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Montreux Celebration

Montreux musical history in 1970


Super Pop 1970

Triumphant march of the "Super Pop Montreux" concerts in 1970, which saw many bands despite a big disappointment.

The Doors, a mythical group led by Jim Morrison, was forced to cancel its visit to Montreux at the last minute. The leader was suddenly forced to appear the next day, Monday, August 31, 1970 in Miami for the opening of a trial. Finally, it was Cactus and Taste that accompanied Black Sabath on stage at the Casino de Montreux on Sunday, August 30, 1970.

This year 1970 is also marked by the death of Jimi Hendrix, who was precisely expected in Montreux in December!

Saturday, February 7, 1970

Canned Heat

A Blues-Rock/Boogie band, formed in Los Angeles in 1965. The importance of the group lies not only with its Blues-based music, but with its efforts to reintroduce and revive the careers of some of the great old Bluesmen, and its improvisational abilities.

The band is led by Alan Blind Owl Wilson (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Bob Hite (The Bear) (vocals, harmonica). The original line up includes Keith Sawyer on drums, Mike Perlowin on lead guitar and Stuart Brotman on bass. Mike Perlowin is soon replaced by Kenny Edwards who in turn is followed by Henry Vestine (a.k.a Sunflower, an ex-member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention). Larry Taylor (The Mole) (best known up until then as the Monkees session bassist), is the studio bassist, (joining full time through 1970), along with drummer Frank Cook for the first album. Guitarist Harvey Mandel tours with the band extensively through the late 1960s.

This is their first appearance in Montreux. More than 3000 young people were present for this first Pop concert of the year!


French group with 9 musicians. All excellent musicians, served by good ideas, these Parisians have chosen pop music to express themselves. On this basis: organ - bass - drums - guitars, they have developed an important melodic section: violins - saxophones - trumpet - trombone. Describing their music is difficult because it is so rich in harmonic and rhythmic aspects.

Saturday, March 7, 1970

Led Zeppelin

On October 22nd, 1969, the band releases the Led Zepplin II album with advance orders of 400,000. Commercially, Led Zeppelin II is the band's first album to hit #1 in the U.S., temporarily knocking The Beatles' Abbey Road from the top spot. Its blend of Blues, Folk and eastern influences with distorted amplification makes it one of the pivotal records in the creation of Heavy Metal music. However, Plant comments that it is unfair for people to typecast the band as Heavy Metal, since about a third of their music is acoustic. Led Zeppelin's album cover meets an interesting protest when, at a February 28th, 1970 gig in Copenhagen, the band is billed as The Nobs, in honour of Claude Nobs the boss of the Montreux Jazz Festival, as the result of a threat of legal action from aristocrat Eva von Zeppelin (a relative of the creator of the Zeppelin aircraft), who, upon seeing the logo of the Hindenburg crashing in flames, threatens to have the show pulled off the air.

Claude Nobs invites Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham to Montreux, on March 7th and 8th, 1970, for the second Super Pop Montreux Festival. The walls of the Casino building are vibrating for the first - but not the last time! Check the special Led Zeppelin section.

A detailed report of this concert is available on our Montreux Celebration website on the dedicated page: Led Zeppelin 1970

Saturday, August 15, 1970

Joan Baez

Born in Staten Island, New York in 1941, is subjected to racial slurs and discrimination in her own childhood because of her Mexican heritage and features. She becomes involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and non-violence. She is sometimes jailed for her protests.

Joan Baez marries David Harris, a Vietnam draft protestor, in 1968, and he’s in jail for most of the years of their marriage. Early in her career, Joan Baez stresses historical Folk songs, adding political songs to her repertoire during the 1960s. Later, she adds country songs and more mainstream popular music, though always including many songs with political messages.

She supports such organizations as Amnesty International and Humanitas International.

She gave 2 concerts in Montreux that day. The talented artist won a real triumph in front of a packed audience.

Sunday 30 and Monday 31 August 1970

Black Sabbath

An English band from Birmingham. The band line up is Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums) Black Sabbath remains a dominant influence in the genre they help create.  When the musicians start roaming around end of 1960, many mention that they are the incarnation of the devil. In fact, it is the starting of a new musical current called later Heavy Metal.

A live album in Montreux, entitled "Definitive Montreux 1970" from the monday concert will later be released.


Rory Gallagher forms his first band in Cork, Ireland, when he’s only 13. Then he establishes Taste in 1966, with Eric Kitteringham (bass) and Norman Damery (drums). In 1968 Rory forms his new version of Taste with Richard McCracken (bass) and John Wilson (drums).

Taste move to London, it plays at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and in Montreux.


