May 08

Popular ’76

FT + Popular//552 comments • 18,097 views

I give marks out of 10 to every song – based on whatever criteria you like, here’s your opportunity to say what you’d have given more than 6 to from 1976. Tick as many as you like.

Number One Hits Of 1976: Which Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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And use the comments to discuss the year as a whole, if you like.


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  1. 1
    Ben on 21 May 2008 #

    I think ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ is just about the only Sir Elton song I can bear to listen to.

    Less than 50% voting for Chicago surprises me… I’d have had that down as a surefire Poptimist fave.

  2. 2
    DJ Punctum on 22 May 2008 #

    Not really “pop”, I don’t think.

    Despite the generalised direness of the year I still found six entries worth 6 or more (“December ’63” is a borderline 5) which is two more than I found in 1971 so I’ve no idea what, if anything, that proves.

  3. 3
    David Belbin on 22 May 2008 #

    I only found five, but I’ve always had trouble with ‘Fernando’, not my kind of Abba song. And I had to vote for Chicago. I played an mp3 of this after the discussion below and it’s turned into a bit of an earworm. I half hated it at the time, having once been a big fan of the far more respectable ’25 or 6 to 4′, the meaning of whose title I only discovered in the comments box here…

  4. 4
    DJ Punctum on 22 May 2008 #

    I prefer “Wishing You Were Here,” which was not a hit in the UK, though I suspect this has a lot to do with the Beach Boys’ backing vocals.

    Plus one of my favourite singles ever is “Hold Me Now” by DJ Kaos (1996) which takes “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” into a new dimension.

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 22 May 2008 #

    I found 8, which may show that I’m a comparatively easy man to entertain.

    It most assuredly was NOT me who voted for Barrie or Mathis, though.

  6. 6
    mike on 22 May 2008 #

    I polled 7 out of the 16, all of which turn out to be in the top 8. My only dissent from the consensus: Fernando.

  7. 7
    Drucius on 22 May 2008 #

    I managed 4. None of the Abba songs made the cut.

  8. 8
    Doctor Mod on 22 May 2008 #

    I managed four. All of the ABBA made the cut, which may show that I wasn’t crazy about most of the recording artists of the 70s.

    Also Elton & Kiki; but, no slight to Kiki, I will forever wish that it had been Elton & Dusty, as originally planned.

  9. 9
    Lena on 27 May 2008 #

    I wanted to mention some songs from this year that I don’t think have been mentioned yet…some of which are still radio regulars:

    “More Than A Feeling” by Boston

    “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy

    “More, More, More” by Andrea True Connection

    “Tear The Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up The Funk)” by Parliament

    “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

    “The Rubberband Man” by The Spinners

    “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs

    “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways

    “Dazz” by Brick

    “The Things We Do For Love” by 10cc

    At the time I am sure I heard at least half of these, The Runaways, Brick and Parliament being the only ones that were beyond ‘regular’ radio in Canada.

  10. 10
    Linda B on 1 Jun 2008 #

    I’m not at all surprised that Dancing Queen is at number one, it was the anthem of all us ‘sweet young things’ in the seventies along with Elton & Kiki. Real Thing,Tina Charles and Pussycat all remind me of going to the Moonraker Nightclub in Preston in my hayday.I’m surprised they haven’t had more votes. As for Chicago, what a tear jerker! Some of these songs are still played quite often on radio here in Aus’.

  11. 11
    DJ Punctum on 1 Jun 2008 #

    Just to add to and reinforce the missus’ excellent list above, here’s the NME critics’ Top 20 singles of the year list:

    1. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
    2. Live At The Marquee (E.P.) – Eddie & The Hot Rods
    3. Anarchy In The U.K. – Sex Pistols
    4. Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
    5. So It Goes – Nick Lowe
    6. Police And Thieves – Junior Murvin
    7. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton
    8. Love And Affection – Joan Armatrading
    9. I’ll Be Good To You – Brothers Johnson
    10. Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band
    11. War In A Babylon – Max Romeo
    12. Take The Money And Run – Steve Miller Band
    13. Hurricane – Bob Dylan
    14. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
    15. Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry
    16. Little Johnny Jewel – Television
    17. I Want More – Can
    18. Shake Some Action – Flamin’ Groovies
    19. Roast Fish And Cornbread – Lee Perry
    20. Boogie On The Street – Lew Lewis

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 1 Jun 2008 #

    A lot of great singles in that poll.

    I’ve never heard ‘Boogie On The Streets’, though I’ve always thought that – for that title alone – it must be the definitive 1976 pub rock Stiff Records record.

  13. 13
    Billy Smart on 10 Jul 2008 #

    ABBA 18%? 609 voters? I suspect that you may have been spammed!

