Back in the 70s, a musical renaissance splattered across many genres including jazz, rock, rhythm and blues, heralded by bands of which a few enjoy a longevity that reaches into the current decade. New sounds such as funk and jazz fusion made their debut. The late 70s early 80s would see a rise in a new genre, New Age. A surprising number of bands that got their start in 70s are still rocking the instruments.
This Canadian of band which (in its most recent and longest running iteration) consisted of only three members actually started pre-70s with a blues sound to their music. Guitarist Alex Lifeson was the only original member of the band when it first started, however, shortly after, Jeff Jones (bass and lead vocals) and John Rutsey (drums and backing vocals), were replaced by Neal Peart and Geddy Lee, drummer/lyricist and bass/vocals, respectively. What could be said about Rush is that the music listening community has had a love/hate relationship with them, citing anything from Peart’s fantasy influenced lyrics to Lee’s wailing vocals. Despite that, Rush holds fourth place for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums in music history behind that of The Beatles, Aerosmith, and The Rolling Stones. Rush currently is still touring and producing albums, and even appearing in movies and television spots.
2. Earth Wind & Fire
Another pre-70s band founded by Maurice White, Earth Wind & Fire (also known as EWF) has created music spanning all genres including Latin and gospel. Though its band roster changed periodically throughout its still running career, the EWF sound remained as perennial as the elements the band derives its name from. EWF has had hits spanning decades and have garnered lifetime achievement awards from several sources that include the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The number of music listeners around the world that doesn’t have at least one EWF album in their collection could probably be counted on fingers and toes with digits left over. The group’s international appeal likely contributes to their longevity.
3. Average White Band
Also Scottish. Formed in Dundee Scotland in 1971, this group of six guys sharing the same accent started playing music they grew up on—which was decidedly not the guitar blues being put out in Britain by Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, just to name a couple. Onnie McIntyre, one of the original group members still going strong, claims their inspiration had its roots in Soul Music. Indeed, they may have been the actual creators (or perpetrators depending on what side of the fence one sits on) of Disco Music, with such hits as Pick Up The Pieces which went number one in the U.S. before Disco became the actual term to describe the dance music craze that swept well into the late 70s and early 80s.
As in many lists of this types, there are far more names that belong in it, but the current generation of music listeners and concert-goers have at least heard of these bands, even in passing. These three also represent a diverse mix in the musical styles contributing to the longevity of these bands.
Editorial by Lee Birdine