150 Best Albums of 1976

The album that’s been on my shelves, in my collection, longest came out in 1976. But it’s not listed below — Not because I don’t think it’s great, but because like all greatest hits anthologies and archival reissues, Changesonebowie doesn’t qualify here. If I live long enough, those will somehow wind up on separate lists of some sort. Elvis Presley’s Sun Sessions, which topped Dave Marsh’s 1976 album list in The Book of Rock Lists, is missing for the same reason; likewise worthy 1976 best-ofs from Jim Croce, the Eagles, Grand Funk, the Monkees, Ohio Players, John Prine and Linda Ronstadt, and the risqué opium-den Tea Pad Songs Volume Two blues compilation on Stash Records.

So basically, to show up on these “Best of Whatever Year” lists, music needs to be (1) mainly previously unreleased, at least in the U.S., and (2) not too terribly old. But even those technicalities can get complicated. Like, what about The Modern Lovers, a debut LP recorded by Jonathan Richman’s band in 1971 and 1972, but not released until ’76? I decided to include it since a half-decade isn’t all that long, but I can’t guarantee I’d make the same judgment call in every other similar case. As for the filthy prison toasts and dozens collected on Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me: Narrative Poetry from the Black Oral Tradition, I’m not even sure when they were field-recorded. I stupidly sold my copy and its liner notes decades ago, and the album now goes for just under $1000 on Amazon. But with rap music on vinyl only three years away, the history this set captures feels at least as relevant to the near future as to the distant past.

History, as it turns out, was very much on America’s mind in 1976 — Or at least some antiseptic version of it was. From West Bloomfield High School’s student yearbook, two years before I graduated, preceding 15 sepia-tinted pages of photographs of the Michigan suburb changing through time, many courtesy the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society: “In keeping with the Bicentennial year, this year’s Exodus will touch on a part of history. The focal point of this introduction will be West Bloomfield — Its past, its people, its progress.” Territory that starts out as farmland with dour old-fashioned settlers rocking on wooden porches grows to accommodate a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a 7 Eleven, Keego Theater and the Back Seat Saloon!

And what an awesome idea it was to stick the U.S. of A.’s 200th birthday almost smack-dab in the middle of the silliest and most shameless (and – let’s not mince words here – probably best) decade for pop culture ever. Independence Days come and go, but never before or since has the celebration managed to last the entire year – non-stop detonation from cherry bombs bursting in air and afternoon-delight skyrockets in flight.

As on every 4th of July, my subdivision threw a huge party, kicking off with morning multi-generational softball games at the Green Elementary diamonds, followed by streamer-decorated bike parades and three-legged races and hot dog grillings, through which events grownups tended to get drunk or at least oblivious enough that teenagers could sneak a beer can or two from iced-down buckets then start shooting off M-80s and ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bombs (hello Daddy, hello Mom) as soon as the sun went down. All this happened in North Potomac Green park, a generous topographical basin complete with bike paths and a creek that froze over for narrow winter hockey, downhill from our backyard at 4105 Old Dominion, not to mention from three or four excellent toboggan slopes. The Bicentennial Independence Day party, naturally, was the biggest ever. In my mind, at least, I’ve always marked it as the day I wasn’t a kid anymore.

Appropriately, a few albums near the bottom of my ’76 top 150 were meant as clear historical documents. In “last” place, the Wisconsin-based 1st Brigade Band, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps, using “original instruments of the period,” devotes one side each to songs of the Union and of the Confederacy. A couple ladder-rungs up, on the only album I can think of with “Bicentennial” literally in its title, Richard Pryor commemorates “200 years of white folks kicking ass.” Later, while “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” blares in the background, he tells us Black humor was born on slave ships ( first punchline: “Yesterday I was a king!”) where 360 of 400 kidnapped Africans died on the way over and 20 more of disease after they got here. Conclusion: “I ain’t never gonna forget.”

There’s also a useful recording of Gunther Schuller conducting the New England Conservatory Country Fiddle Band playing “one hundred years of country dance music including the Revolutionary War Hit Song ‘On the Road to Boston.'” Reels, waltzes, schottisches, hornpipes, two-steps. Liner notes: “Probably the greatest benefit of our Bicentennial will turn out to be the discovery of the enormous diversity of American music throughout its more than 200-year history.” Well, that and Jimmy Carter I guess.

