Rock and roll years: the 1970s

Throughout the decade, there are widespread strikes and political and social unrest in the UK.


Scottish Duo McGuinness Flint release When I'm Dead And Gone.


2 AUGUST, 1971 Announcement of closure causes protests at the John Brown shipyards in Clydebank.

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19 JUNE, 1971 Scottish four-piece band Middle of the Road's song Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep spends five weeks at number one. Their follow-up single, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee, is about feuding Scottish clans. It reaches number two in the charts.

18 SEPTEMBER, 1971 The Bay City Rollers release their first single Keep On Dancing.

Nazareth (featuring former members of The Mark Five) release their debut album.

1 SEPTEMBER, 1971 Gas street lamps are gradually replaced by electric lamps.


From 1972 through to the late seventies, Glam Rock was popularised by the likes of Marc Bolan, Slade, Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, David Bowie and Alice Cooper. Extravagant costumes and make-up dominated the fashion, while the music mixed good times rock'r'roll with simple rhythms and often high-pitched vocals.

Les Harvey, brother of Alex and lead guitarist with Stone The Crows, is electrocuted on stage and dies.

Frankie Miller records his first solo album, Once In A Blue Moon.

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The Sensational Alex Harvey Band release their debut album Framed.

A pipe-band version of Amazing Grace, originally a hit for Judy Collins, is recorded by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The song is played on late-night radio and due to public demand is released as a single. It goes to number one in the UK charts.


The Run-Rig Dance Band, later to be Runrig, perform for the first time at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. Lead singer Donnie Munro joins a year later.

John Martyn releases his Solid Air album.

Nazareth get to number nine and ten in the UK charts with the singles Broken Down Angel and Bad Bad Boy.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band release their second album, Next, which features Faith Healer.


27 APRIL, 1974 The Bay City Rollers' Shang-A-Lang reaches number two in the charts.

Patti Smith releases Hey Joe, which is commonly regarded as the first punk rock single. The Ramones and Talking Heads also formed in this year.

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Pilot release their debut album From The Album Of The Same Name.

12 OCTOBER, 1974 The Bay City Rollers' debut album goes to number one in the UK charts. It stays in the charts for 62 weeks.


MID 1970s Disco emerges from funk music. It is created primarily for the dance-floors, as discotheques grew in number. Popular both with black culture for its referencing of funk and soul and with gay culture, it had a political impetus often forgotten because of the glitzy image. Major proponents of disco include The Bee Gees, Abba, Barry White, Gloria Gaynor and James Brown.

The Labour government proposes a Scottish assembly which will exercise a wide range of powers. The issue of devolution had been raised in 1968 by Conservative Party leader Edward Heath.

JANUARY 1975 The Average White Band release Pick Up the Pieces which goes to number one in the US charts and number six in the UK. Their debut album reaches the top of both the pop and R&B charts.

22 MARCH, 1975 Bay City Rollers' Bye Bye Baby becomes the band's first number one single in the UK charts. It stays at the top spot for six weeks. Bye Bye Baby is the best selling single of 1975.

Pilot have a number one single with January, taken from their second album Second Flight.

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11 JUNE, 1975 North Sea oil is pumped ashore for the first time at Sullom Voe in Shetland.

19 JULY, 1975 Bay City Rollers' second album charts at number one. The tartan-clad band's single Give A Little Love stays at number one for three weeks. It is their second and last number one. Rollermania lasts until mid-1977 when the band's career fades.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band have a top ten hit with their version of Tom Jones' Delilah.

22 NOVEMBER, 1975 Billy Connolly's D.I.V.O.R.C.E.,a parody of a Tammy Wynette song, becomes his first and only number one single.


9 OCTOBER, 1976 The Sex Pistols sign with EMI. Later in the year they cause public and media outcry when they swear on television.


16 AUGUST, 1977 Elvis dies. His single at the time, Way Down, rockets to number one, equalling the Beatles' record for the number of chart-topping singles.

Punk culture breaks in Britain and America. The rebellious movement's music, fashion and ideologies shock conservative Britain. The music is often simple and angry and spawns a DIY ethic among bands. The fashion featured extreme hairstyles, make-up, torn or thrift shop clothes, bondage gear and piercings (often with safety pins). The movement voices the discontent and violent frustration of British and American youths. Punk masterpieces are released by the Ramones, the Jam, Iggy Pop and the Sex Pistols.

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The Rezillos release their debut single I Can't Stand My Baby.

New wave band the Skids form in Dunfermline, featuring Stuart Adamson who goes on to form Big Country.


Childhood friends Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, previously of Glasgow punk band Johnny and the Abusers, form Simple Minds.

The Rezillos' album Can't Stand The Rezillos enters the UK album charts at number 16. Their single Top Of The Pops reaches number 17 in the UK.

The Tourists, featuring Annie Lennox, have a hit single with a cover of Dusty Springfield's I Only Want To Be With You.

OCTOBER 1978 Frankie Miller's Darlin' becomes a top ten hit.


MAY 1979 Margaret Thatcher, leader of the Conservative Party, becomes the first female British prime minister. During her term, unemployment rises sharply and trade unions are treated with antipathy. Her policies are based on free markets and privatisation.

Dougie MacLean releases his Caledonia album.

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A TV talent search called The Big Time aims to discover someone who wants to be a pop star and to document their ascent. They discover Sheena Easton, who subsequently signs to EMI.

The Clash release London Calling.

The Skids score a top ten hit with Into The Valley.

The Sugarhill Gang's single Rapper's Delight breaks worldwide and signals the start of hip-hop becoming more mainstream.

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