The History of Pop Music – 1977

Featured song:

Eagles – Hotel California

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 1977: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  Punk rock, labour government ruining the country still, the Silver Jubilee for the Queen (proper one, not the band), Jeremy (I’m not ghey really) Thorpe and those firefighters who went on strike, which I found unforgivable.  There was though one highlight of the year, and that was Star Wars was released in the UK, Yay!

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 21, doing my second tour in NI this time in an Infantry role. It was pretty awful and had some nasty incidents, but as you know, we do not like to talk about it. We got back to base in Hameln, and I first saw what punk was. It was complete and utter shite. There will be many who read this who will like punk rock, we all have different tastes. I remember our first night back after that tour, we went down the town and had beer for this first time in 6 months. I also remember screaming at my mates on the way back as “I had forgot my gat” (rifle), strange feeling when you hold something pretty much full time, even sleep with it, then suddenly realise in a drunken haze you did not have it. The rest of the year was good though, I remember going home for Christmas.

TV programmes included:

Take Hart with Morph, Top gear started, presented by Angela Rippon. 22nd Eurovision song contest, hosted by Angela Rippon is won by some French rubbish, beating into 2nd place a very nice tune from Lynsey de Paul with Rock Bottom. We watched the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The Krypton factor started as did the first It’ll Be Alright on the Night (that was really good). Of note where two Christmas day specials: 25 December – Both the Mike Yarwood Christmas Show and The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show on BBC 1 attracts an audience of more than 28 million, one of the highest ever in British television history.


Prime Minister – James Callaghan (Labour)

6 January – record company EMI sacks the controversial British punk rock group the Sex Pistols due to their behaviour on ITV’s Today Show, whose presenter Bill Grundy was also dismissed by his employers for inciting them.

4 February – Fleetwood Mac’s Grammy-winning album Rumours is released, featuring songs that include “The Chain”, “Don’t Stop”, and “Go Your Own Way”. It my view, one of the very best albums ever made.

1 March – James Callaghan threatens to withdraw state assistance to British Leyland unless it puts an end to strikes.

14 March – The government reveals that inflation has pushed prices up by nearly 70% within three years.

2 April – Red Rum wins the Grand National for the third time.

6–9 June – Silver Jubilee celebrations are held in the United Kingdom to celebrate twenty-five years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, with a public holiday on 7 June

<spoiler> 11 August – Cricketer Geoff Boycott scores the 100th century of his career for England against Australia at Headingley, Leeds</spoiler>. – I like Geoff a lot (in a manly sense). Also, that’s how you put a spoiler in, even though it does not work in an article.

16 September – Rock star Marc Bolan, pioneer of the glam rock movement at the start of the 1970s with T. Rex, is killed in a car crash in Barnes, London, two weeks before his thirtieth birthday. His girlfriend Gloria Jones, who was driving the car, is seriously injured.

27 October – Former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe denies allegations of the attempted murder of and having a relationship with male model, Norman Scott.

27 October – Punk band Sex Pistols release Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on the Virgin Records label. Despite refusal by major retailers to stock it, it debuts at No 1 on the UK Album Charts the week after its release. In a promotional stunt, the group perform on a boat on the River Thames shortly afterwards, only for the police to wait for them and make several arrests, including that of Malcolm McLaren, the band’s manager at this time.

28 October – Police in Yorkshire appeal for help in finding the “Yorkshire Ripper”, who is believed to be responsible for a series of murders and attacks on women across the county during the last two years.

14 November – Firefighters go on their first ever national strike, in hope of getting a 30% wage increase. My squadron had to learn how to use a Green Goddess (not a euphemism).

21 December – Four children die at a house fire in Wednesbury, West Midlands, as Green Goddess fire appliances crewed by hastily trained troops are sent to deal with the blaze while firefighters are still on strike. 119 people have now died as a result of fires since the strike began, but this is the first fire during the strike which has resulted in more than two deaths.

