Live albums were crucial for any band in the 70's but are rarely released these days. A lot of arena rock bands erupted in the seventies, and a good live album could make a band. Kiss and Cheap trick only found fame because of their live albums (even with the Kiss album cheating a bit - recorded in the studio). A really good concert captured on LP (CD) was, and still is, a special thing. This list of the best 70's live albums is partly for older fans to remember fondly, and partly for new young fans to explore, a launching point for them to starting finding 70's arena rock. From the Top2040 archives, here are the top 10 live albums of the 70's:
1 - UFO "Strangers in the Night"
A magnetic live show from an under-appreciated band, UFO give us hard arena rock in its best form: Out in the Street, Doctor Doctor, Love to Love.... This 2-LP album was indeed too hot to handle. With a young Michael Schenker on guitar, and Phil Mogg's vocals, UFO deserved a lot more credit than they ever got. Give this live album another listen.
2 - Queen "Live Killers" Opening with a harder version of "We Will Rock You" this show never lets up. It's force is heart-thumping, and it's a great showcase of the band's best arena performance years. Queen was always known for their live shows, theatrics and hard rock. "Now I'm Here" and "Bohemiam Rhapsody" stand out in this live show.
3 - Jethro Tull "Bursting Out" The longest-running rock band of all time, Tull still drive on today. Back in 1979 they extended a powerful show on a double album that is unforgettable. Sweet Dream, Thick as a Brick, Songs from the Wood... all with the strength of a fluted hurricane.
4 - Led Zeppelin "The Song Remains the Same" The concert album, and accompanying film, that mesmerized rock fans in the 70's with Rock and Roll, Dazed and Confused, and of course... "this is a song of hope...." leading to Stairway to Heaven.
5 - Supertramp "Live in Paris 1979" An under-appreciated live album filled with some of the best songs ever written. The performance is true and cohesive, filled with energy. From the opening "School" to the climactic "Crime of the Century," this was really one of the best live concert albums of that decade. I always loved Asylum and Dreamer as standouts.
6 - Rush "Exit Stage Left" Yes this LP was released in 1981, but it's full of 70s songs from this hard-driving arena rock band. Rush still remains successful, but will always be a 70s rock band to me. The Trees, Xanadu, and Freewill are the high points of the concert.
7 - Peter Frampton "Frampton Comes Alive" That talk-box guitar effect could be heard on every FM radio station 24/7. An overplayed album in the 70s, but nice to hear again now. Do You Feel Like I do....
8 - Kansas "Two for the Show" Following their monster albums, Leftoverture and Point of Know Return, Kansas gave us a great live concert. "Song for America" opened the show with thunder, and took us all the way to The Wall and Magnum Opus. Good rock show.
9 - Yes "Yessongs" an unprecedented 3-album concert package, featuring great live versions of Close to the Edge and Heart of the Sunrise, plus the timeless "And You and I."
10 - REO Speedwagon "You Get What You Play For" A great live set, it was this version of "Riding the Storm Out" that gave the band its first FM radio hit. "Golden Country" is also a perennial favorite. This show pre-dates their real chart-topping rise to fame, but is one of the best live shows from the 70s.
Of course, we at Top2040 missed your favorite 70's live album... but maybe it's at #11. There were hundreds of good live albums and good converts in the "rock decade" that spawned arena rock.