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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Top 55 Songs of 1976

It's becoming more and more obvious that the late 60s and early 70s were a golden age of music that will never be matched again.  '76 brings us the Ramones and Sex Pistols which is nice, a good Bob Marley album, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan coming out of nowhere, and Stevie Wonder really going for it all with a double album.  M-YANh (try saying that one, and that's the feel of 1976).  What is there to look forward to?  Well, the Clash and Talking Heads release music in 1977.  So there's that. 

55.  Let’s Stick Together – Roxy Music (New Wave) – 1976
54.  Calling Dr. Love – Kiss (Hard Rock) – 1976

The dilemma is I’m not sure where “hard rock” ends, and “hair bands” begin, but this may be the song.  Not that there’s any credit for being the first hair band though.  

53.  Lowdown – Boz Scaggs (Smooth Rock) – 1976

Apparently, the most common form of rock in 1976 is of the “smooth” variety.  Unfortunately, this paves the way for wuss rock. 

52.  Cherry Bomb – The Runaways (Punk) – 1976
51.  Luna – Tom Petty (Slow Rock) – 1976
50.  Mozambique – Bob Dylan (Folk Rock) – 1976
49.  Black Man – Stevie Wonder (Funk) – 1976
48.  Night Shift – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1976
47.  Last Child – Aerosmith (Hard Rock) – 1976
46.  Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1976
45.  Crazy Baldhead – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1976

This is one of my favorite anti-white songs.  I know, I know, it's not anti-white, it's anti-oppression.  

44.  X Offender – Blondie (New Wave) – 1976
43.  I’m Stranded – The Saints (Punk) – 1976
42.  New Rose – The Damned (Punk) – 1976
41.  Somebody to Love – Queen (Glam Rock) – 1976
40.  Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller Band (Rock) – 1976
39.  Magic Man – Heart (Rock) – 1976

Not that it matters, but this always reminds me of this dude I knew in high school who performed magic. Naturally, we’d say, “He’s a magic man” when his name came up in discussion. 

38.  Wild is the Wind – David Bowie (Glam Rock) – 1976
37.  Tom Traubert’s Blues – Tom Waits (Piano Ballad) – 1976

The more I listen to this guy I feel I can get over the Oscar the Grouch thing in a manner similar to getting over Batman’s silly voice in The Dark Knight.  It’s most likely worth it, because his songs are pretty powerful. 

36.  Memory Motel – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1976
35.  Two Sevens Clash – Culture (Reggae) – 1976
34.  Pastime Paradise – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1976

To get Coolio straight, he got upset because Weird Al Yankovic made light of this song when he made the “Amish Paradise” spoof.  Isn’t Coolio’s hair a little offensive if he’s going to remake Stevie Wonder songs? 

33.  Rock ‘n Me – Steve Miller Band (Rock) – 1976
32.  Detroit Rock City – Kiss (Hard Rock) - 1976
31.  Sara – Bob Dylan (Folk Rock) – 1976

It’s strange how songs with someone’s name in the title remind you of people you’ve known by that name. 

30.  Police & Thieves – Junior Marvin (Reggae) – 1976
29.  Achilles Last Stand – Led Zeppelin (Progressive Rock) – 1976

More "High School Memories,” with Zach Taylor.  We used to drive around in Schwanny’s parent’s Forerunner to this tune running into large piles of leaves in the autumn autumn.  High school kids are stupid. 

28.  She Cracked – The Modern Lovers (Punk) – 1976
27.  War Ina Babylon – Max Romeo & The Upsetters (Reggae) – 1976

Why do all these reggae guys care so much about Babylon? 

26.  Shake Some Action – The Flamin’ Groovies (Rock) – 1976

It’s rare you find a throwback 60s rock song.  This is pretty pure rock right h’ya. 

25.  I’d Have to Be Crazy – Willie Nelson (Country) – 1976

Wow, this is a great tune!  I never heard it before until this day. 

24.  Rockin’ Around – Tom Petty (Rock ‘n Roll) – 1976
23.  The Rubberband Man – The Spinners (Rhythm & Blues) – 1976

A great R&B song contains elements of multiples styles that are currently popular and combines it with a great amount of soul.  This song does a great job of that.