A relatively short lived band. The original line-up stays together only 3 short years and produces only three albums, Cactus, OneWay...Or Another and Restrictions. But that doesn't mean that its music is forgotten, nor is it mediocre! The original members come from very popular bands at the time. Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums), both come from The Vanilla Fudge. Jim McCarty (guitar) comes from Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheel. And last but not least, Rusty Day (vocals) is with Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes.

One could say that this is sort of an early 70's super group! Its brand of hard driving Boogie based Blues Rock is never duplicated with any proficiency.

Initially announced in concert in the afternoon, they were finally rescheduled in the evening. The group had missed its plane coming directly from the Isle of Wight.

To overcome this inconvenience, entrance tickets for the Monday evening Cactus concert were immediately distributed by the members of the organization.

Saturday, October 17, 1970

Ginger Baker Air Force

Baker gains fame as a member of the Graham Bond Organization (GBO) and Cream, from 1966 until 1968. He later joins Cream band mate Eric Clapton along with Ric Grech and Steve Winwood in the 1969 group Blind Faith. Baker's drumming attracts attention for its flamboyance, showmanship, and his pioneering use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single kick drum. He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments, and for his application of African rhythms to much of his drumming.

In the early 1970s, Baker tours and records with a Jazz-Rock fusion band, the Ginger Baker's Air Force. They do a stop in Montreux.

Brian Auger Oblivion Express

They does a great come back after the 1969 gig in Montreux.

Saturday, November 21, 1970

Pink Floyd

The first appearance of Pink Floyd in Switzerland was on November 17, 1968 at the Kongresshaus in Zurich. The Ummagumma double album (1969) is a mix of live recordings and unchecked studio experimentation by the band members, with each recording half a side of a vinyl as a solo project. With this album, Pink Floyd discarded its Underground pretensions and moderated its psychedelic sound for a more conventional Rock sound.

Great opportunities for the audience to experience various tracks of this album live at the Montreux Casino November 21 and 22, 1970 at the Montreux Casino.

Claude Nobs gets the band for $ 4,000, and the tickets were sold in a few hours. Reason why an additional concert was organized the next day November 22.

Pink Floyd has a moderate mainstream success and is one of the most popular bands in the London underground music scene in the late 1960s - a psychedelic band led by Syd Barrett; however, Barrett's erratic behaviour eventually forces his colleagues to replace him with guitarist and singer David Gilmour. After Barrett's departure, singer and bass player Roger Waters gradually becomes the dominant and driving force in the mid-1970s.

Sunday, December 13, 1970

Mungo Jerry

A Folk/classic Rock group fronted by Ray Dorset (vocals), whose greatest success is in the early 1970s. It is remembered above all for its classic hit In the Summertime. Mungo Jerry is famous for the early skiffle-sound of the band, but the great success of its 30 million-seller In the Summertime covers that the band also is a Blues-Rock-band (without drums until 1972).

It is the only band which is able to place Blues songs in the charts. Mungo Jerry is Colin Earl (keyboards), Paul King (guitar,banjo), Mike Cole (bass) and Joe Rush (percussions)

Black Widow

Less known than their older brother Black Sabbath, the British group Black Widow plays black and heavy music, far from Flower Power. This band has influenced the thrash scene a lot, then death and black. Black Widow stands out with her first album, Sacrifice in 1970, where all the songs evoke Satan, witchcraft, demons and so on. Unlike Black Sabbath, the lyrics seem more true, more documented about the satanic universe. Black Sabbath's lyrics are mainly influenced by horror movies and a good dose of superstition. Black Widow, on the contrary, likes to mention in his songs rituals, demonic entities that really appear in books. Sacrifice tells the story of a powerful wizard who follows a series of rituals to resurrect his companion, the demon Astaroth. The last track, which gives the album its title, evokes a human sacrifice in view of this objective. Black Widow's Progressive Rock, although quite classical, is enriched by the addition of a flute and a fairly heavy drum set that create a satanic atmosphere, and Kip Trevor's deep and solemn voice is ideal. Come to the Sabbath, with its delirious mantra Come, come to the Sabbath, Satan's there! is the best song, more funny than worrying.

The group provoked considerable controversy, especially with its spectacular concerts, where the sacrifice of a young virgin was mimicked. The appearance of a naked woman on stage, with Kip Trevor wielding a dagger above her, did not fail to warm minds.

And some other bands Freedom, Zoo also play in Montreux. July 3rd, unfortunately, only 600 people are present for both the concerts of Duke Ellington’s Big Orchestra.

This year is strucked by Jimi Hendrix’s death. And Jimmy Hendrix was precisely due to play in Montreux in December !

From 26 to 31 December 1970

The year ends on a high note in Montreux with several performances by the English band Kiss and Ashton, Gardener & Dyke.

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