35 Best 70s Singers (Most Famous)

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

The 1970s was a special decade for music, and it saw the rise of many new artists.

It was also a decade when new genres and styles were born.

All in all, it was an exciting time for the evolution of music, and it’s always interesting to see who were the figures who made the biggest impact.

Therefore, we made a list of the most famous singers of the 1970s.

1. Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye is without a doubt one of the most prominent singers from the 70s.

Known as the ‘Prince of Motown’, Gaye made a huge impact on many music genres, including soul, R&B, jazz, and funk.

His songs like “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Let’s Get It On” are timeless classics, and his music inspired generations of aspiring musicians. 

With a four-octave vocal range, Gaye is also regarded as one of the best vocalists of all time.

2. Elton John

Although he rose to fame before the 70s, Elton John’s career continued to flourish in this decade.

He is generally considered to be one of the best singers of all time, and his songs, falsetto voice, and live performances are legendary.

Elton John’s greatest hits include “I’m Still Standing”, “Tiny Dancer”, and “Your Song.”

But “Rocket Man” is arguably his biggest hit, and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Elton John has been collaborating with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967, and that’s considered one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in history.

3. David Bowie

Just like Elton John, David Bowie is regarded as one of the best musicians of all time.

With his 70s albums Hunky Dory and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars Bowie established himself as one of the most influential artists of the decade.

Known for his creative performances, innovative approach to music, and distinctive vocals, Bowie was truly one of a kind.

It’s hard to pick Bowie’s best songs, but the world will undoubtedly always remember timeless classics like “Heroes”, “Space Oddity”, and “Ashes to Ashes.”

4. Donna Summer 

Donna Summer’s music definitely made an impact on the 70s music scene.

She rose to fame during the disco era of the 1970s, and became known as the ‘Queen of Disco.’

Summer’s songs like “I Feel Love” helped her achieve international success, and now they’re considered 70s classics. 

But she had 12 top-ten hits between 1976 and 1982, and it’s fair to say she is one of the most successful 70s singers. 

Donna Summer died in 2012, but she’s still influencing many aspiring singers with her timeless songs. 

5. Diana Ross

Another name that comes to mind when thinking about female singers from the 1970s is Diana Ross.

Her 70s songs like “Love Hangover” and “It’s My House” should be on every essential 70s music playlist.

Diana Ross rose to fame  as the lead singer of the Supremes in the 60s, and although the group had a huge success, Ross embarked on a solo career.

In 1976, she was named the “Female Entertainer of the Century” by Billboard.

And throughout her career, she has received many awards and honors including Tony, Emmy, and Grammy awards.

6. Freddie Mercury 

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without Freddie Mercury in the top 10.

He was hands down one of the most famous singers in the 70s.

Apart from having incredible vocal abilities, Mercury also possessed the work ethics and charisma to become a music legend.

He was an amazing singer and performer, as well as a talented songwriter – he has written 10 out of 17 Queen hit songs.

In other words, he was a champion.

If you want to know more details about his personal life, you should watch the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Rami Malek.

7. Bruce Springsteen

With his studio album Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen established himself as one of the most prominent music artists in the 70s. 

Springsteen helped form the heartland rock style of music – he combined mainstream rock with lyrics about American working life.

But he is also one of the most accomplished songwriters in music history.

As a result, Springsteen was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

9. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is one of the most famous 70s singers as well as a cultural icon and living legend.

His impact on the 70s music is undeniable, especially on the country genre.

He recorded some of his best albums in the 70s, including Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978.)

Nelson is also one of the most influential musicians in outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s.

All things considered, as one of the most recognized country singers, Willie Nelson has a well-deserved spot on this list. 

10. Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks is best-known for her work with Fleetwood Mac – she joined the band in 1975, and helped it become one of the greatest bands in history.

But she also embarked on a successful solo career in the 80s.

