534 artists, 4583 songs
Marvin Gaye's What's Going On ushered in the 1970s with its topical lyrics that pondered social issues like poverty, civil rights and the Vietnam War. This monumental effort caused many black artists to shift their focus from making singles to recording albums. Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes captured the gritty reality of urban ghetto life in "blaxploitation" soundtracks like Superfly and Shaft, while Sly Stone, War and the O'Jays produced dark, melancholy works. This was an era of uninhibited exploration, as artists like Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Barry White made bold expressions of sexuality on songs like "Let's Get It On" and "Let's Stay Together," and innovative artists like Stevie Wonder enjoyed unlimited budgets and creative freedom in the recording studio.