As Santabárbara used to say, the 70s in Spain smelled like something was changing. It wasn’t something isolated happening only in music. On the contrary, we can say that the changes occurring in the world were intertwined with those specific to this country, where many Spanish bands from the 70s emerged in parallel with a new future among the population. It’s obvious, but still worth mentioning: the dictatorship was coming to an end. It’s the decade of “Libertad sin ira” (Freedom Without Wrath) by Jarcha, just to name one example. A song that quite well sums up the processes of change, openness, and progress that were beginning to emerge and affect everyone.
However, in this article, we will focus on music and, more specifically, on the Spanish music groups from the 70s that have had the most influence in the following years, regardless of their success at that time. This doesn’t mean they didn’t achieve success, but we need to consider the failures that have been reevaluated afterward. A good example of this is Cánovas, Rodrigo, Adolfo y Guzmán and their song Señora azul. At the time, they went relatively unnoticed, but in the 80s, they gained value thanks to that song, which was associated with Franco, although the artists themselves rejected that association. In fact, according to them, it’s a criticism of professional music criticism, not Franco’s censorship.
It’s often worth valuing honesty, especially when it puts you in a worse position than a lie. But, with that said, let’s get to it. Because while for many music enthusiasts, Spanish music starts to have quality in the 80s, it’s in the 70s when Spanish rock bands start to stand out above the average. We leave behind the popularity of the British invasion imported to our country, the end of many Spanish bands of the 60s that had great successes until 1970 (Los Brincos with Vive la realidad), as well as the evolution of those that endured (see Lone Star), which is what we’re going to focus on. First, by offering you a Spotify playlist with many of the best bands of the 70s in Spain, accompanied by another list featuring our favorite bands of the decade. In short, we’ll talk about those that developed the majority of their careers between 1970 and 1979.
Playlist of Spanish Bands from the 70s
Between flamenco and rumba, we highlight the Spanish group Veneno. An enormously influential band in subsequent musical careers, despite being active only from 1975 to 1978 and releasing only one album (self-titled) during that time. Because, even though they released the album El Pueblo Guapeao in 1989, the trio formed by Kiko Veneno, Rafael Amador, and Raimundo Amador is remembered above all for being part of that movement known as “rock andaluz” (Andalusian rock), a place where we can find some of the best songs from the 70s and the 20th century. Among their big hits, we highlight San José de Arimatea and Los delincuentes.
We continue with Módulos, one of the most unique Spanish bands from the 70s, despite composing a type of music much more common during this decade. Among their big hits, we can find No quiero pensar en ese amor, Sólo tú, Nada me importa, or Todo tiene su fin.
As we will see from the presence of other bands on our list, it’s clear that, in addition to protest songs and melodic songs whose flag was waved by names like Camilo Sesto, Serrat, Joan Baptista Humet, or Roberto Carlos, what had the most success was progressive rock (especially in the first half of the 70s) and rumba (especially during the second half of the decade).
In this case, we’re talking precisely about a progressive rock band formed in 1969, and whose original members were: Pepe Robles Rodríguez (vocals, guitar) and former member of Los Ángeles, Tomás Bohórquez Nieto (keyboards), Juan Antonio García Reyzábal (drums, 1969-1975), and Emilio Bueno Flores (bass, 1969-1976). This is another interesting detail of the 60s and 70s: seeing the names changing and the evolution of some artists throughout these years. For example, Juan Robles Cánovas (drums, 1975-1976) replaced García Reyzábal before forming Cánovas, Rodrigo, Adolfo y Guzmán. During their ten-year career (they disbanded in 1979), they released five highly recommended albums.
At the same time that the “kinki cinema” was beginning to shine (also “quinqui”, a term that came from the French word quincaille derives from the Old French cliquer (metallic noise, to shine), which is junk in English, since it was used to define the ‘quinquis’ people, an ethnic group known as ‘mercheros’, who traded with junk and had a nomadic way of life), flamenco rumba bands from the 70s were popular, especially in these circles. Among all the existing bands, Los Chichos are possibly the most legendary.
As we mentioned when talking about the predominant music genres, rumba was the thing from the mid-70s, precisely when singer-songwriter Juan Antonio Jiménez and brothers Julio and Emilio González formed this band, whose popularity continued to grow into the 80s, when they even achieved more success with hits like “Son ilusiones” or “Ni más ni menos.”
Since then, Los Chichos have sold more than 20 million records, making them one of the best-selling Spanish bands in history and a reference for this type of flamenco, alongside Los Chunguitos (who also appear in our playlist).
Before we talk about Barrabas, a side note. If you’re listening to our selection, you’ve probably noticed that we didn’t include famous duos like Baccara, Pecos, or Los Amaya. This is because we’ve focused on the more typical Spanish bands, formed by a minimum of 3 members. That said, let’s continue.
The group formed by Fernando Arbex (former member of Los Brincos), Tito Duarte (also a member of Caña Brava or Enrique Urquijo Y Los Problemas), Miguel Morales, Ricky Morales, Iñaki Ignacio Egaña, Joao Antonio Vidal, and José Luis Tejada took their name from the eponymous movie starring Anthony Quinn, Vittorio Gassman, and Silvana Mangano. This movie, which was about the criminal who was pardoned by Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus Christ, had a very important influence on Arbex, who used it to create a sound between progressive rock and funk that reached far beyond Spanish borders thanks to their English lyrics.
Among their best songs, undoubtedly stands the unforgettable “Woman,” although many will remember them for the track “On The Road Again,” released in 1981. Their career lasted from 1971 to 1983, with almost one album per year from the start.
We change direction, but we’re still talking about legendary Spanish bands from the 70s. Because for many, Mocedades is not a typical band. At least not thought of as a guitarist, a drummer, a bassist, and a singer, but they were that from the beginning.
Originally formed by the Uranga sisters Estíbaliz, Izaskun, and Amaya Uranga Amézaga under the name Las Hermanas Uranga or Voces Y Guitarras in the mid-60s, it didn’t take long for the other iconic members to join and for them to adopt their final name.
Although their first album was released in 1969, it was in 1973 when they reached the pinnacle in much of the world, thanks to their victory at Eurovision with the song “Eres tú,” a true anthem of our music. However, this success shouldn’t make us forget another interesting song, “Tómame o déjame.”
The finale of our selection of the best bands of the 70s in Spain is Triana, the Seville-based band we extensively talked about when we reviewed the best music groups of the 70s, so we invite you to read that entry while we leave you with some musical recommendations from their repertoire: “En el lago,” “Abre la puerta,” “Tu frialdad,” “Una noche de amor desesperada,” or “Sé de un lugar.”
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.