The most popular performers and groups of the 50s-70s
Ranking the most successful old artists of all times and peoples is a very difficult task, and even, one might say, impossible. The fact is that the 50s-70s showed the world a great many icons of their genre, from Elvis Presley or Barbra Streisand to Elton John and the permanent "King of Pop" Michael Jackson. The only way to gauge the popularity of a musical genius is to measure how many records have been sold over the course of their career. In today's article, we take a look at the most popular artists and the most prominent bands of the 50s-70s, whose commercial success indicates that their melodies continue to resound in the minds and hearts of music lovers to this day ...
The most popular performers of the 50s
This legendary performer entered the world history of music as the incomparable "King of Rock and Roll". For more than forty years, his compositions have found a new response, both in the hearts of modern listeners and the older generation. You can cite a number of films, programs, and even just luxurious covers that continue to appear tirelessly every year and attract fans. Elvis left this world in 1977, but he remains the best-selling artist of the 50s to this day. In fact, the only ones who surpassed the king of rock and roll were the Beatles. Of course, Presley was far from the first performer who sang what is now called rock and roll.
His era has remained one of the most remarkable, thanks to artists such as Chuck Berry, Ike Turner, Ray Charles and Bo Diddley. Each of these left its mark on the history of the 1950s. However, it was Presley who became the first real pop star, seen in a number of popular television programs, for example, on The Ed Sullivan Show. And is it worth recalling his brilliant game in the film "Prison Rock"? Only Elvis could boast such a huge number of Top 40 singles that no other artist could ever dream of, or a generous number of albums that at one time became number one!
Widely celebrated today, Johnny Cash began his career at Sun Records, the same one in Memphis, Tennessee, where the aforementioned king of rock and roll created his first singles. Cash's musical heritage has spread almost all over the world, from the homeland of the musician himself - Kingsland, to a number of European cities and countries. His rock and roll masterpieces are estimated to have sold out with a huge success of 30 million certified units in 2017! For almost four decades, Cash has recorded many songs and albums known to today's generation.
Among the favorites of the public it is impossible not to mention the live recording of 1968 called "AT Folsom Prison", as well as the excellent multi-album "American Series", which contains all the most amazing covers recorded by the musician together with his producer Rick Rubin. True, the career of the legendary performer was accompanied not only by ups and downs, but also by falls, both professional and personal ... But more on that another time.
The most successful performers and groups of the 60s
The influence of this British rock band on world music history is undeniable. Throughout their career, the legendary Beatles have sold ten times more records than any other band or artist. According to 2017 estimates, the number of certified units sold exceeds 220 million! The team also boasts a large number of singles that have become number one in the United States (20), as well as leading albums (19). And is it worth mentioning their legendary creation "Yesterday", whose authorship is divided between John Lennon and Paul McCartney?
This composition remains the most popular song of all time, for which over 1,600 known cover versions were recorded a few years ago ... By the way, the duet of Lennon and McCartney is still considered the most successful in the history of modern pop music, if only because it gave the world's largest number of number one singles. And of course: all four enjoyed successful solo careers after the band's breakup in 1970.
The cult rock icons of the Rolling Stones may not be 100% on par with their British peers from The Beatles, but in terms of sales, there is no doubt that this legendary band is rock royalty too. Formed in 1962, the group has sold over 96 million units and recorded 30 studio albums throughout their long and highly successful career!
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the entire rock 'n' roll company boast impressive outputs, including a lavish string of eight consecutive albums (starting with 1971's Sticky Fingers and ending with 1981's Tattoo You) that became number one one in the US. Since October 2018, the band continues to actively tour around the world!
This legendary performer does not belong to the world of rock, like most of the artists on this list. The Brooklyn vocalist has devoted her life to pop music, which she has enjoyed and shared with others throughout her mind-blowing career...
Streisand has more Top 10 albums (34) than any other female artist and is the only star whose albums have topped the album chart for six consecutive decades! By the way, Barbra's talent extends to other areas. So, she won two Academy Awards for "Funny Girl" and "A Star is Born", as well as awards: Emmy, Tony and Peabody.
Although many artists of the 60s enjoyed impressive commercial success, sometimes even surpassing the achievements of Bob Dylan, none of them can claim to have received a literature award, as happened to the musician in question in 2016. Among his other achievements, it is impossible not to mention more than 100 million records sold, 12 Grammy awards, an Oscar and even a special Pulitzer Prize.
Some of Dylan's peers, from David Bowie to Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen, have cited him as a significant influence on their work. Well, while others, such as Jimi Hendrix ("All Along The Watchtower") or Byrds ("Mr. Tambourine Man") received great pleasure from listening to Bob's famous hits.
The most successful artists and groups of the 70s
The unique, unsurpassed fusion of blues, folk and rock into a single whole made Led Zeppelin one of the most successful bands of their era. And what are Jimmy Page's guitar improvisations worth?! This musical wizard had an undeniable influence on the pioneers of heavy metal with his heavy guitar playing!
It is noteworthy that the first four albums released by the group were never officially named, but this did not affect their commercial success in any way. Known as Led Zeppelin I, II, III and IV, these immortal works are rightfully considered the benchmarks of classic rock. In 2008, Guitar World magazine recognized Jimmy Page's guitar solo "Stairway to Heaven", released on Led Zeppelin IV, as the best guitar solo of all time.
Perhaps many of the readers will now argue that Michael Jackson is a pop icon of the primordially 80s, because it was during this period that the musician literally bathed in fame, colossal success and influence. Some may also argue that he is a legend of the 60s, because it was in this decade that Michael and his brothers performed as the Jackson 5.
But in fact, this cult performer belongs precisely to the era of the 70s. At the height of this decade, Jackson grew up and immersed himself in his solo career. It was during this period that his true talents began to emerge as never before. His 1979 album, Off The Wall, co-produced with Quincy Jones, became a US number one solo album, generating four Top 10 hits at once: "Rock With You", "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough", "She's Out Of My Life" and the title track. Surprisingly, this was already Jackson's fifth solo album. The remaining four works were recorded by the singer as a teenager.
Elton John is rightfully considered the best-selling British artist of all time. He has sold over 167 certified units throughout his career! John began his career as a professional pop composer in the mid-1960s.
The musician wrote songs for other singers along with Bernie Taupin, who will remain John's creative partner even after the latter's departure to the solo channel. Between 1972 and 1975, Elton John had five US-leading albums, including the landmark double effort Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. And this icon of its time continues to record albums and tour to this day.
Psychedelic English rock band Pink Floyd has sold over 118 million certified units worldwide! However, it was two works that brought the greatest popularity to the team: the 1973 release of Dark Side Of The Moon and the 1979 double album The Wall.
These two recordings are rightfully considered cult in the world of rock and the best-selling in history. The Dark Side of the Moon spent a whopping 14 years on the Billboard Top 200 sales chart and has sold over 45 million copies to date. "The Wall" spent 15 weeks at the top of the US charts and sold over 23 million copies.