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The Ultimate Music Year

 The Sound of the 70s - the Ultimate Year
THE 1970s

The decade where Glam Rock, Disco and Punk ruled the roost and a platform shoe was a must on every foot.


 
Jimi Hendrix
1970

Jimi Hendrix dies, Simon & Garfunkel release Bridge Over Troubled Water, James Taylor releases Sweet Baby James, setting the tone for the singer-songwriter boom of the early 70s, Black Sabbath released its debut album, laying down the template for modern heavy metal, The Beatles split, but all four members set about releasing solo albums, the Jackson 5 are the biggest band on Motown, gaining five No. 1 hits.

Marc Bolan
1971

Marc Bolan reinvents himself as a Glam Rocker, George Harrison organises the Concert for Bangladesh, Carole King finally finds fame with her legendary Tapestry album after writing dozens of hits for others, Marvin Gaye releases the classic soul album What's Going On, David Bowie plays the first Glastonbury Festival.

David Bowie
1972

David Bowie unveils his flamboyant Ziggy Stardust persona, The Stones record their much acclaimed LP Exile On Main Street, Neil Young finally breaks into the big time as a solo artist when he released his mellow LP Harvest and Cat Stevens's Teaser And The Firecat album is a global success.

Dark Side Of The Moon LP Cover
1973

Pink Floyd release Dark Side Of The Moon - which becomes one of the most enduring albums of all time, Mike Oldfield launches Virgin Records with Tubular Bells, Island Records releases Catch A Fire, Bob Marley's debut for the label - Reggae crosses over into the mainstream, Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody becomes a seasonal classic, McCartney releases what many regard as his finest solo album, Band On The Run.

Abba
1974

ABBA win the Eurovision Song Concert and begin their extraordinary run of success with Waterloo, Eric Clapton's I Shot The Sheriff fuses rock and reggae, Glam Rock is at its peak, Nick Drake dies in obscurity.

Freddie Mercury
1975

Queen release Bohemian Rhapsody, accompanied by a pioneering music video, Disco takes off with Donna Summer, KC & The Sunshine Band, The Sex Pistols play their first gig, Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run catapulted him to superstardom,  Kraftwerk's pioneering Autobahn receives unexpected airplay.

Sid Vicious
1976

Punk launches with a vengeance - The Pistols Anarchy In The UK tour features The Clash, The Damned and the Heartbreakers, Peter Frampton's double-set Frampton comes Alive! Becomes the most-successful live album in rock history, selling 25 million copies, Abba enjoy three No.1s in the UK , culminating in Dancing Queen.

Paul McCartney
1977

Fleetwood Mac release their acclaimed album Rumours - chronicling their imploding relationship - to sales of 25 million, Car Wash is the first movie to feature a disco soundtrack,The Pistols release God Save The Queen, which sells 150,000 copies in five days despite being banned by leading stores and the BBC, Wings' Mull of Kintyre heads to the top of the charts - for an astonishing nine weeks, and becoming the biggest-selling UK single to date.

Bee Gees
1978

Saturday Night Fever - the soundtrack takes disco out of the clubs and into the mainstream,Musical prodigy Kate bush releases her first single, Wuthering Heights, Grease - Travolta and Newton John dominate the charts with this best-selling soundtrack,The Man Machine - Kraftwerk release an album which inspires an entire generation of synthesiser pop bands, Keith Moon dies from an overdose. 

The Police
1979

The Police get their first #1, Blondie release the classic album Parallel Lines, Sid Vicious finally manages to kill himself in February, The Special AKA are at the forefront of the Ska revival explosion and Quadrophenia revives the Mod image in the movies, Rap arrives with the release of Rapper's Delight by the Sugarhill Gang.

Jonathan Ross
RELATED SHOWS FROM RADIO 2

Find out more about the music of this decade with the help of some related Radio shows.

Tell us which you think is the best year in Pop and Rock now.

Have your say!

We'd like to know why you thought the 1970's was your decade of choice.  Did you have platforms?  Let us know.

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

Read what others have said..