Anyway, add in Harmonica Frank Floyd and R. Crumb’s Cheap Suit Serenaders, and you’ve got centuries of musical muscle memory flexing simultaneously with the height of prog and glam (in England and Europe at least) and burgeoning evidence that disco and punk would be sticking around for the long haul. So naturally ear-to-the-ground music critics got all excited about, uh….Graham Parker?? Two of the top four albums in the Pazz & Jop poll, both not bad at all but neither as exciting as his third album that placed 19th in 1977, so, well, maybe you had to be there.  It’s a tastemaker mystery that’s never been fully explained to younger generations. And that goes quadruple for Andy Pratt, who is barely remembered at all but several years ago I figured out probably deserves some blame for inventing indie rock. (Proof, Rolling Stone Record Guide, first/red edition, 1978: “Pratt is a promising prodigy in the pop school headmastered by the Beatles and Beach Boys”; on his first album “his frail voice and occasionally cloying lyrics were emphasized by the tentative production”; Resolution [4 stars] is said to be “simultaneously pretty and melodically compelling, sincere and yet self-aware.”)

On the other hand, 23 of 1976’s P&J top 30 (albeit in vastly shuffled order) do finish amongst my top 150 below; if Brian Eno’s Another Green World hadn’t apparently technically come out in 1975, it’d be 24. In the end I decided third-place-P&J Jackson Browne couldn’t cut it, but then again neither could the Bay City Rollers (twice), Black Sabbath, Peter Frampton, Hall and Oates, Jethro Tull, Billy Joel, Elton John, Alan Parsons Project, Queen or Rush, none of whom placed in Pazz & Jop either — How’s that for seeing eye to eye? (Fun fact: The Rollers in ’76 brogued about being “Too Young to Rock & Roll”; Tull in ’76 pontificated about being “Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young To Die.” In between those two off-limits demographics lies one sweet spot of a strike zone.)

More recent research finds: Debris’ from Oklahoma and Gasolin’ from Copenhagen both creatively used apostrophes, though only one’s use made actual sense. David Surkamp from Pavlov’s Dog, Jeff Pain from Mr. Big (not to be confused with the same-named ’80s hair-metallers) and Geddy Lee from Rush suggest 1976 might be considered the Year of Absurdly High-Pitched Rock-Male Vocal Squeal. Budgie, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and the Bay City Rollers all tried to go disco, at least for a song or two. Dwight Twilley’s rockabilly revival sounds more glam rock than I ever would’ve guessed, and Suzi Quatro’s glam rock sounds more rockabilly than you ever might’ve guessed.

“Old World” by the Modern Lovers reminds me of Frank Kogan’s ’80s band Red Dark Sweet. Arlo Guthrie sounded more like Bob Dylan in 1976 than Bob Dylan did, but Dylan’s “Hurricane” into Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” made for one heck of an accidental segue when I was shuffle-streaming my playlist of hundreds of ’76 songs last week. Lizzy’s “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed” and Steve Miller’s “Take the Money and Run” (both sampled 42 times) triumph over Babe Ruth’s “Keep Your Distance” (20) in the hard rock hip-hop breakbeat of the year competition. (Well okay “Fly Like an Eagle” gets a whopping 152, “Hotel California” 29, Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” 24 — thanks Coolio and Weird Al! — and Miller’s “Space Intro” 22. But I’m not convinced those count as either hard rock or breakbeats. If I missed any others, by all means clue me in.)

All through the Year of Al Stewart’s Cat, one aesthetic towered over the rest: Boogie! And by that, I mean both kinds: The disco species practiced by your boogie-fevered Sylvers and your boogie man K.C.’s Sunshine Band, and the rock variety that the boogie singer in Wild Cherry left behind when he opted to play that funky music as white boys do. In 1976, many a white boy, from Boz Scaggs to the Stones to Bowie, did just that.

Though back in those days, almost all hard rock no matter how glittered-out, from platinum-plated superheroes like Aerosmith and Zeppelin and Boston and Heart and Ted Nugent on down to high-school parking lot rumors like Starz and Angel and the Runaways and Earth Quake and Rex (fronted by future teen idol Rex Smith!), still had some boogie in it. AC/DC, who Americans still figured were a punk band, had more than just about anybody. Black-majority rock bands like Mother’s Finest, Marcus, the Jimmy Castor Bunch and Funkadelic proved equally adept at boogieing from both sides of the plate. Thin Lizzy, hard-boogieing Irish metal progenitors led by a Black soul man, knew America’s Bicentennial summer was imminent now that the boys were back in town. 

