Billboard Top 10, January 31, 1976

Okay, since I’ve done 2016, 1996, and 1986, I think I’ll do 1976 too. Warning: while some of these songs are okay, all of these songs are why punk rock needed to be invented.

#1: Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players

This song is interesting to listen to – not because it’s all that good, but because it has so many moving parts. There’s some strange atmospheric synthesizer thing in the background, there’s various random vocal parts happening, there’s a rhythm guitar churning away, there’s various brass instruments, and there’s a whole bunch of bits of percussion. It sounds like five songs all going at once rather than just one. After a while, it gets to be a bit too much to listen to. This YouTube link shows the cover of the Ohio Players’ Honey album, which was a bit controversial in its time.

#2: I Write The Songs – Barry Manilow

You’ve already heard of Barry Manilow and you’ve already made up your mind about him, so I won’t go into this song any further, except to say that I listened to only 0:18 of it. By the way, Manilow didn’t write this song – it was written by Bruce Johnston of Beach Boys fame.

#3: Love To Love You Baby – Donna Summer

One of the classic 1970s disco songs, banned in some places for sounding a bit too erotic. I don’t want to listen to it again, but the link is there in case you want to listen to it. Summer eventually became a born-again Christian and died of lung cancer in 2012.

#4: You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate

I lasted 0:40. It’s not that this is a bad song as such, it’s just… I had to listen to too much of songs like this when I was a teenager, and I feel like I’ve done my time. Hot Chocolate were actually British, which I didn’t know. They were originally known as The Hot Chocolate Band, and their first single was a vaguely reggaeish version of John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”.

#5: I Love Music (Part 1) – The O’Jays

During the mid-1970s, you couldn’t go near a radio without running into something by the O’Jays, starting with “Back Stabbers” in 1972. They had been recording since 1963, and were apparently about to give up when they finally hit it big. Recently, they appeared as part of a punch line in Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity.

#6: Convoy – C. W. McCall

For a brief time in the 1970s, CB radio was popular. This song cashed in on that craze, eventually reaching number one and selling two million copies. I’d rather not listen to it again. C. W. McCall was a pseudonym created by ad director William Fries for a series of television commercials. He reached the lower end of the charts some more times with similar songs, and later went on to become mayor of Ouray, Colorado. He’s still alive, if Wikipedia is to be believed; he’ll turn 88 later this year.

#7: Sing A Song – Earth, Wind & Fire

Another of the funky, disco-ish songs that hit the charts in 1976. There were so many of them. They weren’t really my thing, and I didn’t listen to much of this. What I want to know about this group is: if Earth, Wind, and Fire are represented, what about Water? Why is this basic element being left out?

#8: Times Of Your Life – Paul Anka

I only lasted 0:16. I didn’t like “Sing A Song” all that much, but I’d rather listen to it ten times than attempt to finish listening to this. Anka is a Canadian cultural institution by now, of course, and is famous for having written the lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. But ugh.

#9: Walk Away From Love – David Ruffin

Ruffin was the former lead singer of The Temptations, who became famous in the 1960s. And this song is a throwback to that time – it sounds more like something that was written in 1966 than something that was written in 1976. I like it better than many of the other songs on this list, but that’s not saying much: I only made it through 1:16. This has been a tough chart to slog through.

#10: 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon

This song made it into popular culture years ago, so I don’t really need to say much about it here. I didn’t know that Miley Cyrus covered it recently; she more or less tries to sing the way Simon does, but oddly seems to be sounding a bit like Amy Winehouse. I would like to have heard how Ms. Winehouse would have done this song, but sadly we’ll never get a chance to find out.

Okay, finally I’m done. I’m glad it’s not 1976 any more.

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About davetill

I'm a writer and occasional web designer. I live in Toronto.
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