1. Fernando - ABBA (right)
This song first saw the light of day in 1975 when ABBA member Anni-Frid 'Frida' Lyngstad recorded it in Swedish on her solo album Frida Ensam (meaning Frida Alone). ABBA then recorded an English version in the following year. The song did not appear on any ABBA studio album at the time of its release as a single, though it is included on the first remastered issue of Arrival in 1997 (the vinyl LP was released in 1976). Of the song, Bjorn Ulvaeus has said: "That lyric is so banal and I didn't like it. It was a love lyric, someone who loved Fernando, but I inherited the word 'Fernando' and I thought long and hard, what does Fernando tell me? I was in my summer house one starry evening and the words came, 'There was something in the air that night' and I thought of two old comrades from some guerrilla war in Mexico who would be sitting in the porch and reminiscing about what happened to them back then and this is what it is all about. Total fiction." The single's B-side in Australia was "Hey Hey Helen". 'Fernando' was the biggest selling single in Australian chart history by an overseas artist until it was overtaken by Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle In The Wind '97."
2. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
One of the great rock classiscs of the 1970s, Freddie Mercury (real name Farookh Bulsura) wrote the lyrics, and there has been a lot of speculation as to their meaning. Many believe they refer to Mercury's 'coming out' (publicly declaring his homosexuality), while some believe it refers to Mercury's renunciation of Zoroastrianism. Mercury's parents were deeply involved in Zoroastrianism, and many words in the song have a meaning in that religion. His family grew up in Zanzibar, but were forced out by government upheaval in 1964, when they moved to England. Some of the lyrics could be about leaving his homeland behind.
A lot of words from the lyrics appear in the Qu'ran. "Bismillah" is one of these and it literally means "In the name of Allah." The word "Scaramouch" means "A stock character that appears as a boastful coward." "Beelzebub" is one of the many names given to The Devil. Mercury is said to have written "Galileo" into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who is an astronomy buff. Galileo was a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope. About the actual recording, the backing track came together quickly, but they spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24 track tape machine. By the time they were done, about 120 vocal tracks were layered together. The original album version was over 7 minutes long. It was cut down to 5:55 for release as a single. Ironically, the song that knocked this off the No.1 chart position in the UK was "Mama Mia" by ABBA. The words "Mama Mia" are repeated in 'Bohemian Rhapsody" in the line "Oh mama Mia, mama Mia, mama Mia let me go."
3. Dancing Queen - ABBA
Written as all ABBA songs were by band members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the song was inspired by Queen Silvia, who married King Gustaf XVI of Sweden on 19th June 1976. ABBA performed it on a televised tribute to the couple the day before they were married, and it is thought it was written for that occasion. This is arguably the world's first Europop Disco hit. ABBA was never as big in the US as in Australia or Europe, and 'Dancing Queen' was ABBA's only No.1 hit there. Since the day the song was released, there is deeply divided opinion as to whether it is the best song ever written or the worst.
Those who see it as the latter question how the pinnacle of mankind's musical achievement, as some have called it, could include the lines - "You're a teaser, you turn 'em on, Leave them burning and then you're gone". My personal view is that musically, it is quite spectacular, but lyrically, it leaves much to be desired like most of ABBA's earlier songs in the disco-style (eg. 'Bang-a-Boomerang', 'Rock Me', 'Hey Hey Helen'). That having been said, ABBA songs sound so very simple, but when they are analysed closely, their melodies and arrangements are quite complicated and difficult to play and sing, stretching the singers and musicians greatly. Such can also be said of the classical composer Mozart whose works appear simple on the surface but are a real challenge to the performers.
4. Howzat - Sherbet (right)
Pop group Sherbet were one of a number of pop sensations in Australia in the mid 1970s, and their popularity was unrivalled. Sherbet's members were good looking, promoted a clean cut image, dressed in their satin jackets, and sang songs that spoke of innocent, romance in songs like "Summer love is like no other love". While the guys of the time made heroes of Skyhooks, the girls were out screaming at Sherbet. 'Howzat' was Sherbet's only single to chart overseas, reaching the Top 10 in England in 1976, and their first Australian No.1. While Australian acts in the past had recorded hits overseas, 'Howzat' was the first single written and recorded locally to chart internationally.
5. Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
In the book 1,000 UK Number One Hits, Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews) explained; "Both Elton and I were big fans of those duets on Motown by the likes of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and as there hadn't been any around for a bit, we thought we'd do one ourselves." Elton recorded his part in Toronto, then the tape was sent to London where Kiki Dee recorded her vocal. Producer Gus Dudgeon recalls, "I was with Elton in Canada and he actually sang about three quarters of the song and gave Kiki about four lines. I said, "Hang on a minute, is this supposed to be a duet or a guest appearance? Elton replied, 'A duet.'