So that’s why 1976 will always rule. That jukebox in the corner, blastin’ out my favorite song. Started hummin’ a song from 1962. I see the dishes over there; they fill me with despair. I see my Marianne, walkin’ away. The kids are losing their minds. We can be like they are. You might not ever get rich, but let me tell you it’s better than digging a ditch. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy. This ain’t the summer of love, but it is a rollercoaster of love. You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.

  1. Michael Hurley/The Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Fredericks & the Clamtones Have Moicy! (Rounder)
  2. Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (RCA)
  3. Aerosmith Rocks (Columbia)
  4. Boney M Take the Heat Off Me (Atco)
  5. Blue Öyster Cult Agents of Fortune (Columbia)
  6. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla)
  7. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Night Moves (Capitol)
  8. Discomania 2 (Jukebox International)
  9. Warren Zevon Warren Zevon (Asylum)
  10. Thin Lizzy Jailbreak (Mercury)
  11. Disco Tex and his Sex-O-Lettes Manhattan Millionaire (Chelsea)
  12. Boston Boston (Epic)
  13. Jorge Ben Africa Brasil (Philips)
  14. AC/DC High Voltage (Atco)
  15. Miles Davis Agharta (Columbia)
  16. Dance Machine (K-Tel)
  17. Blondie Blondie (Private Stock)
  18. Rose Royce Best of Car Wash (MCA UK)
  19. Led Zeppelin Presence (Swan Song)
  20. Hit Power (Arcade Germany)
  21. Yesterday and Today Yesterday and Today (London)
  22. Crack the Sky Animal Notes (Lifesong)
  23. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Live Bullets (Capitol)
  24. The Wild Tchoupitoulas The Wild Tchoupitoulas (Island)
  25. The Jimmy Castor Bunch E-Man Groovin’ (Atlantic)
  26. Dwight Twilley Band Sincerely (Shelter/ABC)
  27. Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (Columbia)
  28. The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers (Home of the Hits)
  29. Ramones Ramones (Sire)
  30. Heart Dreamboat Annie (Mushroom)
  31. Starz Starz (Capitol)
  32. Automatic Man Automatic Man (Island)
  33. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band Roaring Silence (Bronze/Warner Bros.)
  34. KC and the Sunshine Band Part 3 (TK)
  35. Ted Nugent Free-For-All (Epic)
  36. The Runaways The Runaways (Mercury)
  37. Eagles Hotel California (Asylum)
  38. ZZ Top Tejas (London)
  39. Donna Summer A Love Trilogy (Oasis)
  40. Truth and Janey No Rest for the Wicked (Montross)
  41. Earth Quake 8.5  (Beserkley)
  42. Penguin Cafe Orchestra Music From the Penguin Cafe (Obscure UK)
  43. Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me: Narrative Poetry from the Black Oral Tradition (Rounder)
  44. The Rolling Stones Black and Blue (Rolling Stones)
  45. Tom T. Hall Faster Horses (Mercury)
  46. Milton Nascimento Milton (A&M)
  47. Big Youth Natty Cultural Dread (Trojan UK)
  48. The Trammps Where the Happy People Go (Atlantic)
  49. Marcus Marcus (United Artists) 
  50. David Bowie Station to Station (RCA Victor)
  51. Kevin Coyne In Living Black and White (Virgin)
  52. Gasolin’ What a Lemon/Gasolin’ (Epic)
  53. Far East Family Band Parallel World (MU Land Japan)
  54. Nils Lofgren Cry Tough (A&M)
  55. Debris’ Debris’ (Static Disposal)
  56. Henry Cow Concerts (Caroline UK)
  57. L.T.D. Love to the World (A&M)
  58. AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Atlantic UK)
  59. The Alpha Band The Alpha Band (Arista)
  60. Dr. Aftershave and the Mixed Pickles For Missus Beastly (April Germany)
  61. This is Reggae Music Volume 3 (Island)
  62. Golden Earring To the Hilt (MCA)
  63. Suzi Quatro Aggro-Phobia (RAK UK)
  64. Steely Dan The Royal Scam (ABC)
  65. Sweet Give Us a Wink (Capitol)
  66. 15.69.75 The Numbers Band Jimmy Bell’s Still in Town (Water Bros.)
  67. Steve Miller Band Fly Like an Eagle (Capitol)
  68. Groundhogs Black Diamond (United Artists)
