(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.