A number of musicians that has had a huge impact on the music industry in the 70s and 80s might seem to have passed from public attention, but that’s hardly the case. These musicians are still going strong in some surprising corners.
This producer/composer/songwriter/multi-instrument musician who once appeared on Soul Train has had a busy career throughout that latter half of the previous century and well on into this one. Well known songs she has created include Forget Me Nots which would later become the backbeat of actor/musician Will Smith’s end theme song of the blockbuster Men In Black. But is hardly the extent of her renown. She has consistently contributed to the music industry and currently hosts events and does concerts around the world.
This well-known bassist musician, who created his own instrument known as the Piccolo Bass, has worked extensively in the film industry producing soundtracks for such movies as Passenger 57 and Poetic Justice. He has combined talents with such musicians as George Duke, Parliament Funkadelic and many others. Arguably the best bassist on the planet, he currently tours, still creates soundtracks and appears in concerts with all sorts of well-known musicians.
What Stanley Clarke did for the bass, this French composer/musician does for the violin. His virtuoso playing the instrument that is probably the least favorite of music class in schools, should cement him firmly on the level of historical violinists such as Johann Sebastian Bach. He has appeared with many musicians and have produced albums considered to be some of the most unusual and musically textured in the industry. As he was born to musicians, his daughter Clara continues the family tradition and appears with her father at concerts and events still rocking.
In 1978, this incredible drummer produced an album call The Adventures of Astral Pirates, that clearly set the benchmark in the jazz-fusion arena. With art by famed cartoonist Micheal Kaluta, it was as visually stunning in packaging as Lenny’s music was aurally rich. But that was hardly surprising considering he was part of the quartet of musicians that included Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Chick Correa that produced the critically acclaimed jazz album Romantic Warrior in 1976. From then on he continued to bring his unusual style of drumming to the music scene and continues to make his mark long after the 2008 reunion of Return To Forever he started with fellow artists Clarke, Di Meola and Correa.
What can be said for what Clarke has done for the bass, Ponty for the violin and White for the drums, very much holds true for Vollenweider and, of all instruments, the harp. He has brought an intensity to music with the harp that is on par with the previously listed musicians. As did Clarke, Vollenweider created an instrument of his own design, an electronically modified harp. He has had two albums as number one on Billboard simultaneously in two categories. Also a musician of many instruments around the world, he continues to tour.
This list barely, in the tiniest bit, scratches the surface of the number of musicians from the 70s who are still rocking the music in the U.S. and abroad. It is interesting to note that back then there was no internet, yet now, each of these artists maintain websites, bringing their unique brand of music to a new generation of listeners.
Editorial by Lee Birdine
Listed musicians’ individual websites