Hankus Festus ( LaLaLand, SoCal USA)
70s was not dominated by Glam Rock and Disco. It was also the age of innocent AM ear candy, pop power ballads and folk rock anthems. It was the best decade of music bar none with the greatest range of sounds across the board with room for every style and taste. It was the 80s that ushered in a punk/new wave movement that in the 90s eventually led to the destruction of pop culture's zeitgeist via Afro-American evil-is-hip gangster music. So best has come and gone with the closing of the 20th century.

John Cubitt in Norwich
Listening to 'Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run' on full blast, cruising in my Black 1955 Austin A40; after getting it started with a starting handle; my best-girl by my side - life could'nt get any better!

Chris Oram - Dorchester
1979 was the year. I was sixteen and i just remember a constant stream of great music. M with pop music, Gary Numan, Squeeze Cool for Cats & Up the junction, Elvis Costello the Armed Forces LP, Boomtown Rats Mondays, Janet Kay Silly Games, the whole mod thing, Wreckless Eric, Devo, Specials, Jam, the tail end of punk & new wave the Great Rock & Roll Swindle LP. The Police at their best and the year ended with Another Brick in the Wall. A truely magical time.

Mike, Bristol
Whilst the musical breakthroughs were mostly in the 60s, the 70s offered a larger volume of great music - the peak of Hard Rock (Led Zep), Prog Rock (Yes, Floyd etc), Soul (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder etc), Reggae (Marley), Jazz-Rock (Hancock, McLaughlin etc), Pop (Elton, Rod), Glam Rock (Bowie, Roxy Music), Folk Rock (Fairport etc), Singer Songwriters (Neil Young, Van M etc), Punk (Pistols, Clash), New Wave (Police, Costello)and Disco.

Dave, Kelso
There was old wave, there was new wave and there was David Bowie...and Iggy Pop...and Kraftwerk...and Elvis Costello...and Ian Dury...and the Pistols...and The Clash, The Buzzcocks, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Patti Smith, the Dolls, Television, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Chic, The Mothership and all manner of "minor stars" that burned brilliantly for 15 minutes - Penetration, X-Ray Specs, Devo, Rezillos, Revillos, the Undertones. The best of times!

Ben Scarr, London
The 1970's is a little before my time because I was only 8yrs old when the 70's came to an end in 1979. All may favorite artists rose to fame in the 1970's like Michael Jackson who was famous throughout the 1970's as the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and then as a solo artist with his amazing 1979 Off The Wall album. And then there is David Bowie who completely changed the scope of music by defying and changing music genres with each album release which no one else has managed to do. There are other great artist such as Marc Bolan/T Rex, Roxy Music, Iggy Pop, Blondie and Prince who released his first album in 1978. The 1970's was also the era of new genres such as disco and punk, and the era where artists such as David Bowie, Queen and Michael Jackson were already making music videos pre MTV. The fact is the 1970's set the standards and genres that the 1980's 90's and borrowed from and the 2000's is even more dependant of the 1970's than the two previous decades. I may have grown up in the 1980's but my favorite artist who were at there commercial peak in the 1980's emeraged in the 1970's.

Mick Anyon, Sheffield
I just loved Glam & Punk and still do. There's a thin line between both really. Saw Brian Connolly on TOTP early '73 & the rest of the guys in Sweet clad in make up singing Hell Raiser. Ploughed some lippy on & ran out on the street !!! It was the first single I bought and still one of the underated rock classics. Must acknowledge Bolan, Slade, Bowie, Rod, Elton, Macca, Lennon, Abba, Rats et al. Three years later the Pistols were on the scene. Didn't get it initially as was probably too young. By the end of '77 I did though. Wow so much energy. The album NMTB remains my all time fave. Hero Sir Bob Geldof's still around nearly 30 years on. A nod to the Seventies it is then.

Graham Cox, Cheshire
Surely no other year can compare with the cataclysm of 1977? Not only was this the year in which The Clash and Talking Heads released their eponymous and earth shattering debut albums but it was also the year of some tremendous disco and funk (Chic spring to mind). I guess our votes are all coloured by the influence of our youth. For me, being 14 in 1977 was fantastic. I have erased the memory of David Soul from my mind.

