Can you believe that albums that came out in 1974 turn 50 this year?

The '70s were an interesting time for heavy music, as the start of the decade birthed the metal we know and love today when Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut. Bands had already been experimenting with distortion and heavy guitar riffs before that point, so by the mid-'70s, some bands progressively got heavier and heavier.

The middle of the decade was also when we started to see even more subgenres sprouting, such as glam rock with KISS' self-titled debut, and what would eventually become the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with Judas Priest's first studio release Rocka Rolla. We also had new records from Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Bowie, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones and quite a few more in 1974.

We couldn't include every album that was released that year in our list, so we tried to focus on the biggest and more important by highlighting records that either had great success or were pivotal to the genre's trajectory for some other reason. For example, Rush's debut was not their breakthrough album, but it was the start of Rush nonetheless. That's a milestone to acknowledge no matter where it did or didn't land on the charts.

READ MORE: The Most Shocking Rock + Metal Moments of the 1970s

Some artists released two albums that year, including KISS, Queen, Grand Funk Railroad and Deep Purple, so we went with the bigger of the two.

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