Written By:

article by: Michael Canter

20 July 2012

Friday Flashback 1976

FRIDAY FLASHBACK: Every Friday we set the Hot Tub Time Machine to one year in rock history and give you the best (and worst) music from that year, all day long beginning at 1:00 AM EST and running for 24 hours on Jivewired Radio powered by Live365.

This week: 1976
Next week: 1989

To listen, just press play on the radio widget to the right or use this link to open in a new window that will allow you to listen when you navigate away from this page:

Launch Jivewired Radio

Album Art From 1976 - Click Covers To Download

1976 Album I Wish I Owned: No Heavy Petting by UFO
1976 Album I'd Give Back If I Could: Chicago X by Chicago
1976 Nominee For Worst Album Cover Ever: Waking & Dreaming by Orleans
1976 Most Underrated Song: Don't Take Me Alive by Steely Dan
1976 Most Overrated Song: If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
1976 Most Memorable Song: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
1976 Most Significant Song: Anarchy In The U.K. by The Sex Pistols
1976 Most Forgotten Song: X Offender by Blondie
1976 Fan's Choice For Most Popular Song: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
1976 Album Of The Year: Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton
1976 Most Likely To Start A Party Song: Give Up The Funk by Parliament
1976 Please Don't Play Anymore Song: Disco Duck by Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots
1976 Song That I Like More Than I Actually Should: Love Rollercoaster by Ohio Players
1976 Album I Liked More Than I Thought I Would: Songs In The Key Of Life by Stevie Wonder
1976 Song That I Tend to Leave on REPEAT: Magic Man by Heart
Guilty Pleasure of 1976: Hard Luck Woman by KISS
Breakout Artists of 1976: Heart, Styx, Boston, Tom Petty
Overplayed In 1976: Bee Gees, ABBA
Not Played Enough In 1976: Ramones, Sex Pistols
Greatest Single Chart Re-Entry from 1976: Got To Get You Into My Life by The Beatles (1967)
Best Cover Song Of 1976: America The Beautiful by Ray Charles
An unheralded great album from 1976: Howlin' by Graham Parker & The Rumour
An unheralded great single from 1976: Year Of The Cat by Al Stewart
Best Soundtrack of 1976: Car Wash

Jivewired's Top Five Six Seven Songs Of The Year
01. American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
02. Magic Man by Heart
03. The Pretender by Jackson Browne
04. Give Up The Funk by Parliament
05. Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac
06. You're My Best Friend by Queen
07. Foreplay/Longtime by Boston

Jivewired's Top Five Six Albums Of The Year
01. Dreamboat Annie by Heart
02. Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton
03. Howlin' by Graham Parker & The Rumour
04. Hotel California by The Eagles
05. Ramones by The Ramones
06. A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra

Clearly the most, and maybe only, redeeming quality about 1976 isn’t the music that's on record (though some of that is ridiculously magnificent) but rather the directional course with which music was navigating. Punk music had erupted amongst New York's and England's bowerys,  an underground form of beat music known as rap and hip hop had begun to simmer in America's inner cities, disco had literally exploded worldwide, and reggae was finding a solid following throughout England and the United States -- all big influences on what would become the new wave and romanticist renaissance in music in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  In spite of its excesses (or quite possibly because of them) 1976 represents a microcosmic flashpoint in music that clearly defines it's independence from any other year in rock history, a sort of transitional gateway from the seventies to the eighties that conveniently and fittingly sits right in the middle of the decade. A deeper look at 1976 reveals a number of buried treasures. We'll cover the best and worst this week.