    The phantom NME Chart number ones of 1976; Glass Of Champagne, Silly Love Songs, Young Hearts Run Free. All of which are ace.

  14. 14
    Tom on 10 Jul 2008 #

    No, when we reset the FT back end the other week every individual vote somehow got counted as a separate voter. I will ask Alan if there’s anything that can be done about it.

  15. 15
    admin on 10 Jul 2008 #

    no idea how this happened – something askew in the poll counting. there are really 139 voters (and ~650 ticks). will try to rectify that…

  16. 16
    DJ Punctum on 11 Jul 2008 #

    Luxembourg-only number ones: Glass Of Champagne, Rodrigo, Convoy, Love Really Hurts Without You, Love Me Like I Love You, Convoy GB, S-S-S-Single Bed, Silver Star, My Resistance Is Low, Silly Love Songs, Young Hearts Run Free, A Little Bit More, Jeans On, In Zaire, Let ‘Em In, Can’t Get By Without You, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Somebody To Love.

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 5 Aug 2008 #

    For a sense of context, let’s look at the same chart upside down – here’s a list of all the singles that peaked at number 40 in 1976;

    13 Mar London Boys – T. Rex – 1 week

    27 Mar You Belong To Me – Gary Glitter – 1

    19 Jun Could It Be Magic? – Donna Summer – 1

    9 Oct Under One Roof – The Rubettes – 1

    27 Nov Say You Love Me – Fleetwood Mac – 1

  18. 18
    Billy Smart on 2 Sep 2008 #

    NME Readers’ poll for 1976, ‘Best single’ category;

    1. Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
    2. Eddie & The Hot Rods – Live At The Marquee EP
    3. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry
    4. The Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK
    5. Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper
    6. Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
    7. 10CC – I’m Mandy, Fly Me
    8. Status Quo – Mystery Song
    9. Steely Dan – Haitian Divorce
    10. Queen – Somebody To Love

  19. 19
    Billy Smart on 19 Jul 2009 #

    Incidentally, I think that it’s probably safe to re-open the Pussycat thread by now!

  20. 20
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    Those Irish no.1s in full:

    Abba – Mamma Mia
    Red Hurley – Broken Promises
    Sailor – A Glass of Champagne
    Marianne Faithfull – Dreaming My Dreams
    Tina Charles – I Love To Love
    Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
    Brotherhood of Man – Save Your Kisses
    Abba – Fernando
    Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – Arms of Mary
    Wings – Silly Love Songs
    Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
    Elton & Kiki – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
    Abba – Dancing Queen
    Pussycat – Mississippi
    Smokie – I’ll Meet You At Midnight
    Nilsson – Without You
    Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
    Johnny Mathis – When a Child Is Born

    Second time Harry Nilsson’s Without You had been no.1 in four years – two weeks each time in ’72 and ’76. Dusty had reached no.4 first time out.

  21. 21
    lonepilgrim on 8 Apr 2011 #

    This week’s rerun of TOTP was not quite as dire as last week, despite being presented by Noel Edmunds. There was a bizarre appearance by Eric Carmen who looked like he was there as some form of community service.
    “Don’t stop it now” Hot Chocolate
    The band seemed to be enjoying themselves but the song was not that memorable.

    “Fernando” Abba
    A tiny bit twee, but a great tune with effortless production – plus those women were good looking

    “Reggae like it used to be” Paul Nicholas
    Dreadful in so many ways – sadly not DREADful

    “Paperback writer” The Beatles
    It’s a sign of getting old that I was more interested in what books were on the shelves than the dancers

    “I’m Mandy, Fly Me” 10cc
    I enjoyed this, although it got a bit bogged down in the middle. The musical pastiche and wordplay put me in mind of Elvis Costello.

    “Baby I’m yours” Linda Lewis
    Pleasant – I was more interested in her vocal range, and surprised at how deep it went. I think of her as a high pitched triller

    “Love Me Like I Love You” Bay City Rollers
    Bizarre video – I couldn’t figure out what the song was called as it didn’t seem to have a hook.

    “Silver Star” The Four Seasons
    Pleasant but a little dull

    “There’s a kind of hush” The Carpenters
    Strange synthetic sound not helped by second helping of dancers

    “Life is too short girl” Sheer Elegance
    Hot Chocolate wannabes – with a marginally more memorable song, but weaker production

    “Fallen Angel” Frankie Valli
    I can’t remember this at all – just glad Frankie didn’t start shrieking

    “Save all your kisses for me” Brotherhood of Man
    A black hole of mediocrity

    “You see the trouble with me” Barry White
    Only a short burst of this over the end credits, but pretty good.

  22. 22
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Oh I remember this one!

    Those good old TOTP Rules! Frankie Valli avoided!

