May 4, 2018

10 Original Musicians From The ’70s That Still Got It

Article submitted to the Polaroid Originals Magazine by Yessica Klein. 

Guess what? Your prized Polaroid SX-70 is not the only original thing that has still got it. That ever-growing vinyl collection? Of course. Your overplayed cassette tapes? Definitely. That dusty walkman? Maybe not so much. But chances are you wouldn’t be treasuring any of them without the help of at least one of the golden musicians we’re listing out here. From Elton to Cher many of them have cut through mainstream culture and remained relevant for over 4 decades. These amazing people just keep on creating originals – and for that, we salute them.

Aretha Franklin

What you want, baby, she’s got it. One of the most incredible voices in music history has been around since 1960, and she shows no sign of stopping: with 18 Grammy Awards under her belt and several White House performances, she still tours frequently and has just released a new album: A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin (With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).


She became popular as the one-half of the duo Sonny & Cher, who released their first album in 1965. Cher’s talents are not only restricted to music; she is also an author, actress and philanthropist. Her award cabinet includes a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar, three Golden Globes, and many more. Is that enough for you? After (another) Vegas residency in 2017, she is back in 2018 with the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.


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David Byrne

His distinctive voice became famous in 1975 with the new-wave band Talking Heads, and the end of the band in the 90s didn’t put his creativity on hold. With a Grammy, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, Byrne’s creative endeavors include many collaborations, including the soundtrack for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987) and the album Love This Giant (2013) with Annie Clark’s St. Vincent. A prolific writer as well, he has published 9 books, How Music Works being the most recent (2012). 2018 brought his first solo album in 14 years, American Utopia.

Sir Elton John

Not only does the musician have an extensive collection of awards, but also one of the most amazing private collections of modern photography – so much so that it deserved its own exhibition at Tate Modern in 2016/17. An active philanthropist as well, he founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, which hosts its own Academy Award Party since 1993 – and has raised over $200 million. From September 2018, the septuagenarian is embarking on a three-year farewell tour, so catch him live when you can!


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Grace Jones

The perfect mix between artist and muse, Jones has inspired the fashion and music world with her bold, androgynous looks and insane talent. Her creative collaborations with photographer and graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude are amongst the most influential images in pop culture, inspired (or maybe copied?) to this day, and her CV include collaborators of the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and many more. Her memoir, named I’ll Never Write A Memoir, came out in 2015; and more recently she
collaborated with Gorillaz on their fifth studio album, Humanz.

Iggy Pop

How many musicians can claim to have a video game character named after them? Iggy Pop can – the Super Mario Bros.’s Iggy Koopa is no mere coincidence. His merits obviously go further than that: the godfather of punk has released over 20 albums, both solo and with The Stooges. A long time friend of the director Jim Jarmusch – who directed Gimme Danger, a 2016 documentary about The Stooges, – he was also in his friend’s Coffee & Cigarettes (2003) and will be on Dario Argento’s latest feature: The Sandman, set to be released later in 2018. His peculiar Michigan drawl can be heard weekly on his BBC 6 Music show, ‘Iggy Confidential’, every Friday at 7pm (GMT).

Patti Smith

The relevance of the godmother of punk goes beyond her early performances at CBGB in the 70s. The artist has published over 20 books of poetry, photography and memoir, all of them praised – especially her 2010 Just Kids, who won several awards. She tours regularly and can be seen in the big screen too, more recently in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song (2017).

Sir Paul McCartney

What can be said of one of the most prolific musicians of our time? McCartney’s contribution to pop music started in Liverpool with that band and followed for more than 30 albums, including soundtracks and collaborations with other pop artists such as Michael Jackson, Kanye West and Rihanna. A passionate activist for vegetarianism and animal rights, the artist frequently supports PETA and other animal welfare related institutions. If that doesn’t impress you: he has his own conspiracy theory and is believed to be one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.

Stevie Nicks

She was the front woman responsible for one of the most famous bands in the 70s: Fleetwood Mac. Their eleventh album Rumours (1977) sold over 40 million copies around the word and is also – erm – rumoured to be owned by 7 out of 10 households in America after its release. Her solo career provided us with delicious anthems such as Edge Of Seventeen, and a surprising acting cameo on season 3 of American Horror Story: Coven (2014). She still performs live and her songwriting and personal style have influenced countless female singers and songwriters throughout the years, including Lorde and Lana Del Rey, with whom she sings with in the track Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems, featured in Del Rey’s 5th studio album, Lust For Life (2017).

Tom Waits

The coolness and nonchalant charm of Waits are intrinsic to his prolific – and often under the radar – career. The singer-songwriter has been around since the 70s, and his jazz influences and conversational tunes remain unique in the music world. His collaborates often with director Jim Jarmusch, signing the soundtrack for Night On Earth (1992) and even acting in Jarmusch’s Coffee & Cigarettes (2003). However, his acting career goes even further – Waits has been featured in over 30 movies and series, the most recent being David Lowery’s Old Man and the Gun, set to be released later in 2018.

Hungry for more 70s hits? Check out our funkadelic playlist on Spotify.