The 1970's Pt. 2 (75-79)

The 1970’s Pt. 2 (75-79)


This is the 1970’s continued from Pt. 1 and just a reminder that I have short formed the Rolling Stone Magazines 500 Greatest Songs of All Time to 500 Greatest . The Rolling Stone list has been revised three times and to maintain the 500 number, songs have been subtracted from prior lists. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs that Shaped R&R (500 Shaped) has been updated, no songs were dropped and it now includes another 160 songs and is simply referred to as ‘The Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll’. On the expanded list I found the 1970’s only had minor additions, hence my reference to the original titles as it just makes an easier comparison, at least for my purposes.


On the Pop charts we had Elton John with three #1 songs “Philadelphia Freedom” being one, KC and the Sunshine Band had two #1’s “That’s the Way (I Like It)” hit two different times, Neil Sedaka had “Laughter in the Rain” and “Bad Blood” and he co-wrote and originally recorded “Love Will Keep Us Together” in 1973 and the cover version hit #1 for four weeks, sung by The Captain & Tennille. 

Glen Campbell had a #1 hit on the Country Chart with “Rhinestone Cowboy“, it was a crossover song that went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Easy Listening (Adult Contemporary), Canada’s Country and Top Singles and #1 in Ireland as well as many top fives around the world. There were actually five more Country songs that crossed over and hit #1; “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by B. J. Thomas, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “I’m Sorry”/”Calypso,” both by John Denver, and “Convoy” by C. W. McCall.
Although David Bowie hit #1 with “Fame” for two separate weeks it is his song “Young Americans” that makes the 500 Greatest list at #204. The other songs on that list are:  #17 “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen, #67 “Tangled Up in Blue” Bob Dylan, #140 “No Woman, No Cry” Bob Marley, #148 “Kashmir” Led Zeppelin, #163 “Landslide” Fleetwood Mac,  #302 “Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd. Of the Country vein at #253 is Willie Nelson’s cover of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”. That was Willie’s first top ten hit in 13 years, reaching #1 on the Country Charts and his highest song to date on Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #21.
Bruce Springsteen is well represented with three of his songs #27 “Born to Run”, #111 “Thunder Road” and #298 “Jungleland”. At #97 on the list is one of the most complicated cover song stories ever, in short Patti Smith combined songs and added her own lyrics to come up with a version of “Gloria” written by Van Morrison and first recorded in 1964 by Them. She began performing the song in 1974 but the first recording appears on her Horses album from 1975. The formal title is “Gloria (in Excelsis Deo)
On the 500 Shaped list from 1975 there are four songs that match the 500 Greatest list as noted above in ranked order; #67 “Tangled Up in Blue” Bob Dylan, #148 “Kashmir” Led Zeppelin, Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” is #17 and Bruce Springsteen with “Born to Run” at #27. The songs that differ are; Aerosmith “Toys in the Attic”, Roxy Music “Love Is the Drug” , Earth Wind and Fire “Shining Star”, Kiss “Rock and Roll All Nite”, Donna Summer “Love to Love You Baby”, Television “Little Johnny Jewel”, War “Low Rider”. These next two artists also appear on the 500 Greatest but with different songs released from 1975. First, Bob Marley & the Wailers “Lively Up Yourself” makes the list but not “No Woman No Cry” and second we have David Bowie with “Fame” instead of “Young Americans”.
The Billboard Top 200 Albums list had 19 titles hit #1 with Elton John leading the way; his Greatest Hits was at the top for the first five weeks and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy hit for 6 straight weeks followed by a seventh, then Rock of the Westies for three weeks, all tolled that’s 15 weeks at #1. The Other leaders were; Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti for seven consecutive weeks and the Eagles with One of These Nights for five weeks. Jefferson Starships’ Red Octopus hit three different times and there was Chicago VIII and Chicago IX: Chicago’s Greatest Hits.

Rolling Stone Magazine updated their 500 Greatest Albums list in 2020 and these are the 15 in rank order from 1975 with the Billboard 200 Album (weekly) top 20 peak position marked in (), if applicable. Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan is ranked #9 (#1 2wks), Springsteen’s Born to Run is #21 (#3 2wks), as noted above Patti Smith’s Horses is at #26, Night at the Opera by Queen is #128(UK #1, US #4), Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti is #144 (#1 6wks), The Hissing of Summer Lawns by Joni Mitchell is #258 (#4 3 wks/1976) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd is #264 #1 2wks), Tonight’s the Night by Neil Young is #302, ALIVE! by Kiss is #305 (#9 1 wk), The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and The Band is #335, Another Green World by Brian Eno is #338, Mothership Connection by Parliament is #363, Expensive Shit by Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70 is #402, That’s the Way of the World by Earth, Wind & Fire at #420 (#1 3 wks) and lastly for this year is Al Green’s Greatest Hits at #456 (#17 1 wk).