  69. Judas Priest Sad Wings of Destiny (Janus)
  70. Harmonica Frank Floyd Harmonica Frank Floyd (Adelphi)
  71. Arlo Guthrie Amigo (Reprise)
  72. Graham Parker and the Rumour Heat Treatment (Mercury)
  73. Abba Arrival (Atlantic)
  74. Be Bop Deluxe Sunburst Finish (Harvest)
  75. Mother’s Finest Mother’s Finest (Epic)
  76. Camel Moonmadness (Janus/GRT)
  77. Thin Lizzy Johnny the Fox (Mercury)
  78. Augustus Pablo King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (Yard Jamaica)
  79. Hawkwind Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (Charisma UK)
  80. Funkadelic Hardcore Jollies (Westbound)
  81. Van Der Graaf Generator World Record (Mercury)
  82. Budgie If I Were Britannia I’d Waive the Rules (A&M)
  83. Al Stewart Year of the Cat (Janus)
  84. Richard and Linda Thompson Pour Down Like Silver (Island)
  85. Mr. Big Photographic Smile (Arista)
  86. The Tubes Young and Rich (A&M)
  87. Pavlov’s Dog At the Sound of the Bell (Columbia)
  88. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band SAHB Stories (Mountain UK)
  89. Graham Parker Howlin’ Wind (Mercury)
  90. Magma Üdü Wüdù (Tomato)
  91. Le Disco Album (Barclay France)
  92. Millie Jackson Free and in Love (Spring)
  93. Foxy Foxy (Dash)
  94. Chilliwack Dreams. Dreams, Dreams (Mushroom)
  95. The Steve Gibbons Band Any Road Up (MCA)
  96. Good Rats Ratcity in Blue (Ratcity/Platinum)
  97. Sparks Big Beat (Columbia)
  98. Norman Connors You Are My Starship (Buddah)
  99. Silver Convention Madhouse (Midland International)
  100. Sailor Trouble (Epic)
  101. Artful Dodger Honor Among Thieves (Columbia)
  102. Piper Piper (A&M)
  103. R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders Number 2 (Blue Goose)
  104. Bob Dylan Desire (Columbia)
  105. Max’s Kansas City 1976 (Ram)
  106. Patti Smith Group Radio Ethiopia (Arista)
  107. Puhdys Sturmvogel (Amiga GDR)
  108. Kate & Anna McGarrigle Kate & Anna McGarrigle (Warner Bros.)
  109. Point Blank Point Blank (Arista)
  110. Ian Hunter All-American Alien Boy (Columbia)
  111. Genesis A Trick of the Tail (Atco)
  112. David Allan Coe Longhaired Redneck (Columbia)
  113. Rod Stewart A Night on the Town (Warner Bros.)
  114. Michael Mantler The Hapless Child and Other Inscrutable Stories (Watt)
  115. Van Der Graaf Generator Still Life (Mercury)
  116. Elliott Murphy Night Lights (RCA Victor)
  117. Nazareth Close Enough for Rock ’N’ Roll (A&M)
  118. Paris Paris (Capitol)
  119. Angel Helluva Band (Casablanca)
  120. Ray Barretto Barretto Live: Tomorrow (Atlantic)
  121. D.C. Larue Cathedrals (Pyramid)
  122. Rex Rex (Columbia)
  123. The Mighty Diamonds Right Time (Virgin)
  124. Dirty Tricks Night Man (Polydor) 
  125. Parliament The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (Casablanca)
  126. Be Bop Deluxe Modern Music (Harvest)
  127. Electric Light Orchestra A New World Record (Jet)
  128. Joni Mitchell Hejira (Asylum)
  129. Deaf School 2nd Honeymoon (Warner Bros.)
  130. Burning Spear Garvey’s Ghost (Island)
  131. Slik Slik (Arista)
  132. The Babys The Babys (Chrysalis)
  133. Streetwalkers Red Card (Mercury)
  134. Amon Düül II Pyragony X (Nova Germany)
  135. Babe Ruth Kid’s Stuff (Capitol)
  136. The Manhattans The Manhattans (Columbia)
  137. Pussycat First of All (EMI/Electrola Netherlands)
  138. C.W. McCall Wilderness (Polydor)
  139. Goblin Roller (Cinevox Italy)
  140. D.C. Larue The Tea Dance (Pyramid)
  141. Head East Get Yourself Up (A&M)
  142. Dorothy Moore Misty Blue (Malaco)
  143. Gunther Schuller Country Fiddle Band (Columbia Masterworks)
  144. The Residents The Third Reich ’N’ Roll (Ralph)
  145. Derringer Derringer (Blue Sky)
  146. Lynyrd Skynyrd Gimme Back My Bullets (MCA)
  147. Richard Pryor Bicentennial N****r (Warner Bros.)
  148. Loretta Lynn When the Tingle Becomes a Chill (MCA)
  149. Starbuck Moonlight Feels Right (Private Stock)
  150. 1st Brigade Band Rally ‘Round the Flag (Heritage Military Music Foundation)

