylor’s live shows today, and its lyrics continue to resonate with fans both old and new

The Legacy of ’70s Folk Music

Though it may be difficult to believe, the 1970s were nearly half a century ago. This means that the music of that era is now considered classic. Among the most iconic and beloved music of the 1970s is folk music. Folk music of the 1970s was largely a reaction to the Vietnam War and the social turmoil of the time. The best of ’70s folk music is still enjoyed by people today.

The influence of ’70s folk music on later musicians

The 1970s was a decade of great change in the music industry, and folk music was no exception. As the folk scene evolved, many of its biggest names began to experiment with new sounds and styles, paving the way for a new generation of musicians.

One of the most influential figures of this period was Bob Dylan, who released a series of groundbreaking albums in the early 1970s that combined folk, rock, and country influences. These albums had a profound impact on subsequent folk musicians, who began to experiment with similar sounds and approaches in their own work.

Other artists who followed in Dylan’s footsteps include John Prine, David Bromberg, and Bonnie Raitt. These performers helped to expand the definition of what folk music could be, and their influence can still be heard in the work of contemporary artists like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl, and Ryan Adams.

Today, ’70s folk music is revered by many as a golden era for the genre. Its legacy can be heard in the work of some of today’s most popular musicians, making it clear that its influence is still very much alive.

In the early seventies, two music scenes were dominant in the United States: folk and rock. Folk music had been steadily gaining popularity throughout the sixties, with artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez becoming household names. The seventies saw a renewed interest in folk music, with a new generation of singer-songwriters emerging on the scene.

The popularity of folk music in the seventies was due in part to the Vietnam War. Many young people were opposed to the war, and they saw folk music as a way to express their feelings. The songs of this era often had political messages, and they resonated with many people who were looking for a way to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo.

The seventies also saw a rise in environmentalism, and folk music provided a way for people to express their concern for the planet. Songs about environmental issues became very popular, and many of these songs are still being played today.

The seventies were a turbulent time, but they were also a time of great creativity. The folk music of this era captured the spirit of the times, and it continues to influence popular culture today.

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