The Grammy for record of the year in 1976 went to The Captain & Tenille for 1975's Love Will Keep Us Together and the Grammy for best song went to Stephen Sondheim for Send In The Clowns. Yeah, it was that bad, but the Grammys haven't always been on the cutting edge when it comes to music, and in 1976, the association certainly led with some very safe (if not awkward) picks. Oddly, it may in fact be the forgettable of 1976 that made the year so ironically unforgettable, and the list of laughably bad songs is quite considerable. Prime examples include Convoy by C.W. McCall, All By Myself by Eric Carmen, Don't Give Up On Us by David Soul, Devil Woman by Cliff Richard, Shannon by Henry Gross and Still The One by Orleans, which ended up being a promo for ABC Television's fall lineup in 1976. Don't feel badly if you had no idea who Henry Gross is, by the way, though in fairness, his re-imagining of the Beach Boys exquisite Pet Sounds-era harmonies gives him a bit of a pass here.  Contrarily, Chicago tried to emulate that sound as well with If You Leave Me Now and failed miserably. The worst of the bunch was the short-lived hit by Los Angeles deejay Rick Dees and his Cast Of Idiots - Disco Duck.

A number of normally reliable artists made gigantic missteps in 1976, and, I know I am picking on this group a bit, but I'm looking at If You Leave Me Now by Chicago and Beth by Kiss as prime examples. Additionally, the explosion of disco music rendered Motown virtually non-existent, as fans of R&B and the Motown sound had crossed over and were following that movement.  Only Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross had hits in 1976 for Berry Gordy's label. Conversely, labels like Casablanca and Sal-Soul were delivering hit after hit and expanding their fanbase.

Focusing on just the calendar year, 1976 offers very little in its historical canon, but looking at the larger continuum, this was just a down year within an exceptionally strong musical era. Certainly, we must take into consideration that a number of artists released landmark albums in 1975 and 1977 and simply sat on the sidelines in 1976. Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton are great examples. Led Zeppelin released the critically acclaimed Presence in 1976, a truly great album. However, it just didn't sell as well as the more radio-friendly Physical Graffiti which was released a year earlier. 1975 was really a watershed year in music, arguably the greatest year of all time, particularly for AOR rock, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that 1976 fell incredibly short by comparison.

1976 was also AM Radio's last hurrah before the punkers and rockers crashed the party, rendering the traditional radio outlet irrelevant going forward except for programs featuring oldies, bilingual and foreign language programming and talk radio formats. The landscape in music was about to change, and 1976 provided the foundation for what was to come.

Still, 1976 gave us a few albums that are considered all-time rock classics even by today's standards, and one in particular stands out.  Former Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton electrified the world with a double-live album that is considered the gold standard to this day for live recordings.

Frampton Comes Alive! was released on January 6, 1976, and debuted on the charts at 191. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 the week ending April 10, 1976, and was in the top spot for a total of 10 weeks. It was the best-selling album of 1976, selling over 6 million copies in the US and became one of the best-selling live albums to date. Frampton Comes Alive! was voted Album Of The Year in the 1976 Rolling Stone readers poll. It stayed on the chart for 97 weeks and was still #14 on Billboard's 1977 year-end album chart.

In retrospect, the year in music was not as bad as it seemed on the surface and, as stated earlier, there were some wonderful treasures: 

1. Dreamboat Annie by Heart
2. Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton
3. Hotel California by The Eagles
4. Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac
5. Night Moves by Bob Seger
6. Songs In The Key Of Life by Stevie Wonder
7. The Royal Scam by Steely Dan
8. Ramones by The Ramones
9. Howlin' by Graham Parker & The Rumour
10. Wings Over America by Paul McCartney & Wings

Gone Too Soon:
  • Howlin' Wolf (January 10)
  • Vince Guraldi (February 6)
  • Flo Ballard of The Supremes (February 22)
  • Paul Kossoff of Free (March 19)
  • Keith Relf of The Yardbirds (May 14)
  • Jimmy Reed (August 29)
  • Tommy Bolin (December 4)
Honestly, What Were You Thinking Here?

That is the album cover for Waking & Dreaming by Orleans.  I'll sit down and wait for my answer.

