30 Years of Albums in My Wheelhouse: 1976

The bicentennial. My Lord! The whole first seven months of the country bicentennial birthday was my first true experience with massive hype from the media. Red, white & blue was everywhere leading up to that Independence Day on July 4 that year. It was kind of cool that year because somethings were being done in creative ways.

The Runaways (left to right): Joan Jett (guitar/vocals), Lita Ford (guitar/vocals), Cherie Curie (lead vocals), Jackie Fox (bass/vocals) and Sandy West (drums).

For example, American Top 40 did a special countdown of the number one songs on July 4 running from 1937 to 1976. That was the first special edition of the show that I remember hearing. Additionally, I heard many songs on that countdown for the very first time, consummating with Casey ending the show with what was the current number one song on July 4, 1976, which was Wings’ “Silly Love Song.”

Boz Scaggs

There were other special programs and such, but I don’t care how big a television screen is, fireworks just do not work on TV. In past years, most July Fourths were spent in the neighborhood as everyone pooled their fireworks together to produce a low quality explosives show. One father was a Vietnam veteran with what now call PTSD, so he would be sweating out the night in his home. I have developed so much more sympathy for what he went through those nights each year. Another father placed himself in charge of lighting the fireworks as he held a blowtorch in one hand and martini in the other. And his gem of a wife would continue to keep that martini shaker ready for his next drink. Little did we know that the martinis were an every night thing.


For me, the Fourth of July highlight of 1976 was the high school party that took place that year right next door to my bedroom window. Since it was summer, my two windows were open, most importantly, the window that faced the neighbor’s converted-garage-family room. In that magical space, the high school teens of the house of a blended family held many a party over the years while their parents worked second shift at the factories in town. When a thirteen-year-old me looked out the window, the wonders see did he. Let’s simply end this paragraph knowing that this writer has some serious images of the beautiful high school women from the neighborhood in various states of dress. I was like that little kid in the film Animal House thanking God when a Playboy bunny was thrown into his room.


1976 was also the year in which I discovered rock magazines. I began to devour the pages of Creem, Circus, Hit Parader, Billboard and, to a lesser extent for  another three years, Rolling Stone. Truth be told, Creem was my go-to rock rag of the day. For the next three years, that magazine would guide me with the development of my musical tastes. Through the pages of that magazine, along with the writings of stalwart rock journalist such as Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Jaan Uhelzszki, Cameron Crowe, Lisa Robinson, among many other giants within the field of rock journalists and critics.

 Peter Frampton

I cannot emphasize enough how important Creem was to the development of my musical tastes. Through that magazine, I learned about many album oriented rock artists, as well as heavy metal, funk and punk artists. Because of that magazine alone, I bought albums by the likes of Styx, Parliament, Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Cheap Trick, among so many others. That magazine opened a world of possibilities in music to me.

So, with all of that said, let’s get to the important part of this entry, the countdown.

50. Bootsy’s Rubber Band – Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band

49. ABBA – Arrival

48. Elton John – Blue Moves

47. Jeff Beck – Wired

46. Blue Öyster Cult – Agents of Fortune

45. Rose Royce – Car Wash

44. Wings – Wings at the Speed of Sound

43. The Rolling Stones – Black and Blue

42. Parliament – The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein

41. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

40. Rod Stewart – A Night on the Town

39. Graham Parker – Howlin’ Wind

38. Kansas – Leftoverture

37. Bee Gees – Children of the World

36. Warren Zevon – Warren Zevon

35. Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band – Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band

34. Kiss – Rock & Roll Over

33. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Bigger Than Both of Us

32. Bob Dylan – Desire

31. Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell

30. Peter Tosh – Legalize It

29. Rainbow – Rising

28. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – I Don’t Wanna Go Home

27. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Rastaman Vibration

26. Blondie – Blondie

25. Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

24. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Live Bullet

23. Aerosmith – Rocks

22. Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record

21. KC & the Sunshine Band – Part Three

20. Eagles – Hotel California

19. Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More from the Road

18. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Night Moves

17. Eddie & the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression

16. Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive

15. Jackson Browne – The Pretender

14. The Runaways – The Runaways

13. Steve Miller Band – Fly like an Eagle

12. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

11. The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action

10. Rush – 2112

9. David Bowie – Station to Station

8. Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees

7. Heart – Dreamboat Annie

6. Ramones – Ramones

5. Kiss – Destroyer

4. Boston – Boston


3. Queen – A Day at the Races

2. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

1. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life

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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