Rock 'n' Roll Timeline 1970 - 1979

The 1970s gave the rock world Metal, Punk, Glam, Disco, Country Rock, Southern Rock, and the birth of Rap.

Last Updated: 2005-09-22
Rock 'n' Roll Timeline 1970 - 1979

  • January 14 - Diana Ross performs her last concert with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas before departing for a solo career. She introduces Jean Terrell to the audience as her replacement as lead singer of the group.

  • January 17 - The Doors record their album 'Absolutely Live' at the 'Felt Forum' in New York City.

  • January 24 - Robert Moog begins to market the 'Mini-Moog' Synthesizer.

  • February 28 - Eva Von Zeppelin, heiress of the airship designer, sues in an attempt to stop 'Led Zeppelin' from using the family name.

  • March - Simon & Garfunkel split up.

  • March 16 - Tammi Terrell, who sang many duets with Marvin Gaye, dies of a brain tumour at age 24.

  • April 9 - Paul McCartney announces the official breakup of the Beatles.

  • May 8 - The Beatles release the "Let It Be" album.

  • May 25 - Guitarist Peter Green leaves Fleetwood Mac and joins a religious order.

  • June 7 - The Who's 'Tommy' was performed at NY's Lincoln Center.

  • July 4 - Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" debutes on LA radio.

  • September 18 - Jimi Hendrix dies in the flat of Monika Nanneman in Notting Hill area of London, from inhalation of vomit caused by barbituate (Seconol) intoxication.

  • September 20 - Jim Morrison is found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity in a Miami, Florida courtroom.

  • October 3 - Janis Joplin dies of a herion overdose in room 105 of the 'Landmark Motor Hotel' in Hollywood California. Her body was found the next day, Oct.4. She was later cremated and her ashes were spread off the California coast.

  • November 28 -Marty Balin leaves Jefferson Airplane, a group he started in 1965, after being fed up with the drugs and groupies scene.

  • December 12 - Jim Morrison performs his last concert with the Doors at 'The Warehouse' in New Orleans.

    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1970

  • February 25 - Carole King wins 4 Grammys for her album "Tapestry."

  • March 5 - the FCC instructs FM radio stations not to play songs perceived as encouraging drug use. eg. 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'White Rabbit'.

  • March 20 - Don McLean records his hit "American Pie".

  • April 29 - Bill Graham closes down Fillmore and Fillmore East and announces his retirement from concert promotion.

  • June 6 - The 'Ed Sullivan Show' airs for the last time and features 'Gladys Knight and the Pips.

  • June 12 - South African Broadcasting Corp lifts its ban on Beatles records.

  • June 12 - Linda Ronstadt gives a concert at the Tomorrowland stage at Disneyland, California, backed up by four musicians, playing together for the first time, who will create their own band, 'The Eagles'.

  • July 3 - Jim Morrison, vocalist of the Doors, dies of an apparent heart attack in the bathtub of his appartment in Paris. No autopsy was performed. Jim was buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. He was 27.

  • August 1 - George Harrison's concert for Bangladesh takes place at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Performers include, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Badfinger, Ravi Shankar.

  • August 3 - Paul McCartney announces the formation of his group 'Wings'.

  • August 10 - Former Beatle John Lennon releases the "Imagine" album.

  • October 12 - Gene Vincent dies at the age of 36 following a seizure brought on by a bleeding ulcer on at this parents California home. Sadly, no one in his family had any money and the city of Los Angeles had to bury him.

  • October 29 - Duane Allman of the 'Allman Brothers Band' dies in a motorcycle accident at age 24, in Macon, Georgia.

  • December 4 - The Montreux Casino, site of the 'Montreux Jazz Festival' in Switzerland, burns down during a Frank Zappa & the Mothers Of Invention concert, taking $50,000 of his equipment with it. Someone in the audience shot off a flare gun which started the fire. Members of Deep Purple are at the show, being in Montreux to record the album 'Machine Head'. Inspired by the smoke reflecting off Lake Geneva they write "Smoke On The Water".

  • "Shaft" becomes the first major motion picture with an original score composed entirely by a rock artist, as Issac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft" becomes a runaway hit. Curtis Mayfield's groundbreaking score for "Superfly" will follow the next year, further establishing the link between the two dominant forms of pop culture in America.

    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1971

  • February 10 - The BBC bans the song "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" by Wings.

  • March 1 - The Eagles begin to record their first album in London.

  • May 7 - The 'Bickershaw Festival', begins featuring the Grateful Dead, Donovan, Wishbone Ash, Captain Beefheart, Hawkwind, and others in Wigan, Lancashire, UK.

  • May 29 - Musicians Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley witness a concert by the 'New York Dolls' at the Diplomat Hotel in NYC and decide to form a unique band.

  • June 13 - Clyde McPhatter dies of a heart attack at the age of 39. He had been the original lead singer of both the Dominoes and Drifters in the early 50's and is credited with being the first true rock vocalist.