Don't Believe The Hype:

Beatlemania and Beatles reunion rumors were rampant in 1976, so much in fact that the songs Got To Get You Into My Life, Helter Skelter and Michelle all re-charted that year. In fact, promoter Bill Sargent offered the band an astounding $30 million dollars to reunite for one concert. John Lennon never returned Sargent's calls. Not to be outdone, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3,000 to play together on the show. Lennon and McCartney reportedly were watching the show together in NYC and considered walking to the studio to take Michaels up on his offer. 

Elvis - Not Doing It His Way:

Despite the never ending presence of My Way by Elvis Presley proliferating the radio airwaves following his death in August of 1977, the Elvis of 1976 was a self-reclusive, embarrassingly bloated shell of his former self. Allegedly drug addicted and overweight, Elvis recorded two albums in 1976 that were quite nondescript - a seemingly half-hearted attempt by his management company and RCA Records to generate interest and revenue before the King's inevitable demise.

Moody Blue was the final studio album by Elvis Presley. The album was a mixture of live and studio work, and included tracks from Presley's final studio recording sessions in 1976, including Moody Blue, a previously published hit song, and Way Down, which became a hit song after Presley's death less than one month after the album's publication.

RCA and the album's producer, Felton Jarvis, had booked a recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee, for January 1977, to record some new tracks for Moody Blue. Mr. Presley had chosen a few songs to record with the help of Jarvis, most of them were rather country and uptempo. Unfortunately, Presley never showed up for the recording session, claiming that he was sick and thus staying home (an excuse that Mr. Presley used rather frequently during the 1960s to avoid recording poor soundtracks for his motion pictures). As a result, some live tracks from a show in Ann Arbor, MI were added to complete the album, including cover versions of Unchained Melody and Let Me Be There.

The Band - One Final Dance

The Band played their final show together at Winterland Theater in San Francisco and hired acclaimed director Martin Scorcese to film the event for what would become the movie The Last Waltz. Scorcese was brought into the project because Robbie Robertson loved his use of music in the movie Mean Streets. The Band was joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles and Neil Young.

Levon Helm was critical of the inclusion of Diamond, not discerning any musical connection to The Band. Roberston wanted Diamond included because he was producing Diamond's next album. Reportedly, when Diamond came off stage he remarked to Dylan, "Follow that", to which Dylan responded, "What do I have to do, go on stage and fall asleep?"

I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police:

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and LSD after a car accident. The substances were found by police in Richards’ wrecked automobile. The guitarist had fallen asleep at the wheel prior to wrecking his M1 in the accident.

Said Richards, who may have started the tiger blood market that is seemingly keeping Charlie Sheen alive these days: "One misconception about me is probably the drug thing. I've never done anything that I really considered to be dangerous to myself. I know my own limits and capabilities. People looking in go: But you were a junkie for 10 years. What about shooting-up smack? What about all those escapades? But I never personally felt that I was endangering myself. I'm not that dumb... Actually, I would take drugs quite responsibly: a nice fix at breakfast, one for elevenses and another one at teatime. It was like breaks at the cricket, or something. The times I fucked up was when I scored from people I didn't know and the stuff was laced with strychnine. I'm lying on the bed, and people are going: Well, he's still breathing... It was a bit Edgar Allen Poe-ish; a bit like being buried alive. You could hear every word they were saying, but you couldn't say anything back to them because you were paralyzed."

Summerfest: Very Humble Beginnings

For Milwaukee residents and fans of Summerfest, which debuted in 1968, I found the list of headlining acts for Summerfest in the year of our nation's bicentennial. This should clearly give you an idea of the general malaise of the music industry, or at least a perspective as to what their staff thought was popular enough to sell. Browsing the rest of the stages (Miller High Life Jazz Oasis, Pabst International Festival, Schlitz Country USA, Comedy) names like Billy Crystal, Sigmund Snopek III, Maynard Ferguson, John Hiatt, Woody Herman and Koko Taylor stand out. The headlining list seems like a recipe for death, in retrospect, and clearly reflects the times, although it would have been cool to see War, Elvin Bishop or The Band with Leon Redbone, certainly.

