*Indicates highest Billboard chart position
1. Gotta Give It Up (Part 1) - Marvin Gaye
Music and lyrics by Marvin Gaye. Jobete Music Co., Inc. ASCAP. Tamla 54280. (P) 1977 Motown Record Company. L.P. Courtesy of Motown Record Company. L.P. No. 1*
2. Serpentine Fire - Earth, Wind and Fire
Music and lyrics by Maurice White, Verdine White and Reginald Burke. EMI April Music Inc./Free Delivery Music. ASCAP. Columbia 10625 (P) 1977 Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. Under license from Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. No. 13*
3. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
Music and lyrics by Stevie Nicks. Welsh Witch Music/Fleetwood Mac Music. BMI. Warner 8371. (P) 1976 Warner Bros. Records Inc. Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No. 1*
4. Cold as Ice - Foreigner
Music and lyrics by Lou Grammatico and Michael Jones. Colgems-EMI Music Inc./Stray Notes Music Inc., all rights adm. by Colgems-EMI Music Inc. BMI. Atlantic 3410. (P) 1977 Atlantic Recording Corp. Produced under license from Atlantic Recording Corp. No. 6*
5. Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen. Laurel Canyon Music Ltd. ASCAP. Warner 8252. (P) 1976 Bronze Records Limited. Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No. 1*
6. Fly Like an Eagle - Steve Miller
Music and lyrics by Steve Miller. Sailor Music. ASCAP. Capitol 4372. (P) 1976 Capitol Records. Inc. Courtesy of Capitol Records. Inc. No. 2*
7. Southern Nights - Glen Campbell
Music and lyrics by Allen Toussaint. Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Marsaint Music Inc. BMI. Capitol 4376. (P) 1977 Capitol Records. Inc. Courtesy of Capitol Records. Inc. No. 1*
8. Heard It in a Love Song - The Marshall Tucker Band
Music and lyrics by Toy Caldwell. Marshall Tucker Publishing. BMI. Capricorn 0270. (P) 1978 M. T. Industries. Inc. Courtesy of Dominion Entertainment. Inc. No. 14*
9. Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
Music and lyrics by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. Acuff-Rose-Opryland Music Inc. BMI. Asylum 45431. (P) 1977 Elektra/Asylum Records. Produced under license from Elektra Entertainment. No. 3*
10. How Deep Is Your Love - The Bee Gees
Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb. Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb. Stigwood Music. Inc., adm. by Unichappell Music. Inc. BMI. RSO 882. (P) 1977 RSO Records. Inc. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products. a division of PolyGram Records. Inc. No. 1*
11. Handy Man - James Taylor
Music and lyrics by Otis Blackwell and Jimmy Jones. Unart Music Corp. BMI. Columbia 10557. (P) 1977 CBS Records. Inc. Produced under license from CBS Special Products, a service of CBS Records, a division of CBS Records. Inc. No. 4*
12. Rich Girl - Daryl Hall and John Oates
Music and lyrics by Daryl Hall. Unichappell Music. Inc. BMI. RCA 10860. (P) 1976 RCA Records. Courtesy of RCA Records, a label of BMG Music. No. 1*
13. The Things We Do for Love - 10cc
Music and lyrics by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart. Man-Ken Music Ltd. BMI. Mercury 73875. ® 1976 Phonogram Ltd. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a division of PolyGram Records. Inc. No. 5*
14. Year of the Cat - Al Stewart
Music and lyrics by Al Stewart and Peter White. Unichappell Music. Inc./Dick James Music. Inc. BMI. Janus 266. (P) 1976 Arista Records. Inc. Courtesy of Arista Records. Inc. No. 8*
15. It's So Easy - Linda Ronstadt
Music and lyrics by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty. MPL Communications. Inc. ASCAP./Wren Music. BMI. Asylum 45438. (P) 1977 Elektra/Asylum Records. Produced under license from Elektra Entertainment. No. 5*
16. Feels Like the First Time - Foreigner
Music and lyrics by Michael Jones. Heavy Petal Music Inc. ASCAP. Worldwide rights controlled by Intersong U.S.A., Inc. Atlantic 3394. (P) 1977 Atlantic Recording Corp. Produced under license from Atlantic Recording Corp. No. 4*
17. I'm in You - Peter Frampton
Music and lyrics by Peter Frampton. Almo Music Corp./Nuage Artists Music Ltd. ASCAP. A&M 1941. (P) 1977 A&M Records. Inc. Courtesy of A&M Records. Inc. No. 2*
18. So Into You - Atlanta Rhythm Section