On that 500 Greatest Albums list, of the 15 albums from 1975 only five of them were ranked in the top 100 Albums for the year end. Once more demonstrating that tastes change over time and what is currently popular may not be the most enduring. The flip side I suppose is that our current greatest list are more than a bit off base.
Focused as I am on the ‘lists’ and the Billboard Hot 100 for these 70’s posts, I have limited most of Country Music reference to the songs that were chart ‘crossovers’ and a few other short comments. To classify John Denver he was more of a Country and Folk Artist and there are very few of them appearing on any of the lists I’ve been referencing, however in 1975 he had a noteworthy year and not to be ignored. On the Billboard Year End chart he had three albums in the top 10, at #3 was his Greatest Hits (also ranked #2 in 1974), #4 was Back Home Again (“Annies Song”, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy”) and #7 An Evening with John Denver.
This seemed quite unprecedented to me, so I checked it out. For a period of three decades no other artist has placed three albums on the top ten Billboard Albums chart in a single year. These are the only other artists I found to have more that one album in the year end top ten: The Kingston Trio had two in 1960, Peter, Paul and Mary had two in both 1963 and 1964, The Beatles had two in 1965,1966 and 1968, Herb Alpert had two in 1967, Carole King had two in 1972, Elton John had two in 1975, Fleetwood Mac had two in 1977, Donna Summer had two in 1979, The Police had two in 1981 and Guns ‘N Roses had two in 1989.


From the 500 Greatest list we have 10 songs, and the 500 Shaped list there are 15 songs. For the most part these 25 tunes give us a mix of genre even though these lists are centered around Rock and Roll. I found this years selection an interesting cross section with some songs I’d never heard of so I decided to talk a bit about a few of them. I’ve included the songs place by rank order and chart position.
For reference, DNC=Did Not Chart   (A) = Album release only
Ranked at #387 the New York Dolls, “Personality Crisis” from 1973 is the first entry (by year) for the several Punk Rock related songs on the 500 Greatest list, without a song represented 1974 the next  ‘Punk Rock’ song was as I just mentioned, Patti Smith’s “Gloria”. Getting back to 1976, Punk was going strong and next we see three more songs on the list. At #64 is “Blitzkrieg Bop”, by The Ramones and as a single it DNC, the (A) peaked at #111 on the Billboard 200 list, this song is on many other ranked lists such as #18 on the Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitar Songs.
The next song “Roadrunner” is by Modern Lovers and ranked #77, it DNC but has also received wide critical acclaim. Jonathan Richman wrote and recorded the song in 1972 but released it with his band in 1976.
At #125 we have the Sex Pistols with “Anarchy in the U.K.”. If you look it up on Rolling Stone Magazines website it lists the song with the year 1977. That was the year the album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols was issued. However the song itself was released as a single on November 26 of 1976 with “I Wanna Be Me” on the “B” side. Certainly not creating any ‘anarchy’ but a surprising oversight by Rolling Stone. It first charted in the top 50 for the week of Dec. 5 at #43 and it peaked at #38 for a second week on Dec. 26 and then made it’s fourth and final appearance January 1, 1977. “God Save the Queen” was the next single, now it was released in 1977 and it peaked at #2, another single “Holidays in the Sun” charted #8. If you haven’t heard any of the songs you may gather by the titles – coming from a Punk Rock band, they were not very complimentary of the Monarch or the Government. In particular the single “Anarchy in the UK” caused such a backlash that the bands record label EMI stopped production and dropped the band. They were quickly picked up by Virgin Records, the other singles were released and the album peaked at #2. In true punk form it included a not so flattering song titled “E.M.I.”. Showing the power of the Royal Family, the songs and album were eventually “removed” from the Official UK Charts, but on the competing NME (New Music Express) Magazine chart the album rose to #1.
Songs representing the Punk genre on the 500 Shaped list from 1976 are; The Damned “New Rose”, Richard Hell & the Voidoids with “(I Belong to the) Blank Generation” and The Runaways with “Cherry Bomb”.
The songs on the 500 Greatest list classified as ‘Rock’ are; #169 “American Girl” Tom Petty, and #212 “More Than a Feeling” by Boston and both are also on the 500 Shaped list. Then we have #272 “The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy, #301 “Night Moves” Bob Seger, #400 “Station to Station” David Bowie and #449 “Don’t Fear the Reaper’ by Blue Oyster Cult.
Ranked at #351 is “Ponta De Lanca Africano(Umbabarauma)” written and recorded by Jorge Ben it’s a song about a football player, that’s soccer to us in North America. This tune is virtually unknown to most music listeners apart from fans of this sport in Europe, Africa and South America. Deemed quite important by the list makers at Rolling Stone Magazine, I had never heard of the odd (and more oddly ranked no less) song before reviewing the list. The original DNC nor did a cover version by The Ambitious Lovers, another rendition by Soulfly charted #83 in the UK in 1998.