June 30: Tony Bennett with Torri Zito, music director
July 1: War
July 2: Judy Collins
July 3: Elvin Bishop
July 4: Helen Reddy and Quiffy
July 5: John Sebastian and Valdy
July 6: Ohio Players and Charles Earland
July 7: The Spinners and The Shotgun Band
July 8: Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge
July 9: The Band and Leon Redbone
July 10: The Outlaw Music Festival featuring Waylon Jennings and the Wayors, Jessie Colter and Tompall and his Outlaw Band
July 11: Bobby Vinton and Hank Garcia

CBGB: Changing The Course & Spirit Of Rock & Roll

Mohawks, fauxhawks, piercings and body ink optional but strongly suggested........ and see to it that you speak in brit slang lest you be exposed as a wannabe.

CBGB OMFUG, a music venue in New York’s rundown Bowery district, turned a profit for the first time in it's history – foreshadowing the explosion of Punk music in the late ’70′s.

The first international Punk festival was held at London’s 100 Club on September 20th and 21st. Performers include The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, Siouxsie & The Banshees, and The Vibrators.

The Sex Pistols infuriated the British public (and inspired that classic Daily Mirror headline “The Filth & The Fury”) when their profanity-laced tirade was broadcast live on BBC television on December 1st.

Go Forth For You Are The Future Of Rock & Roll.........

The following bands formed in 1976: Black Flag, Cheap Trick, Culture, The Cure, The Damned, Devo, Iron Maiden, The Jam, U2

Playlist Adds For Friday Flashback 1976

****Release dates are to the best of my knowledge and in most cases represent the release date of the album from which the single derived. In cases of singles and/or B-Side releases only, we use the official U.S. single release date for the A-Side.****

October 1975 (and earlier):
001. She's Gone by Hall & Oates
002. Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John
003. Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company
004. Slow Ride by Foghat
005. Saturday Night by The Bay City Rollers
006. My Little Town by Simon & Garfunkel
007. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

November 1975:
008. Convoy by C.W. McCall
009. Golden Years by David Bowie
010. Love Rollercoaster by Ohio Players

December 1975:
011. Suite Madame Blue by Styx
012. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon
013. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
014. All By Myself by Eric Carmen
015. Gloria by Patti Smith
016. T.N.T. by AC/DC
017. Let's Stick Together by Roxy Music
018. Don't Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston

January 1976:
019. Silver, Blue & Gold by Bad Company
020. Young Blood by Bad Company
021. Do You Feel Like We Do [Live] by Peter Frampton
022. Show Me The Way [Live] by Peter Frampton
023. All I Wanna Be Is By Your Side [Live] by Peter Frampton
024. Hurricane by Bob Dylan
025. Right Back Where We Started From by Maxine Nightengale

February 1976: 
026. Pinball Wizard by Elton John
027. All I Can Do Is Write About It by Lynyrd Skynyrd
028. More More More by Andrea True Connection
029. Magic Man by Heart
030. Crazy On You by Heart
031. Dreamboat Annie by Heart
032. Let Your Love Flow by The Bellamy Brothers

March 1976:
033. Detroit Rock City by KISS
034. Beth by KISS
035. Love Hangover by Diana Ross
036. It Keeps You Runnin' by The Doobie Brothers
037. Takin' It To The Streets by The Doobie Brothers
038. Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
039. Welcome Back by John Sebastian
040. The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy
041. Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs
042. Lowdown by Boz Scaggs
043. Dream Weaver by Gary Wright
044. Shannon by Henry Gross

