Music

The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s  

Best of SNL
510 votes 26 voters 107 items

List Rules Vote up the bands and musicians who did the best job as musical guests on SNL from 1975 through 1979.

Even though Saturday Night Live didn't start until halfway through the decade, there were still plenty of '70s SNL musical guests. And, athough Saturday Night Live might not have started out a hit, as the 1970s slipped past, SNL cemented itself into the TV viewing habits of the masses. If you can't remember everybody played on the show, then refresh your memory with this list of the bands who played on SNL from 1975 through 1979, ranked from best SNL '70s musical guests to worst SNL '70s musical guests.

Ranging from Devo to The Rolling Stones, Saturday Night Live musical guests also included The Blues Brothers, a band born from a sketch on SNL itself. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel even reunited for the first time publicly on SNL during the second episode of the show.

Just like the seasons and episodes themselves, the Saturday Night Live musical guests of the 1970s range from great to grueling. Vote up the bands and musicians who did the best job as musical guests on SNL in the '70s.

list ordered by
1
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Alwin "Al" Lopez Jarreau is an American jazz singer.
2
Bill Withers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Smooth soul, Pop music, Rhythm and blues
William Harrison "Bill" Withers, Jr. is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. He recorded a number of major hits including ...more
3
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country-folk-rock band that has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California in 1966. The group's membership has had at least a ...more
4
Santana is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music
Santana is a Latin rock band, founded in San Francisco during the late 1960s by Carlos Santana as a vehicle for his compositions and guitar style. The band first came to widespread public ...more
5
The Blues Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music
The Blues Brothers, formally, variously The Blues Brothers' Show Band and Revue and The Blues Brothers' Rhythm and Blues Revue, are an American blues and rhythm and blues revivalist band founded ...more
6
The Kinks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Music hall, Pop music, Rock music
The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, by brothers Dave Davies and Ray Davies with Pete Quaife in 1963. The band, which rose to fame during the mid-1960s and ...more
7
Ashford & Simpson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues
Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were a husband-and-wife songwriting-production team and recording artists. Ashford was born in Fairfield, South Carolina, and Simpson in the Bronx, New York. ...more
8
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene", ...more
9
Esther Phillips is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Popular music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Esther Phillips was an American singer. Phillips was known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul music.
10
Levon Helm is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Americana, Rock music, Folk music
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm was an American rock and Americana musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and regular lead vocalist for the Band. Helm was known for his deeply ...more
11
Peter Tosh is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady
Peter Tosh, OM was a Jamaican reggae musician. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer he was one of the core members of the band The Wailers, after which he established himself as a successful ...more
12
Taj Mahal is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, Soul blues, Electric blues
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an American Grammy Award-winning blues musician. He often incorporates elements of world music into his works. A self-taught ...more
13
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music
David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more
14
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. ...more
15
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. In 1976, the band's original lineup was Tom Petty as the primary vocalist and guitar player, Mike Campbell as ...more
16
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, actor and singer-songwriter. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with ...more
17
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music
Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and composer, who is sometimes referred to as "The Genius". He pioneered the ...more
18
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk
Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. Other musicians ...more
19
George Benson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
George Benson is a ten-time Grammy Award-winning American musician, guitarist and singer-songwriter. He began his professional career at twenty-one, as a jazz guitarist. Benson uses a ...more
20
Leo Sayer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Disco, Pop music, Pop rock
Leo Sayer is a British-born singer-songwriter musician, and entertainer whose singing career has spanned four decades. Sayer launched his career in the UK in the early 1970s and became a top ...more
21
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music
Linda Maria Ronstadt is an American popular music singer. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and ...more
22
Neil Sedaka is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rock music
Neil Sedaka is an American pop/rock singer, pianist, and composer. Since his music career began in 1957, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs ...more
23
The Doobie Brothers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Swamp pop, Heartland rock, Rock music
The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide throughout their career. The band has been active in five decades, with their biggest ...more
24
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth ...more
25
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music
Carly Elisabeth Simon is an American singer-songwriter, musician and children's author. She first rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records; her 13 Top 40 U.S. hits include ...more