Representing the Disco genre on the 500 Greatest list are #286 “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and #355 “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston. ABBA’s song was a worldwide smash hit reaching #1 on at least sixteen charts, entering late 1976 it would not hit the top 20 for any given week until February 1977 at #1 for only one week on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Thelma Houston (not related to Whitney) song was a cover of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes from 1975 and their album only tune still reached #3 on The Hot Disco Singles chart. As Houston’s version was released in December of 1976 it would be 1977 when it hit #1 on the now named Dance Club Songs chart and finished the year as the top ranked song. She also hit #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B weekly charts, and anywhere from #1 to #11 in ten more countries.


The other songs on the 500 Shaped list are the Eagles “Hotel California”, Daryl Hall & John Oates “She’s Gone”, Steve Miller Band “Fly Like an Eagle” and I think most will agree they are all great songs. Interestly for the year end rankings the Eagles only Top 100 song was “Take it to the Limit” (#25) and Daryl Hall & John Oates “Sara Smile” out charted “She’s Gone” at #11 vs. #81. Steve Miller’s “Take The Money And Run” was his only song on the list charting at #98. Of note Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band “Night Moves” (see above) peaked at #4 in March of 1977 and ended the year ranked #55.
Not to be forgotten is Funk music, represented in 1976 by Parliament with “Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” that charted #5 on the Hot Soul Singles. From Reggae we have Peter Tosh with the prescient song “Legalize It”. Released in 1975 (his first) album of the same name reached #199 on the Billboard 200 but had no singles. “Love to Love You Baby” by Donna Summers is classified as Funk/Disco and it also makes the list 500 Shaped list.
Also only appearing only on the 500 Shaped list is the Pere Ubu song “Final Solution”. Well outside of my sphere, their music was self described as avante-garde, a term meaning – outside the norms of popular music, which has been attached to several sub and sub sub genre since the 1960’s. The groups name was derived from Ubu Roi, an avant-garde play by French writer Alfred Jarry. They started in the 1970’s and this song was released as a single in 1976 and DNC but deemed important by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
So what else was happening on the charts? The Billboard Hot 100 singles top five year end songs were “Silly Love Songs” from Wings (5 wks at #1), “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee (4 wks at #1), “Disco Lady’ by Johnnie Taylor (4 wks at #1), “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” featuring a newer member and drummer, Gerry Polci on lead vocals and one of several hits during the resurgence of The Four Seasons (3 wks) and at #5, “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry (3 wks).  Entering the top twenty in the first week of November, “Tonight’s The Night” by Rod Stewart finished out the year with six consecutive weeks at #1 yet does not appear in the top 100. I know there is a cut off date prior to the last week of the year for the year end list but this seems a little skewed. The rest of the Top 100 is filled with familiar artists such as David Bowie, Dr. Hook, Fleetwood Mac and for the slightly harder Rock fans, Nazareth and Aerosmith.
In order to find a song that appears on any of the aforementioned ‘500 lists’ we have to go down the chart to the #18 year end song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I mentioned it (in the 1975 section) and I did a short post about this song in May, 2018.
The R&B chart was still called the ‘Hot Soul Singles’ and it is interesting to see where the songs from this genre ended up being ranked relative to their place on the pop chart/Hot 100. And/or gaining a spot on some of the all time lists. For example, “Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” is the only one from the wider R&B umbrella that made the 500 Greatest list from 1976. It peaked at #5 on the Hot Soul Singles, #15 on the Hot 100 and did not rank on either year end list.
The following songs are all described as being from R&B/Soul/Funk/Disco genres and yet each one not only crossed over to the pop oriented BillBoard Hot 100 but these first ones all hit #1.  “Disco Lady” also appeared at #1 the Hot Soul Singles chart as did “Play That Funky Music”, “Love Machine” by The Miracles peaked at #5 on the Hot Soul chart but hit #1 on The Hot 100, “Fly Robin Fly” by Silver Connection was a #1 Disco chart hit song but also went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Cashbox, Hot Soul Singles, Record World (Disco) and RPM in Canada. In their native Germany they peaked at #3. They would also hit #2 with “Get Up and Boogie”. Diana Ross hit #1 on the Hot Soul Singles, Billboard Hot 100 and Record World (Disco) charts with “Love Hangover”. “More, More, More” (Andrea True Connection) R&B, Soul, Funk and Disco genre tunes would cross over and chart #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 including “Shake, Shake Your Booty” and “That’s the Way (I Like It)”, both by KC and the Sunshine Band, then there was “Let’s Do it Again”, “Love Rollercoaster” and “Boogie Fever”. All of these also landed in the Top 100 pop songs year end list.
Also from the R&B/Soul/Funk/Disco genres these songs were all #1 on either the Hot Soul Singles, Disco, Dance or Adult Contemporary charts. The songs also had high peak pop chart positions the Billboard Hot 100 and it appears noted in brackets. “You’ll Never Find Another Love like Mine”(2), “Right Back Where We Started From”(2), “Love to Love You Baby”(2), “You Sexy Thing”(3), “Sing A Song” (5), “I Love Music”(5),  “Sweet Love”(5), “Sweet Thing”(5), “Summer”(7), “Walk Away from Love”(9), “Turn the Beat Around”(10), “This Masquerade”(10), “Wake Up Everybody”(12), “Get Away”(12), “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”(15), “Who’d She Coo?”(18) and “Young Hearts Run Free” (20).
Once again, these songs would also land in the Top 100 pop songs year end list for a grand total of 30 songs. If that is not a Disco Invasion I don’t know what is, add to that the #31 placed “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees and the Novelty song “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots (say no more) at #97! In this case there are 13 songs that held a peak position outside of the top three for any given week ranked in the year end top 100.
All my years of pursuing charts I have rarely seen anything remotely like it. It’s not a complaint so much as observing in my opinion, this pushed great rock songs that more legitimately belonged, off of the list. I was there and remember how popular Disco was – but for this year and frankly for the rest of the 1970’s the Billboard Hot 100 Year End list is too heavily skewed in one direction. My own tastes set aside, it’s not that I think these Disco and R&B songs are not great and well crafted, however to me it makes little sense to have the collective Billboard charts have so many of the same songs. I will rant some more on this in The 1970’s Pt. 3.