Music and lyrics by Buddy Buie, Dean Daughtry and Robert Nix. Low-Sal Music Company. BMI. Polydor 14373. (P) 1976 Polydor Incorporated. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a division of PolyGram Records. Inc. No. 7*
19. Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees
Music and lyrics by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb. Stigwood Music. Inc., adm. by Unichappell Music. Inc. BMI. RSO 885. (P) 1977 RSO Records. Inc. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a division of PolyGram Records. Inc. No. 1*
20. Slip Slidin' Away - Paul Simon
Music and lyrics by Paul Simon. Paul Simon Music. BMI. Columbia 10630. (P) 1977 Paul Simon. Produced under license from Warner Bros. Records Inc. No. 58
TIME LIFE MUSIC
President: Paul R. Stewart
Executive Producer: Charles McCardell
Executive Committee: Eric R. Eaton, Marla Hoskins, Fernando Pargas
Recording Producer: Jim Phillips
Series Consultant: Joe Sasfy
Art Director: Robin Bray
Associate Producer: Robert Hull
Art Studio: Nina Bridges
Production Manager: Karen Hill
1977 was produced by Time-Life Music in cooperation with Warner Special Products. Digitally remastered at MCA Recording Studio, North Hollywood, Calif.; Jim Phillips, engineer.
The Author: John Morthland has been an associate editor for Rolling Stone and Creem. He has freelanced for virtually every rock magazine published during the last 20 years.
Time-Life wishes to thank William L. Schurk of the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, for providing valuable reference material.
TIME-LIFE MUSIC is a division of Time-Life Books Inc. © 1990 Time-Life Books Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A. TIME-LIFE is a trademark of Time Incorporated U.S.A.
Cover art by Enzo Messi and Urs Schmidt.
© 1990 Time-Life Books Inc
Picture credit: Back panel photo of James Taylor courtesy Michael Ochs Archives, Venice, Calif
Manufactured for Time-Life Music by Warner Special Products, a Warner Communications Company.
© 1990 Warner Special Products
WARNER SPECIAL PRODUCTS
Fleetwood Mac originated in 1967 as a spin-off of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Fronted by hotshot guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, the band built its reputation on the American ballroom circuit of the late '60s. By the turn of the decade, Fleetwood Mac was evolving toward guitar-oriented rock; as personnel came and went during the early '70s the band endured lean years. In 1975, the line-up finally stabilized around original members John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. McVie's wife, Christine Perfect (who'd joined in 1970), played keyboards, wrote songs and sang. Lindsey Buckingham (vocalist, song-writer and guitarist) and Stevie Nicks (vocalist and songwriter) were lovers who'd been working together since the beginning of the '70s when Fleetwood met them at a recording studio in 1975 and invited them to join the band.
The couple was instrumental in changing the sound of the 1975 album, Fleetwood Mac, into a haunting brand of Anglo-American pop-rock with much more passion, energy and backbone than was normally associated with that genre. Through 1976, the album climbed to No.1 on the American charts while yielding three hit singles.
By 1977, however, trouble was brewing. While the group was recording Rumours, the McVies were separating, Buckingham and Nicks were breaking up and the Fleetwoods were initiating divorce proceedings (they later remarried). All the tensions, frustrations and anguish came out in Rumours, particularly on Dreams, which would prove to be the band's only chart-topping single. Rumours went on to sell 15 million copies, unprecedented at that time, and topped American charts for 31 weeks before winning a Grammy for album of the year.
Although Saturday Night Fever the movie starring John Travolta, was not released until 1978, its sound track, featuring the Bee Gees, was out in time for Christmas 1977. The Bee Gees had been struggling in the studio outside Paris when they received two phone calls in succession from their manager, Robert Stigwood. He told them to abandon their recording efforts because he wanted to release a live album in 1977, and then he instructed them to come up with songs for the new film he was producing. They responded with How Deep Is Your Love before they even knew what the film was about.
