What Music Genres Were Popular in the 1970s?

Music was abundant during the 1970s, as it was the era where a few genres spawned more genres in a short period of time. Most people would most likely associate the 1970s with disco music, but there are also other genres that were popular during that time. To learn more, here is a list of music genres that were popular in the 1970s.

Hard Rock

electric guitar

Hard rock, also known as heavy rock, is another subgenre of rock music that is known for having heavier guitar sounds with higher distortion compared to other types of rock music during that time. The subgenre began in the 1960s alongside blues rock and psychedelic rock, then it was made popular by bands such as the Who, the Rolling Stones, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

By the late 1960s, hard rock bands became more abundant, and one of the prominent figures of the subgenre was Led Zeppelin. If you want to have a taste of what Led Zeppelin is capable of, you should definitely listen to one of their albums on vinyl. To know what specific Led Zeppelin album to listen to, check out our Nostalgic 70s Gift Ideas.

Heavy Metal

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that was developed in the 1960s and became popular in the 1970s. Similar to hard rock, heavy metal is known for having heavily distorted guitar sounds along with loud drumming and a thicker overall sound compared to blues rock and psychedelic rock. Led Zeppelin is one of the bands that are credited for popularizing heavy metal, but the most prominent band within the genre is Black Sabbath, who was also the inspiration behind other genres of metal like goth metal and doom metal.

Power Pop

violin bass

Power pop is a subgenre that was created through the combination of pop music and rock music. It emerged in the 1960s through the songs created by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Who, and this subgenre incorporates the melodic hooks found in pop songs and combines them with heavy vocal harmonies and energetic vocal performances. Most power pop songs are relatively upbeat with cheerful lyrics.

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged with the rising popularity of hallucinogenic drugs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These hallucinogenic drugs then helped create the psychedelic culture that is composed of peculiar art, movies, and music. Psychedelic rock was at its peak during the infamous 1969 Woodstock Rock Festival, where Jimi Hendrix (the last to perform at the festival) played his version of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Psychedelic rock would continue to be popularized by the English rock band Pink Floyd throughout the 1970s.

One home décor item in the 1970s that goes well with psychedelic rock is the lava lamp, which is a light-up container that has two liquids with different colors and densities floating inside. Once you see a lava lamp, you will instantly notice how “trippy” it is to look at. To know more about the lava lamp and other 70s home décor items, you can read our Nostalgic 70s Home Décor Ideas.

Jazz Fusion

Jazz fusion, also known simply as fusion or jazz rock, is a type of jazz music that became prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s when jazz musicians began incorporating rock elements into their songs or musical pieces. While jazz fusion isn’t as popular as hard rock, power pop, or psychedelic rock in the 1970s, it was a known subgenre among most jazz musicians during that time period. Jazz fusion was developed as a way for jazz musicians to “keep up with the times,” as rock music was becoming more popular in different countries around the world.


Post-punk was a genre of punk music that was developed in the 1970s after the decreasing popularity of punk music in the late 1960s. Post-punk still had the upbeat, raw, and loud complexities of punk music, but musicians within the genre combined punk with other genres like funk, jazz, electronic music, and even disco. Some of the most notable post-punk bands in the 1970s include the Cure, Joy Division, and Talking Heads.


Of course, the music of the 1970s wouldn’t be complete without talking about disco. Disco is a genre of dance music that is also considered a subculture that emerged in the 1970s. Disco was developed alongside the growing urban nightlife scene in the United States, where more clubs are being built and opened. Disco music borrows styles from different genres, like pop, funk, and electronic music. A few of the notable disco bands and musical artists include the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, the Village People, and ABBA.

Glam Rock

Glam rock is an extravagant and often flamboyant subgenre of rock that emerged in the 1970s. Glam rock is not really known for the complexity of its music but for the outfits that the musicians wore. Glam rock musicians are known for wearing outrageous costumes along with having over-the-top hairstyles and makeup. The term “glam” is used to indicate the glamorous appearance of glam rock musicians from the 1970s up to the 1980s. One of the earliest glam rock artists was David Bowie, who is also responsible for popularizing the genre in the United Kingdom and the United States.

So, these are some of the popular music genres of the 1970s. Because of how great the bands, musical artists, songs, and albums are within the genres that we have mentioned above, they are now considered classics that will never go out of style.