1971 Rock Music Timeline
1971 in Rock & Roll History:

Promoter Bill Graham closes his Fillmore East and West concert venues. Doors frontman Jim Morrison dies of a drug overdose. Ex-Beatle George Harrison organizes the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City. In the UK the first Glastonbury Festival is held. Grand Funk becomes the second band (after the Beatles) to sell out Shea Stadium. The Monkees break up after Davy Jones leaves the group. UK folk duo T.Rex go electric and score a #1 album in the UK and launch Glam Rock. UK band Yes brings Progressive Rock into the top ten in both the US and UK.

Top 40 Singles of 1971

  1   George Harrison - My Sweet Lord
  2   John Lennon - Imagine
  3   Rod Stewart - Maggie May
  4   Lynn Anderson - I Beg Your Pardon
       (I Never Promised You a Rose                    Garden)
  5   The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar
  6   Tom Jones - She's a Lady
  7   Isaac Hayes - Theme From 'Shaft'
  8   Three Dog Night - Joy to the World
  9   Tony Orlando & Dawn
        Knock Three Times
10   Carole King - It's Too Late
11    Janis Joplin - Me & Bobby McGee
12   Sly & The Family Stone
        Family Affair
13   Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
14   Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knockin'
15   Paul McCartney - Another Day
16   T Rex - Get it On
17   Creedence Clearwater Revival
       Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
18   James Taylor - You've Got a Friend
19   Pop Tops - Mammy Blue
20   Elton John - Your Song
21   Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy
22   Middle of The Road
       Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep
23   The Sweet - Co-Co
24   The Doors - Riders On the Storm
25   Middle of The Road - Soley, Soley
26   Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?
27   Bee Gees
       How Do You Mend a Broken Heart
28   Neil Diamond - I Am... I Said
29   Danyel Gerard - Butterfly
30   Ocean - Put Your Hand in the Hand
31   Cher - Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves
32   Creedence Clearwater Revival
       Sweet Hitch-Hiker
33   George Harrison - What is Life?
34   Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
35   T Rex - Hot Love
36   Aretha Franklin - Spanish Harlem
37   The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
38   The Carpenters - Superstar
39   The Osmonds - One Bad Apple
40   Tony Christie
       (Is This the Way To) Amarillo