Caroline Coxon, East Sussex
In 1970, I listened to Pick of the Pops every Sunday and wrote down the chart in my diary and had mega tantrums if I was dragged out to tea with relatives or anything. What a year! - Bridge Over Troubled Water, Lola, Tears of a Clown, Questions (Moody Blues) - oh, and Two Little Boys - aargh! And I had hotpants.

Russ Beeker Alexandria, Virginia USA
The later 70's thru mid 80's is a great period. Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, Graham Parker and the Rumour, Dave Edmunds, Stiff Records, Pistols Clash Ramones Blondie Heads Tom Petty on and on. Its a portion of the music I still am moved by today. What's so funny about peace love and understanding. Much Love, the Beeb is the Best, and so was Georgie! RB

GORDON, GLASGOW
The seventies was the best decade and 1972 the best year. Apart from classic albums released that year like "Can't Buy A Thrill" by Steely Dan, "Exile on Main Street" by The Rolling Stones and "Something/Anything" by Todd Rundgren, 1972 saw the release of the greatest album of all time "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" by David Bowie. Long live Ziggy!!!

Tim Mortlock, Huntingdon
1971 was the year, no contest. Led Zep IV, Yes with Close to Edge, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, Jethro Tull Aqualung, Deep Purple Fireball, need I go on? Blimmin' excellent. Oh, and I was born in 71 too.

Paul Milan,Doncsater,South Yorkshire
the 70's have many critic's, but for me the glam rock (mark bolan and t rex in particular)was the best and when listening today it still sound's great fun. p.s. if it was so bad ,why do so many of the song's keep coming back as covers and samples?

Jill, Swansea
The diversity of music matched everyone's mood of the moment - head-banging heavy metal Wishbone Ash(in jeans and boots), to middle of the road disco dancing(platforms and handkerchief dresses), chilled hippy Janis Ian (clogs or flip-flops with floor-sweeping indian skirts), right through to bubblegum with flares and platforms or very short skirts and little girl pigtails! Oh yes and the themed fancy dress parties to dance the night away! Are these the same good old days my parents droned on about?????!!!!!

Jeremy King, Portland
1973; Dark Side Of The Moon, Bowie at his peak, Alice Cooper, Slade and Glam Rock and when the highlight of any school kid was TOTP!

JTD (John) from Lancashire
72-73 was a real peak of class acts. So much music from all eras is easily forgettable but the early 70's are spectaular for what can be remembered.

Clive Rees Mid-Wales
The Seventies has got to be the best decade ever. I was born in 1956 and with The Beatles coming to an end the previous year it was the start for many other groups to make their names. I was, still am, a major Beatles fan. I remember going to the "Tanner Jig" back home in the South Wales Valleys, joining the Army and wearing all the new style clothes, platform shoes, stay press trousers, brogues Ben Shermans'etc. Just look at the names from the seventies that are iconic names still. Yes, the seventies were the best, what memories, oh! and I got married.

Rick Wilson, Southampton
The best year was 1978 when the fantastic DARTS secured three No.2 hits. Some great songs to save us from the punk experience - although I liked some of that too!

Sarah Woodhead, St.Albans
1970s, so cool. I wish I was around then, with releases by James Taylor and Carole King, Queen and George Harrison. Wow, those must have been the days.

David neish / Norwich
It was the first time i saw bowie in Edinburgh where i used to live, bowie blew the house down he came back 3 times in 1972 to Edinburgh

Mike, Manchester
1973 has to be the year....the 60's was finally shrugged off and the 70's finally had its own indentity...and it was Bowie, Floyd, Elton. British music had completely taken over the world. Even TOTP was a must-watch programme enjoying all 'n sundry...Sweet, Gary Glitter, Slade, Wizzard....1973 had it all and we trucked the night away with our platforms, penny rounds and flairs...great days.

David Deal Kent
Pink Floyd, ELO, Supertramp, Genesis, ABBA: Just a few of many brilliant artists that I listened to in the late 70's - and they are still as popular today as then.

