4 overrated bands from the 1970s that get too much love

Other bands deserve more attention than these four.
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The 1970s were a mixed bag of music. There was some excellence, of course. David Bowie made his bones during the decade and we are all better off for that.

But evolving from the 1960s and trying to shed its musical skin before the grandeur of the 1980s, the '70s struggled at times. This was, after all, the decade that created disco. The Bee Gees too.

Some popular bands in the 1970s also took away some limelight from more deserving bands. For every excellent Leon Russell (who began in the 1950s but made some of his best albums in the 1970s) there was an over-loved Eagles. Three bands who earned more attention than was warranted are as follows.

Four ridiculously overrated bands from the 1970s

Steely Dan

Steely Dan was meticulous producers and good at that part, but their music was basically like watching a master chef do his work in the kitchen while creating a very bland meal. The joy is in the watching, but not the eating. Or in this case, the listening. Basically, most people who like Steely Dan like knowing how the sausage was made and then being so overjoyed that they may not realize the taste of the sausage is underwhelming.

Steely Dan is boring. They mix exciting musical styles - a lot of rock and a bit of jazz - and force them down into uninspirational dreck. "Ricky Don't Lose My Number"? More like "Donald Fagan Don't Make This Album." The worst part is that since clearly the band knew how to work the knobs well in the recording studio that means they intentionally put out the music that is soulless.


Maybe Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and friends started putting on their makeup because they knew their songs were not going to be very good. Better to get noticed than sound good, I assume. And it worked for the band, too. They sold their glam souls to make millions as hard rockers. The issue is for a bit of time in the 1970s, especially with their album, Destroyer, they made a few good songs. The band just wasn't talented enough to sustain that creativity over several decades.

After the '70s ended, Kiss kept making money as they are still good in concerts, but you probably just won't be still listening to them on the drive home. They are more gimmicky than substantive. Plus, I say this as someone who has seen Kiss live a number of times and they never disappoint, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be overshadowed by lesser-known musical artists from the 1970s who consistently produced better songs (here is looking at you, King Diamond).

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Could this band just have tried to stick with one subgenre before they moved on to another and crippled that one as well? They began as prog rock and realized they didn't have the commitment to be good at the sound. Then they moved to something that was like rock/classical with pristine production that made their songs appear much better than they were. Dabbling in these genres happened before the band went to more of a standard rock sound and then pop. They changed styles more often than the Jefferson Airplane changed names.

Yet at no stop along the way did Jeff Lynne and company spend enough time perfecting the genre (or subgenre) in which they were inhabiting. Did they release a number of good-selling singles and maybe one or two of these were fine? Sure. But like with anything great, there needs to be a consistency of excellence and ELO simply could not sustain that.


Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and the boys seemingly wanted to be a bit like an American Rolling Stones. They wanted to produce bluesy rock with a bit of swagger. The issue was that while the Stones understood nuance, Aerosmith could only turn into what they became - a straightforward rock band who would wind up in a part of musical hell. For as hit-and-miss as the group was during the 1970s, they became rock/pop in the 1980s and lost the slightest bit of integrity that may have earned in the previous decade.

Aerosmith did have a couple of catchy ditties in the 1970s, such as "Dream On." But that sound was not how they wanted to start and yet how they had evolved. For a band with a vocalist that scream-sang like Tyler, their sound was always going to have a short shelf-life unless they became the equivalent of harder-rock bubblegum pop.

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