Then you've got to give her at least 50 per cent of the song." Kiki recalls that when got the tapes, "Elton had recorded the song abroad and also did my vocals in a high pitched voice which was quite funny, so I knew which lines to sing." 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' was the second biggest selling record of 1976 in both the UK and US. It topped the charts all over the world. Originally, Elton and Kiki were originally going to record a cover version of the Four Tops' "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" but decided against this. Elton and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin wrote this song using pseudonyms Ann Orson and Carte Blanche. Beflore emerging as a solo artist, Kiki Dee was a session singer, having sung backing vocals for Elton John and Dusty Springfield, among others.
6. Jump In My Car - Ted Mulry Gang (right)
In 1972, after getting tired of being backed by other people's bands, Ted Mulry switched from acoustic guitar to bass and formed his own band, Ted Mulry Gang, with guitarist Les Hall & drummer Herman Kovacs. They signed a recording deal with Albert Records in 1974 and released their first album "Here We Are". Guitarist Gary Dixon joined around this time to complete the foursome. Their first major hit and the biggest of their career was the 1975 single "Jump In My Car" which spent 5 weeks at No.1. Over the next few years they achieved a string of hit singles including a rocked up version of the old jazz song, "Darktown Strutter's Ball", "Crazy", "Jamaica Rum" and "My Little Girl". Many of TMG's songs, including "Jump In My Car", were co-written with guitarist Les Hall. By the early 1980s their chart success had ended but they remained popular performers on the Australian pub circuit throughout the decade. In January 2006, US actor David Hasselhoff released a version of "Jump In My Car".
7. Money, Money, Money - ABBA (right)
In late 1976 ABBA's fourth album, Arrival, was released. The album stormed up the charts and spawned hits such as "Money, Money, Money" and "Knowing Me, Knowing You". This was followed by a concert tour of Europe and Australia between January and March 1977. When the tour reached Australia, work was also begun on the feature film ABBA The Movie. The premiere of the film in December 1977 coincided with the release of ABBA The Album. 'Money, Money' Money', sung by Frida, tells of the dreams of an everyday housewife, who on this occasion isn't dreaming of giving up the good life for love, but rather is dreaming of giving up love for the good life.
8. S-S-S-Single Bed - Fox
Fox had a brief flirtation with chart success in the mid 1970s before they were washed away on the tide of punk/new wave. Their style was based around lead singer Noosha Fox (an Aussie renamed from Susan Traynor) who looked like Betty Boop and sang like her too. Their songs were, in the main, very "hippy meets 1970s pop". 'S-S-S-Single Bed' was their best known recording, a superb percussive and innovative number that is still being played on dance floors many years later. Few red-blooded males failed to be struck by Noosha's "come-to-bed" performances on the British TV show, Top of the Pops; all fairly harmless but quite provocative for the era. The group made three albums, the first of which was the only one to sell well.
9. Let's Stick Together - Brian Ferry (right)
British performer Brian Ferry recorded this song at a time when his first stint as leader of Roxy Music was coming to a close and he was entering a three-year period as a solo performer. It was also a time when model Jerry Hall was prominant in his life and they had a doomed affair (it is believed this song was recorded for her). Hall appears in several of Ferry's music videos, including "Let's Stick Together" and "The Price of Love." Ferry first met Hall when she posed for the Roxy Music album cover for Siren, which was photographed in Wales during the Summer of 1975. She wore body paint to give the impression of a mythical siren. The single is actually a re-working of a Canned Heat song called "Let's Work Together" which had the same tune and theme but slightly different lyrics.
10. Convoy - C.W. McCall (right)
It is hard for today's popular music audience to comprehend how one single such as this could turn a whole nation on to a new electronic craze as this song did in 1976. CB radio sales went through the roof, every one in the country was saying '10-4' - and they all knew what it meant! It even spawned a string of 'good ol' boys' movies (Hooper; the Smokey And The Bandit trilogy) and a top rating tv show (The Dukes of Hazzard). There was no such person as C.W. MacCall, he was in fact the country & western (hence C.W.) alter ego of songwriter Bill Fries, who created the character in his role an art director with an Omaha (Nebraska) advertising agency in the 1960s.
Fries' creation was a trucker for the fictional Old Home Bread Company who spent much of his time in a diner called The Old Home Filler-Up-an'-Keep-On-a-Truckin' Cafe; the McCall character was a huge hit with viewers, and Fries' radio campaign won him the advertising industry's prestigious Clio Award. In 1974, Fries decided to cut a record under the McCall moniker, and the single - 'Convoy' - a monologue with country backing titled after the aforementioned cafe, became a hit. A follow-up single, "Wolf Creek Pass," was even more successful in the US. 'Convoy' not only went to No.1, it started a national CD craze not only in the States but in Australia too.
