The Funk and Psychedelic Rock of the 1970s

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the musical genres that defined the 1970s and how they continue to influence music today.

The Funk of the 1970s

The Funk of the 1970s was a music genre that was a blend of soul, R&B, and jazz. The Funk of the 1970s was characterized by a strong bass line and often featured electric guitars and saxophones. The genre was pioneered by James Brown and George Clinton.

James Brown

James Brown was an African American singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader who was one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music. He is often referred to as the “Godfather of Funk” and is credited with helping to develop the musical style of funk. He also had a significant impact on the development of hip hop music.

Brown’s musical career began in the 1950s when he was a member of the R&B group The Famous Flames. He rose to prominence in the early 1960s with the release of his hit song “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” He went on to have a string of hits throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad.”

In addition to his solo recordings, Brown also collaborated with other artists, including Bootsy Collins, Parliament-Funkadelic and The J.B.’s. He also toured extensively and produced numerous live albums. Brown died in 2006 at the age of 73.


Formed in the late 1960s, Parliament-Funkadelic was a collective of musicians led by George Clinton. The group blended elements of funk, soul, R&B, and psychedelic rock to create a unique and influential sound.

Parliament-Funkadelic is perhaps best known for their hit song “Flash Light,” which topped the R&B charts in 1978. The group’s outlandish stage costumes and live shows also made them a popular concert attraction.

Despite their success, Parliament-Funkadelic was plagued by legal and financial troubles throughout its career. George Clinton was arrested for drug possession on multiple occasions, and the band was constantly changing members. In the early 1980s, Parliament-Funkadelic disbanded, but George Clinton continued to perform under the name with a rotating cast of musicians.

Bootsy’s Rubber Band

Bootsy’s Rubber Band was an American funk and psychedelic rock band founded in 1972 by bassist Bootsy Collins. The band also featured guitarist Catfish Collins, drummer Frank Waddy, and singersRubber Duckie Dunbar and Gary “Mudbone” Cooper. The band’s music was influenced by James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Cream, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Jimi Hendrix.

The Psychedelic Rock of the 1970s

Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the 1960s and 1970s. It is characterized by a distorted, psychedelic sound and is often used to describe a wide range of musical styles including funk, acid rock, and garage rock. The genre is often associated with the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s and is sometimes known as “acid rock” or “garage rock”.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was an English rock band that achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Formed in 1965, they are known for their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, and elaborate live shows. They are one of the most commercially successful and influential bands of all time.

Their 1975 album “Wish You Were Here” topped charts in several countries and is one of the best-selling albums of all time. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” from the same album became one of the most popular singles of all time. “Comfortably Numb” from “The Wall” is another fan favorite.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band rose to prominence during the countercultural era of the 1960s and became one of the most celebrated rock bands of all time. The Grateful Dead’s music was a unique blend of country, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock that incorporated elements of improvisation and Jamband. The band was known for their live performances, which were often lengthy improvisational jam sessions.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

The band’s debut album, Led Zeppelin (1969), contains elements of blues and folk rock, while displaying a heavier style that would be developed on subsequent releases. Although the group was initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffiti (1975), and Presence (1976). Led Zeppelin’s fourth album,, was commonly known as “Led Zeppelin IV” after the inclusion of the track “Stairway to Heaven”, despite having no official title.

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