On and On

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(Pictured: David Soul in Starsky and Hutch, 1977.)

At the end of 2017, I wrote a two-part post recapping the Top 56 songs of 1977 from WIND in Chicago, and then, for some reason, decided not to run it. I looked at it again the other day and I couldn’t remember why I decided not to run it, so I’m gonna run it now.

56.  “You’re My World”/Helen Reddy. Does a remarkable job of conjuring up that summer, but maybe just for me.

55.  “We’re All Alone”/Rita Coolidge. I prefer this to the Boz Scaggs original. It just seems to work better when sung by a woman, but maybe just for me.

54. “Barracuda”/Heart. Your AM radio was rockin’ hard all summer long, and not only because of this.

53.  “On and On”/Stephen Bishop. “Poor old Jimmy sits alone in the moonlight / Saw his woman kiss another man.” This sort of happened to your poor old correspondent in 1977, but the details I take to the grave.

52. “Just Remember I Love You”/Firefall. You can say it, but that won’t necessarily make it true.

51./50.  “You and Me”/Alice Cooper and “Knowing Me, Knowing You”/ABBA. Snapshots from the comfortable middle of the relationship, and the bitter end.

49.  “This Song”/George Harrison. Will say again: Thirty-Three and 1/3 is in my Top 5 albums of all time. Maybe Top 3.

48.  “You Don’t Have to Be a Star”/Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. A perfect production by Don Davis, a titan of the Detroit music scene. He should be a lot better known than he is. Look him up.

47.  “Couldn’t Get It Right”/Climax Blues Band. I read not long ago that this song was the last thing recorded for the album Gold Plated because the record company didn’t hear a hit single, so the band set out to write one.

46. “Come Sail Away”/Styx. If this hadn’t straddled the 1977 and 1978 chart years, it would have been the runaway #1 song of the year in Chicago in either one year or the other. It was in heavy rotations for months.

45.  “She Did It”/Eric Carmen. Honk if you remember this record at all. Hello?

44.  “Ariel”/Dean Friedman. The way Friedman bends the line “we made love to bombs bursting in air” into the word “Ariel” pleases me greatly, still.

43.  “Dreams”/Fleetwood Mac. There has never been anything else that sounds like this.

42.  “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”/Crystal Gayle. I said all I could think of about this song back in September.

41.  “Handy Man”/James Taylor. He fixes broken hearts, but he doesn’t sound all that happy about it.

40.  “Lido Shuffle”/Boz Scaggs. Whenever Boz plays it live (and I’ve heard it four times), it leaves a smoking hole where the theater used to be.

39.  “Feels Like the First Time”/Foreigner. Sounds a bit like it was focus-grouped into existence, designed to appeal to AM kids and their older FM siblings, but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

38.  “Don’t Leave Me This Way”/Thelma Houston. Somebody I was reading recently picked this as their #1 song of 1977, and you could do worse.

37. “Year of the Cat”/Al Stewart. If I were picking my personal #1 song of 1977, this could be it, and I’d have trouble doing better.

36.  “Swayin’ to the Music”/Johnny Rivers. You wouldn’t mind living the scenario in this song, and neither would I.

35.  “I’m in You”/Peter Frampton. Poor guy, having to follow Frampton Comes Alive.

34.  “I Feel Love”/Donna Summer. I did not care much for Donna Summer when her hits were on the radio. But I’m older now, and wiser.

33.  “Looks Like We Made It”/Barry Manilow. Be careful with broad romantic pronouncements, my dude. Sometimes they are premature.

32.  “I’m Your Boogie Man”/KC and the Sunshine Band. I have a vinyl KC greatest-hits album on which this is segued into “Keep It Comin’ Love,” and it is awesome.

31.  “Stand Tall”/Burton Cummings. [listens and remembers something] [long pause] Mmmmm . . . . I’m sorry, you were saying?

30.  “Hotel California”/Eagles. Will say again: if you’re tired of this song and never want to hear it again, I understand. But I’m not there yet.

29./28. “After the Lovin'”/Engelbert Humperdinck and “You Made Me Believe in Magic”/Bay City Rollers. After, and also during, and also before if you want me to be honest about it.

