4 of the Most Underrated R&B Bands of the 1970s

These four R&B outfits were behind many popular songs that have made resurgences in recent years. Unfortunately, not many know about the talented voices, writers, and performers behind the hit songs that still linger in R&B decades later. Let’s look at a few of the most underrated R&B bands from the 1970s!

Videos by American Songwriter

1. The Sylvers

Time may have forgotten The Sylvers for a while. But recently, their songs “Boogie Fever” and “Remember The Rain” have made comebacks on social media platforms like TikTok. This family vocal group from California was composed (at varying time periods) of 10 siblings, each of which had some serious pipes. 

2. Charles Wright And The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Loaded with funk and R&B elements, Charles Wright And The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band wasn’t your typical band in the 1970s. They didn’t opt for solos. Instead, they mastered the art of extending a groove close to the point of it being redundant, but without going past that mark. “Love Land” and “Your Love Means Everything To Me” are essential listening.

3. Four Tops

Before Four Tops left Motown in 1972, they delivered an incredible piece of work that doesn’t get recognized as much as it should. That album was Nature Planned It, a stunning and enjoyable little piece of 1970s R&B soul. The band stuck together with the same lineup all the way until 1997, and they got inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990. So, maybe this R&B band from the 1970s isn’t all that underrated.

4. The New Birth

The New Birth was made up of a whopping 17 people, including an eight-person band, four female vocalists, four male vocalists, and a soloist by the name of Alan Frye. They were undeniably R&B, but their 1971 album Ain’t No Big Thing But It’s Growing was quite funky.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

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