27 December – The highlight of the year for me, Star Wars is screened in the UK and I was at home on Christmas leave.

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

Top Hits of 1977
   1 Wings Mull of Kintyre
   2 David Soul Don’t Give Up On Us
   3 Julie Covington Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
   4 Leo Sayer When I Need You
   5 David Soul Silver Lady
   6 Abba Knowing Me Knowing You
   7 Donna Summer I Feel Love
   8 Elvis Presley Way Down
   9 Hot Chocolate So You Win Again
   10 Brotherhood of Man Angelo

What a year for ABBA again, Queen, Wings, Showaddywaddy, 10cc, Boney M, Hot Chocolate, Bowie. David Soul had 2 hits, both dirges. Special mention to Donna Summer, I Feel Love was a close call, but you just cannot ever leave this song.

I suppose I better say something about punk. Sex Pistols had an album that went to No 1. Stranglers had Peaches. They spawned some other bands who learned to play 3 chords, and I suppose some of them turned out OK in the end. I am dreading the evening this is published, you will all gang up on me and post non-musical vids

The song:

“Hotel California” is the title track from the Eagles’ album of the same name and was released as a single in February 1977. Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). The Eagles’ original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh.

The song is considered the most famous recording by the band, and its long guitar coda has been voted the best guitar solo of all time by readers of Guitarist in 1998. The Eagles themselves described the song as their “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”. In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about “a journey from innocence to experience… that’s all.

There are other interpretations, being about drugs, Satanism, even cannibalism. I’ll take what Don Henley says though, as this is my most favourite song ever.

More writings on this song here: Hotel California

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):

Donna Summer – I Feel Love – What a great song by a great lady.

Baccara – Yes Sir, I Can Boogie – Could easily have been my pick had they produced anything even remotely close to how good this is.

Smokie – It’s your life – best band in the world.

Boney M – Ma Baker – Love this group.

Boney M. – Daddy Cool

Showaddywaddy – You got what it takes – I still play their songs regularly, proper music.

Showaddywaddy – When

Showaddywaddy – Dancin Party

Showaddywaddy – Under the moon of love – Did I mention I like Showaddywaddy?

Darts – Daddy Cool – This group I loved then and still do. They will feature more. They came out of Rocky Sharp and the Replays. Awesome!

Queen – We Are The Champions

Electric Light Orchestra – Telephone Line

Ram Jam – Black Betty

Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Classic Rod

Rod Stewart: The First Cut Is The Deepest – More classic Rod

Rod Stewart – You’re In My Heart – He did produce some belting songs.

Manhattan Transfer – Chanson D’Amour – I bought their album on the back of this, lovely, still play their songs today.

Candi Staton – Nights On Broadway – good version this.

Detroit Emeralds – Feel the need in me

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes – Don’t Leave Me This Way – Original, non-ghey version

Rose Royce – Car Wash

ABBA – The Name Of The Game

10cc – The Things we do for Love – great band

David Bowie – Sound And Vision

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Fanfare For The Common Man

Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over the World – Yay

Status Quo – Wild Side Of Life

Carole Bayer Sager – You’re Moving Out Today

Space – Magic Fly – Another great tune I bought the album and the rest was dire.

Donna Summer – Theme From The Deep (Down Deep Inside)

Joe Tex ~ Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) – great song on the disco floor.

Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love – Last dance of the night song. It’s now or never lads.

Billy Ocean – Red Light Spells Danger

Tavares – Whodunit

Santana – She’s Not There – never liked Santana that much, but this is a terrific version.

I suppose I would be lynched if I did not put some punk in the list, here is a couple I find almost tolerable, or posted so you don’t have to.

Tom Robinson Band – 2-4-6-8 Motorway – These guys actually play.

The Stranglers – Peaches – as could these

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen – unlike these

Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant

Fun song: Barron Knights Live In Trouble Tape Side1

Fun song: Barron Knights Live In Trouble Tape Side2

Fun song: Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae

43 songs for 1977 in my favourite lists. The most I have selected, as it was a good year.  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 1978.

Featured Image: Steve Alexander [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2019

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