Well Discomania was alive and well and the chart performance was very strong in the top 40 but the genre would not regain it’s #1 dominance until the end of the year. It was the movie Saturday Night Fever that brought the temperature back up upon its release on Dec.16, 1977. In a rare move the soundtrack was released before the movie on November 15 and produced one #1 hit in 1977 and four more in 1978 and one in 1979 by the BeeGees, one #1 for Yvonne Elliman and the instrumental “A Fifth of Beethoven” also included on the soundtrack hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Up until The Bodyguard (1992), it was the best selling movie soundtrack ever and it is still the eighth best selling album of all time at over 40 million copies.

The Billboard Hot 100 year end continues to confuse…well me at least! The 1976 released and very strong performing “Tonight’s The Night” (as noted above was #1 for six weeks) held it’s #1 spot for the first week of 1977 but by the end of the month it had dropped off the top 20. As if to correct the prior years oversight and the literal “Disco Inferno” of 1976 when it was not even listed, it became the #1 song for 1977.

The other top year end songs were; “I Just Want to be Your Everything’ by Andy Gibb which was the next big hit in January and it spent 3 weeks at #1. Followed by “Best of My Love” by the Emotions, which spent five non consecutive weeks at #1. The #4 song was “Theme From A Star is Born” by Barbra Streisand which was #1 for three weeks and in the top twenty for 22 weeks. The #5 year end song was “Angel in Your Arms” by Hot, which is a bit odd as it only peaked at #6 for any given week, albeit it had a 24 week stay in the top 20. It’s a pretty good R&B/Soul song but chart wise for the year it was out flanked by more than a dozen songs that were given lower year end positions.