April 1976:
045. I Want You by Marvin Gaye
046. Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney & Wings
047. Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off This Sucker) by Parliament
048. Travelin' Man [Live] by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
049. Beautiful Loser [Live] by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
050. Turn The Page [Live] by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
051. Afternoon Delight by The Starland Vocal Band
052. Maybe I'm Amazed [Live] by Paul McCartney & Wings
053. Devil Woman by Cliff Richards
054. Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones
055. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend by The Ramones
056. Fool To Cry by The Rolling Stones

May 1976:
057. Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan
058. You Are The Woman by Firefall
059. Don't Take Me Alive by Steely Dan
060. Haitian Divorce by Steely Dan
061. Back In The Saddle by Areosmith
062. Couldn't Get It Right by The Climax Blues Band
063. Fly Like An Eagle by The Steve Miller Band
064. Rock 'N Me by The Steve Miller Band
065. Take The Money & Run by The Steve Miller Band
066. Still The One by Orleans
067. You're My Best Friend by Queen
068. (Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
069. New York State Of Mind by Billy Joel
070. Rock & Roll Music by The Beach Boys
071. Get Closer by Seals & Crofts

June 1976:
072. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
073. Shower The People by James Taylor
074. Keep Pushin' by REO Speedwagon
075. With Your Love by Jefferson Starship
076. The Killing Of Georgie (Part I & II) by Rod Stewart
077. Tonight's The Night by Rod Stewart
078. Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac
079. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
080. Don't Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John & Kiki Dee
081. You Should Be Dancing by The Bee Gees

July 1976:
082. America The Beautiful by Ray Charles
083. White Honey by Graham Parker & The Rumour
084. Soul Shoes by Graham Parker & The Rumour
085. Howling Wind by Graham Parker & The Rumour
086. Don't Ask Me Questions by Graham Parker & The Rumour
087. Year Of The Cat by Al Stewart
088. Let 'Em In by Paul McCartney & Wings
089. More Than A Feeling by Boston
090. Peace Of Mind by Boston
091. Smokin' by Boston
092. Foreplay/Long Time by Boston

August 1976:
093. Rich Girl by Hall & Oates
094. Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann's Earth Band
095. Hello Old Friend by Eric Clapton
096. That'll Be The Day by Linda Ronstadt
097. So It Goes by Nick Lowe
098. Feel Like Makin' Love by Bad Company
099. Dancing Queen by ABBA
100. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

September 1976:
101. Disco Duck by Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots
102. Telephone Line by Electric Light Orchestra
103. Livin' Thing by Electric Light Orchestra
104. Car Wash by Rose Royce
105. Sir Duke by Steve Wonder
105. I Wish by Stevie Wonder
108. Isn't She Lovely? by Stevie Wonder

October 1976:
109. Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas
110. You Make Me Feel Like Dancin' by Leo Sayer
111. Winter Melody by Donna Summer
112. The Rubberband Man by The Spinners
113. Knowing Me Knowing You by ABBA
114. Free-For-All by Ted Nugent
115. Cage The Songbird by Elton John
116. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word by Elton John
117. Night Moves by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
118. Main Street by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

November 1976:
119. American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
120. Breakdown by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
121. The Pretender by Jackson Browne
122. Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold
123. Can't Lose What You Never Had by The Allman Brothers Band
124. Somebody To Love by Queen
125. Don't Give Up On Us by David Soul
126. Crackerbox Palace by George Harrison
127. Anarchy In The U.K. by The Sex Pistols

December 1976:
128. Smoke From A Distant Fire by The Sanford-Townes Band
129. Hotel California by The Eagles
130. New Kid In Town by The Eagles
131. Life In The Fast Lane by The Eagles
132. Wasted Time by The Eagles
133. Victim Of Love by The Eagles
134. The Last Resort by The Eagles
135. Always & Forever by Heatwave
136. X Offender by Blondie
137. Moody Blue by Elvis Presely
138. So Into You by The Atlanta Rhythm Section
139. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
140. Hard Luck Woman by KISS

Previous In This Series:  Friday Flashback 1995

No comments: