Music

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

Best of SNL
657 votes 38 voters 1k views 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
The Blues Brothers is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the ...more
3
The Kinks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Music hall, Pop music, Rock music
The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The ...more
4
Willie Nelson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Outlaw country, Americana, Traditional pop music
Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, producer, author, poet, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), ...more
5
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Ballad, Ska, Rock music
Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969. The self-described “rock and ...more
6
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's musical career has spanned seven decades with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of ...more
7
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music
Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), professionally known as simply Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow ...more
8
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music
Linda Maria Ronstadt (born July 15, 1946) is a retired American popular music singer known for singing in a wide range of genres including rock, country, light opera, and Latin. She has earned ...more
9
The Doobie Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 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 from San Jose, California. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. They have been active for nearly five decades, with their ...more
10
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music
Carly Elisabeth Simon (born June 25, 1945) 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. ...more
11
George Benson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
George Benson (born March 22, 1943) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He began his professional career at the age of 21 as a jazz guitarist. Benson uses a rest-stroke picking ...more
12
The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. ...more
13
Tom Petty and the Heartb... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Formed in 1976, the band originally comprised Tom Petty ...more
14
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" ...more
15
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music
Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music. He is credited with helping to ...more
16
Jimmy Buffett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Tropical rock, Western music, Pop music
James William Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island ...more
17
Neil Sedaka is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Pop music, Rock music
Neil Sedaka (born March 13, 1939) is an American pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957 as a short-lived founding member of the Tokens, he has ...more
18
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music
William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his first hit and signature song of the same ...more
19
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more
20
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 20 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 (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), ...more
21
Joe Cocker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music
John Robert Cocker (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014), better known as Joe Cocker, was an English singer. He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive ...more
22
Leo Sayer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Disco, Pop music, Pop rock
Leo Sayer (born Gerard Hugh Sayer, 21 May 1948) is an English-Australian singer-songwriter musician and entertainer whose singing career has spanned four decades. He is now an Australian citizen ...more
23
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country rock band. The group has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California, in 1966. The band’s membership has had at least ...more
24
Santana is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
Devo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musicians Who Performed on SNL in the '70s
Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop
Devo (, originally ) is an American rock band from Akron, Ohio formed in 1973. Their classic lineup consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald ...more