11. Tonight's The Night - Rod Stewart (right)
Lifted from the album, A Night On The Town, this song was banned on British radio stations on its release because of its suggestive lyrics. The offending lyric is "spread your wings and let me come inside". Stewart's girlfriend at the time, Swedish actress Britt Ekland, sings in French at the end. The backing was provided by a famous group of session musicians known as The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who made a living playing on hits for prominent singers like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Bob Seger. In 2003, a musical called Tonight's The Night opened in London. The show featured Rod Stewart's hits in much the same way as ABBA's show Mamma Mia! and Billy Joel's Movin' Out. It was not a success. The Shirelles released a song called "Tonight's the Night" in the early '60s, basically about the same thing from the woman's perspective, but it was much tamer lyrically.
12. We Do It - R & J Stone
Written by Russell Stone, this song was a hit for the English husband and wife team, R & J Stone. There is plenty of innuendo in this song by these one hit wonders. Stone (born 1956) grew up in London and became a session singer, backing the linkes of Cliff Richard, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett. He also voiced many TV and radio commercials. He wrote the song for his wife Joanne, with whom he sang it; sadly, Joanne died in 1979. After her death Russell went back to studio work and touring. In 1994, having successfully addressed an alcohol abuse problem with help from a Hampshire clinic and counselling, he began counselling training and completed a Diploma in 1998 and began teaching counselling at Farnborough College.
13. Mississippi - Pussycat (right)
The group Pussycat, which made this song a worldwide hit, was built around the Kowalczyk sisters - Toni, Betty and Marianne - daughters of a Polish miner who migrated to the Netherlands, who had numerous successes between 1975 and 1984 in Europe, and with their debut single, 'Mississippi', worldwide. The sisters began innocently as the "Zingende Zusjes" (Singing Sisters). Their German songs were welcomed by a willing audience, which led them to a bigger and better things. When the beat-era came, they changed their music, and changed their name to "The BG's (Beat Girls) from Holland", and were one of the first female groups in the Netherlands.
In early 1975, four male and another female voice was added and they became Pussycat. Toni Wille recalls what happened when their first single, 'Mississippi', took off: "The success overwhelmed us. We were more or less knocked out by it, because we never dreamed that the debut was such a strong one. As a matter of fact, we weren't ready for it. Pussycat was a kind of a hobby for us then. For instance, I was still working then. Although we started as a hobby, we had to build a professional organisation due to the success of "Mississippi'. That wasn't so easy, especially when they started touring." The success continued a few years, but in 1985 the group decided to split up.
14. Rock Me - ABBA
'Rock Me' was recorded in October 1974 and was released on the album, ABBA, and as the B-side of the single 'I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do'. The DJs of the world throught 'Rock Me' to be the more listenable, if not the better song, and it got most of the airplay. Björn Ulvaeus sings lead on what is one of the few ABBA hits in which Agnetha and Frida are relegated to singing the backing vocals (another was 'Does Your Mother Know?'). The ABBA sound here is how it originally was going to be - Agnetha and Frida were initially hired to provide vocal backing for Björn's lead.
15. Slipping Away - Max Merritt & The Meteors (right)
In New Zealand, Max Merritt and the Meteors were pioneers of rock'n'roll. In Australia they represent the high mark in musicianship. The group's New Zealand and Australian recordings are by no way a measure of Max Merritt and the Meteors' significance. In 1959 the US army set up a base at Christchurch and some of the servicemen discovered Merritt' playing at the local Teenage Club. They started lending Merritt' copies of the latest rhythm and blues records in their possession, but not released in New Zealand; the basis of Merritt's early repertoire. When Merritt' and his group moved to Auckland they quickly became a leading group in New Zealand, second only in popularity to the more pop oriented Ray Columbus and The Invaders.
After successs in Australia, the band went to Britain in October 1971, with little success. A reassembled group made a triumphant return to Australia in January 1972 as the star attraction at the first Sunbury Pop Festival. They returned to London and gradually made their way into the fabric of the London music scene. Apart from a Sunbury 1973 repeat performance, Australia had all but forgotten Merritt' when he suddenly hit the airwaves in 1976 with this London-recorded song, "Slipping Away", lifted from an album called A Little Easier. At the end of 1996 Merritt finally disbanded the Meteors and moved to Los Angeles to make a living as a solo performer and recording artist.
16. S.O.S. - ABBA (right)
This is the only Top 20 hit in history in which the title of the song and the name of the artist are both palindromes - they spell the same thing forward and backward. Though Bjorn has always denied that any ABBA songs are directly about the band members' relationships with each other, this song was written when his marriage to Agnetha was falling apart and that event must have been an influence. John Lennon said this song was one of his favourite ABBA songs. The brilliant thing about ABBA's better songs is that they always sound very simple and plain, but when you dig deeper, you find they are quite complex musically. You really must possess a good voice as they are very demanding to sing.
17. Darktown Strutters Ball - Ted Mulry Gang (right)
Though many artists have recorded this song over the years - from Ella Fitzgerald to Dean Martin to the Ted Mulray Gang, who turned it into a No. 1 hit in Australia - it will always be associated with Broadway comedian and Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies star, Joe Frisco, who "puffed on the corona, shuffled his feet, rolled his hips, and contorted his body just as he had always done in the honky-tonks, to the tune of 'The Darktown Strutters' Ball' ". The song was written by African American composer, Shelton Brooks. Ted Mulry Gang recorded the song in 1975 after a successful tour of the US as a follow up to the top 10 hit, 'Jump In My Car'.