22.  One More Cup of Coffee – Bob Dylan (Folk Rock) - 1976
21.  Breakdown – Tom Petty (Smooth Rock) – 1976

’76 is the first year for TP as this is his first single.  He sort of brings pure rock back.  He’s kind of refreshing in a way, and he’s sure as shit better than the fucking Eagles man. 

20.  Rat Race – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1976
19.  Pablo Picasso – Modern Lovers (Rock) – 1976

It sounds like the Hold Steady meets the Velvet Underground.  Great tune. 

18.  Crazy on You – Heart (Hard Rock) – 1976

The Wilson sisters were always fine until Ann did that stupid “I Just Want to Make Love to You” song so she could get pregnant.  Where’s Dan Quayle or his stupid kids when you need them? 

17.  Fly Like An Eagle – Steve Miller Band (Smooth Rock) – 1976

I’m sure Fly Like an  Eagle is Miller’s best album, but what’s his best song?  This one?  The Joker?  Or maybe … Abracadabra (we’ll see that one in 1982). 

16.  Fool Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop (Pop) – 1976

Whether it reminds me of being at Jack Horner’s pool, or listening to Jon Fishman sing it, I always enjoy it. 

15.  Roots Rock Reggae – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1976

I don’t know if it’s something as simple as production value, but reggae (read: Rastaman Vibration) sounds better in 1976. 

14.  Want More – Bob Marley (Reggae) - 1976 
13.  Have a Talk With God – Stevie Wonder (Smooth Rock) – 1976

I shouldn’t have to think of the religious right when I hear a song as great as this.  It's too bad they're ruining the concept of God.   

12.  Black Diamond Bay – Bob Dylan (Alt-Country) – 1976

I’ve always listen to this and Durango together.  I’d don’t like separating them. 

11.  Romance in Durango – Bob Dylan (Latin) – 1976
10.  Isis – Bob Dylan (Slow Rock) – 1976

This is one of my favorite love/adventure stories ever.  It sounds like a Joan Wilder novel.  

9.  Final Solution – Pere Ubu (New Wave) – 1976

This was rarely performed live because of its name being … you know … that Hitler thing.  The two have nothing to do with each other.   This tells me two things, 1) the impatience of idiocy will always drive me crazy, and 2) bands should probably research their song titles. 

8.  American Girl – Tom Petty (Rock) – 1976

It’s great that amidst all the new wave, punk and whatever else is going on in 1976, 1991, 2006 and present, Tom Petty just sticks to his thing. 

7.  Night Moves – Bob Seger (Smooth Rock) – 1976

I used to like this song almost as a larf, but for one reason or another, I always enjoy the smoothness it adds to a Saturday afternoon.  This is a really good song, even though I picture a fat man with a belt playing it on a piano to a bunch of middle-aged women who are a little too drunk to enjoy Jimmy Buffett. 

6.  Hotel California – The Eagles (Slow Rock) – 1976

If you listen closely, you can convince yourself this is a reggae song.  It’s too much of a honky hungover west coast classic to believe it, but it has basically everything a reggae song has, well, except it adds rock changes. 

5.  Positive Vibration – Bob Marley (Reggae) - 1976
4.  (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult (Psychedelic Rock) – 1976

If you can get past Will Ferrell’s belly and Keanu Reeves, you can hear how great this song is.

3.  Back in the Saddle – Aeromsith (Hard Rock) – 1976

After the success of the previous album, Aerosmith fans must have been so relieved to hear this song open up the “new” album … before the rest didn't nearly match up. 

2.  Anarchy in the UK – Sex Pistols (Punk) – 1976

I love this song.  I do.  I dog on the punk movement a lot in the same way I make fun of people who speak of “progressives” like they’re foreigners who are ruining our beautiful country.  I have a really difficult time in seeing the art of simplicity, or art that is "anti-whatever" because to be "anti" something means it wouldn't exist without whatever it's against.  Other than that, this song also sounds a little sloppy. 

1.  Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones (Punk) – 1976

So America gives us the punk Beach Boys, one of the most unpretentious bands ever (though they influenced some of the most pretentious bands ever) and England gives us the Sex Pistols.  Which is better?  You decide. 

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