Top 50 Albums of 1971

  1   Led Zeppelin - Four Symbols
       (Led Zeppelin 4)
  2   The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
  3   John Lennon - Imagine
  4   Carole King - Tapestry
  5   The Who - Who's Next
  6   Janis Joplin - Pearl
  7   Andrew Lloyd Webber
       Jesus Christ Superstar
  8   Rod Stewart
       Every Picture Tells A Story
  9   Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat
10   John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band
11   Creedence Clearwater Revival
12   Paul McCartney - Ram
13   Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?
14   Joni Mitchell - Blue
15   Jethro Tull - Aqualung
16   Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman
17   Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
       Four-Way Street
18   The Doors - LA Woman
19   Deep Purple - Fireball
20   Sly & The Family Stone
        There's A Riot Goin' On
21   Pink Floyd - Meddle
22   David Bowie - Hunky Dory
23   Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
24   Moody Blues
       Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
25   Isaac Hayes - Shaft
26   Elton John - Elton John
27   Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus
28   Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality
29   James Taylor
       Mud Slide Slim & The Blue Horizon
30   The Allman Brothers Band
        Live at Fillmore East
31   Santana - Santana III
32   Emerson, Lake & Palmer
33   Elton John
       Madman Across The Water
34   David Crosby
       If I Only Could Remember My Name
35   T Rex - Electric Warrior
36   Leonard Cohen
       Songs Of Love & Hate
37   Joe Cocker - Cocker Happy
38   Chicago - Chicago III
39   Jimi Hendrix - The Cry Of Love
40   The Carpenters - The Carpenters
41   Soundtrack - Love Story
42   Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills 2
43   Ten Years After - Watt
44   Lynn Anderson - Rose Garden
45   Graham Nash - Songs For Beginners
46   Andy Williams - Love Story
47   Soundtrack - Woodstock Two
48   Yes - The Yes Album
49   Elvis Presley - I'm 10,000 Years Old
50   Traffic
       The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.
Black Sabbath, Paranoid
Tony Orlando and Dawn
Janis Joplin, Pearl
The Osmonds, One Bad Apple
Jethro Tull, Aqualung
Bill Withers, Ain't No Sunshine
The Doors, L.A. Woman
Rolling Stones, Stick Fingers 1971
The Temptations, Just My Imagination
Three Dog Night, Joy To The World
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On
Rod Stewart, Maggie May
The Who, Who's Next, Won't Get Fooled Again
Jim Morrison dies in Paris 1971
Paul McCartney, Ram 1971
Concert for Bangladesh, George Harrison, Bob Dylan
Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour
The Bee Gees, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
T.Rex, Get It On Bang a Gong
John Lennon release rock music classic Imagine
Elton John, Madman Across the Water album
Alice Cooper, Killer
Carly Simon, Anticipation
Isaac Hayes, Theme From Shaft
David Bowie, album Hunky Dory
Carole King, Tapestry
Sly and the Family Stone, Family Affair
Progressive rock, Yes, album Fragile
Jan '71
Black  Sabbath release their second album Paranoid. The album goes to #1 in the UK and top ten in the US. The single "Paranoid" goes to #4 in the UK.
Jan '71
"Knock Three Times" the second single from New York City native Tony Orlando and his band Dawn goes to #1 in both the US and UK. (more)
Feb '71
Four months after her death Janis Joplin's album Pearl is released and goes to #1 US. The single "Me and Bobby McGee" also tops the US charts. (more)
Feb '71
The Osmonds a group of singing brothers record at Muscle Shoals, AL Fame Studios and hit #1 US with the single "One Bad Apple". (more)
Feb '71
West Virginia singer songwriter Bill Withers goes to #3 US, #40 UK with the single "Ain't No Sunshine" on his debut album produced by Booker T. Jones. (more)
Mar '71
Mar '71
Carole King, formerly of the songwriting team Goffin/King, releases her second solo album and hits #1 US, #4 UK led by the single "It's Too Late" #1 US, #6 UK. (more)
UK progressive rockers Jethro Tull hit #7 US, #4 UK with their fourth album Aqualung. (more)
Apr '71
Motown vocal group The Temptations top the US charts with "Just My Imagination" (#8 UK) their third US #1 and 13th US Top Ten single. (more) 
Apr '71
California band Three Dog Night have their second US #1 single with  "Joy To The World" #24 UK.
Apr '71
The Rolling Stones ninth album Sticky Fingers is released, topping the charts in both the US and UK. The single "Brown Sugar" hits #1 US, #2 UK. (more)
Apr '71
The Doors release their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman #9 US, #28 UK. They also have two US Top 20 singles "Riders On The Storm" and "Love Her Madly". (more)
May '71
Paul McCartney  releases his second solo album Ram which goes to #1 UK and #2 US. The single Uncle Albert - Adm. Halsey goes #1 in the US. (more)
May '71
On his third solo album, Every Picture Tells A Story, UK vocalist Rod Stewart goes to number one in both the US & UK with both the album and the lead single "Maggie May". (more)
Jul '71
The Door's Jim Morrison is found dead in his Paris apartment by longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson. (more) 
May '71
Jul '71
Soul singer Marvin Gaye releases the concept album "What's Going On" and hits #6 US, #56 UK. The album also generates three US Top Ten singles including the title track at #2 US. (more)
Who's Next, the fifth studio album by UK band The Who, goes to #1 UK, #4 US. The single "Won't Get Fooled Again" hits #9 UK and #15 US. (more)
Aug '71
The Concert for Bangladesh, a fundraiser organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, is held in NYC. In addition to the organizers, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Badfinger, Leon Russel and Billy Preston appear.  (more) 
Aug '71
The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuts on CBS TV in the US. It would run until 1974 when the couple divorced. (more)
Aug '71
UK based Australian band The Bee Gees top the US charts for the first time with the single "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart". The song fails to chart in the UK. (more)
Sep '71
T-rextasy is the term coined in the UK for the fan mania for UK glam rock band T.Rex. The band has a UK #1 album and a second #1 single with "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" - which also goes to #10 US. (more)
John Lennon's second solo album Imagine goes to #1 in the US and UK - the single of the same name goes to #3 US. The album contains the song "How Do You Sleep?" a dig at Paul McCartney. (more)
Sep '71
Nov '71
UK singer / pianist Elton John releases his fourth studio album and hits the Top Ten in the US (#41 UK) with Madman Across The Water. The singles "Tiny Dancer" and "Levon" chart. (more)
Nov '71
Following up on their hit single "I'm Eighteen" Phoenix, AZ hard rock band Alice Cooper release the album Killer (#21 US, #27 UK) featuring the singles "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover". (more)
Nov '71
Led Zeppelin Four Zoso album
Led Zeppelin release their fourth studio album which quickly goes to #1 UK and #2 US. The single "Black Dog" goes to #15 US. The song "Stairway to Heaven", never released as a single, becomes an FM radio staple.  (more)
Stax songwriter and producer Isaac Hayes scores a #1 hit in the US with his single from the movie soundtrack "Theme from Shaft". The song would later win an Academy Award for Best Original Song. (more)
American singer / songwriter Carly Simon scores a gold record and her second Top 20 hit in the US with "Anticipation". (more)
Nov '71
Nov '71
Dec '71
San Francisco funk / soul band Sly and the Family Stone return to the charts with a #1 US album - There's A Riot Goin' On - and a #1 US single "Family Affair". (more) 
Dec '71
UK progressiver rockers Yes break through in the US with their fourth album Fragile, which goes Top Ten in both the US and UK. The single "Roundabout" also receives significant airplay. (more)
Dec '71
UK artist David Bowie signs with RCA and releases the album Hunky Dory which reaches #3 in the UK in '72. The single "Changes" becomes an FM radio fave, while "Life On Mars" goes Top Ten in the UK.  (more)
Jesus Christ Superstar album
Oct '71
The rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar opens on Broadway. The album goes to #1 US, #23 UK and spawns several hit singles including "Superstar" and "I Don't Know How To Love Him".  (more) 
Allman Brothers at Fillmore East
Jul '71
The Allman Brothers release their breakthrough live double album At Fillmore East. The album charts at #13 US. On Oct. 29th guitarist Duane Allman is killed in a motorcycle crash. (more) 
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