70s Folk Music: The Best of the Decade

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best of 70s folk music, a decade that saw the genre achieve new levels of popularity.

The history of 70s folk music

The sixties saw the advent of counterculture and a new wave of social consciousness, and this same mentality carried over into the seventies. The music of the decade reflected this change, with folk music becoming increasingly popular. This was in part due to the success of artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, who helped to make folk music more mainstream.

Folk music in the seventies was often characterized by its acoustic sound and political lyrics. Many artists used their songs as a means of protest against the Vietnam War, racism, and other social issues of the time. The genre quickly gained popularity with both young and old audiences, and has since become one of the most iconic sounds of the seventies.

The best 70s folk songs

The 1970s was a great decade for folk music. With the release of many new and innovative artists, the genre exploded in popularity. Here are ten of the best 70s folk songs that helped define the decade.

1. “The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan
2. “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan
3. “The Weight” by The Band
4. “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Bob Dylan
5. “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
6. “Take Me to the Pilot” by Elton John
7. “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan
8. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan
9. “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen
10. ” Yesterday” by The Beatles

The greatest 70s folk musicians

The 1970s were a decade of great change, and the music of the times reflected that. Folk music, in particular, saw a renaissance, with new artists taking up the mantle of protest and social commentary. Here are some of the greatest 70s folk musicians, who helped to shape a sound that is still influential today.

Bob Dylan
A giant of the genre, Bob Dylan is one of the most influential musicians of all time. His work in the 60s and 70s saw him become the voice of a generation, with songs like “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” becoming anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements respectively. Dylan continued to be a prolific songwriter and performer in the 70s, releasing a string of acclaimed albums such as Blood on the Tracks and Desire.

Joan Baez
Another giant of folk music, Joan Baez emerged in the 1960s as one of Dylan’s most vocal supporters. Her clear, powerful voice was perfect for Interpretations of traditional folk songs, as well as her own compositions. In the 70s, Baez continued to release excellent albums and tour extensively, using her platform to support various social causes. She was also instrumental in launching the careers of other folk artists such as Emmylou Harris and Tracy Chapman.

John Prine
A singer-songwriter with a gift for writing funny, poignant songs about everyday life, John Prine was one of the most underrated stars of the 70s folk scene. His self-titled debut album was an instant classic, containing timeless tracks like “Illegal Smile” and “Sam Stone”. Prine released several more excellent albums throughout his career but never quite achieved mainstream success; nevertheless, he is highly respected by his peers and continues to be an influence on new generations of singer-songwriters.

The evolution of 70s folk music

The 1970s was a decade that saw the evolution of folk music. The genre had already begun to change in the late 1960s, when artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez began to experiment with electric instruments and rock arrangements. These new folk musicians continued to evolve the sound of the genre throughout the 1970s, adding elements of country, jazz, and even pop music to create a truly unique sound.

Some of the most iconic folk songs of all time were released in the 1970s, including Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” and James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” But this was also a decade that saw many different styles of folk music emerge, from singer-songwriter ballads to country-influenced tunes to more experimental pieces.

There are too many great 70s folk songs to list them all here, but some other standouts include Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children,” Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty,” and America’s “A Horse with No Name.” Whatever your taste in music, there’s sure to be a 70s folk song that you’ll love.

The influence of 70s folk music

The 1970s were a time of political and social turmoil in the United States. The country was still reeling from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The Vietnam War was coming to an end, but not without protest from those who felt it was an unjust war. The economy was struggling, and many Americans were living in poverty. It was against this backdrop that the folk music scene began to take shape.

Folk music had been around for centuries, but it underwent a resurgence in the 1970s as musicians began to use it as a means of expression and protest. Many of the most popular folk musicians of the decade were also some of the most political, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and Pete Seeger. These artists used their music to address the issues of their time, and their songs reflected the concerns of ordinary Americans.

While folk music was not always explicitly political, it often had a message of peace and understanding that appealed to those who were tired of violence and division. The music spoke to a desire for change and helped to create a sense of community among those who felt disaffected by the mainstream culture. In many ways, folk music was the sound of a generation searching for its identity.

The legacy of 70s folk music

While the 70s is often remembered for its disco and psychedelic music, the decade also saw a renewed interest in folk music. This was in part due to the growing popularity of singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, but also because of the success of folk-rock bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Simon & Garfunkel.

The legacy of 70s folk music can still be heard in the work of contemporary artists like Beck and Bonnie Prince Billy. This list features some of the best folk albums of the decade, as well as some essential tracks from iconic artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young.

The top 70s folk albums

The 1970s was a decade of exploration and confusion, characterized by shocking political assassinations, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the sexual revolution, women’s rights and environmentalism. It was also a decade of tremendous change in the music industry with the rise of rock and roll, disco and punk rock. In the midst of all this change, there was also a thriving folk music scene.

Some of the best-known and most influential folk musicians of the 1970s include Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Joan Baez, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Neil Young. These artists helped to define an era with their introspective lyrics and mellow acoustic sounds.

If you’re looking to take a trip down memory lane or discover some new music from the 1970s folk scene, here are 10 essential albums to check out:

1. “Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks”
2. “Joni Mitchell – Blue”
3. “James Taylor – Sweet Baby James”
4. “Joan Baez -Diamonds & Rust”
5. “Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash”
6. “Neil Young – After the Gold Rush”
7. “Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water”
8. “Carole King – Tapestry”
9. “John Denver – Poems, Prayers & Promises”
10. Emmylou Harris – Pieces of the Sky

The best 70s folk festivals

The 1970s was a decade of great change, and that was reflected in the music of the time. Folk music underwent a renaissance, with new artists emerging and new sounds being explored. This was also the decade of the great folk festivals, which brought together musicians from all over the world to share their music and their culture.

Some of the best-known folk festivals of the 1970s include:

-The Newport Folk Festival: This festival began in 1959, and became known as the launchpad for many young folk singers, including Bob Dylan. The festival continued to be a major force in the folk scene throughout the 1970s, and remains one of the most important folk festivals today.

-The Philadelphia Folk Festival: This festival began in 1962, and quickly became one of the most important folk festivals in the country. It featured a wide range of folk musicians, from established stars to up-and-coming talents.

-The Cambridge Folk Festival: This festival began in 1965, and quickly became known for its eclectic lineup, which featured both traditional and contemporary folk musicians. The festival is still going strong today, and is considered one of the bestfolk festivals in the world.

The resurgence of 70s folk music

In the 1970s, there was a resurgence of interest in traditional and acoustic music. This was in part due to the success of singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Carole King, who had massive hits with their confessional and personal songs. This new wave of folk music was also influenced by the political climate of the time, as many artists used their music as a way to comment on social issues. These artists created some of the most iconic folk songs of the decade, which are still beloved by fans today.

The future of 70s folk music

The future of 70s folk music is bright. The genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and there are no signs of it slowing down. With a renewed interest in the music of the past, 70s folk music is poised to make a big comeback.

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