Ken W. / Blackpool
This shouldn't even be up for debate as anyone who has a real album collection will know 1971 screams at you with classic Number one Albums The Who - "Who's Next" Deep Purple - "Fireball" Led Zeppelin - "Led Zeppelin IV" John Lennon-" Imagne" All spawning Tracks that are firm standards today And we mustn't forget Pink Floyd's - "Meddle" Not before and not After has a decade been kicked off with such a pace! Q.E.D.

Jerome, India
I think 1971 was the greatest year as far as I am concerned. IThe music just exploded in my 19 year old head Let me see, Issac Hayes released Shaft, Who's Next came out, Marvin wondered what's going on, T Rex became the Electric Warrior, the Stones got Sticky Fingers, Carole King made a Tapestry, John Lennon made us all Imagine, and Jethro Tull breathed on the Aqualung. I could go on but... Jerome

Michael LIverpool
Its seems hard to vote against them but any year that includes the Beatles could beat any other if you just vote thinking of the the best act of the last 50 years.For the pure breadth of the music we were hearing I would suggest 1971 was THE year for music.Think TREX,The Stones Brown Sugar,The Who and Rod Stewarts Every picture

Gem, Cardiff
Has to be 1973. Pink Floyd released Dark Side Of the Moon, the greatest album of all time.

Rod Wilson, Chicago USA
With all respect due to 1967, the winner is 1973! Great albums from each ex-Beatle (2 from Paul + a Bond theme!), Billion Dollar Babies AND Muscle of Love from Alice, Aladdin Sane AND Pin Ups from Bowie, Floyd's Dark Side, Elton's Yellow Brick Road, ELP's Brain Salad, Zep's Houses of The Holy, Stones' Goat's Head...T. Rex rules, Slade raves, Mott swaggers, Deep Purple discovers Japan...and every rocker since has gone back to this era to pillage. VALIDATION!

Neville Brown Blakesley near Towcester, Northants
The 70's; The best years of Queen, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the advent of Punk Rock which was the so called anithesis of my previous selections, listening to Radio Luxembourg under the covers as a teenager, WHAT A LIFE WHAT A DECADE, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Lynryd Skynryd, Rod Stewart, The Jam, Bowie, Saturday Night Fever, Rumours, A Night At The Opera, Dark Side Of The Moon, Quadrophenia, Hotel California.....The 70's The Best!!!!!!!

Mark Notton, Wallington, Surrey
As a young mod in the late 70's and disciple of all things "Weller" as well as being totally hooked on ska, I have to pick the seventies. It also had the advent of Punk (both US and UK) and people like David Bowie and Mark Bolan so strikes me as being the decade for those who dared to be different. My only problem is that your web page has Abba has the highlight of 74 and Bohemian Rhapsody as the highlight of 75. Am i really alone in absolutely hating both of these??

Mark Evans - Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
Dark Side, Argus, Topographic Oceans, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Who do we think we are, House of the Holy. The best year for rock has to be 1973. The music speaks for itself.

Steve Franks, Romford Essex
Cheating now as I have already said 1967 was the best year for me. Just want to mention my second best - 1973. I beleive that we all have a year when the music and the charts seem to be all for you. I feel like that about glam rock in 1973 - Slade, Mud,GG,T-Rex,Sweet and to a lesser glam-rock degree Rod and the Faces - I was 16 and the charts were filled with music that was all for me!! Every inch from my longer hair (Brian Connelly style in my mind but Mum said I looked like Jimmy Saville - ouch that hurt. My multi coloured jacket with hugh lapels that my Aunt made for me and my mates so envied. And of course those huge platform soled shoes that were not meant for a six-footer. Happy days

Steve Franks, Romford Essex
Cheating now as I have already said 1967 was the best year for me. Just want to mention my second best - 1973. I beleive that we all have a year when the music and the charts seem to be all for you. I feel like that about glam rock in 1973 - Slade, Mud,GG,T-Rex,Sweet and to a lesser glam-rock degree Rod and the Faces - I was 16 and the charts were filled with music that was all for me!! Every inch from my longer hair (Brian Connelly style in my mind but Mum said I looked like Jimmy Saville - ouch that hurt. My multi coloured jacket with hugh lapels that my Aunt made for me and my mates so envied. And of course those huge platform soled shoes that were not meant for a six-footer. Happy days

Jonathan, Ross-on-Wye
I have gone for 1972 as for me it was year zero for music, these were MY bands and artists! The key event was seeing Bowie on TOTP doing Starman - what was that! Things seemed very simple in the 70's; it was all about the music and you could like and listen to anything. Everything a teenager needed was in the charts and on the radio.