The artists to have more than one song hit #1 on the weeklys were the Eagles, Leo Sayer and Stevie Wonder. Almost a repeat of the 1976 chart cycle “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone was #1 from the week ending Oct. 15 for ten consecutive weeks until the Bee Gees took the last two weeks of 1977.  While Boone’s song actually surpassed Rod Stewart’s with three more weeks at #1 it was only ranked #3 but not until 1978.

Carry over from one year to the next for chart rankings is not unusual but 1976, 77 and 78 seem to be stand out years in this regard. As mentioned the “cross over” craze of the migrating Disco song had died down somewhat for a short while and we saw more of an even keel for pop songs. Yet I believe the Disco weighted year end rankings did not accurately reflect the previous 52 weeks of chart positions.

The R&B charts were still called the Hot Soul singles until June of 1982. The big songs for 1977 were; Stevie Wonder with “I Wish” #1 for five weeks and “Sir Duke” for one week. Natalie Cole “I’ve Got Love On My Mind” #1 for five weeks, The Floaters were #1 for six weeks with “Float On”, Barry Whites “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” was #1 for 5 weeks and Earth, Wind and Fire finished the last seven weeks of the year with “Serpentine Fire”.

On 500 Greatest Songs list from this year in ranked order/Billboard Hot 100 year end placement (if applicable) are; #9/39 “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, #23 “Heroes” by David Bowie, #52 “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer, #99/4(1978) “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, #120 “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” by X-Ray Spex,  #173 “Marquee Moon” by Television, #214 “Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan, #252 “Flash Light” by Parliament, #276 “Ever Fallen in Love” by the Buzzcocks, #304 “Trans-Europe Express” by Kraftwerk, #311/19 “Hotel California” by the Eagles, #324 “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel, #325 “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop, #365 “God Save the Queen” by The Sex Pistols, #396 “Alison” by Elvis Costello, #401/94 “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac, #402 “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers and #434 “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” by the Ramones. Only four of the 19 songs placed in the year end Hot 100.

Apart from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack there are two other albums from 1977 ranked in the top 10 for all-time sales, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell is #4 with “claimed sales”  at 44 million and Fleetwood Mac with Rumours at 40 million. These are the only albums from 1977 out of the 81 that have sold at least 20 million copies.

Pitchfork music magazine likes Low by David Bowie which preceded Heroes (released in the same year) for the best album of 1977. The Billboard year end albums list from #1 to #10; Rumours, Songs In the Key of Life, A Star is Born, Hotel California, Boston, A New World Record, Part 3 KC and the Sunshine Band, Silk Degrees, Night Moves, and the self titled Fleetwood Mac.

On the 2020 Rolling Stone Magazine 500 Greatest Albums list from 1977:
#7 Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, #63 Aja by Steely Dan, #71 Exodus by Bob Marley and The Wailers, #80 Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols by the Sex Pistols, #102 The Clash self titled album, #107 Television by Marquee Moon, #163 Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack by Bee Gees et al, #169 Stranger by Billy Joel, #206 Low by David Bowie,
#238 Trans Europa Express by Kraftwerk, #310 Wire by Pink Flag (yep not Floyd), #385 Rocket to Russia by the Ramones, #430 My Aim is True by Elvis Costello, #498 Suicide self titled album and #499 Ask Rufus by Rufus & Chaka Khan.


I know your weren’t wondering about this little fact but this was a big year for me! It was the end of highschool and it was off to various post secondary academic endeavors for the whole gang. Where I grew up continuing your education was not a given, most of us were the first in our families to do so. We all had saved money from our part-time and summer jobs to pay our own tuition and rent. Things were different then to be certain, if you worked hard and saved your money you could manage do these things, and even buy a used car, and in my case as the usual DD, use it to drive my drunkenly friends home on Saturday nights.

If we weren’t at a live music venue or at work at The Ceeps we were certainly visiting with friends and with tunes in our cars driving to and fro. The evenings soundtrack would consist of song like “Stick to Me” by Graham Parker and The Rumour, “Pump it Up” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions and for the melancholy moments it was April Wine with “You Won’t Dance With Me“. Most certainly lot’s more Canadian content such as Trooper with “We’re Here For a Good Time“. We were also listening to some Queen, ELO, The Clash, Talking Heads, Blondie and ‘older’ Bowie stuff like “Rebel Rebel” and more.  If I am playing DJ there was always some Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe! Not that we didn’t like some of it but generally we were not Top 40 kind of people.

Speaking of the charts let’s look at what was hitting the Billboard Hot 100.