18. I Hate The Music - John Paul Young (right)
Though it never made No.1 like Young's earlier release, 'Yesterday's Hero', 'I Hate The Music' sold more copies and earned the artist his first gold record. The reason it never made No.1 is the ABBA song, 'Fernando', which so dominated the top of the Australian record charts at the time, the highest any other song could reach during a three month period was second place. I shall always remember the TV show Countdown playing 'Fernando' in the No.1 spot, and the image and sound of John Paul Young's 'I Hate The Music' clip appearing in the background. Very funny!
19. Jeans On - David Dundas
David Dundas, the son of the Marquess of Zetland, was born in Oxford and at first pursued a career in acting before turning to music. Roger Greenaway and Dundas co-wrote the song, which came from a jingle Dundas had penned for a commercial for Brutus Jeans in the UK. Dundas followed it up with "Another Funny Honeymoon" in 1977, a single which also climbed into the Top 40, but not as high. After his first two albums failed to sell, David turned his talents toward composing, his television and movie credits include How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Sometime Never, Dark City and Sleepers. He and Rick Wentworth co-wrote the score for Withnail and I.
20. If You Leave Me Now - Chicago
One of the great love songs of the 1970s, 'If You Leave Me Now' was written by Chicago's bass player Peter Cetera, who also sang lead. After it became a huge hit, the band became known for its ballads that featured Cetera's vocals. Peter wrote this song about his faltering marriage. This was a plea to his wife at the time to stay. It didn't work as she promptly right him. The song came together after spending time with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys fame, hence the layered vocals and cascading strings ... and the No.1 hit.
6. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - Marcia Hines (right)
Although other African American performers came to Australia before and after (eg. Chelsea Brown, Delilah), Marcia Hines was without question the first to become a bona fide star in this country, and certainly there was no-one quite like her on the Australian music scene when she first arrived in 1970 at the tender age of 17. She came to star in the Australian production of the rock musical Hair, which she followed with the role of Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. By the time these shows had run their course, Australia had become home and Marcia began extensive touring and recording. Her third single, "Don't Let the Grass Grow" was released in May 1976; after the enormous success of her earlier releases, it did not chart, a curious pattern which was repeated over the next few years as her singles either scaled the highest reaches of the charts, or mysteriously failed to chart at all. But she bounced back to score a third major hit with a cover of the Dusty Springfield's classic hit "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself", written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which reached No.3 in September.
7. Happy Days - Silver Studs (right)
Lance Reynolds formed the Silver Studs, a rock 'n' roll revival band, in Brisbane during 1975. The trio's act included singing, dancing and comedy. They issued the single 'My Teenage Dream' and in February 1976 were the support act for The Hollies on their national tour. Silver Studs scored their biggest hit single with a cover of the theme song of the popular American TV show, Happy Days. The single reached No.4 in June 1976 and was followed by their second and only other hit, 'Dance With A Dolly', which made No.11 in September.
8. Every Little Bit Hurts - Shirley Strachan
Skyhooks lead singer Graeme (Shirley) Strachan (right) recorded a few solo singles and an album in the mid to late 70s, consurrent with his latter years as Skyhooks' lead singer. The first single, "Every Little Bit Hurts", charted well, and was followed by "Tracks Of My Tears" (June 77), "Mr.Summer" (Oct 88), and "Nothing But The Best" (Mar 79). "Every Little Bit Hurts" is a poignant ballad with crystal-clear imagery, written by Ed Cobb. "Every Little Bit Hurts" was originally a 1964 hit single for Motown soul singer Brenda Holloway. Though she was against recording the song again (she recorded it a couple of years before signing with Motown), she reluctantly recorded the song in 1964 and it became a US top 10 hit. The song would become one of Holloway's trademark singles and would spark many covers by acts like The Small Faces, the Spencer Davis Group (with lead vocals by Steve Winwood), Teena Marie, The Clash, The Jam and Alicia Keys.
9. Child's Play - Sherbet
Between 1971 and 1978, Sherbet released 15 albums and 30 singles, many reaching the National Top 40. Among these singles were "Child's Play," "Slipstream," "Cassandra," "Life," "Summer Love" and of course "Howzat," their biggest single, which not only reached No. 1 in Australia but gained chart success in England and America. Daryl Braithwaite (right) sang lead on all songs. In January 1976, Shakespeare right Sherbet citing 'personal reasons', a move which pre-empted major changes in the band's line-up over the next year. The last song Shakespeare played on before leaving the band was "Child's Play".