9 comments

  1. via facebook:

    Alfred Soto
    I love that you included Africa Brasil, a record I played a lot last March when lockdown started. Excellent preface.

    John Boegehold
    Bonus points for the Keego Theater mention.

    Chuck Eddy
    Yeah, but wait until you see that I left out Wind & Wuthering…

    Steve Crawford
    We have the same #1 for that year. I recently purchased a vinyl copy for my daughter as a gift. Wasn’t easy to find!

    Chuck Eddy
    Great gift idea! Not to mention quite possibly the funniest album ever made.

    Steve Crawford
    Chuck Eddy, I positively love Peter Stampfel’s contributions – “Hoodoo Bash” and “Griselda” are life long favorites.

    ——–

    John Ned
    Great list makes for the ultimate “shuffle “ in the great iTunes in the sky play list. And Graham Parker? He exploded on the scene with punk r’n’b sound and great songs. He was literally Too Much Too Soon.

    Chuck Eddy
    [Here’s what I wrote about his two ’76 albums on I Love Music 11 years ago:]
    You know, I gotta confess, Howlin Wind has never totally killed me. Never felt half as consistent hookwise or songwise as Squeezing Out Sparks. I just played it again — “White Honey” (what drug is that about anyway?) and “Back To Schooldays” always jump out of the start and end of side one for their energy if nothing else, and on side two, the title track has an emotional intensity to it, and then “Don’t Ask Me Questions” at the end blows the rest of the album out of the water. But that’s not even half of an album approaching greatness. And while being a white mid-American guy in my late 40s I like the boogie, I’ll be damned if the songs about gypsy women and doctor women and soul shoes aren’t just great big blueshammer bar-band cliches on a plate — they’d be decent-but-generic on a J. Geils or Southside Johnny album, and same thing here.
    (Then after somebody tried to explain to me that the power of the album derives from its pacing, its “cumulative build effect”):
    Okay, I guess I understand that logic, just don’t buy it — I’ve never been one to cut albums slack for “pacing,” and giving Howling Wind bonus points just because its one song that would’ve been good enough for Squeezing Out Sparks is saved for the very end seems kinda fishy to me….Okay, maybe “Back To Schooldays” would be good enough too, but as far as I can tell, that’s it. (Don’t get the building-and-building-to-transcendence claim; the second and third best songs are on the first side, not the second side.)
    [Two years later, though notice I now rank HT *over* HW, hmmm… ]
    Convinced beyond a doubt, after four or so listens to a dollar copy, that Heat Treatment (Xgau “A”, Rolling Stone Record Guide 5-stars, Pazz & Jop #2 in 1976) is the least memorable/most mediocre of G.P.’s ’70s LPs. Completely stumped that critics seemed unanimous at the time in considering Stick To Me a big step down from it. Best thing you could say is that it has a consistently pleasurable if mostly subtle lilt (“groove” is too strong a word) — vaguely Staxish/reggae-ish most of the time, especially on side two I guess. Title track is the punchiest cut; most notable song overall is probably “Hotel Chambermaid,” with its roller-rink keyboard push out of some early Bob Seger single and possible hidden clues to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. (Though it’s still not nearly as good as Pink Fairies’ “Chambermaid.”) I get the idea “Fool’s Gold” was considered another key track, but damned if I can hear why. Record’s nice enough; I’ll keep it. But I don’t at all understand what about it people found exciting. You could maybe forgive critics just for craving something to be excited about in the supposed pre-punk doldrums of the bicentennial, but I could name scores of 1976 rock albums that leave this in the dust. So maybe critics were just lazy.

    Edd Hurt
    I love “Lady Doctor”! You got some sand in your ears on this ‘un…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. via facebook:

    Phil Dellio
    My two favourite albums not on there: War’s Greatest Hits (not eligible, I know) and Electric Light Orchestra’s A New World Record (key high-school album–I’d never even heard of the Ramones at that point).

    Chuck Eddy
    I love War so much — But the only best-of I have by them is a CD from 1987. Gets played at least once in the car pretty much every summer.

    Chuck Eddy
    And I have nothing against ELO! An oversight, maybe — Might swap them in.

    Phil Dellio
    Punk for me in 1976 was basically “Sick as a Dog,” “King of the Night Time World,” and this, the excellent video for which I’m seeing for the first time today.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I’m hoping the CD box set I preordered will show up in the mail any day now, which contains the version that Kiss covered:

    Chuck Eddy
    Destroyer may be an oversight, too. (Amendments forthcoming, maybe.)

    Phil Dellio
    There’s some terrible stuff on there, including the hit ballad, but I still love “King of the Night Time World” and “Do You Love Me,” which must be the pinnacle of some kind of 1970s absurdity.

    Chuck Eddy
    I obviously approve of “Detroit Rock City.” Playing the rest now.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Kim Fowley and Kiss promises a much more volatile combination than DESTROYER tends to consistently deliver

    Chuck Eddy
    Unggh — “Great Expectations” is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. Pretty sure I was right to leave Destroyer off the list.

    Phil Dellio
    I only remember four songs as being worth the effort: the three we’ve already mentioned (I’m the rare person who thinks “King of the Night Time World” is better than “Detroit Rock City,” I’ll add, but I like it fine), and I think “Shout It Out Loud”‘ probably holds up pretty well.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Phil Dellio I’m sure Kiss gets kind of defensive when people point out that their ’70s LPs reduce to a pretty blatant example of hits/filler binary–and this is when they supposedly were doing their best work!–but maybe they shoulda slowed down for some quality control during the tiny 55-month window when they issued 10-and-a-half LPs’ [!!] worth of new material, and that’s not even counting the two double-lives and the hits comp!

    Chuck Eddy
    Sooo…After immersing myself, I am hereby still on the fence about both the Kiss and ELO LPs, both of which have a few cuts I like, and more that I dislike or that I’m meh about. Gonna stick with my original list, at least for now.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I remember in my early catching-up-with-’70s-LPs-via-thrift-stores days during the late ’80s, the various sleeves/jacket/records of that ELO album would be scattered loose all over Salvation Army, yet there never seemed to be enough pieces to assemble one full/intact album!

    Chuck Eddy
    Guess I always considered them a Greatest Hits band (besides Discovery, oddly enough — Clearly a result of when I started caring about rock radio.) I did Pazz&Jop-single-list “Calling America” in 1986, though!

    Phil Dellio
    They are–Olé ELO for me.

    Chuck Eddy
    Changed my mind — ELO are in now. Sorry, Horslips.

    Phil Dellio
    This may be a historic moment, I’m not sure.

    Tim Ellison
    Have to throw in that the first Klaatu album might be as good as A New World Record…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. via facebook:

    Jaz Jacobi
    To the surprise of no one who knows me, after stating I only own a mere three albums from Chuck’s 2005 list, I count something like 33[!] of the 1976 albums among my library! To the surprise of everyone who knows me, the Sweet LP is NOT among them!

    Chuck Eddy
    Don’t worry, I don’t own that one either — had to stream it. (I USED to own it on vinyl. Not sure when, where or why I got rid of it.)