As I alluded to in ‘1977’ the Bee Gees and “How Deep is Your Love” was #1 out of the gate and they had “Stay in’ Alive” at #1 for four weeks before being surpassed by their younger brother Andy Gibb with “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” for two weeks, They would knock that song off with “Night Fever” hitting #1 for eight weeks. Andy would be back for seven straight weeks at #1 with “Shadow Dancing”. And a dancing year is was with Disco still producing pesky #1’s like “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey or “Le Freak” by la Chic. A couple of artists with the “One Take” moniker attached to their names hit #1, Donna Summer with “MaCarthur Park” and Anne Murray with “You Needed Me”. Some of the other #1’s were Exile with “Kiss You All Over”, Rolling Stones “Miss You” and Paul McCartney and Wings with “A Little Luck”.

The DJ wedding and party favorite “Y.M.C.A.” only reached #1 on the UK singles charts as it was stalled at #2 on Billboard, but it became one of only forty songs to sell over 10 million copies from the ‘physical record’ selling years.

So what do the the two ‘500’ lists remember from 1978?

First the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest list:

#65 “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire

#210 “One Nation Under a Groove” by Funkadelic

#251 “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

#300 “Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s

#301 “Night Moves” by Bob Seger

#340 “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais” by The Clash reached #32 on the UK Singles Chart. Also highly ranked on many Best of The Clash lists.

#358 “Because The Night” by Patti Smith was co-written with Bruce Springsteen and reached #5 in the UK and #13 in the US.

#356 “Surrender” by Cheap Trick, it only got as high as #62 but it was their highest charting song out five singles to date.

#369 “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, their first single that only reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the UK Singles chart.

#399 “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by the American R&B and Disco  group, Sylvester. The song charted #1 on the US and UK Dance charts.

# 460 “Ku Klux Klan”, by Steel Pulse from their first album Handsworth Revolution. The album did not chart and no singles released, but it earned the UK based band a gig opening for Bob Marley.

On the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list there is as listed above #300, #340, as well as; “Ever Haven Fallen in Love” by The Buzzcocks, “Le Freak” by Chic, “Pump it Up” by Elvis Costello, “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits, “One Nation Under a Groove” by Funkadelic, “Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat, “Lucky Number” by Lene Lovich, “Heart of the City” by Nick Lowe, “Roxanne” by The Police, “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones, “Psycho Killer” by The Talking Heads, “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones and “Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen.

Meat Loaf (Michael Lee Aday)

A timely yet sad coincidence occurred as I was writing this section on 1978, I heard of the passing of Meat Loaf. You may have read/heard some the many tributes and references to his remarkable career. I had the good fortune to see him live in 1978 and it was a memorable performance as he was a magnificent showman. The album Bat Out Of Hell is currently ranked as the fourth best selling album of all time. Released in October of 1977 but it was 1978 when it really started making an impact.

Just a few facts about the singles released from the album. All of Meat Loaf’s hit songs and albums were written by his long time collaborator and once closest friend Jim Steinman who died April 19 of 2021. The title track “Bat Out Of Hell” did not chart anywhere other than at #8 on the UK Singles Chart. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” charted #32 in the UK, #11 on Billboard Hot 100 and #5 in Canada and sold over one million copies worldwide. “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” charted #33 UK, #31 CAN and #39 BillBoard Hot 100 yet still sold over one million copies.  “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” featuring Ellen Foley charted #1 in Belgium and The Netherlands where his songs always did well, it did not chart in the top 100 in the UK but it was #11 in Canada and #39 on Billboard and once again sold over one million copies in the US alone.

The album itself peaked at #14 on Billboard 200 weekly and oldy ended 1978 ranked higher at #13. It reached #5 on the weekly charts in Canada and #1 on the Dutch Charts, Australia and New Zealand. As I mentioned this is the fourth best selling album ever with reported sales at 44 million, not to mention the singles collective sales that total well over 5 million worldwide.

I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” from Bat Out Of Hell II also featured vocals from Lorraine Crosby. This is not the only time a song has won the Grammy for a solo performance, recognizing the lead vocalist only. Not only that, but she was only asked into the studio to provide “guide vocals” that would be recorded by what was hoped as a well know female singer. As a result Crosby was never credited by name on the song, only as “Mrs. Loud” and received no record performance royalties, other than a payment for the singing session, and somehow this was all legal. Nevertheless, Meat Loaf received the Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance in 1994. I believe Meat Loaf was deserving of a Grammy but this is one of many examples of how flawed these awards can be at times. As the song was, as I pointed out “legally” released as a solo song it only qualified in that category. As it was, the only other category it could have possibly been in would be Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Given Crosby was an accompanying vocalist, even if she had been credited the song would not have qualified, under the Grammy rules. As in the case of Ellen Foley on “Paradise” Crosby did not ever do the song with Meat Loaf again, not on tour nor did she appear in the video for the song. For that matter the women in both videos only lip synced the songs.

