. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. In 1970, there were 23 songs that reached the top spot on the chart, but by the mid-1970s, more than 40 titles rotated in and out of the top spot for the first time in history.
The trend temporarily reversed itself by the late 1970s, when about 30 to 35 songs reached the pinnacle position of the chart annually. The countrypolitan sound — a polished, streamlined sound featuring string sections, background vocals and crooning lead vocalists — was popularized by artists including Lynn Anderson, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, Dottie West, Tammy Wynette and others, achieving their successes through such songs as " (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden", " Snowbird" and others. The Bakersfield sound, first popularized in the early 1960s, continued its peak in popularity through artists such as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
Willie Nelson became one of the most popular country music artists during the 1970s. The early seventies also marked the deaths of rock legends Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix as well as the plane crash in 1977 in which three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed. But other styles began to emerge during the 1970s.
One of the more successful styles was " outlaw country", a type of music blending the traditional and honky tonk sounds of country music with rock and blues music, and mixed with the anger of an alienated subculture of the nation during the period. The leaders of the movement were Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, although others associated with the movement were David Allan Coe, Jessi Colter, Tompall Glaser, Gary Stewart and Billy Joe Shaver. The efforts of Jennings, Nelson Colter and Glaser were encapsulated in the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws.
In the second half of the decade, a 1950s nostalgia movement prompted the Rockabilly Revival fad. The Stray Cats led the revival into the early 1980s. Billy Joel provided " Piano Man" and " Only The Good Die Young".
Also symbolizing this trend was the hit movie Grease in 1978, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. A number of styles defined country music during the 1970s decade. At the beginning of the decade, the countrypolitan — an offshoot of the earlier "Nashville Sound" of the late 1950s and early 1960s — and the honky-tonk fused Bakersfield Sound were some of the more popular styles.
Tying in with the nostalgia craze, several stars of the late 1950s and early 1960s successfully revived their careers during the early- to mid-1970s after several years of inactivity. The most successful of these were Ricky Nelson (" Garden Party", 1972), Neil Sedaka (" Laughter in the Rain" and " Bad Blood", both 1975), and Frankie Valli as both a solo artist (1975's " My Eyes Adored You") and with The Four Seasons (1976's " December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)"). In addition, Perry Como—one of the most successful pre-rock era artists—enjoyed continued success, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale (as most of his fans were adults who grew up during the 1940s and early 1950s, and not the rock record-buying youth); his most successful hits of the decade were " It's Impossible" (1970) and the Don McLean song "And I Love Her So" (1973).
The country pop sound was a successor to the countrypolitan sound of the early 1970s. In addition to artists such as Murray and Campbell, several artists who were not initially marketed as country were enjoying crossover success with country audiences through radio airplay and sales. The most successful of these artists included The Bellamy Brothers, Charlie Rich, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Marie Osmond, B. Newton-John, an Australian pop singer, was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, sparking a debate that continues to this day — what is country music? A group of traditional-minded artists, troubled by this trend, formed the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers, in an attempt to bring back traditional honky-tonk sounds to the forefront.
The debate continued into 1975, a year where six songs reached No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts. Things came to a head when, at that year's CMA Awards, Rich — the reigning Entertainer of the Year, and himself a crossover artist — presented the award to his successor, "my good friend, Mr. " His statement, taken as sarcasm, and his setting fire to the envelope (containing Denver's name) with a cigarette lighter were taken as a protest against the increasing pop style in country music. Other developments [ edit ] Two of popular music's most successful artists died within six weeks of each other in 1977: Elvis Presley (on August 16) and Bing Crosby (on October 14).
Presley—whose top 1970s hit was " Burning Love" in 1972— ranked among the top artists of the rock era, while Crosby was among the most successful pre-rock era artists. By the later half of the 1970s, Dolly Parton, a highly successful traditional-minded country artist since the late 1960s, mounted a high-profile campaign to crossover to pop music, culminating in her 1977 hit " Here You Come Again," which peaked at No. Rogers, the former lead singer of The First Edition, followed up a successful career in pop, rock and folk music by switching to country music. Like Parton, he enjoyed a long series of successful songs that charted on both the Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts; the first of the lot was " Lucille," a No. Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt and Linda Ronstadt were some of the other artists who also found success on both the country and pop charts with their records as well.