Surveying each year in rock history, you could make a solid case for 1972 being the peak. Folk-rock, the singer-songwriter movement, prog, Southern rock, funk-rock and glam were all in full bloom. The possibilities seemed endless.
So many revered albums were released this year, it’s hard to recap them all in such a tight space. But you can’t talk about 1972 without mentioning David Bowie‘s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Yes‘ Close to the Edge, Deep Purple‘s Machine Head, Lou Reed‘s Transformer, Jethro Tull‘s Thick as a Brick, the Allman Brothers Band‘s Eat a Peach, Black Sabbath‘s Vol. 4, Elton John‘s Honky Chateau, Steely Dan‘s Can’t Buy a Thrill, Neil Young‘s Harvest and the Rolling Stones‘ Exile on Main St.
Lots of other memorable rock events happened in 1972: the respective live debuts of both Electric Light Orchestra and Paul McCartney‘s post-Beatles band, Wings; Keith Richards jamming onstage with Chuck Berry; Carole King dominating the Grammy Awards; John Lennon and Yoko Ono headlining the One to One benefit concert.
With such a crucial cultural year, it’s hard not to be nostalgic. For music fans, listening is always the best way to reminisce — but it’s also fun to look back in visual form. UCR has you covered on that front: In the below gallery, we’ve rounded up photos of rock’s biggest stars — including the artists mentioned above — from 50 years ago.
1972 in Photos: See Rock’s Biggest Stars 50 Years Ago
Looking back at legends like David Bowie, Yes, Deep Purple and Elton John in one of rock’s finest years.