1970: Miles Davis changes jazz forever (again), The Beatles say farewell

Plus landmark releases from Santana, Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel and more.

Bitches Brew, though, really marked the year. From Jazz Times:

The music on Bitches Brew is indeed provocative, and extraordinary. For Miles it meant a point of no return for the musical direction he had initiated with the recording of “Circle in the Round” in December of 1967. Until August of 1969 he had remained close enough to the jazz aesthetic and to jazz audiences to allow for a comfortable return into the jazz fold. But Bitches Brew’s ferocity and power carried a momentum that was much harder to turn around. The hypnotic grooves, rooted in rock and African music, heralded a dramatic new musical universe that not only gained Miles a new audience, but also divided it into two groups—each side looking at this new music from totally different, and seemingly unbridgeable, perspectives. In the words of Quincy Troupe, these two groups were like “oil and water.”4

Bitches Brew signaled a watershed in jazz, and had a significant impact on rock. In combination with Miles’ fame and prestige, the album gave the budding jazz-rock genre visibility and credibility, and was instrumental in promoting it to the dominant direction in jazz.

Did this milestone in jazz and rock, along with the other hits listed below, make 1970 the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know what you think in the comments or across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


Bitches Brew – Miles Davis
All Things Must Pass – George Harrison
Abraxas – Santana
American Beauty – Grateful Dead
The Madcap Laughs – Syd Barrett
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
Signed, Sealed & Delivered – Stevie Wonder
Sunflower – The Beach Boys
Workingman’s Dead – Grateful Dead
Let It Be – The Beatles
Starsailor – Tim Buckley
ABC – The Jackson 5
Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens
Chicago – Chicago
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneyground, Part One – The Kinks
Curtis – Curtis Mayfield
American Woman – The Guess Who
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash – Johnny Cash
His Band and the Street Choir – Van Morrison
Burnt Weeny Sandwich – The Mothers of Invention
Morrison Hotel – The Doors
Zabriskie Point – Soundtrack
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Funkadelic – Funkadelic
Sweet Baby James – James Taylor
Loaded – The Velvet Underground
Psychedelic Shack – The Temptations
Déjà vu – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Black Gold – Nina Simone
Leon Russell – Leon Russell
Ladies of the Canyon – Joni Mitchell
McCartney – Paul McCartney
Mona Bone Jakon – Cat Stevens
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
12 Songs – Randy Newman
The Isaac Hayes Movement – Isaac Hayes
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek & the Dominos
Portrait – 5h Dimension
Sit Down Young Stranger – Gordon Lightfoot
Soul on Top – James Brown
In the Wake of Poseidon – King Crimson
Deep Purple in Rock – Deep Purple
Third – Soft Machine
…Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble – Uriah Heep
Diana Ross – Diana Ross
Fun House – The Stooges
Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Delfonics – The Delfonics
Full House – Fairport Convention
Humble Pie – Humble Pie
Future Blues – Canned Heat
Weasels Ripped My Flesh – Frank Zappa
Tap Root Manuscript – Neil Diamond
Chapter Two – Roberta Flack
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon
Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band – Yoko Ono
Band of Gold – Freda Payne
Stage Fright – The Band
Close to You – The Carpenters
Spirit in the Dark – Aretha Franklin
Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton
Third Albums – The Jackson 5
After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
Johnny Winter And – Johnny Winter
Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin
Tumbleweed Connection – Elton John
Indianola Mississippi Seeds – BB King
Bryter Layter – Nick Drake
The Man Who Sold the World – David Bowie
No Dice – Badfinger

Category: 70s


Article by: Julie Miller