    Jaz Jacobi
    I think that’s the one with the really annoying die-cut cover that gets ripped easily? I think I either had it and got rid of it because of this, or else declined to buy it because parts of the cover were torn off, can’t remember…

    Chuck Eddy
    DEFINITELY the one with the really annoying die-cut cover.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I wish I’d bought that Sweet box set that now commands about $300

    Chuck Eddy
    I’m anti-box-set in principle. Wonder if any I have are worth anything.

    Jaz Jacobi
    This one is expensive, presumably, because box sets tend to be released in such tiny print runs in this allegedly post-physical media world nowadays, they tend to sell out within weeks. The “instant collectible,” if you will.
    I was flummoxed to see that, despite the widely-exaggerated “death of physical media,” last year saw a Supergrass box set[!] that contains, and I may be counting wrong, 6 LPs[!!] AND 19 CDs[!!!] or something like that? Somebody must be paying for these things!

    Chuck Eddy
    Eeesh. I’m fine just sticking to their debut CD, thankyouverymuch.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I own all their studio albums, and I can’t even swear that I ever listened to the 5th or 6th one twice. And, unlike what post-Jam/Smiths fans of British rock so often claim re: “their B-sides are just as good as their album tracks,” I wouldn’t make such a claim re: Supergrass

    ———-

    Scott Bloomfield
    “Year of the absurdly-high pitched male vocal” is a right-on observation – the singles chart was overstuffed with men oversensitively weeping at their pianos (Elton, Eric Carmen, Henry Gross, Chicago, etc)

    Jaz Jacobi
    Scott Bloomfield 10-year-old Ben Folds was glued to the radio that year, I guess

    Adam Sobolak
    Frampton through the Bob Mayo proxy too, I guess

    ———

    Chris Estey
    Love your aside about Stick to Me, esp. in comparison w/ the previous two GP’s

    Liked by 1 person

  4. via facebook:

    Steve Pick
    I’m excited to read this – probably won’t be until tomorrow. But I can say right now that I still like Graham Parker that much!

    Chuck Eddy
    I like him fine, but not 2-of-the-4-best-albums-of-1976 fine!

    Steve Pick
    Chuck Eddy Hell, there are a lot of days I think those are 2-of-the-best-albums-ever fine.
    · Reply · 23h
    Chuck Eddy
    I wouldn’t even rank them among the 2 best ’70s Graham Parker albums!

    Edd Hurt
    “Howlin’ Wind” and “Sparks” for me.

    Chuck Eddy
    Stick To Me will remain universally underrated until the world ends.

    Steve Alter
    Like “Darkness…” just terribly produced (though Bruce’s record had a better fate despite sounding awful). Song for song, “Stick to Me” is brilliant.

    Sara Quell
    ‘Graham Cracker, The Curmudgeonly Troubadour’: “I asked progressives, why are you so stupid / Thinking that the average citizen was going to sign up for institutionalized kleptocracy disguised as a Google-translated French mime review from 1958 is kind of what you did”

    —–

    Edd Hurt
    George Jones’ “Alone Again”! His best album. “801 Live” I like a lot. You got a lot of them. But Starz? Never understood the appeal myself.

    Graham Ashmore
    First album I looked for landed at 101. Not complaining! And look, Mr Big’s Photographic Smile! I love that a band with a cat named Dicken decided it could only improve by adding another drummer. [Edit: this could be interpreted as meaning their way to improve would have been getting rid of Dicken; not my intention.]

    —-

    Tom Hull
    Some very preliminary comments here:

    http://tomhull.com/ocston/blog/archives/2929-Music-Week.html?fbclid=IwAR18KGkZ833W17_B3nN3rx3Onv–IhjwzHCS_kctk-V3xtpZZQLDWHQu89A

    ——

    Bruce Ashmore
    My collection is nicely represented by some cool, semi-obscure choices (Mr. Big, Crack the Sky, Deaf School, Golden Earring, Horslips, Twilley, Budgie, Sparks, Artful Dodger) and more obvious ones (Parker, Lofgren, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Tubes, Be Bop). As usual, several great omissions, of which I will cite just my three favourites (Odd Ditties by Kevin Ayers, Dinner at the Ritz by City Boy and No Heavy Petting by UFO).

    Graham Ashmore
    I think No Heavy Petting has enough good tracks to earn its keep. My brother is puzzled by the exclusion of Dinner at the Ritz.