10. Matter Of Time - Sherbet
Beginning in 1975, Sherbet's records were produced by Richard Lush who had begun his career in the UK as a trainee engineer at EMI's Abbey Rd Studios, where he helped to engineer a number of Beatles recordings including Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Porter also began to take an occasional lead vocal on Sherbet singles. His vocals can be heard on "Hollywood Dreaming" and "A Matter of Time". Throughout this era, Sherbet toured Australia regularly and with remarkable thoroughness; they were one of the few bands to consistently commit to playing full-scale concerts in even the remotest regions of the country. With their Australian success was on the wane, Sherbet's name was changed to "Highway" in 1979 as the band turned its focus on the American market.
Promoter Robert Stigwood felt the name Sherbet didn't convey the heavier image that was to be promoted in the states. In 1979 Sherbet broke up, but re-united in 1980 as "Sherbs," hoping to appeal to an audience of their own age. Sherbs released three albums, "I Have The Skill," "Defying Gravity" and the mini E.P. titled "Shaping Up." Before calling it quits in 1983, mainly due to lack of support by their record company, the band did a farewell tour as Sherbet with the final show in Queensland on Great Keppel Island. The whole tour was a great success.
Other Hits of 1976
It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock'n'roll) - AC/DC (right)
This song is one of AC/DC's earlier hits and one of their best as it is what rock'n'roll is all about. The lyrics are autobiographical, telling mainly of lead singer Bon Scott's experiences from his pre AC/DC days when he was nearly killed in a riot by a drunken mob in rural NSW. These lads were proud of their Scottish heritage and weren't afraid to show it. Scott was born Ronald Belford in Scotland - as were the Young brothers. The somewhat older Scott arrived in Australia with his family some 11 years before the Youngs emigrated; he learned recorder and drums, and was a proficient bagpipe player. A demonstration of the group's audacity was the use of Scott's bagpipes being played in unison with Angus's wound up Aged Cherry Gibson SG Custom guitar during the instrumental interlude. You couldn't dream of a more unlikely duo of instruments, yet AC/DC put them together and it worked a treat. The song runs to 5 minutes 15 seconds, which is quite long for a single.
The band made a video to promote the single and the album on the ABC-TV show, Countdown. Shot on 23rd February 1976, they rode through the centre of Melbourne on an open topped truck borrowed from the ABC, accompanied by three members of the Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band; Melbourne's office workers taking a stroll in their lunch hour view bemused as the procession rolls by. The most noticeable feature of the video is that the vocalist was really enjoying himself, but, as Scott's biographer Cilnton Walker observes, "it's as if Bon acknowledges he's living on borrowed time, and luckily at that." It would not be such a long way to the top for AC/DC, but 4 years later almost to the day, it would all be over for Bon. On 19th February 1980 he was found dead on the back seat of a car in London, having literally drunk himself to death. View the video online | Bandstand video clip online
Love To Love - Tina Charles (right)
London born Tina Charles (real name Tina Hoskins) followed in her father's footsteps into the entertainment world (Charles Hoskins was an actor). At the age of 15 Tina recorded three singles in London, at which time she provided backing vocals for the first album of an unknown young man called Reg Dwight, later known as Elton John. She then began appearing weekly on the TV show, The Two Ronnies, singing cover hits - no mean feat for a 15 year old. In 1975 she was booked for a backup session by Tony Eyers, little did she know at the time that 'I'm On Fire' by 5000 Volts, on which she sang back-up, would be a million seller. Tina had one single - 'You Set My Heart On Fire' - before her biggest hit, 'I love To Love' which, prompted a world tour between 1975 and 1977. Tina planned to visit Australia but it never happened as, in June 1977, she gave birth to a son by her first husband, Bernard Webb, a musician from East London. At the end of 1977 she decided to devote more time to her son; she ceased touring and returned to session singing and jingles. View the video online
Let Your Love Flow - The Bellamy Brothers (right)
In Australia, Howard and David (The Bellamy Brothers) are looked upon as one (or perhaps one and a half) hit wonders, because they are little known in this country. In their homeland (USA), they are veteran country-rock recording artists whose career began in 1968 and continues today. Their break came in the form of the hit 'Spiders & Snakes', written by David, but recorded by Jim Stafford. The song raised their profile and gave them entry into the Los Angeles music scene. As recording artists, it was the single 'Let Your Love Flow' that gave them their first international hit and a feeling of having 'arrived'. This success continued when "If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me),' became a hit. Originally scrawled on a dinner napkin by David, the song rocketed them to the top of the country charts the way 'Let Your Love Flow" had done in the pop market just a few years earlier. Hear the song online
Hotel California - The Eagles
A downbeat tale about coping with LA's rock-star lifestyle that portrays California as a hedonistic prison. 'Hotel California' is without doubt one of the finest songs ever written and performed during the 20th century. It is the pinnacle in the career of The Eagles, whose portfolio of work is one of the finest ever. Those hypnotic opening chords were created by Don Felder. He recalls, "I had just leased this house out on the beach at Malibu, I guess it was around '74 or '75. I remember sitting in the living room, with all the doors wide open on a spectacular July day. I had this acoustic 12-string and I started tinkling around with it, and those 'Hotel California' chords just kind of oozed out. Every once in a while it seems like the cosmos part and something great just plops in your lap." Don took the chord progressions to Don Henley and Glen Frey. They put the words down, then Joe Walsh wrote all the guitar parts and arranged them for everyone.
Glenn Frey explains that the song explores the under belly of success, "the darker side of Paradise. Which was sort of what we were experiencing in Los Angeles at that time. So that just sort of became a metaphor for the whole world and for everything you know. And we just decided to make it Hotel California. So with a microcosm of everything else going on around us." Don Henley adds. "We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest. 'Hotel California' was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles. "Colitas," in the line "Warm smell of colitas," is often interpreted as a flower or a sexual reference. It is a Spanish word translated to Henley by The Eagles Mexican-American road manager meaning "Little Buds," and is a reference to marijuana. Some people thought the line "She's got the Mercedes Bends" was a misspelling of "Mercedes Benz," and wrote to Henley to complain. The line was a play on words. The hotel on the album cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel, known as the Pink Palace. It is often frequented by Hollywood stars. View the video online
Last Resort - The Eagles (right)
Released on The Eagles Hotel California album, The Last Resort, or as its co-writer Don Henley describes it, How The West Was Lost, is one of the most powerful and beautifully crafted songs from The Eagles and the 20th century. The song reflects the album's theme of America, epitomised by California, as paradise lost. That Henley has a Degree in English Literature is evident in the intelligent and evocative lyrics. Using as the basis for its message the United States domestic policies and practices during the 1800's, the song examines the lasting environmental and social "costs" of the mass migration of people in the United States during the 19th century which came to be known as Westward Expansion. Dig deeper into the lyrics, however, and it emerges as a polar opposite to 'Hotel California'; about the tendency to look at the heavenly destination mankind seeks as justification for our earthly greed, waste, and lack of caring; the dark side of man's quest for greener pastures emerges as its greater theme.
It is no coincidence that the person whose journey is followed in this song starts out from a place called Providence with a view to ending up in Paradise. Don Henley explained in a 1987 interview, "The Last Resort is still one of my favourite songs. That's because I care more about the environment than about writing songs about drugs or love affairs or excesses of any kind. The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence - by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment. The environment is the reason I got into politics: to try to do something about what I saw as the complete destruction of most of the resources that we have right. We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed." View the video online
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon (right)
Paul Simon's 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years is among his finest work, particularly the title track and the hit single "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." It was written after Simon's divorce from first wife Peggy Harper and takes a humorous look at ways to end a relationship: "Just slip out the back, Jack / Make a new plan, Stan." Studio drummer Steve Gadd created the unique drum beat that became the hook and colour for the song consisting of an almost military beat. View the video online
Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
Starland Vocal Band were an American pop outfit, known primarily for "Afternoon Delight", one of the biggest-selling singles in 1976. The group began as 'Fat City', a husband/wife duo of Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, who are most remembered as backing John Denver on "Take Me Home Country Roads". "Afternoon Delight" features close harmony and sexually suggestive lyrics. Concurrent to the Starland Vocal Band's version, country singer Johnny Carver had a top 10 version of his own in the US. The song's title comes from the name of a special menu of the same name at Clyde's Restaurant in Georgetown, USA. View the video online
All By Myself - Eric Carmen
Eric Carmen's greatest success came in the 1970s, first as a member of The Raspberries (who scored a major hit with their song "Go All The Way"), then with his solo career, which was dominated by hits like "All by Myself" and "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again". "All by Myself" is a power ballad written and performed by Carmen that spawned numerous cover versions. It borrows heavily from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. Carmen's full version has an extended piano solo and lasts seven minutes. In a 2006 poll for the Channel 5 programme, Britain's Favourite Break-up Songs, Eric Carmen's version of this song was voted seventeenth. A version of the song on Céline Dion's Falling Into You album is arguably one of Dion's most powerful vocal performances. It was also a top 10 hit. Dion has performed this song many times during her world tours, TV shows and many important music events, including: Grammy Awards (1997), Billboard Music Awards (1997), and Bambi Awards (1996). View the video online
Anarchy in the U.K. - Sex Pistols
"Anarchy in the U.K." was the title track of the first single by the Sex Pistols. It was the second UK Punk rock single, preceded by The Damned's "New Rose". The title track later appeared on the album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, along with the valedictory track "EMI". The song's lyrics espouse a nihilistic, emotive, and violent concept of anarchy; it's limited appeal resulted in few sales in Australia. View the video online
Beautiful Noise - Neil Diamond (right)
"Beautiful Noise" is the title track of Diamond's third album on Columbia Records. Of the song, Diamond recalls: "I had booked my usual suite at the Sherry Netherlands hotel on Manhatten's fifth Avenue, New York. My daughters Marjorie and Elyn were staying with me along with my parents. One afternoon there was a large and tuneful Puerto Rican Day parade just a few floors below our window. I remember we had been drawing and colouring pictures together and going back and forth to see the parade. Suddenly Marjorie, momentarily, distracted from her art work, said "what a beautiful noise Dad."
>The phrase struck me immediately as a possible song title for a new album I was starting with Robbie Robertson about my experiences as a young writer in Tin Pan Alley. I said to the kids, "Hey that could be a song, let's write it after dinner when grandma and grandpa get here." That evening we sat down with a small cassette recorder and my ever present guitar and put the sounds of a city and the dreams of a songwriter into that one song. When I returned home to California I played the song for Robbie and he caught on immediately. It was the first song written for the Beautiful Noise album and really put us on the right track for the story we wanted to tell". View the video online
Blinded By The Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Manfred Mann's Earth Band are a rock group formed by Manfred Mann in 1971, following the demise of Mann's former group Manfred Mann. The Earth Band's direction was very different from that of his former band. Mann made a conscious decision to move away from the pop-oriented three-minute format. The Earth Band was, from a pop perspective, almost deliberately contrary, and combined the stylistic approach of progressive rock with Mann's keen ear for melody. The breakthrough for the band in the US came with their version of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light".
While the Springsteen original from 1973's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. album has a folky, acoustic sound, the Manfred Mann's Earth Band version is driving rock, combining Mann's Moog synthesizer and organ work with Flett's guitar. Manfred can be heard singing at the end of "Blinded by the Light", in the round, with Thompson - it was this feature of the song that initially attracted him. The band took advantage of the publicity and re-released another Springsteen song, "Spirits in the Night", which had been recorded the previous year on Nightingales and Bombers, originally with Rogers on vocals although for some territories it was re-recorded with a vocal from Thompson. View the video online
Blue Jeans - Skyhooks
In the mid 1970s Skyhooks basically gave the Australian Music Industry the enema it had been needing. For too long many Australian bands spent hours copying their UK/USA cousins, Australian content in songs was far and few. Skyhooks were cheeky, brash, colourful, wore makeup (many years before KISS were conceived), and changed the musical history of our country. It lit the fuse that put Australian bands back on the front covers of newspapers and Australian music on the shelves of record shops. Their debut album, Living in the Seventies, went on to sell 300,000 albums (the equivalent of Twenty Gold awards), its title reflecting the social commentaries of that decade that would issue forth from the majoity of their songs. "Blue Jeans" first appeared on the band's third album, Straight In A Gay Gay World, and became a huge hit. The song explores the notion that modern day society squeezes the individuality out of us by making us conform to its standards. View the video online
The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band who formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. As the band's creative force, Phil Lynott was a more insightful and intelligent writer than many of his ilk, preferring slice-of-life working-class dramas of love and hate influenced by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and virtually all of the Irish literary tradition. "The Boys Are Back In Town" was honoured with the 499th position among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is also played after most Republic of Ireland football matches. According to the book 'Phil Lynot: The Rocker', the melodic guitar lick in the intro and chorus was modeled on a brass riff in the Bruce Springsteen song "Kittys Back." View the video online
Come On Over - Olivia Newton-John (right)
Newton-John's country success in the mid-1970s was reviled by purists who believed a foreigner singing country flavored pop music had no place in country music. Besides her Grammy for "Let Me Be There," Newton-John had been named the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1974, defeating nominees Loretta Lynn, Canadian Anne Murray, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker. The mud began flying as soon as Olivia was nominated. After Olivia's win, Dolly Parton was extremely angry and nearly everyone in Nashville looked down on Olivia, deeming her not worthy of such merit. The day after the Grammy award ceremony Olivia offered to give her statue back, but the board wouldn't have it.
