Prepare for the arguments as the 1970s is when rock really came alive. Moving away from pop-based songs and production the game opened up and changed dramatically. Like NHL expansion in 1967 and again in 1970 to the merging with the WHA at the end of the decade the 70s was a time of change for the league and music.
The process and philosophy of the project:
As the dog days of summer hit us and we see more media posts of NHL players, execs and media golfing, boating, traveling or doing whatever it is they choose to do, it’s time to do something fun. Recently while on vacation I connected with an old friend who I see infrequently. We were talking about the good ‘ol days from university collecting records, playing hockey, watching hockey and we got around to discussing hockey today. Somehow within this beer filled conversation we came up with an idea of making first and second all-star team based on musicians if they were hockey players.
The concept goes like this take the best of the 60s, 70s 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s rock musicians and make two all-star teams based on positions.
Teams consist of the following positions
1-Lead Guitarist= C/LW/RW/
2-Rhythm guitarist= LW/RW
There is some creative license here as vocalists could be a lead guitarist or drummer (The Band) or rhythm guitarist. You’ll see as this gets rolling. Of course there are bands and artists who span multiple decades and that’s part of the fun and debate- were they better in one decade or another? For example would you take 80s Lemieux of 90s cup-winning Lemieux? So below are the 60s 1st and 2nd All-Star Teams- let the debates begin!
1st team All-Stars
C- Jimmy Page
The 70s had all kinds of guitar heroes, epic bad boys with mad chops, bad attitudes and worse reputations. They were the Broad Street Bullies and so much more but no guitar player single-handedly did more than Jimmy Page. From writing, recording, producing, and controlling almost all aspects of Led Zeppelin’s creative journey to being an absolute powerhouse on stage he came to play every night, day and more. Is there any guitar player who has written as many riffs with such heavy ferociousness?
Deep Purple were a monstrous band through the 70s and influencing the origins of heavy metal if not defining it before it really took off. However Blackmore was more than a rock guitarist he was a virtuoso in multiple styles. He changed his game as it was needed or he felt needed it. Creative beyond measure and deadly with strings he was a player who many should look at and discover if they are not familiar with him.
Oh vocals are important and with the level of talent in the 1970s it’s almost impossible to choose as there are some true legends, Daltry, Jagger, Bowie, Plant, and that’s just who is considered from ‘classic rock now’ However no one took the stage and owned it like Mercury, not even Jagger. His campy style transcended the glam of Bowie, his power was there with Plant and Daltry and he could use a stage as well as Jagger. He may not have been the first great lead vocalist of the era but he took everything from the best and created his own game that no one has duplicated.
RD- Roger Waters
What people don’t understand about Waters is that he may have been a prick, but he was a prick that new what he was doing and could back it up. The principle song writer for Pink Floyd and creative genius behind much of the music and shows, Rogers made Pink Floyd as deadly live as they were in the studio. What band can boast anything close to Dark Side of the Moon? Then do it again with 3 other albums. Concept albums were the rage in the 70s and no one did it better than Floyd and Waters was a the helm. Those hypnotic bass lines were the underpinning of one of the greatest bands of all time. When the band split it was Rogers who reminded everyone “it was my flying pig, and it was their dry ice”.
LD- Chris Squire
While the famous ones will get the accolades behind so much of perhaps the greatest prog-rock band’s(Yes) style and sound was Squire. He changed the game because he saw what sound and style could develop into. Hits were insignificant to him and the band but concept and execution were not and Yes live was a site to behold and Chris Squire was a true architect of the bad’s sound and the only member to stay with the band his entire career.
This one should be easy but consider who came of age in the 70s and you realize that Bonham was one of a kind. He was his own worst enemy but basically made a ‘drums’ segment a staple of all Zeppelin concerts with his whale of a song Moby Dick and took that deep on his own for tour after tour through the 70s. His impact on that band cannot be measured because even when clean, sober and still young they called it quotes because there was no Bonzo.
LW- Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen sorta changed the game a bit- he added the effects of pro rockers, the ferociousness of hard rock/heavy metal and had the dextrous nuance of some of the jazz greats to create the preeminent behemoth Van Halen. He took on all styles and then made his own out of them.
C- Frank Zappa
Not everyone’s cup of tea but Zappa might be the most talented musician to every play in the rock ’n roll age. Versatile to a point of absurdity he could sing, write, and play everything. A stickler for details, Zappa drove his hired guns nuts but he was always right and backed it up. Imagine talking strategy with him.
RW- Tony Iommi
At some point you have to accept that while you or I may not listen to the heavier stuff it exists and it had it’s virtuosos and Iommi was one. The driving force of Black Sabbath his guitar riffs are embedded in rock history. People often forget he did a stint with Jethro Tull too. The guy had mad talent.
RD- Bootsy Collins
I’m always going to give props to the forefathers of certain music and Bootsy was certainly that with the bass. He was a prodigy of two soul and funk founders James Brown and George Clinton and his style of playing led him to be a hired gun and move all over the funk/soul universe as a player, part of a collective or his own band. He was the versatile utility knife of bass players
LD- John Paul Jones
He was more than a bass player for Zeppelin he was also a sound architect with keyboards and more but he was also the rock in the band. Hardly a mention of nefarious activity in all the Zep historical accounts ‘Jonesy’ was the stabilizing factor in the biggest baddest band of the 70s. Imagine having to work with the three maniacs he did?
Goalie- Bill Bruford
Again we dive back into Yes and prog rock but Bruford like some of his peers was different. He played a distinctive backbeat and when he wasn’t playing with Yes he played with King Crimson. Yeah go ahead and top that group of players for a career. Steady and innovative with his sound he was the guy who might have started showing hints of the butterfly if he were a goalie.