Friday Top 5: Muzak in Hell

On Fridays back in my radio days, I used to count down a top 5 from the Billboard charts on some date from the 1970s. And because it’s Friday, and because this blog is intended in part to keep me from jonesing for radio too much, here’s the top 5 from this date in 1977–put it all together and you’ve got the muzak in Hell.
Number 5: “I’m in You” by Peter Frampton. How do you follow Frampton Comes Alive, one of the biggest blockbuster albums of all time? You don’t. “I’m in You” is a thoroughly average, completely nice, 1970s love song, but one utterly lacking the glittering magic of Frampton’s hit from exactly one year before, “Baby I Love Your Way.” Still, given what’s coming, it’s likely the only song in the top 5 anybody needs to hear again.
Number 4: “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb. This hasn’t aged well, but 27 years ago, we couldn’t get enough of it. It spent four solid months in the top 10, including two different runs at number one, and stalled at number 10 for three straight weeks on its way down. (For all that, it wasn’t Gibb’s biggest hit–that would come a year later with “Shadow Dancing.”) Yet now, it sounds like the living embodiment of “wimpy.” Then, too, maybe.
Number 3: “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day. Some folks would argue that this is another good argument for why punk rock had to happen. But some of us were more worried that Alan would either go blind or grow hair on his palms.
Number 2: “Looks Like We Made It” by Barry Manilow. Christ, Andy Gibb and Barry Manilow in the same top 5? For what it’s worth, this is a pretty adult love song–two lovers meet years later and wonder if they’ll be able to resist one another. It ain’t exactly “I met her on a Monday and my heart stood still.” That would be . . .
Number 1: “Da Doo Ron Ron” by Shaun Cassidy. The reason I dealt with this top 5 at all is because I happen to think this record is not as bad as you’d think. Cassidy’s bubblegummy performance is the only way a male singer would be likely to approach the tone of breathless infatuation of the Crystals’ original. (You decide whether that’s a good idea or not.) Plus, it’s a decent updating of Phil Spector’s famous Wall of Sound to the state of the art in 1977. And finally, there’s just something about summer that lends itself to dumb, happy pop music. Which this was. And is.

4 thoughts on “Friday Top 5: Muzak in Hell

  1. What a great blog! It’s just the thing for people like me. There’s nothing like recalling summertime hits. Granted, some of those songs haven’t stood the test of time very well, but radio was very much different then…there were numerous record companies then…all duking it out for airplay on those rockin’ AM stations!
    As for hits from the summer of ’77…”Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner made me an instant fan of the group…and “Barracuda” by Heart…I know about the rush you’re talking about when I think of that song and seeing Ann & Nancy Wilson performing it in concert.


  2. The Doobie Brothers played in Madison during the spring of 1977, and a friend of mine went to the show. I remember asking him the next day about the opening act: “So this Foreigner, how were they?”

  3. Pingback: Half a Bubble Off Plumb « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

  4. Pingback: Radio Man Does Radio | The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

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