The History of Pop Music – 1976

Featured song:

ABBA – Dancing Queen

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1976: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  Winning the Eurovision song contest with Brotherhood of man and “Save your kippers for tea”. ABBA, a lot of ABBA. We had a very warm summer that lasted a long time. Harold Wilson resigns, we beg for money from the IMF, as Labour had put up taxes and interest rates, so collected less money, spent everything and more, as they always do.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 20, doing my first tour in NI as Engineers (we were later to go out in the role of Infantry). As Engineers we spent all daylight hours building Sangers and walls and fortified protection. I ate a lot, breakfast just before dawn, 1st lunch at 12, second lunch at 12:30, back to base at dark for tea, about half eight a couple of death-burgers from the chogi shop, then sleep time. Never worked so hard in my life. We had no days off, as we were on standby when not working, so no beer. We did though have a disco one Thursday night were the local girls were invited, and we had a couple of cans each to drink.

TV programmes included:

3 April – The 21st Eurovision Song Contest is won by Brotherhood of Man, representing the United Kingdom, with their song “Save Your Kisses for Me”. Patricia Phoenix returns to the role of Elsie Tanner on Coronation Street after an absence of three years and Margot Bryant makes her last appearance as Minnie Caldwell. Popular 1960s series The Avengers returns as The New Avengers – its first episode in seven years. – Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, One man and his dog, Open all Hours and the dreadful Bionic Woman which actually was No 1 in the ratings. Start of the Muppet Show though, so not all bad.


Prime Minister – Harold Wilson (Labour) (until 5 April), James Callaghan (Labour) (starting 5 April)

5 January – Ten Protestant men are killed in the Kingsmill massacre at South Armagh, Northern Ireland, by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, using the alias “South Armagh Republican Action Force”.

7 January – Cod War: British and Icelandic ships clash at sea.

21 January – The first commercial Concorde flight takes off

29 January – Twelve Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in London’s West End

19 February – Iceland breaks off diplomatic relations with the UK over the Cod War

16 March – Harold Wilson announces his resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to take effect on 5 April.

5 April – James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister upon the resignation of Harold Wilson, defeating Roy Jenkins and Michael Foot in the leadership contest.

6 May – Local council elections produce disappointing results for the Labour Party, who win just 15 seats and lose 829 that they had held, compared to the Conservatives who win 1,044 new seats and lose a mere 22. This setback comes despite the party enjoying a narrow lead in the opinion polls under new leader James Callaghan. Have to snigger at this.

10 May – Jeremy Thorpe resigns as leader of the Liberal party

26 June – see the temperature exceed 35 °C (95 °F). For the whole meteorological summer (June–August), temperatures will average 21 °C and there will be 669 hours of sunshine. This is contributing to the worst drought in the United Kingdom since the 1720s.

28 June – In the heatwave, the temperature reaches 35.6 °C (96.1 °F) in Southampton, the highest recorded for June in the UK.

3 July – The heat wave peaks with temperatures reaching 35.9 °C (96.6 °F) in Cheltenham.

August Drought at its most severe. Parts of South West England go for 45 days with no rain in July and August.

6 August – The last person to serve as Postmaster General, John Stonehouse, is sentenced to seven years in jail for fraud.

15 December – Denis Healey announces to Parliament that he has successfully negotiated a £2,300,000,000 loan for Britain from the International Monetary Fund on condition that £2,500,000,000 is cut from public expenditure: the NHS, education and social benefit sectors are not affected by these cuts.

Inflation stands at 16.5% – lower than last year’s level, but still one of the highest since records began in 1750. However, at one stage during this year inflation exceeded 24%.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Hits of 1976
   1 Brotherhood of Man Save Your Kisses For Me
   2 Elton John & Kiki Dee Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
   3 Pussycat Mississippi
   4 Abba Dancing Queen
   5 Dr. Hook A Little Bit More
   6 Chicago If You Leave Me Now
   7 Abba Fernando
   8 Tina Charles I Love To Love
   9 Demis Roussos Forever and ever
   10 Showaddywaddy Under The Moon Of Love

What a year for ABBA. Some great songs they did and in my view a worthy featured song. After my favourite band which is Smokie, come Pussycat. Ever since I heard Mississippi I have just loved them. They are regularly on my playlist. Dr Hook were on the scene dong great tunes as well, another regular on my playlist. Queen of course had a string of hits from their Night at the Opera album. All the ladiez loved Demis Roussos, I thought he was a prat, I think I was not alone. I really liked a bit of Sailor as well. ELO with Living Thing could easily have been my pick, but ABBA did so much and I am sure ELO will get there eventually. Wings with Paul McCartney were doing great as well.

The song:

“Dancing Queen” is a Europop song by the Swedish group ABBA, and the lead single from their fourth studio album, Arrival. It was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson. Andersson and Ulvaeus also produced the song. “Dancing Queen” was released as a single in Sweden on 15 August 1976, followed by a UK release and the rest of Europe a few days later. It was a worldwide hit. It became ABBA’s only number one hit in the United States, and topped the charts in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany and Zimbabwe. “Dancing Queen” also reached the top five in many other countries.

I watched them live on Eurovision and just knew it would win.

More writings on this song here: Dancing Queen

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are (best to right click and open in a new window):

Pussycat – Mississippi – Just loved this band and especially the best singer ever, Toni Willé (her website is here:

ELO – Livin Thing – great song

Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together – Another contender for the featured song, what a belter this is.

Queen – Somebody To Love

Queen – You’re My Best Friend

Sailor – A Glass Of Champagne – Loved this band, only did one album though.

Sailor – Girls Girls Girls

ABBA – Mamma Mia

Abba – Money, Money, Money

Peter Frampton – Show Me the Way – To me, another classic

5000 Volts – Dr Kiss Kiss – Big hit last year, then this, then nothing. I liked them

Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow – Off a terrific album, me and my mates would sing all day to this and others from their album,

Sutherland Brothers and Quiver – Arms of Mary

Dr Hook – If Not You – The soppiness in me comes out again.

Donna Summer Love To Love You Baby – Good for the dance floor.

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town

The Four Seasons ~ December 1963 (Oh What A Night) 1976 Disco Purrfection Version

It Should Have Been Me – Yvonne Fair – Gladys Knight did a version, but this one by Yvonne Fair is just brutally raw and perfect.

Rod Stewart – “The Killing Of Georgie” (Part I & II)

David Dundas – Jeans On

John Miles – Music

Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

Candi Staton – Young Hearts Run Free

Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night – As good today as it was then.

Paul McCartney & Wings – Let ‘Em In

Paul McCartney & Wings – Silly Love Songs

Silver Convention – Get Up and Boogie – classic disco tune

Sherbet – Howzat – Another great tune I liked so much I bought the album, rubbish it was.

Rolling Stones – Fool to Cry – nice song this, I have a put the link to a live version in place.

Robin Sarstedt – My Resistance Is Low – I just liked this.

Leo Sayer – You make me feel like dancing

Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You

CW McCall Convoy – Said Big Ben this is Rubber Duck, about to go hunting bear!

Manfred Mann – Blinded by the Light

Bay City Rollers – Love Me Like I love You Baby

Fun song: The Wurzels – Combine Harvester – Ooh haa

36 songs for 1976 in my favourite lists.  Wonderful, wonderful era.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1977.

Featured Image: AVRO [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2019

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