I Love 1976: My Top 40 Albums of 1976

American Top 40 - 70s_1976

1976 was a year that had been hyped up so much during our years in elementary school, that there was no way the United States’ two-century birthday celebration was ever going to live up to that hype. The country’s dominant political and economic powers were still being wielded by the pre-Elvis generation, so there was no way a rock band would be on the list of performers for the celebrations in DC and in NYC that July 4th. Oh sure, they might have gotten crazy and invited the Beach Boys, but they were a nostalgia act by then. And, Johnny Cash was invited, I’m sure, as long as he stuck with his non-controversial country hits. Oh, the powers-that-be probably booked the Osmonds and Up with People, but that was the extent of a nod toward perhaps the most American of twentieth century music, right after jazz, the blues and country musics. But, I did not watch the celebration.

Instead, I took to the cul-de-sac, or as the kids called it “The Circle,” to watch a couple of martini-sipping middle-aged men with blowtorches, light all of the fireworks us twenty kids had purchased for our own celebration. Back in 1976 in Indiana, Hoosiers were not allowed to buy firecrackers, bottle rockets and any other explosive fireworks any teenaged boy would love to blow up. However, someone from the neighborhood was always traveling to Tennessee the week before Independence Day in order to buy illegal fireworks, so we were never without. Still, my favorite memories remain the men’s shaky hands doing the lighting by the end of the evening; the neighbor’s military-trained dog successfully several firecrackers and M80s before exploding; and, getting in a little hand-holding and kissing with a neighbor girl.

But, it was Casey Kasem’s special Fourth of July American Top 40 Countdown of the most popular songs from past July 4th countdowns during the rock era. That four-hour radio program was one of the most enjoyable history lessons that I ever took part in (I wrote it down…DUH!). But, my album of choice that summer was the classic album Destroyer by Kiss. No album before it had ever given me such a rush. It was nearly comparable to winning a Cross Country race or getting a double win in the half-mile and mile runs in track or making some great catch in centerfield in baseball. That album was a life-changer for me. And, 1976 had many more good albums. But, everything that was happening as a set-up for the seismic shift that would take place next year in the form of punk rock. Still, that was brewing in New York City and London, far away from some skinny would-be athlete from the middle of Farmland USA.

So, would you join me in my countdown of my 40 favorite albums from the bicentennial year of 1976, which the celebrations that year went off like popgun, while the music was more like a bazooka. Rock on everyone!

4.30 kiss destroyer

4.30 ramones_-_ramones_a-ramones4.30 Queen a day at the races

  1. Kiss – Destroyer
  2. Ramones – Ramones
  3. Queen – A Day at the Races
  4. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  5. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  6. Boston – Boston
  7. Rush – 2112
  8. David Bowie – Station to Station
  9. Thin Lizzy – Jail Break
  10. Heart – Dreamboat Annie
  11. Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More from the Road
  12. Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees
  13. Parliament – The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein
  14. Eagles – Hotel California
  15. Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record
  16. Steve Miller Band – Fly like an Eagle
  17. The Runaways – The Runaways
  18. Blondie – Blondie
  19. The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
  20. Bob Seger – Live Bullet
  21. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  22. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Bigger Than Both of Us
  23. Eddie & the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression
  24. Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell
  25. Kiss – Rock and Roll Over
  26. Styx – Crystal Ball
  27. Aerosmith – Rocks
  28. The Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination of Edgar Allan Poe
  29. Bee Gees – Children of the World
  30. Bob Dylan – Desire
  31. Elton John – Blue Moves
  32. Bob Seger – Night Moves
  33. The Rolling Stones – Black and Blue
  34. Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive
  35. Wings – Wings over America
  36. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – I Don’t Want to Go Home
  37. The J. Geils Band – Blow Your Face Out
  38. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – The Roaring Silence
  39. Klaatu – 3:47 EST
  40. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

4.30 stevie wonder - songs in the key of lifeparliament clones of dr funkenstein

That is the year of 1976 according to my taste in music. Stay tuned for the of the Seventies as the week progresses. Rock on!

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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