Roger Powell - East Lothian
It has to be 1976, when Punk Rock took off. It changed the whole face of music and was the catalyst for most of what has followed since. It also ushered in the era of the independant record labels and relieved us for a while from the incredible stifling of talent that was taking place in the music business.

Pete Ogle - Solihull, West Midlands UK
Firstly, yes - I do have a pair of original platforms - black and silver, with 4" heels!! I was born in '58 and so the 1970's were my golden years. No other decade has offered such a broad, eclectic range of styles and genres. From Glam to Teenybop Pop to Disco to real Soul to Heavy Rock to Motown to Singer-Songwriters to Punk To 2-Tone to early Electro!! Phew! I feel blessed to have grown up during the most creative decade in music.

Ruth Waterston Selby North Yorks
Diversity, Eqauality,Pulse. The 70's had something for everyone. I was too young for platforms, but had black make up and ripped tights (when my mum wasn't looking!)You could love Sex Pistols and Eagles all in the same month! Astonoshing!

Simon Stanton Derbyshire
1979 for me. It was the start of the NWOBHM (New wave of British Heavy Metal) Some classic albums hit the shops that year! It was also the year that Pink Floyds The Wall was released. The single was number 1 at Christmas and it went from strength to strength, eventually Turning into the greatest gig I have ever been to.

Barry, Sheffield
How can you disentangle music from your youth? The 70's were when it all happened for me; first concert, job, girl, drink etc. Bowie, Free, CSNY, Alex Harvey etc at their peak. If I have to chose a single year it would be '72...

Cathy, Cambridge
1973 has to be it. Dark Side of the Moon, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Solid Air, Tubular Bells, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, I want to see the Bright Lights Tonight - all flawless albums. It's always astonished me that the music industry must have been such a creative hotpot at that specific time in order to bring to fruition such a multitude of top-quality, timeless albums. No question that this is the year for me!

ian price pontypool
the 70`s music was fun music everything about it was fun especially glam rock era witch i was a great fan because the music was happy and enjoyable not like today where everything is so boring and in the 70`s you had to sell at least 250,000copies to make no.1 not like today if you sell 20,000 you will probabley make it to no.1

Antoinette Vonk - The Netherlands
Have you ever experienced how a song can suddenly take you back to the moment that song was a hit, and you immediately feel the feelings you felt at that time? Songs from the 70's bring back happy memories to me. That doesn't say much about the songs, more about where I was in life then. Still, I can't do anything else but vote for the 70's. Platforms?? Don't get me started - did we look ridiculous then or what? :D Ahhh the good old days!

Joe Myatt. Wolverhamption
It has to be 1976 and the release of Songs in the key of life (Stevie Wonder ). A seminal album of staggering quality that raised popular music to new hights, which many have since tried and failed to reach. A work of genius. ps New album's not bad either.

Gareth Jenkins - Addlestone Surrey
1973 - A great year for me. It was the height of glam rock, my first introduction to music for my generation. But it was also the year of Dark Side of the moon which sent me down a whole new road of music, Foxtrot by Genesis, Trilogy by ELP, the list goes on - the best year by far.

Boyd, an Aussie in Newcastle upon Tyne
Although born in '67, my music taste matured in the '80s yet I find myself indulging in the decade that molded popular music. The varied music styles brought us the smooth Jazz fusion of Steely Dan and Roxy Music and acoustic brilliance of singer songwrtietrs such as Nick Drake, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Elton. Led Zepp peaked and kicked ass with The Who, Pink Floyd and the list goes on of bands who have influenced the kids of today. Great decade for Aussie and Kiwi music developing its own identity in which, upon investigation, will provide many pleasant surprises.

