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

Updated April 18, 2019 1.5k votes 69 voters 2.8k views107 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    19
    5

    George Harrison

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsAll Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World, Thirty Three & 1/3, George Harrison

    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 Beatles....  more
  • 2
    17
    5

    Jimmy Buffett

    Tropical rock, Western music

    AlbumsChristmas Island, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Son of a Son of a Sailor, Live at Texas Stadium

    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 escapism"...  more
  • 3
    16
    5

    Paul Simon

    Rock music, Folk music

    AlbumsGraceland, Still Crazy After All These Years, So Beautiful or So What, Paul Simon, The Rhythm of the Saints

    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 the...  more
  • 4
    14
    5

    Leon Redbone

    Ragtime, Easy listening

    AlbumsChristmas Island, Double Time, On the Track, From Branch to Branch, Champagne Charlie

    Leon Redbone (born Dickran Gobalian, August 26, 1949 – May 30, 2019) was a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor specializing in jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley classics. Recognized by his Panama...  more
  • 5
    14
    4

    The Rolling Stones

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsLet It Bleed, Exile on Main St., Sticky Fingers, Beggar's Banquet, Some Girls

    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
  • 6
    14
    5

    Willie Nelson

    Outlaw country, Americana

    AlbumsHeroes, Pretty Paper, Countryman, Last of the Breed, The Red Headed Stranger

    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), combined...  more
  • 7
    15
    6

    Ray Charles

    Soul blues, Pop music

    AlbumsThe Birth of Soul, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Spirit of Christmas, Ray Charles at Newport, Genius Loves Company

    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 musicians...  more
  • 8
    19
    11

    The Blues Brothers

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsThe Blues Brothers, Briefcase Full of Blues, The Blues Brothers Complete, The Definitive Blues Brothers Collection, The Essential Blues Brothers

    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 in...  more
  • 9
    12
    3

    Gordon Lightfoot

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsEndless Wire, If You Could Read My Mind, Summer Side of Life, Don Quixote, Did She Mention My Name?

    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 define...  more
  • 10
    14
    7

    Loudon Wainwright III

    Rock music, Folk music

    AlbumsAttempted Mustache, Little Ship, Social Studies, A Live One, One Man Guy: The Best of Loudon Wainwright III 1982-1986

    Loudon Snowden Wainwright III (born September 5, 1946) is an American songwriter, folk singer, humorist, and actor. He is the brother of Sloan Wainwright, father of musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha...  more
  • 11
    13
    5

    Linda Ronstadt

    New Wave, Rock music

    AlbumsA Merry Little Christmas, Heart Like a Wheel, What's New, 'Round Midnight, Blue Bayou

    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 10...  more
  • 12
    14
    7

    Randy Newman

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsToy Story 2, The Natural, Land of Dreams, 12 Songs, Harps and Angels

    Randall Stuart Newman (born November 28, 1943) is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, composer and pianist who is known for his distinctive voice, mordant (and often satirical) pop songs and...  more
  • 13
    14
    7

    The Kinks

    Music hall, Pop music

    AlbumsThe Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire), The Kink Kronikles, Something Else by The Kinks, Face to Face

    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 band...  more
  • 14
    11
    3

    Joe Cocker

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsJoe Cocker, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Night Calls, Sheffield Steel, Best Ballads

    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
  • 15
    11
    5

    The Band

    Americana, Blues-rock

    AlbumsThe Band, Music From Big Pink, The Last Waltz, Planet Waves, The Basement Tapes

    The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group including Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals, fiddle), Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone), Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals), Robbie...  more
  • 16
    11
    5

    Chicago

    Ballad, Ska

    AlbumsChicago Transit Authority, Chicago II, Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa?, Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits

    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 roll...  more
  • 17
    11
    5

    Carly Simon

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    AlbumsChristmas Is Almost Here, Christmas Is Almost Here Again, Spoiled Girl, Coming Around Again, Hotcakes

    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. hits...  more
  • 18
    12
    6

    Boz Scaggs

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsMiddle Man, My Time, Silk Degrees, Other Roads, Down Two Then Left

    William Royce "Boz" Scaggs (born June 8, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He is known for his albums of the late 1970s as well as the songs "Lido Shuffle" and the Grammy...  more
  • 19
    12
    6

    Toni Basil

    New Wave, Pop music

    AlbumsWord of Mouth, Toni Basil, The Very Best of Toni Basil, Do You Wanna Dance, Street Beat

    Antonia Christina Basilotta (born September 22, 1943), better known by her stage name Toni Basil, is an American singer, actress, choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker, best known for her...  more
  • 20
    10
    4

    The Doobie Brothers

    Swamp pop, Heartland rock

    AlbumsToulouse Street, The Captain and Me, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, The Doobie Brothers, Live at Wolf Trap

    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 greatest...  more
  • 21
    11
    4

    ABBA

    Synthpop, Disco

    AlbumsFernando, Arrival, Thank You for the Music, Voulez-Vous, Gold: Greatest Hits

    ABBA (Swedish pronunciation: [²abːa]) are a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The group's name is an acronym...  more
  • 22
    11
    5

    Bill Withers

    Smooth soul, Pop music

    AlbumsMenagerie, Still Bill, Just As I Am, 'Bout Love, Bill Withers: The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums

    William Harrison Withers Jr. (July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020) was an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. He recorded several major hits, including...  more
  • 23
    11
    5

    George Benson

    Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    AlbumsGive Me the Night, Breezin', Livin' Inside Your Love, Weekend in L.A., Compact Jazz: George Benson

    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
  • 24
    11
    5

    Santana

    Blues-rock, Chicano rock

    AlbumsAbraxas, Supernatural, Legacy Edition, The Best of Santana, Caravanserai

    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 attention...  more
  • 25
    14
    10

    David Bowie

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop

    AlbumsThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane, "Heroes"

    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 and is...  more