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The Stories Behind

the Music of the 1970s

Frank Mastropolo


John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Bernard Gotfryd, Library of Congress

By 1970, the Beatles had disbanded and embarked on solo careers. Psychedelic rock, protest songs, surf music, and folk rock were out.


The new decade was defined by the singer-songwriter. Punk rock, new wave, Southern rock, disco, and glam rock exploded in clubs and on the airwaves. Philadelphia replaced Motown as the capital of soul and R&B. The back stories of the music are as varied as the genres themselves.

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James Taylor, ca. 1979. Bernard Gotfryd, Library of Congress

Frank Mastropolo, author of 200 Greatest 60s Rock Songs and the best-selling Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock Music Forever, tells the fascinating, funny, and surprising stories behind 200 songs of the 1970s that have become part of our lives.

The musicians, songwriters, and producers explain how they created the music. Of course, Elton John, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Allman Brothers Band, the Bee Gees, and the Eagles are represented. But you'll also learn about tunes by Mountain, Lou Reed, Bill Withers, Brownsville Station, the Sanford-Townsend Band, Carly Simon, Alice Cooper, Boz Scaggs, and Iggy Pop.

Blondie mural, Bleecker Street, New York, 2021. © Frank Mastropolo

Throughout the book are photographs and interviews with some of the musicians who made the 1970s such an eclectic period of rock and roll: Leo Sayer, Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominos, Harry Wayne "KC" Casey of KC & the Sunshine Band, and Michael Brewer of Brewer & Shipley.

"200 Greatest 70s Rock Songs is a virtual encyclopedia of the wide-ranging music genres that dominated the airwaves and banished many '60s rockers from the charts." — Rock Cellar Magazine


"200 Greatest 70s Rock Songs is a must-read for fans of the soul, funk, and disco explosion of the 1970s. It’s a comprehensive account of the sounds that rocked the clubs and filled the airwaves. It’s got the 4-1-1 on the roots of today’s soul and R&B classics." — Reel Urban News

If you like behind-the-scenes stories about the greatest songs and albums of the '70s, you’ll love the unvarnished recollections of the people who created the soundtrack of our lives.

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