  • July 16 - Smokey Robinson performs his final concert with the Miracles at Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington D.C. After 13 years and 42 Top 100 Hits Robinson departs the group he founded for a solo career.

    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1972

  • January 14 - Elvis Presley performs his 'Aloha From Hawaii' concert. Beamed by satellite around the world, an estimated 1 billion veiwers see the show.

  • February 2 - "The Midnight Special" debuts on NBC television. The 90 minute program each Friday night, with famed announcer Wolfman Jack hosting, features appearances by some of the biggest names in rock music over its eight year run.

  • March 2 - The concept album 'Dark Side Of The Moon' by Pink Floyd is released. It will appear on the Billboard 200 list for 741 weeks (not consecutive).

  • May 29 - Columbia Records fires president Clive Davis for misappropriating $100,000 in funds. Davis went on to start Arista records.

  • July 14 - The Everly Brothers split up after Phil smashes his guitar and walks off stage during a concert at Knotts Berry Farm in California.

  • July 21 - "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" reaches #1 on the "Billboard" pop-singles chart, becoming Jim Croce's first big hit.

  • July 28 - New York's 'Watkins Glen Summer Jam' attracts 600,000 (the largest recorded attendance for a rock festival). Performers included The Grateful Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers Band.

  • August 6 - Stevie Wonder is involved in a car crash in South Carolina and remains in a coma for 4 days.

  • September 20 - Jim Croce dies when his chartered plane snags a pecan tree during takeoff and crashes at the Natchitoches, La., airport. He was 30 years old.

  • October 11 - Elvis and Priscilla Presley get divorced.

  • The government requires that all radios installed in new American cars be capable of receiving both AM and FM.

  • December 31 - AC/DC perform their first live gig at The Chequers Club, Sydney, Australia.

    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1973

  • February 20 - Cher files for divorce from Sonny Bono.

  • March 19 - Jefferson Airplane officially becomes Jefferson Starship since Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady split off with 'Hot Tuna' and Marty Balin had gone solo in 1970.

  • April 6 - Over 200,000 fans gather for the 'California Jam' Rock Festival at the Ontario Speedway. Performers include Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Seals & Crofts, Black Sabbath, the Eagles, Earth, Wind and Fire, and more.

  • May 25 - Pam Morrison, wife of Door's vocalist Jim Morrison, dies of drug overdose.

  • July 29 - Cass Elliot, singer for the Mamas and Papas, dies of a heart attack in a hotel room in London. (She was eating a sandwitch at the time, but that's not what she died from.) She was 32.

  • October 30 - Steve Winwood leaves 'Traffic' during a U.S. tour.

  • November 21 - Marty Balin joins Jefferson Starship.

  • Decmber 12 - Mick Taylor leaves the 'Rolling Stones' during the recording of the album 'Black and Blue' in Munich, Germany. He will be replaced by Ron Wood.

    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1974

  • January 1 - Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham join Fleetwood Mac.

  • April 7 - Ritchie Blackmore leaves Deep Purple and is replaced by Tommy Bolin.

  • June 20 - The Talking Heads give their debut performance at New Yorks CBGB's.

  • June 30 - Cher marries Greg Allman. 10 days later she leaves him.

  • August 16 - Peter Gabriel announces that he is leaving Genesis.

  • September 25 - During a performance in New Jersey, famed rock and soul singer Jackie Wilson suffers a stroke on stage. He remains hospitalized for the next nine years before finally dying at the age of 49 in 1984.

  • October 1 - Al Jackson, the drummer for 'Booker T & the MGs' is fatally shot by an intruder in his home in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39.

  • October 15 - The Ramones are signed up with Sire Records.

  • October 30 - The 'Rolling Thunder Review' featuring Bob Dylan and friends Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, and others performs its first show in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

  • October 31 - Queen releases the single "Bohemian Rhapsody". Followed by the release of the album "A Night at the Opera" on November 21.

  • December 20 - Bernie Leadon leaves The Eagles to be replaced by Joe Walsh.

    Related Link:   More about Queen
    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1975

  • February 26 - Florence Ballard, one of the original Supremes, dies of a heart attack at the age of 32. After being dimissed from the group, Ballard separated from her husband and went on welfare after losing an $8.7 million suit for back royalties against Motown Records.

  • March 19 - Paul Kossoff, of "Free", dies of heart failure while sleeping during a flight across the U.S. The 26 year old had played guitar on the song "All Right Now".

  • March 21 - David Bowie and Iggy Pop are arrested for drug posession in a hotel room in Rochester, N.Y.

  • April 29 - Bruce Springsteen is ejected by security guards at Elvis Presley's Graceland home after climbing over the wall to get inside to meet Elvis.

  • June 10 - The concert movie 'Rockshow' is filmed in Seattle, Washington as Paul McCartney's "Wings" plays to over 67,000 fans.