The Bee Gees intended the song to be sung by Yvonne Elliman, another Stigwood client who'd enjoyed recent success singing the role of Mary Magdalene in the rock opera Jesus Christ, Superstar. But when Stigwood came to Paris from New York and heard the demo, he told the Gibb brothers to keep the song for themselves because it was perfect for the movie. The song was the first single taken from the sound track, and it stayed in the top 10 for 17 straight weeks, the longest such streak for any single since Billboard conceived the Hot 100 in its August 3, 1958, edition. Stigwood also remembered hearing the Bee Gees sing something that went "Saturday night, Saturday night" years earlier in Bermuda, He told them to create an eight-minute version that began with a disco beat, went into a slow, romantic section and concluded with frenzied dance music, The group opted instead for the same tempo throughout, one that built dramatically, and changed the name of the song to Stayin' Alive because there were already too many songs with "Saturday night" in the title, After considerable argument with Stigwood, the group prevailed on both issues.
Marvin Gaye's disco smash came about when, on a British tour, he failed to produce enough acceptable material for a live double album. Stymied after recording three sides of the album, Gaye entered the studio with producer Art Stewart to concoct a long dance track along the lines of his current favorite record, Johnnie Taylor's Disco Lady. Gaye's "Dancing Lady" (the title was later changed to Got to Give It Up) featured strange flourishes such as the singer tapping on a half-filled grapefruit juice bottle and studio guests chatting away in the background, which Stewart retained when he pieced together the track and stretched it to nearly 12 minutes. Gaye was ambivalent when Stewart presented him with the finished product on Christmas Day 1976. But it had such a loose, party atmosphere as an album track that the recording was soon edited to single length and proved to be Gaye's last chart record for Motown.
Daryl Hall and John Oates stayed on a roll with their "blue-eyed" soul. Rich Girl was released after the first single from Bigger Than Both of Us fizzled. Hall wrote this hit about the fast-foods heir who had once been the boyfriend of his current lover, Sara Allen. But he changed the gender after concluding that he couldn't get away with saying "you're a rich boy" in a pop song. On a more grisly note, the tune was cited as an inspiration by David Berkowitz, New York City's infamous "Son of Sam" serial killer.
Linda Ronstadt continued to parlay oldies into a career with her remake of Buddy Holly's It's So Easy. James Taylor, who shared Ronstadt's producer, Peter Asher, followed her cue and revived his own sagging fortunes by recording Handy Man, a No.2 hit in 1960 for Jimmy Jones (who penned it with veteran writer Otis Blackwell). Taylor and guitarist Danny Kortchmar were fooling around with the song during breaks while Taylor was recording his first album for Columbia. Asher, no doubt thinking of the Ronstadt formula and wanting a surefire hit for the new label, talked Taylor into finishing the tune and including it on the new album in lieu of one of the artist's more somber originals.
Manfred Mann got his own seesawing career back into shape by taking Bruce Springsteen's Blinded By The Light to the top of the charts with the Earth Band. (Springsteen's version had failed as a single when it was pulled from his Greetings from Asbury Park debut album in 1973.) Springsteen returned the compliment by frequently performing Mann's 1966 oldie Pretty Flamingo in concert.
Arena-rock was represented by Peter Frampton's I'm In You (his biggest single ever) and by Feels Like The First Time and Cold As Ice from the eponymous debut album of Foreigner, an Anglo-American group in the spirit of Free and Bad Company. Southern rock persevered via the Atlanta Rhythm Section's So In To You. The group had grown out of the Classics IV and a studio band assembled for Roy Orbison; their boogie style was in contrast to the laid-back country styling of the Marshall Tucker Band as on Heard It in a Love Song.
Glen Campbell was a different sort of Southern act, an Arkansas native who had become a Los Angeles countrypolitan star. Southern Nights was the title track from a 1975 song-cycle album by Allen Toussaint, the fabled New Orleans R & B writer-producer who enjoyed an early '70s fling as a recording artist. Toussaint used his own shimmering piano and voice to evoke the timeless mysteries of Dixie; Campbell followed that arrangement closely for his No. 1 country and pop single.
As a hippie-era San Francisco album artist who became a top-40 star, Steve Miller represented a different kind of crossover. His earliest work ingeniously applied Beatles harmonies and production techniques to blues progressions, but he didn't dent the top 40 until 1973. After taking off nearly three years, he returned to cut two albums in one session. Fly Like an Eagle, the title song of the first, was one of six straight top-40 hits that resulted.
- John Morthland