The single was Meat Loaf’s second #1 song and it hit #1 in 28 countries, including Billboard’s Hot 100. On the other Billboard charts it ranked #2 on Mainstream Top 40, #9 on Adult Contemporary and #10 on Mainstream Rock. All tolled these are rankings that very few songs have achieved. For reported sales the single sold over 1 million in the US and another 2 million or so worldwide, placing the song by my reckoning somewhere in the top 120-150 best selling physical records worldwide.


Just to remind you of the top all time albums, on the ‘claimed sales’ list (in the millions) at #1 is Thriller with 70, followed by AC/DC with 50, the The Bodyguard Soundtrack at 44, then Meat Loaf followed by the Eagles Greatest Hits at #5. So where does Meat Loaf rank on the 500 Lists that I’ve been referring too? Given all these achievements surely some of the hits must be high on both The 500 Greatest Songs and the 500 Songs that shaped Rock and Roll lists, yet there are no songs. The only appearance was The Rolling Stone Magazine list of The 500 Greatest Albums which ranked Bat Out of Hell at #343 on the 2003 and 2012 list but was dropped from the 2020 update.

While this rightfully rankles even the casual fan it is also a mystery to many others, some industry experts included.



The Eagles released “The Long Run” as a single, but it’s the “B” side song that caught my attention. “The Disco Strangler” for me speaks to the literal stranglehold that Disco still had on the Pop Charts. Starting the year off we have a couple of chart climbers from late 1978, the Bee Gees with “Too Much Heaven”, which is another of the #1 hits from the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack and after two weeks it was replaced by “Le Freak” by Chic that spent 3 weeks at #1. Rod Stewart snuck in with the Disco Esque “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” before one Disco song or another took top spot every week until August. The Doobie Brothers were the exception with “What a Fool Believes” for the week ending April 14. The last week of August The Knack was #1 for six weeks with “My Sharona” before the year finished out with a mixed bag of Disco and other assorted tunes.

The top of the R&B charts had little to add other than more Disco tunes. Still called the Hot Soul Singles, Cheryl Lynn had been climbing the chart in 1978 and started the year at #1 with “Got to be Real” followed by “Bustin’ Loose (Part 1)” by Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” by Instant Funk, “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and “We are Family” by Sister Sledge,”Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward and in September MJ hit for five weeks with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. Many of the songs were leaning more toward Funk than pure Disco, none more so than Prince with “I Wanna Be Your Lover” at #1 for two weeks in December. My newly minted Grandson was born on September 21/21 and has his own theme song “September” that hit #1 in January for Earth Wind and Fire (released in 1978).

Despite that cool coincidence, mayhap you picked up on the fact I’m not the biggest Disco fan, so I will point out there were other things happening in R&B other than dance music. If you recall Gil Scott-Heron had his 1971 song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” appear at #258 on the 500 Greatest List, he would chart in 1979 with the thought provoking “Angel Dust“. The inimitable Barry White was still going strong charting his usual 4 to 7 songs per year as well as other balladeers such Teddy Prendergast with “Turn Out the Lights“, Peabo Bryson with “I’m So Into You” and George Benson with a cover of the great L.T.D. song from 1976 “Love Ballad”.

Looking at the 500 lists for songs that originated from this year we have six that appear on both lists. I have drawn up a table to get a better look at all the songs.



Rolling Stone List #

Rock Hall of Fame Y=Yes

Good Times




Heart of Glass




Comfortably Numb

Pink Floyd



What a Fool Believes

Doobie Brothers



Rock With You

Michael Jackson



Typical Girls

The Slits



Brass in Pocket

The Pretenders







Rappers Delight

Sugarhill Gang




Neil Young



Highway to Hell




Bela Lugosi’s Dead




Rock Lobster*




London Calling




(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding)

Elvis Costello



Another Brick in the Wall Part II

Pink Floyd



We Are Family

Sister Sledge



Dancing Barefoot

Patti Smith



Life During Wartime

Talking Heads



My My Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

Neil Young



 * “Rock Lobster” was released twice, once in 1978 and again in 1979 so it appears on the two lists for different years. This has happen with a number of songs where album/single release dates and chart dates may cause the songs to appear under two different years. Despite catching the oversight from Rolling Stone, I may have repeated and or transposed songs from one year to the next.

