Friday, May 13, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of 1976*: #30-21

If you're just discovering us, welcome to The Top 100 Songs of 1976*.  We are looking back to commemorate the top songs of the year for the upcoming 40-year class reunions.  If you are celebrating your 40th wedding anniversary or your 40th birthday, the list also has relevance.  Unlike a year-end countdown back in 1976, though, which included flashes in the pan, our list is updated utilizing up-to-the-minute sales and airplay data in the 40 years since from our exclusive Top Songs Database* that now includes over 13,000 songs.

In news highlights of 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated incumbent Gerald Ford to win the U.S. presidency, at least 3,840 people were killed in a 7.3 earthquake in Turkey, the Chimpanzee was placed on the list of endangered species, the Seattle Seahawks played their first football game and the first known outbreak of the Ebola virus occurred in Zaire.

Billionaires J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes, Johnny Mercer (founder of Columbia Records and writer of "Days Of Wine And Roses", "Autumn Leaves", "When October Goes", "That Old Black Magic", "Jeepers, Creepers!" and "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby", among many others, elite guitarist Freddie King, Bob Marley and Percy Faith (who gave us the #1 classic "Theme From 'A Summer Place'" in 1960) were among those who died in 1976.

And in music, these 10 songs continue to be some of the best from 1976:


You Should Be Dancing
Bee Gees

With an infectious beat and superbly-crafted production, the Bee Gees served notice in 1976 that they were back and going to be a strong force in music.


Misty Blue
Dorothy Moore

Bob Montgomery originally wrote this song for Brenda Lee in 1966, but she turned it down.  Wilma Burgess had a Country and Western hit with it that year and Eddy Arnold registered a Popular hit the following year, but it was Mississippi's Dorothy Moore who recorded it in 1976 and made it her own.


Crazy On You

Here we have The #28 Song of 1976*, which reminds us not to go by chart numbers at the time to determine the most popular songs.  Released from the album Dreamboat Annie as the debut single for Heart, it stalled at #35.  Yet big sales and airplay and demand at live concerts has the song ranked among songs that went to #1 back in 1976.  The long version, which is really the only one radio stations should play, features a reprise of the title song "Dreamboat Annie" and one of the amazing acoustical guitar solos of the Rock Era from Nancy Wilson (which she called "Silver Wheels"), which leads into the great guitar riff from Roger Fisher and the powerful vocal performance from Ann Wilson.


I'll Be Good To You
Brothers Johnson

The Brothers Johnson (George and Louis) started out in the band Three Plus One, backing up other artists that included the Supremes.  The brothers formed a duo and released their debut album in 1976 which featured this great song.  Louis, who died last year, is considered one of The Greatest Bassists of the Rock Era*, playing on the Michael Jackson albums Off the WallThriller and Dangerous as well as on George Benson's Give Me the Night and Herb Alpert's 1979 album Rise.  


All By Myself
Eric Carmen

In the early '70s, we became familiar with this artist as the lead singer with the great voice for the Raspberries on songs such as "Go All The Way" and "I Wanna' Be With You".  After that group split, Eric Carmen went solo and recorded a solid solo album.  The lead single was released in late 1975 and became a #2 hit in 1976.


Still The One

Vocalist and songwriter John Hall and his wife Johanna first gained attention when their song "Half Moon" appeared on Janis Joplin's posthumous album Pearl in 1971.  Hall co-founded Orleans and this smash led to a 10-week tour with Jackson Browne.  Hall went on to be elected to the United States Congress for two terms from the state of New York. 


Boz Scaggs

The guitarist who played in Steve Miller's band released the solo album Silk Degrees in 1976, which was not only one of the prime LP's of the year but The #84 Album of the Rock Era*.  Scaggs is still going strong in 2016 and is amazing in concert.  Boz defines the word "cool".


Kiss And Say Goodbye

Although this song was recorded in early 1975, Columbia Records withheld the song for release until 14 months later.  We suppose they wanted to "let it age".  The time was certainly ripe in 1976, when the song went to #1 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K.


Afternoon Delight
Starland Vocal Band

This former backing band of John Denver's originally known as Fat City struck out on their own in 1976 and had a dynamite debut album--there really is more to them than this #1 song.  The lead single from that album places at #22 in our look back at The Top 100 Songs of 1976* here in 2016...


Right Back Where We Started From
Maxine Nightingale

Maxine Nightingale once starred in the London West End production of the musical Hair.  Unlike the rest of the songs from 1976, this song spent most of 1975 as one of the top songs in Europe.  It was #3 in the Netherlands, #6 in New Zealand, #8 in the U.K., #9 in Sweden and #10 in France.  It continued to spread in 1976, when it was released in the United States (#2), Australia (#4) and Canada (#5).

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