    This one being, “nobody can appear twice on one show”, so I believe the camera pans around the bloke on the piano during the four seasons track during the middle bit. Is that Frankie Valli on the piano? We can never be sure, his face remains unseen. It’s clear enough during his solo hit later on…

    (Haven’t seen this on the replay just yet)

  23. 23
    wichita lineman on 11 Apr 2011 #

    When did that rule come in? Post Tony Burrows? Well, Frankie probably doesn’t even appear on Silver Star (lyrically an adult role-reversal of Under My Thumb, musically a post-Bo Rhap shapeshifter, love it passionately) so he was probably only on keyboards to give him something to do.

    Eric Carmen shaking hands with Noel Edmonds was a peculiar and quite touching surprise.

    I’m Mandy Fly Me shoulda been a number one! The middle section is what makes it for me, esp. as Eric Stewart’s long held note goes into “I…. saw her walking on the water”; it has an arrangement to rival Surfs Up. I’ve never understood whether the lyric is meant to be taken literally – am I missing something obvious?

  24. 24
    punctum on 11 Apr 2011 #

    “Silver Star” also helps invent Acid House with that piano and beat: “Ecstasy on their faces…”

  25. 25
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    #23, I think Tony Burrows was why, yes. I’m sure Frankie’s singing the middle section of “Silver Star” you know.

    Also, IMFM was ‘supposed’ to be some sort of drugs reference by the ‘people’ who ‘know’, denied by the writers obviously…

  26. 26
    Erithian on 11 Apr 2011 #

    The Tony Burrows Rule was famously broken in 1982 by Steve Archibald, appearing for both Spurs and Scotland on the same night (he couldn’t do that as a footballer but did as a singer!)

    Here’s Kevin Godley denying that “Mandy” was about taking Mandrax: http://www.minestrone.org/rm760501.htm

  27. 27
    wichita lineman on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Thanks Erithian! Yes, Mandrax. All makes sense.

    Don’t think it’s Frankie on the mid section (prob Don Ciccone), and according to Wiki “Valli’s contribution was limited to harmony vocals at the end of the recording (he was gradually losing his hearing in the 1970s due to otosclerosis)”.

    Of course I was forgetting… Frankie’s obviously harmonising all over the thing right at the very end.

  28. 28
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Ah right, I see.

    They do go out of their way to ‘not show’ the pianist’s face while showing the guy reasonably close up… (as I remember it)

  29. 29
    Mark G on 14 Apr 2011 #

    Right, seen it now, so:

    Yeah, you can see that it isn’t FValli on the piano, but I stand by that they would have said “no, FValli can’t appear with both acts”. Also, drummer looks a lot like Woody Harrelson.

    Also, another one reminds me of that old MU rule that you ‘had’ to re-record your backing track to appear on the show. So, Paul Nicholas gets the BBC Orchestra with The Ladybirds treatment, and the four seasons get to buy the Musician’s Union bloke a drink while they switch the tapes.

  30. 30
    lonepilgrim on 16 Apr 2011 #

    This week’s TOTP was more dance oriented with a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly – the latter two qualities personified by DLT.

    Fox – Single Bed
    I warmed to this performance more than the one two weeks ago. The band seemed more relaxed. I suspect that Alison Goldfrapp was taking notes

    Stylistics – Can’t help falling in love
    Reminded me how alien these soul groups appeared to me – then and now, with their pastel tuxedoes with lace(?) detailed lapels, synchronised moves, and unearthly falsettos. I don’t think the song suited them as well as some of their other stuff. I was curious why one singer remained sat on a stool – he looked a lot shorter than the rest, was that why?.

    Diana Ross – Theme from Mahogany
    Lovely tune, bland choreography, costumes by Bev from Abigail’s Party followed by DLT leering at Pans People in a toe curling way

    Brass Construction – Movin’
    Fantastic – this sounded fresh and compelling

    Sailor – Girls,girls,girls
    Still enjoyable – there was a mini revival of 30s(?) style stuff – with Bette Midler releasing ‘Songs for the New Depression’ this year for one

    Isaac Hayes – Disco connection
    Another toetapper, not quite as strong as Brass Connection– slightly diluted by PPs antics

    Smokie – Wild, wild angels
    I’d forgotten how ubiquitous this lot had been during the 70s – apparently singing variations on the one song

    Eric Carmen – All by myself
    borrowing from Rachmaninoff, so wiki tells me. Eric had a more brooding intensity about his performance which contrasted with the end of the pier stylings of many of the UK acts

    Brotherhood of Man – Save all your kisses for me
    Still sounding dire – TOTP seemed to think that a video of BoM ambling through a park might put an end

    Rodger Collins -‘You Sexy Sugar Plum’
    A very short burst of this over the end credits – but Youtube suggests we will get a fuller performance. I can’t remember hearing this at all at the time

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