Nevertheless, her work in the 70s is associated with Fleetwood Mac classics like “Dreams” and other songs from the 1977 album Rumours

And she remains the “Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll.”

11. Al Green 

Songs like “Let’s Stay Together” and “Take Me to the River” were popular in the 70s, and they still sound great today.

Al Green is definitely one of the most popular singers from the 70s, and had a lot of influence on the soul and R&B genres.

He won 11 Grammy awards, and the majority of those awards are a result of his work in the 70s.

And there’s no doubt about it – Al Green’s music inspired generations of today’s successful musicians.

12. Stevie Wonder

In short, Stevie Wonder is a living music legend.

He started performing when he was 11, and released his first number-on hit at the age of 13.

And Wonder’s success was at its peak in the 1970s – it was a time when he released many successful albums as well as his biggest hit “Superstition.” 

With his long and rich career, Stevie Wonder is one of the most famous 70s singers who continued to be popular and relevant for decades to come. 

13. Paul McCartney 

The Beatles is the band that changed music forever – their impact on the 70s music scene as well as culture in general is undeniable. 

Although they broke up in 1970, the Beatles classics remained popular and loved, and the band’s members embarked on their solo journeys. 

One of the Beatles members whose time has come in the 70s was Paul McCartney, who released several albums in the 70s.

McCartney has excellent vocal abilities, but he is also praised for his songwriting skills – many of the Beatles best hits came out of McCartney-Lennon collaboration.

All things considered, McCartney is definitely one of the most popular artists of the 70.

14. Bob Marley 

Bob Marley is a cultural icon and one of the most influential singers of all time.

He was one of the pioneers of reggae music, and his musical legacy is extremely important.

Marley began his music career in 1963, after forming a group that would later become the Wailers.

In the 70s, the group achieved international fame, especially after releasing albums Rastaman Vibration and Exodus

Over the years, Marley also became a Rastafari icon and a symbol of Jamaican music and culture. 

15. Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John will always be remembered as one of the biggest pop stars of the 70s.

Although she had a long career, she achieved global fame in the 1970s.

After all, she starred with John Travolta in the Grease musical in 1978.

But she also had two successful singles in the middle of the decade: “If You Love Me, Let Me Know”, and “Have You Never Been Mellow.”

Nevertheless, the Grease hit song “You’re the One That I Want” remains one of the best-selling singles ever recorded. 

16. Robert Plant 

Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

And their music and impact wouldn’t be the same without Robert Plant.

Plant’s distinctive voice and energy are unmatched, and he is hands down one of the best vocalists of his era.

The majority of Led Zeppelin’s most memorable hits were made in the 1970s, including “Stairway To Heaven”, “Kashmir” and “Black Dog.”

17. Dolly Parton 

Dolly Parton is definitely one of the most famous 70s country singers.

By the end of the 1970s, she established herself as one of the most successful artists in the music industry.

“I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” are her biggest 70s hits, and they are still popular and relevant today.

And Dolly Parton remains one of the biggest selling female artists of all time.

Besides music, she also achieved success in business. 

18. Michael Jackson 

Michael Jackson made his public debut in the 60s, as a part of the Jackson 5.

He began his solo career in 1971, and by the end of the decade he established himself as a pop star.

Dubbed ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jacskon continued to thrive in the next decade, but the end of the decade marked the beginning of his legendary career.

In 1979, he released the album Off The Wall featuring hits “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” 

19. Tina Turner 

By the time the 1970s began, Tina Turner Revue was already a popular act.

The famous duo continued to record hits in the first half of the decade, until they split up in 1976.

After that, Tina Turner embarked on a solo career, and eventually became one of the most prominent singers.

Although she achieved peak success in the 80s, she is regarded as one of the most famous music artists from the 1970s. 

20. Ozzy Osbourne 

Black Sabbath is considered to be one of the best heavy metal bands ever.

And their frontman Ozzy Osbourne definitely made a mark on the 70s music scene.

