The Wacky Year of 1976 & My 100 Favorite Songs


If you lived through 1976, you know it was just plain crazy. Saturday Night Live, in its second year on the air, actually was given credit by some for putting Jimmy Carter in the White House. I’m not sure if that’s true, I think Watergate may have played a larger role, but it does give a measurement to the power of pop culture at the time. 1976 was the year of the bicentennial, one of the biggest hypes of the time. The first rumblings of punk were being heard in London after tours by the New York City punk bands. And, disco was beginning to wane a bit, at least until next year.

1976 was my second full year in which I was immersed in popular music. Once again, Casey Kasem’s program was my biggest influence, but I had discovered rock magazines with color photographs AND great writing especially Creem magazine with the great Lester Bangs and Lisa Robinson influencing my next level of discoveries. I was also in my full throttle KISS days, but I also moved toward Queen, Rush and Parliament that year. And everywhere you went, Peter Frampton was on the radio, turntable or in an 8-track tape player.

9.4 peter-frampton

But, did you know who somewhat quietly had big years in the music world? Boz Scaggs and Bob Seger. Scaggs unwittingly started the whole nutty genre of yacht rock with his brilliant mix of West Coast cool, mild disco beats, brilliant white-soul vocals and slick production work. And Seger, that hardworking journeyman rocker from the Detroit music scene finally broke nationally.

In retrospect, it appears that many of the rock songs from this year have become the basis for classic rock radio. From “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Boston’s debut album, 1976 is loaded with rock classics. Unbeknownst to me at the time would be that I would never again escape many of these songs, for better or for worse.

9.4 bob seger

Perhaps most importantly, I officially joined the ranks of being a teenager that year, and with that came all the craziness of the teen years. It was also the year when my parents’ marriage imploded. So while anger and hormones were raging through my body, music became my refuge. All this means that today’s list represents a moment in time when my life changed in oh so many ways, ways that I continued to battle throughout my adult life.

What does all of this say? Basically, this is a list of songs that essentially were three-minute therapy sessions. Some others may have been discovered later in my life, allowing me to rewrite history somewhat. Brace yourself because here are my 100 favorite songs of 1976.

9.4 svb

100. “Afternoon Delight” – Starland Vocal Band

99. “Keep on Knocking” – Death

98. “New Kid in Town” – Eagles

97. “Summer” – War

96. “You Don’t Have to Be a Star” – Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.

95. “Takin’ It to the Streets” – The Doobie Brothers

94. “Things We Do for Love” – 10 c.c.

93. “Back in the Saddle” – Aerosmith

92. “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser (live)” – Bob Seger

91. “The Pretender” – Jackson Browne

9.4 kc & sunshine band

90. “Keep It Comin’ Love” – KC & the Sunshine Band

89. “Let ‘Em In” – Wings

88. “The First Cut Is the Deepest” – Rod Stewart

87. “Something He Can Feel” – Aretha Franklin

86. “You Are the Woman” – Firefall

85. “Beth” – KISS

84. “Isn’t She Lovely” – Stevie Wonder

83. “Take the Money and Run” – Steve Miller Band

82. “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen

81. “Life in the Fast Lane” – Eagles

80. “If You Leave Me Now” – Chicago

9.4 kansas

79. “Carry On Wayward Son” – Kansas

78. “I Wish” – Stevie Wonder

77. “Baby I Love Your Way (live)” – Peter Frampton

76. “Rock’n Me” – Steve Miller Band

75. “Livin’ Thing” – Electric Light Orchestra

74. “Shake Your Booty” – KC & the Sunshine Band

73. “New Rose” – The Damned

72. “2112” – Rush

9.4 atlanta_rhythm_section

71. “So Into You” – Atlanta Rhythm Section

70. “Devil Woman” – Cliff Richard

69. “I’m Your Boogie Man” – KC & the Sunshine Band

68. “Police and Thieves” – Junior Murvin

67. “Roxette” – Dr. Feelgood

66. “X-Offender” – Blondie

65. “It’s a Long Way to the Top” – AC/DC

64. “Do Ya” – Electric Light Orchestra

63. “Just to Be Close to You” – Commodores

62. “Smoke from a Distant Fire” – Sanford/Townsend Band

9.4 Silver Convention

61. “Get Up and Boogie” – Silver Convention

60. “Love So Right” – Bee Gees

59. “Enjoy Yourself” – The Jacksons

58. “Fool to Cry” – The Rolling Stones

57. “Detroit Rock City” – KISS

56. “Turn Your Beat Around” – Vicki Sue Robinson

55. “Year of the Cat” – Al Stewart

54. “Dazz” – Brick

53. “Silly Love Songs” – Wings

52. “Love Hangover” – Diana Ross

51. “Show Me the Way (live)” – Peter Frampton

9.4 rose royce

50. “Car Wash” – Rose Royce

49. “Crazy on You” – Heart

48. “Kiss and Say Goodbye” – The Manhattans

47. “Fly like an Eagle” – Steve Miller Band

46. “Tonight’s the Night” – Rod Stewart

45. “Still the One” – Orleans

44. “The Rubberband Man” – The Spinners

43. “(I’m) Stranded” – The Saints

42. “Shake Some Action” – The Flamin’ Groovies

41. “Telephone Line” – Electric Light Orchestra

9.4 Andrea true

40. “More, More, More” – Andrea True Connection

39. “Mainstreet” – Bob Seger

38. “Do You Feel like I Do (live)” – Peter Frampton

37. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – Thelma Houston

36. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – Elton John & Kiki Dee

35. “Long Time” – Boston

34. “Night Moves” – Bob Seger

33. “Play that Funky Music” – Wild Cherry

32. “Dancing Queen” – ABBA

31. “Somebody to Love” – Queen

9.4 brothers johnson

30. “I’ll Be Good to You” – Brothers Johnson

29. “Shout It Out Loud” – KISS

28. “Here Comes Those Tears Again” – Jackson Browne

27. “Cherry Bomb” – The Runaways

26. “Teenage Depression” – Eddie & the Hot Rods

25. “Magic Man” – Heart

24. “You Should Be Dancing” – Bee Gees

23. “So It Goes” – Nick Lowe

22. “Dream On” – Aerosmith

9.4 boz scaggs

21. “Lido Shuffle” – Boz Scaggs

20. “Breakdown” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

19. “Blitzkrieg Bop” – Ramones

18. “Moonlight Feels Right” – Starbuck

17. “Rich Girl” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

16. “American Girl” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

15. “Lowdown” – Boz Scaggs

9.4 heatwave

14. “Boogie Nights” – Heatwave

13. “Anarchy in the U.K.” – Sex Pistols

12. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Blue Öyster Cult

11. “Turn the Page (live)” – Bob Seger

10. “Sir Duke” – Stevie Wonder

9.4 climax-blues-band-group

9. “Couldn’t Get It Right” – Climax Blues Band

8. “Saturday Night” – Bay City Rollers

7. “She’s Gone” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

6. “Blinded by the Light” – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

9.4 thin lizzy

5. “The Boys Are Back in Town” – Thin Lizzy

4. “More Than a Feeling” – Boston

3. “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac

2. “Hotel California” – Eagles

9.4 queen

1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

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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