27. “New Kid in Town”/Eagles. I said all I could think of about this song in February of ’17.

26.  “Keep it Comin’ Love”/KC and the Sunshine Band. See #32.

25.  “Don’t Give Up on Us”/David Soul. A program director once criticized me for calling this record “sappy” on the air. I can see his point, but I’m pretty sure even people who like it think it’s sappy.

We’ll cover the top 24 in a later installment, whenever I get around to it.

10 responses

  1. I turned 10 years old in September 1977 and by that point I was a pop music and radio lover for a few years already. Living in Long Island, NY then, my favorite radio station was WABC and listened to Dan Ingram every day. Thanks primarily to WABC, I’m proud to say I know and love every song in this post – except, embarrassingly so, George Harrison’s “This Song.” Thank you for introducing it to me – decades later than I’d rather admit!

  2. Reblogged this on WEAPON OF SELF-DISTRACTION and commented:
    A GREAT NEW POST FROM A GREAT BLOG OF RADIO LOVERS

    I turned 10 years old in September 1977 and by that point I was a pop music and radio lover for a few years already. Living in Long Island, NY then, my favorite radio station was WABC and listened to Dan Ingram every day. Thanks primarily to WABC, I’m proud to say I know and love every song in this post – except, embarrassingly so, George Harrison’s “This Song.” Thank you for introducing it to me – decades later than I’d rather admit!

  3. I remember “She Did It” only b/c it has at least one Beach Boy on it … though the Beach Boy support is not used as winningly as it was on, say, “Wishing You Were Here.”

  4. Having worked for a large independent distributor at the time, the phonograph in my caged-in warehouse office afforded the opportunity to audition the newest promo singles and albums as they arrived, fresh out of the box. A few of those first-time spins made lasting impressions:

    ‘I’m In You’ was the most-anticipated new release of the year for us. Even before the last track had finished, I’d dubbed it ‘Frampton Comes Apart.’

    Within a minute after dropping the needle on Donna’s “I Feel Love” 45, more than a few of the dozens of order pickers crisscrossing the huge warehouse had made beelines to ask “What is THAT?!” I was too stunned to answer.

    The sense of pure delight upon unboxing the “Year Of The Cat” 45. Times two upon hearing how intuitively they’d managed to edit it. Times five when Janus Records actually managed to make it a major hit, since its corporate parent (GRT) was in rough waters.

    1. The edit on “Year of the Cat” is an all-timer. As much as I love the idea of having 6 1/2 minutes of it, the 4 1/2 minute version is just as satisfying.

  5. Me and you are on the same wavelength with these songs. Good stuff…

  6. as far as tv stars making records goes “Don’t Give Up on Us” is one of the best. As a fan of good songcraft the bridge of this (“I really lost my head last night”) I something I marvel at every time I hear it. The summer of ’77 I had a job riding shotgun in a delivery truck and heard lots of these tunes on its radio. What freedom compared to washing dishes the summer before….(though a radio was on at the restaurant, natch)

  7. Recently I heard an aircheck where a station combined Rita’s and Boz’s versions of “We’re All Alone” into one track, and it sounded pretty good! I kinda miss the days of stations going to that much trouble to entertain the listeners.

  8. Hooks and Harmony | Reply

    I have to agree with Rita Coolidge, Heart (although classic rock stations play it to death), Boz Scaggs and yes, Foreigner. I was one of those AM kids. Foreigner was the first album I bought. And “Come Sail Away” was the first song I learned to play on the piano.

    And yes, I remember “She Did It” – it was my introduction to Eric Carmen, and I loved that song.

    Interesting that 33 1/3 is one of your all-time favorites. I never gave it a second listen. I’ll have to go back and give it another shot!

  9. “This Song” by George Harrison is a great example of taking a setback (he was sued, and lost, for “sub-conscious plagerism” over the melody sounding like the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”) and turning it into a hit record. In fact, I really liked “This Song” and the music video for it that was unveiled on “Saturday Night Live” which featured Eric Idle. A music video? Yes….long before MTV showed music videos.

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