Before a few final thoughts, just a quick look at albums, Pitchfork Magazine places London Calling by The Clash ranked at #2 for best albums. For the year end Billboard ranked Billy Joel’s 52nd Street at #1, followed by the Bee Gees Spirits Have Flown, Doobie Brothers Minute by Minute, the Cars eponymous album and at #5, Breakfast in America by Supertramp.


While I used the Billboard charts as reference, you may have garnered that I am not the biggest fan on how they portrayed the music of the 1970’s. However if you look at the Album chart you get a very different look at the music. That chart in my opinion is a more level indicator of what was popular and reflected more of what many radio station were playing. In theory, genre related charts are just that, identifiers for consumers of a certain type of music. I have no issue with the radio stations and fans of Dance music. It’s just that the charts in general really did not do a good job of fairly representing popular music in the 1970’s.

So, who really cares? Indeed most of us don’t, but if you are in the music business things like this tend to matter as they affect sales, contracts and money. It therefore matters to the artists as well. I cite this as another example that invites a critical look at the whole ‘list’ idea (despite my references) and how and where songs are placed on, in this case, weekly and year end charts.

As you will have noticed there is often a stark contrast in the songs from the Greatest Lists and were they appeared on the Charts. As I posed the thought earlier of which ones are right, is it the Greatest List or the Charts? I suspect the answer lies in the middle. For all of us the lists don’t reflect our personal tastes and they include songs we never listened to or some we never heard of, which for me being a music guy I ran across more of those than I thought I would. When the lists are posted and subsequently re-posted by writers and bloggers and music websites the inevitable debate ensues about why a song or songs are missing or why they made that list in the first place. You’ll note I have passed judgement on the lists myself more than once during the course of my posts.

I’m the guy that reads the comments below these lists. For the most part the remarks are tedious and without merit. You’ll have the person who loves Southern Rock and it’s all they listened to in the 70’s, so they bemoan that fact there aren’t very many from that subgenre on the list. The person from the Northeast is trumpeting the fact that more Springsteen songs have been added. Many people are very unhappy about their favorite songs that aren’t on or have been dropped off the list, not only for the more recently released songs but the sudden highly ranked appearance of an older song irks people just at much. I think the authors of the lists are trying to deliver a cross section of music tastes. But it seems we live in a divisive world as many comment are downright vitriolic.  Yet many of you and myself included like a healthy debate and conversation on just about anything, though I usually prefer it settle on music. The love of songs should be about coming together and we all can’t like everything but we don’t have to hate everything else either.

I will leave you with this little ditty from 1975 that captures the essence of the message in music better than anything I’ve heard “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War.


Thanks as always for reading my blog.





The Little River Bands song from 1978 was a #1 hit here in Canada.  It speaks to what has been happening while I have been researching, writing and editing these 1970’s posts. So many of these songs have conjured up old memories, I am one of those types that often associates people in my life with music and then I assign a spot for each one, like a record on a shelf. The same may apply to those of you who are of a certain age.

For example; in high school art class “Shake, Shake Your Booty” became “Shake, Shake, Your Blue Paint”, Paul my old friend it still makes me smile. I am blessed with four very close friends that have stuck with me since the early seventies and each one is attached to songs and bands along with the places where we shared our listening experience. Steve and I go back the furthest and there are too many references to list here, suffice to say my love for lyrics, Dylan and Springsteen comes from him. David those garage parties are now part of the collective folklore of the east end, and of course I can’t forget the coveted Cosmo’s Factory album by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Shayne my fellow Blues lover, so many great times at the old homestead, around the pool or listening to Supertramp’s Crime of the Century in the rec room. Mike my musician friend, we were Squeezing Out Sparks in your old Capri, what a great car that was – despite getting the “Heat Treatment” (1976) during a long summer drive (sorry, you had to be there). So many other memories, maybe not so much the names but the faces I still remember well, even though we have lost touch. A dear friend our gang lost over 10 years ago now, Ric was a music maven and in the late 1970’s he was our dancing Tony Manero.

So this is why music is important to me and I suppose so many others, it is part of the fabric of our lives. I have a third section coming up to close out the decade but these particular thoughts had to find their way in print today. So “take those old records off the shelf’ and listen to some Old Time Rock ‘n Roll.

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