Iain Watson, Glasgow
Difficult to separate the late 60's and early 70's, but i'll go with the 70's for one reason only. Led Zeppelin ruled the music world for over a decade, and although they weren't media favourites at the time (they didn't do publicity), there can be no argument that their albums LZ III, Four Symbols, Houses of The Holy, Physical Graffiti and Presence have all stood the test of time (all went No1 in the charts). They broke numerous concert attendance and ticket sales records. This is the real music story of the 70's and despite glam rock, punk, AOR etc etc, no other act from the 70's can claim to have influenced music in any way like Zeppelin.

Chris, Horsham
For me, the best decade for music was not conveniently defined by the numbers 60s, 70s or whatever but was the period from the mid 60's to the mid 70's. Firstly Underground with the start of the Floyd, Soft Machine and the like leading onto Prog Rock in the early 70's with ELP, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes and others. Look back over the last 50 years and all the really great artists are to be found in this period, Beatles, Stones, Led Zep, Cream, Who to name just a few but 1973 was probably the zenith for albums with the largly forgoten but unique Tubular Bells and of course, Dark Side of the Moon, the finest contempary music album ever released.

Mark Edwards, Taunton, Somerset
1979 was the best year by far. Forget the chart stuff - though Blondie and co were good - this was the year that saw the release of the first albums from Joy Division, the Fall, the Pop Group and the Gang of Four, as well as the seminal "Metal Box" from Public Image Limited. Modern music started here!

Ray Gale West Wales.
The 1970s were when I started buying my own records, and paying attention to the charts, and forming my own likes and dislikes, which have stayed with me to this day. so the 1970s are the most important to me.

Trevor Robertson in Surrey
I'm so torn.... how can I vote against Sgt Pepper's? .... but there it is, I'll go for the year I reached 17. I found myself with rebellious long hair and a satin jacket! Not a great look, but apparently strangely alluring!I got by! The music swings it though... ELO, Procul Harum with strings, Bowie as Ziggy and Alice Cooper's 'School's Out'. I have a compilation CD of '72 hits, and it doesn't have a bad track on it! 1972 rocked!

Steve Rawlinson, now Cromford, previously Gorton a
Where do you start!! Slade, cheap beer, New York Dolls, nakedness (maybe), T-rex, Led Zepp, Mungo Jerry, buying your first guitar, playing your first gig, hot summers, losing your virginity, more beer, concept of disappointment, carrying on, doing more gigs, AC/DC, Dr Feelgood, Ian Dury, Pistols and, more importantly than the Pistols, Blondie, The ramones, The Buzzcocks, Slaughter and the Dogs, Ed Banger, The Who, Quo, Motorhead, Merrydown cider, Burns/Rickenbacker/Gibson guitars, Ted Nugent (sad, sad, sad!), Sensational Alex Harvey Band, John Peel (oh so mch John Peel), Deeply Vale Free Festival, Jilly's in Manchester, not the Frantic elevators, Joe Stalin's Red Star Radio Band, UFO, Free, A1 Music Shop, The Trend and ............ recognition of the place for spontaniety (is that spelt right, shit that wasn't sponny was it?!!). There was a new optimism in the 1970's which we srewed up in the 1980's, tried to get back in the 1990's and have lost in the 00's - well most of my contemporaries have. I haven't - organising events for new bands and trying to carry on myself - Steve Rawlinson, Cromford, Derbys DE4 3RG

David Ravenscroft North Devon
I chose the 1970's because when punk rock came in and a bit later the two tone movement it was so different and fresh and the styles that went with them was for me brilliant but the best thing was that my parents hated the music and fashion and that for me is what new music is all about your parents should hate it!!

Michael in Liverpool
Wont get fooled again, Brown Sugar and Mandolin Wind.I hardly needed to think about it.1971 no question.

Jackie, South Wales
Of course I had platforms - in fact, I had the very first pair worn in my grammar school. All the talking stopped and every head turned when I walked into the canteen in my school uniform and six-inch heeled brown leather platforms. Classy! The seventies had Bowie, Kate Bush, Queen and T Rex - how could it not have been the best decade?!

Billy Dorman
I have always loved the Police and 1979 was the year I met my wife. They helped me to convince her to marry me.

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