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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Live Albums of the 1970s

From ‘Live At Leeds’ and ‘The Song Remains the Same’ to ‘Frampton Comes Alive’

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It's hard to know what would have happened to the careers of Kiss, Peter Frampton, Bob Seger and Cheap Trick had they not released killer live albums back in the 1970s. None of those acts had quite managed to capture the magic of their stage shows in the recording studio, and they were all facing oblivion until a single live album transformed their lives forever. The Seventies was the era of the live album, a time when it was practically mandatory for rock bands to release at least one great concert recording. It was also a time when bootlegs were flooding the market and artists felt the need to compete. We asked our readers to vote on their favorite live albums of the 1970s. Click through to see the results. 

Courtesy Warner Brothers

3. Deep Purple – ‘Made in Japan’

There aren't a lot of casual Deep Purple fans. People are either vaguely aware there's a band called Deep Purple that wrote "Smoke on the Water," or they have a statue of Ritchie Blackmore in their backyard and they light candles at the base of it every day praying he'll come to his senses and return to rock & roll. Many people in the latter category live in Russia, Japan, England or Germany, explaining why they rarely tour America and have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To the faithful, their 1973 live album Made in Japan remains one of the finest collections of songs ever put down on tape. Like many live albums of the 1970s, it was partially taped at Tokyo's Budokan. Classics like "Highway Star" and "Child in Time" rock much harder than their studio counterparts. It really is the ultimate document of the classic lineup at their peak. 

Courtesy Mercury Records

2. The Allman Brothers Band – ‘At Fillmore East’

Just seven months before Duane Allman tragically died in a motorcycle accident, the Allman Brothers Band played a triumphant three-night stand at New York's Fillmore East. Thankfully, tapes were rolling and they captured a blazing hot set, culminating with a twenty-three minute rendition of "Whipping Post." The group has released the shows on many releases over the years, most notably the 1971 LP At Fillmore East. It remains the definite portrait of the Allman Brothers in their first (and best) incarnation. 

Courtesy Capitol Records

1. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – ‘Live Bullet’

Bob Seger had incredible early success in his career with "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," a garage-rock classic that reached Number Seven on the Hot 100 in 1968. Things took a sharp downwards turn after that, even as he continued to release new music and tour the country at a punishing pace. Many years he barely eked out enough money to keep himself on the road, though the endless one nighters turned him into an incredible live act. Much like Kiss that same year, he played Detroit's Cobo Hall in 1975 and taped the shows for a concert album. Live Bullet hit in April of 1976  and became an instant hit, finally turning him from a regional act into a national rock star. He's never looked back. 

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