After all, heavy metal was born during this decade, and he and his band helped define the sound of the genre.

Black Sabbath released several important albums in the 70s – Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971.)

21. Barry White 

Barry White reached the peak of his career in the 1970s.

So it’s fair to say he is one of the top artists from the 70s.

He released many successful songs during this decade, including “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby” and “Never Never Gonna Give You Up.”

He was a two-times Grammy award winner, and he will always be remembered for his contribution to soul, funk, and disco music.

22. Steven Tyler 

When it comes to the most popular 70s rock stars, Steven Tyler definitely comes to mind.

His distinctive vocals helped him become one of the most prominent rock singers of the decade.

His band Aerosmith rose to fame in the 1970s, and achieved international fame with their album Toys In The Attic in 1975

The album found a place on the Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

23. Billy Joel

Billy Joel started his career in the 70s, and eventually became one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

In 1973, he released his popular album Piano Man, and in 1977, the album The Stranger brought him international success.

Across the 20 years of his solo career, Billy Joel released many successful albums and received numerous accolades.

And although he retired from writing music, he still occasionally performs.

24. John Fogerty

John Fogerty is known as the frontman of Creedence Clearwater Revival, one of the most popular rock bands of all time.

His distinctive voice became an integral part of the band’s sound.

Many of the CCR’s songs became anthems in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and some of their hits like “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” are real all-time classics.

25. Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor is one of the most recognizable voices of the 1970s.

Her signature song “I Will Survive” is one of the most popular 70s disco songs, and probably one of the most iconic disco songs ever.

Besides “I Will Survive”, Gloria Gaynor also released hits “Let Me Know (I Have a Right)” and “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

26. Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin achieved huge success in the 60s, but she maintained popularity and relevance in the 70s.

The Queen of Soul continued producing chart-topping hits throughout the decade.

She released multiple successful 70s albums, including Spirit in the Dark, Young, Gifted and Black, Amazing Grace, and Sparkle.

That being said, she is hands down one of the most influential music artists of the 1970s.

27. Bob Seger

Bob Seger achieved success with his band Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet.

They rose to fame in the beginning of the 1970s, but achieved international success in 1976, after releasing their album Night Moves.

Bob Seger remained a popular figure in the music industry throughout the decade.

The band released several hit songs such as “Still The Same,” “Hollywood Nights,” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.” 

Check out our list of the best Bob Seger songs.

28. Patti Smith 

Patti Smith is one of the leading figures of the American punk rock movement of the 1970s.

She released her debut album Horses in 1975, and continued to make successful and critically acclaimed albums in the upcoming decades.

Smith is known for combining poetry and music, and that’s why she is called the “punk poet laureate.”

All in all, her influence on many other popular music artists is undeniable, and she remains one of the most important musicians who rose to fame in the 70s.

29. Ronnie Van Zant 

Ronnie Van Zant was best known as the lead singer of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The band rose to fame with their album Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd in 1973. 

The album features Lynyrd Skynyrd’s signature songs and hits “Free Bird” and “Tuesday’s Gone.”

Unfortunately, Van Zant tragically died in 1977 in a plane crash.

However, his influence and legacy won’t be forgotten. 

30. Glenn Frey 

Another band that made an impact on the 70s rock scene is the Eagles.

And as the co-lead singer and frontman for the Eagles, Glenn Frey is often described as one of the most famous 1970s musicians.

In the 70s, Frey was responsible for writing most of the Eagles material, including some of the band’s biggest hits.

During the band’s hiatus, Frey embarked on a solo career and started releasing successful solo albums.

Most Famous 70s Singers – Final Thoughts 

As you can see, the 1970s was a decade full of musical surprises and rising stars. 

So there are many more singers who were famous in the 70s, but it’s time to wrap it up.

After all, all of the artists we mentioned today made an impact on the 70s music scene, and their biggest hits remain popular to this day. 

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