7 Rock Albums for Guitar Fans of the 1970s that Everyone Should Own

The 1970s were perhaps the decade for the electric. As you can see even from the names not on this list here below. Indeed, people left off include Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the sisters of Heart. Yeesh. That’s an all-star lineup if there ever was one.

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But another all-star lineup could be—and in fact is—comprised of the seven groups below. Some of them even, from Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin, could be represented multiple times on this list. But instead, we chose just to include one album per band.

Either way, you won’t be disappointed by any of these albums if you’re looking for guitar-playing mastery. Here are seven rock albums for guitar fans of the 1970s that everyone should own.

1. ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ Pink Floyd (1973)

The first foray for many new music fans, into what’s now known as classic rock, comes through a sonic prism, if you will. The 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, not only lines up with the first half of the film, The Wizard of Oz, but it gives us incredible guitar riffs (“Money”) and solos (“Time”) throughout.

2. Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin (1971)

Led Zeppelin IV is as much a greatest hits record as it is a run-of-the-mill studio offering. The track list includes slammin’ guitar hits like “Black Dog,” “Stairway to Heaven” and the cover song “When the Levee Breaks.” The LP also boasts the incredible acoustic number “Going to California.”

3. Maggot Brain, Funkadelic (1971)

The George Clinton-led project, Maggot Brain, opens with one of the grittiest, dirtiest guitar solos ever. If you believe the stories, the 10-minute title song was made after Clinton told lead player Eddie Hazel to play as if his mother had just died. Goal achieved.

4. Van Halen, Van Halen (1978)

The self-titled album, Van Halen, comes from the band with one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eddie Van Halen. Along with the general mastery displayed, the album is known for the song “Eruption,” which helped to popularize the two-handed tapping guitar playing technique for soloists.

5. Paranoid, Black Sabbath (1970)

Another studio LP that reads almost like a great hits album, Paranoid helped put heavy metal on the map thanks to songs like “War Pigs” and “Iron Man.” With big heavy guitar sounds that try to TKO every listener, the British-born Black Sabbath helped create a whole new lane for the instrument.

6. Abraxas, Santana (1970)

Released in 1970 just months after the Bay Area guitar player melted faces and blew minds at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, Abraxas features Carlos Santana perhaps at his best. Playing songs like “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Cómo Va,” Santana works his way into your subconscious and burrows a home with every perfect note.

7. Highway to Hell, AC/DC (1979)

The Australian-born rock band AC/DC made a sound and stuck with it. Just saying these three words—Highway to Hell—you can hear a screeching rock singing voice backed up by guitars the echos of which are still buzzing out into the cosmos today. From the opening title track, AC/DC powers through its amplifiers and skeleton-shattering chords.

Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage

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