10 Best Hard Rock Albums Of The 1970s

Rock starts to show its teeth.

Black Sabbath Paranoid

By the time rock had reached the start of the 1970's, it had grown up a little. After the cultural revolution of the 60's, rock had gone from being this passing fad into a legitimate subset of popular music.

It was also the time when rock started getting nastier. Sure, there had been rumblings of heavier music at the tail end of the hippie era, but the 70's is where bands really came into their own when it came to producing explosive hard rock music. With people like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison blowing the doors open, a plethora of bands across the world came onto the scene brandishing loud guitars and riffs that would take your head off.

The 1970's is where you saw rock dividing into other genres, from power pop to folk rock to glam rock. However, the ones that seemed to have left the most impact on rock music as a whole have been the hard rock releases of the day. These records produced revolutionary singles and became templates for how to make a timeless sonic statement. So let's see what was behind the unholy tunes of the hard rock pantheon.

10. A Night At The Opera - Queen

This is the one entry on this list that tends to stretch the definition of whether it is really hard rock. With A Night at the Opera, Queen brought their layered rock sound to the masses with stellar theatricality and songwriting finesse. However, songs like "Love of My Life" and "You're My Best Friend" are not necessarily the first thing you think of when it comes to hard rock.

On the other hand, the band's heavy side yields some of the record's strongest moments. "Sweet Lady" is a delightful punk-ish jam and Brian May's "The Prophet's Song" is a hard-edged ride through progressive rock. "I'm In Love With My Car" also offers the swaggering vocals of Roger Taylor as he waxes poetic in his ode to the road.

While it's not hard-edged all the time, the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of the single greatest tracks to come out of the hard-rock canon. By combining three song ideas, Freddie Mercury created a mini-symphony that starts off like a ballad before exploding into a hard rock riff that anyone with a pulse can groove to. This album may not be stuffed with riffs, but what is there is some of the highest quality hard rock you can find.


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