  • August 21 - The first 'European Punk Rock Festival' is held near Bordeaux, France.

  • November 25 - Martin Scorsese films 'The Band' playing their farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Guest apperances include Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr and others. The film will be released as 'The Last Waltz'.

  • December 4 - Tommy Bolin, guitarist who took over when Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple in 1975, dies from a drug overdose at age 25.

  • December 8 - The album 'Hotel California' by the Eagles is released.
    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1976

  • January 1 - 'The Roxy', London's first all punk nightclub opens with 'The Clash'.

  • February 14 - The B-52s perform their first live concert in Athens, Georgia.

  • February - Bob Dylan's wife, Sara files for divorce in Santa Monica California after eleven years and five children.

  • February - Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, is arrested in Toronto Canada in his hotel room. Both heroin and cocaine are found.

  • April 26 - 'Studio 54' opens in New York City.

  • August 16 - Elvis Presley dies of heart failure at his Graceland mansion in Memphis Tennessee.

  • September 16 - Marc Bolan of T. Rex is killed when the car he is riding in hits a tree in south London, he was 29 years old.

  • October 20 - Ronnie Van Zant (29), Steven Gaines, and Cassie Gaines of Lynyrd Skynyrd, die in a small plane crash in a woods near Gillsburg Mississippi.

  • November 30 - David Bowie and Bing Crosby sing a duet of 'The Little Drummer Boy' on Crosby's 42nd Christmas special. (Bing Crosby died October 14, after the special was taped but before it was aired).

  • December 14 - The movie 'Saturday Night Fever' premieres in New York City.
    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1977

  • January 23 - Terry Kath, guitarist with Chicago, accidentally shot and killed himself while cleaning a pistol. He was 32.

  • February 2 - Van Halen are signed up with Warner Bros. Records.

  • March 18 - A local band, U2, wins the 'Harp Lager Talent Contest' in Limerick, Ireland. The prize includes a chance to audition for CBS Records.

  • April 21 - Sandy Denny, singer for 'Fairport Convention' dies after falling down some steps while at a friend's house. She lay in a coma for a week before she passed away of a brain hemorrhage. Sandy was 37.

  • May 23 - Following a three year injunction against releasing new material due to a lawsuit over his original contract with his ex-manager, Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" comes out and tour begins. The record reaches #5 on the Album Charts.

  • June 16 - The Movie 'Grease' staring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta is released.

  • July 24 - The Movie 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', premieres in New York City. The cast includes the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. It's a flop.

  • September 7 - Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, dies of an overdose of the sedative Heminevrin at age 31.

  • October 12 - Sid Vicious, bassist for the Sex Pistols, is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in New York City.

  • December 22 - Kenny Jones, former drummer for the 'Faces', is invited to join The Who.
    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1978

  • January 13 - Donny Hathaway dies from a fall from a 15th floor hotel room in New York City. He was 33. Donny recorded 3 duets with Roberta Flack.

  • February 2 - Sid Vicious dies of a herion overdose at age 21 while out on bail and awaiting trial for the murder of Nancy.

  • May 19 - Eric Clapton marries ex-wife of George Harrison, Patti Boyd.

  • June 10 - Chuck Berry is charged with tax evasion. Gets 4 months in jail.

  • June 29 - Lowell George, guitarist and founder of 'Little Feat' dies of a heart attack in Washington D.C.

  • July 1 - Sony introduces the first 'Walkman'.

  • July 12 - Minnie Riperton dies of breast cancer at age 31, four years after her hit, "Lovin' You".

  • September 16 - "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang becomes the first commercially released rap record and is a surprise hit, even breaking into the Pop Top 40, as well as landing at #4 on the R&B Charts. The event ushers in the most revolutionary style of music since the advent of rock 'n' roll thirty years earlier.

  • September 21 - The 'No Nukes' concert is held in Madison Square Garden, NY, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Crosby Stills & Nash, Tom Petty, and Jackson Browne.

  • October 21 - Bob Dylan announces that be has become a born-again Christian on 'Saturday Night Live'.

  • November 27 - Jethro Tull bass player John Glascock dies from complications of a tooth abscess in London. He was 26.

  • December 30 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer announce their split up.
    Related Link:  Top 100 Songs of 1979

beatles Let it Be poster
Jimi Hendrix poster
photo of Janis Joplin smiling
jim morrison wanted poster
George Harrison at the concert for bangladesh
shaft movie poster
R&B singer Clyde McPhatter
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce sheet music cover
California Jam music concert Ad
Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor
Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review members
Paul McCartney's Rockshow poster
The Last Waltz by the Band poster
Elvis Presley grave
Southern Rock singer Ronnie Van Zant
David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Who drummer Keith Moon
Patti Boyd and Eric Clapton
guitarist Lowell George
sony walkman cassette tape player with headphones

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