    Chuck Eddy
    Tell your brother Dinner at the Ritz is here (and not even the highest City Boy album on the list!) As for UFO, you might well have a point there..

    https://accidentalevolution.wordpress.com/2020/10/23/1977/?fbclid=IwAR2_Q-Otk8Ztqu9uN2xCvMFGh36kTF3_snAMMdRcAt0VtAjKKwGQFCAqfJc

    Graham Ashmore
    It looks like Ritz is a ’76, but with a different pressing in ’77?

    Chuck Eddy
    My copy says ’77. Later pressing maybe, sure. But more importantly, discogs has only the 8-track coming out in the US in ’76. Who knows anymore — clearly a cusp record — but I’ll stick with what I have. If I worried too much about getting release dates perfectly right, my head would explode. (By the way, you meant to comment under my ’76 post not my ’05, I think!)

    Graham Ashmore
    Bruce Ashmore, Chuck Eddy has Ritz on his 1977 list (lower than YMGW). I think there’s some confusion as I saw a pressing listed as 1977.

    Graham Ashmore
    Also, Odd Ditties doesn’t fit the criteria.

    Bruce Ashmore
    Graham Ashmore It appears the Vertigo version of Ritz was released in 76, the Mercury in 77. Also just noticed I didn’t mention SAHB Stories for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. via facebook:

    Steve Pick
    Still waiting to read the blog post and list, but I just played Heat Treatment by Graham Parker to remind myself that it’s as great as I remembered. As an old friend once put it, “If you want hooks, buy yourself a Graham Parker record.” Eleven songs (plus a neat bonus track I hadn’t heard), all with indelible hooks, ridiculously appropriate musical arrangements by one of the best bands of all time, and Parker’s impassioned, urgent, and occasionally tender singing. Now, if you want me to say Squeezing Out Sparks is better, I’ll say that and get it over with. I’ll have to give Stick to Me another listen soon, too. That was my first GP record (ah, cut-out bins! Such an important part of my early record buying life.) and I definitely love it. But, once I got the first two albums, and the fourth studio one, and even the next two, and a couple other later ones, and lots of incredible live CDs, I kind of relegated it to the shelf without picking it up in literally decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. via facebook:

    Steve Pick
    1976 – I remember that Bicentennial day as one that I spent watching TV coverage all day long. Something weird about uniting with the rest of the country via everybody watching the same thing. I doubt I even played baseball that day with my brothers as we did virtually every other summer day of the 70s. At any rate – your list includes 2 records I actually owned in 1976, Blue Oyster Cult and Rod Stewart (I think Night on the Town was a Christmas present). It contains 45 (or 43 – my wife interrupted my silent count near the end with a question) albums that in 2021 I know I like between 2 and all songs. I can’t count how many it contains I haven’t heard – the Chuck Eddy list projects are constantly revealing in detail what I’ve already known in abstract – there has always been an incredible amount of music in the world more than what we can experience.

    Steve Pick
    I can mention faves – the Graham Parker albums, of course. Ramones without doubt. Kate & Anna McGarrigle – the musicians I would later drive further to see than any other in my life, from St. Louis to Newport, RI. Richard & Linda Thompson with maybe th… See More

    Steve Pick
    I can’t remember what stuff I love that you don’t list at all – a problem I have without easily available complete lists of releases. I can say that I have never gotten into anything related to the Holy Modal Rounders – I think I heard that Michael Hur… See More

    Steve Pick
    Oh, wait, I forgot I owned Boston and the first Heart album 76 adjacent – I could have bought them in early 77. It never seemed important to get brand new releases in those days – any record that existed within a year of the day’s date was “new” to me.

    Chuck Eddy
    Oh, absolutely. I think the ridiculous “buy every album the day it comes out” habit was an intentional industry innovation, mostly starting with SoundScan in the early ’90s. I’ve always hated the switch where albums have to be *reviewed* exactly upon release, which I date to Entertainment Weekly.

    ___________

    Peter Stenhouse
    Just now I listened to Stick to Me for the first time in years, and it sounded amazing, except I skipped past “The Heat in Harlem” around the four-minute mark (it felt like the ten-minute mark).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Slade – Nobody’s Fools – 05/03/76 (It was released in March 1976 and reached No. 14 in the UK. The album was produced by Chas Chandler) @https://www.facebook.com/cozweluvyou

    Liked by 1 person

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