7 R&B groups that dominated the 1970s

Before shifting to the more commercial “contemporary” sound of 1980s keyboards, synths, and bass and drum pop with artists like Stephanie Mills, Debarge, and Al B. Sure, 1970s R&B was a greater mix of drunk. , gospel, afro beats, funk and disco.

Born out of folk, jazz, gospel and blues in the 1940s, the earlier rhythm and blues of R&B music led to the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. Throughout the 1960s, the R&B found its sentimental and soulful voice with artists like The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. Playing around with instrumentation and arrangements, artists like Al Green and Isaac Hayes began mixing African beats and gospel interpolations, helping usher the genre into the reigning disco and funk era of the new decade.

Throughout the 70s, R&B held its own on the charts with Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Jackson 5, The O-Jays, The Four Tops, Barry White, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Spinners, and more. , while leaning on other genres.

Here’s a look at just seven R&B groups that ruled R&B in the 1970s.

1. Kool and the gang

Before their explosion in the 1980s with R&B-pop hits “Celebrate”, “Get Down on It” and “Cherish”, Kool & The Gang had already hit the R&B charts with this eponymous 1970 debut instrument and their self-produced sequel to 1972. top, The music is the message, which peaked at No. 25 on the R&B chart. In 1973, Kool & The Gang tapped into more funk with their Wild and peaceful hits of the era “Funky Stuff”, “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging”. In 1979, “Ladies Night”, the title track from their 11th album, topped the R&B charts and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2 . temptations

Throughout the 1960s, The Temptations were already helping to define R&B with the 1964 Motown Records hits “My Girl” and the 1966 single “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”. In the 1970s, The Temptations entered the new decade with just the right R&B croon – their No. 1 hit “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” and Norman Whitfield and Barrett’s “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Strong. ”, a song first recorded by The Undisputed Truth before becoming a Grammy-winning hit with the cover of The Temptations.

3. Commodores

By the late ’70s, the Commodores were leaving behind some of their biggest hits, including the soulful “Easy” written by Lionel Richie – later becoming a hit for Faith No More, who covered the song in 1992 – the funky “Brick House” in 1977, the 1978 hits “Three Times a Lady” and “Natural High” and the group’s final single with Richie as lead singer, “Still”, released in 1979.

4. The Jackson 5

Before Michael Jackson made a bigger breakthrough with his product produced by Quincy Jones On the wall in 1979, and winning a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, he and The Jackson 5 were releasing hit albums like the 1970 releases ABC and follow-up, third album, which reached No. 1 on the R&B charts with the single “I’ll Be There”. In 1972, the group’s fifth album, Maybe tomorrowspawned other hit singles, “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Maybe Tomorrow”, and the last album before Michael Jackson’s notable vocal change on the 1972 release Look through the windows.

5. The Isley Brothers

Already conquering funk and soul in the 60s, in 1973, 3 + 3, gave the Isley Brothers Top 10 R&B-pop hits “That Lady” and their cover of Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze.” The Isley Brothers continued to release platinum albums, including Harvest for the world in 1976, Go get your guns (1977) and the 1978 release Showdown, featuring more Top 40, pop and R&B singles. In 1979, the band began to incorporate more funk and disco into their music with the hits “I Wanna Be with You (Part 1)” and “It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)”, taken from their first and only double album. , Winner takes all.

6. Gladys Knight and the glitches

Achieving commercial success after signing with Motown Records in 1966, Gladys Knight & The Pips continued their streak in the 1970s with the hits “If I Were Your Woman”, “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” and “Neither One”, Grammy winner. from us (wants to be the first to say goodbye). After joining Buddha Records, the band continued to release more soulful R&B hits like “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”, “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination”, “I Feel a Song (In My Heart) and the No. 1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”. Released on the band’s 11th album, Imagination, in 1973, “Midnight Train to Georgia”, written by Jim Weatherly, won the band a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

7. Earth, Wind and Fire

Masters of blending soul, funk, jazz, disco and Afro-pop beats, Earth, Wind & Fire kicked off the 1970s by hitting the Billboard R&B Albums chart with their score for the soundtrack to Melvin Van Peebles’ blaxploitation film 1971, Baadassss song by Sweet Sweetback. The band’s funkiest hit of 1975, “Shining Star,” won them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In 1977, Earth, Wind & Fire won another Grammy (Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus) for their eighth album, Alln All, featuring hits “Serpentine Fire,” “Fantasy,” which was also nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental, and “Runnin,” which won a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental. In 1979, Earth, Wine & Fire won another Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for their single “After the Love Has Gone”.

Photo: Solomon NJie/GettyImages

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