The Best Decade in Rock and Roll History: 1967-1977

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I'm feeling a little guilty about last week's column, in which I took the crappy popular music of the '80s to task (High School Music: A Reunion from Hell).

Why? It was negative, and generally I like to promote good music instead of baggin' on bad stuff. I've fed my family for almost thirty years by peddling music, and I still stand in awe of everyone who can (or even has the guts to try) make music. As a creative person, I understand how tough it is to put yourself out there. I'd rather just leave the criticism to others.

So this week, in contrast to dogging a decade, I'd like to prop one up. Actually, not a "standard" decade, but ten consecutive years nonetheless. The best ten years in the history of rock and roll music: 1967 - 1977.

See also
- Record Store Geek: Ten R&R Hall of Famers That Never Topped Their Debut Album.
- Music Parenting 101: The "Two Albums Before Bed" Rule

Got Ya Thinking, Eh?
Before you get your panties in a wad, it's just my opinion (after all, "best" is a relative term.) It's not like I don't think there has been outstanding music produced every year (see Finding New Music is Easy, Listening to it is Hard). I just think these are the best ten years ever (so you know, I was 2 years-old in 1967, so it isn't like it's my era or anything).

I'll tell you why.

In a minute.

First let me explain why I chose those ten specific years instead of just saying the '60s or '70s (as if there were another decade that could even enter this discussion.)

Partially, as David Patrick Kelly said in The Warriors, "I just like doin' things like that." I'm rebellious by nature, so I've been known to push a button or two just for fun.

Mainly it's because these ten years were better than either decade by itself.

The '70s cover a bigger portion of my ten years - but the way the seventies ended (disco, bad jazz, etc.) was pretty horrendous. The '60s were more groundbreaking - which sorta stands to reason since they had the advantage of being first (and once ground is broken, it can't be broken again, which means that each subsequent generation has decreased in this regard). Even so, a decent portion of that ground broke in the late sixties.

So I went with 1967 - 77. 10 unbelievable years.

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I worked in the music industry from 1966 to 1984. From being a roadie to my own management company. It was an exciting time. The music scene was changing as was the world and we were part of it.

For more please go to my  just published  book. "Joint Venture...a backstage rock and roll journey."  The web site: 

I worked with Blues Project, Blood Sweat and Tears, John and Yoko with Elephants Memory along with managing The Strangler to their biggest hit.

Hope you take the journey and enjoy it as much as I did living it.

Regards and thanks, 

Ed Kleinman


I don’t know – ’67 – ’77 were my HS and college years.

Loved the Beatles (of course) and just about every other band mentioned in this article, My first R&R live concert was Led Zep at Cleveland’s Public Hall in ’69, and in the years after that till college grad I went to so many great concerts I can’t come close to remembering them all (CSN&Y, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Yes, Earth Wind & Fire, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson…) 

But I’ve worked hard since to keep up with new music, to this very day, including going to Coachella most years, and catching as many live concerts in town as possible at places like the Crescent and the Sail Inn.

Sure there’s a lot of mediocre and downright crappy music out there today – always been like that, though, including ’67-’77.

But for my money, there’s so much good music out right now that there’s never been a better time.This is as much a golden age as ’67-’77. 

Music from Radiohead, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, Yeasayer, Tame Impala, Animal Collective, Death Cab, Tool , NIN, Arcade Fire, Chemical Brothers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and a hundred others besides (including many obscure bands like Bobby and Wolves in the Throne Room and local talent like Mergence and Factories) stacks up just fine against the music from ’67-’77. 



Would agree with the basic thesis: 1967-1977 being the best decade for rock music (more or less). I would also apply that to Hollywood movies as well.


100% correct.  The Beatles, The Who and the Stones went from the pop rock style of the early 60's to the more profound and deeper rock.  Yes the Beatles made good music earlier, but over all, with Sgt. Peppers, their style took off.  Ditto for the Stones and Beggars Banquet to their last great album, Some Girls (yes released in '78 but recorded in '77).  Who's Next, (a perfect album defined as one without a bad song) came from that era.  Led Zeppelin started in that era as did Aerosmith.  ZZ top were at their prime.  Don't forget the golden age of Motown.  Hip Hop will never near the heights of that era.  The sixties protest era also arose during that time period.  Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, and The Grateful Dead, really hit their strides after 1967.  Yes, Wiley is 100% correct. 

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