In 1975, as an act of faith or maybe sibling rivalry, Dolly's sister Stella Parton recorded the self-penned song "Ode to Olivia" to rebuke the criticism Olivia received for not fitting the Country mold. Dolly and Olivia made up not long after the much-reported Grammy event, and Olivia moved away from country towards pop. Newton-John was eventually supported by most in the country music community. Stella Parton, Dolly's sister, recorded "Ode To Olivia" as somewhat of an apology and show of support "Come On Over" was the most successful of three singles released by her in 1976. It was a cover of a Bee Gees song from their Main Course album of 1975. The Seekers reformed in 1975 featuring Dutch-born Australian singer Louisa Wesseling as Judith Durham's replacement, and recorded a cover of "Country Lanes" from the same Bee Gees album. View the video online
December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) - The Four Seasons
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)", written by Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker and produced by Gaudio, was included on the group's 1975 album, Who Loves You. The song reflected the group's foray into the then-new trend of disco (as did "Who Loves You"). New drummer Gerry Polci and guitarist Don Ciccone shared lead vocals with long-time frontman Frankie Valli; Polci started the song with the first verse (Ciccone sang lead on the second) with Valli singing lead on the chorus. The song was originally about the repeal of prohibition, but was changed into a song of remembrance at the urging of lead singer (and group co-founder) Valli and co-writer (and future wife) Judy Parker. View the video online
Devil Woman - Cliff Richard
In 1976 a decision was made to repackage Cliff Richard as a "rock" artist. That year he produced the landmark album, I'm Nearly Famous, which included the successful guitar-driven track "Devil Woman" (Richard's first true hit in the United States and a No.1 in Australia) and the ballad "Miss You Nights". Richard's fans were excited about this revival of a performer who had been a part of British rock from its early days. Many music names such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Elton John were seen sporting I'm Nearly Famous badges around Britain, pleased that their boyhood idol was getting back into the kind of music that launched his career. Notwithstanding this, Richard continued to release gospel-tinged albums in parallel with his rock and pop albums. Despite his 1976 comeback, this single failed to chart in the UK, perhaps because of negative comments towards it by religious groups who wrongfully claimed the song was promoting witchcraft. View the video online
Disco Duck - Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots
"Disco Duck" is a satirical disco novelty song written and performed by Memphis disc jockey Rick Dees (his Cast of Idiots were in fact unnamed session players). Combining orchestral disco styles with a Donald Duck-esque character as the main plot point, the song's story concerns a man at a disco party who is overcome with the urge to dance in a duck-like manner, and is soon emulated by the rest of the crowd. The Walt Disney Company asserts that Clarence Nash, the traditional voice of Donald Duck, did not voice-act as Disco Duck (according to the label, the duck vocals were by Nash and were arranged by Ken Pruitt, who was a friend of Dees).
The 1979 Disney-produced album Mickey Mouse Disco, a late entry in the genre, did feature the track "Macho Duck," (inspired by "Macho Man" performed by Village People) with the voice of Nash on the track, in response. "Disco Duck" was inspired by a 60s novelty dance song "The Duck", recorded by Jackie Lee in 1965. The song made a "cameo" appearance in Saturday Night Fever, in a scene at the dance club in which some senior citizens were learning to dance disco-style. The song was out of character with the rest of the film's music, and so was not included on the soundtrack album. Rick Dees found out through bitter experience that the song was not included on the soundtrack album. Talking about the experience back in the 80's, Dees said that the album sold over 25 million copies. As song royalties at the time for inclusion on an album were approximately 10 cents a track, he had lost 2.5 million. Since those remarks he has lost even more, as the worldwide album and CD sales now top 40 million. View the video online
Dream Weaver - Gary Wright
Gary Wright, a personal friend of George Harrison, had appeared in a TV show at the age of seven. Later he came to Europe to continue studying psychology. In 1967 he joined the band Spooky Tooth as singer and keyboardist. After Spooky Tooth's split in 1974, Wright continued his solo career, culminating in "Dream Weaver". It was later featured in the Wayne's World film and soundtrack, as well as in the 1996 film, The People vs. Larry Flynt. Later in 1976, his follow-up single "Love Is Alive" also reached No.2 in the UK. View the video online
Forever And Ever - Demis Roussos (right)
Born in Egypt to Greek parentsn Roussos,joined the progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child in 1968, initially as singer but later also playing bass guitar. His distinctive operatic vocal style helped propel the band to international success, notably on their final album 666, which became something of a cult classic. After the collapse of Aphrodite's Child, Roussos continued to record sporadically with his former bandmate Vangelis. In the 1970s they recorded two albums together. Their most successful outing was 'Race to the End', a vocal adaptation of the musical theme from the Oscar winning film, Chariots of Fire.
Roussos also appeared as a guest on the Vengelis soundtrack to Blade Runner (1982). He began a solo career following the collapse of the band, beginning with the song 'We Shall Dance'. His solo career peaked in the 1970s with several hit albums. His single, "Forever and Ever", topped the charts in several countries in 1973 (it made the Australian Top 20 on its release here in 1976). Other hits were "My Friend the Wind", "My Reason", "Velvet Mornings", "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye", "Someday" and "Lovely Lady of Arcadia'. View the video online
Get Up And Boogie - Silver Convention (right)
Silver Convention was a German disco recording act of the 1970s. The group was originally named "Silver Bird Convention" or "Silver Bird". Founded in Munich by producer/songwriters Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze, the "Silver" in their name is actually Sylvester Levay's nickname. Using female session vocalists for their first recordings, they scored a UK hit with the song "Save Me". They then realised they would need to find a public face for what was at the time only a studio group and recruited vocalists Linda Thompson, Penny McLean and Ramona Wulf. As "Silver Convention" they scored two major hit singles - "Fly, Robin, Fly," of which the complete lyrics consisted of only six words, and the follow-up hit, "Get Up and Boogie". Further singles released by the trio attempted to duplicate the sound that had made them briefly successful, but they were only minor hits. By 1978 the group and the solo singing careers of the three lead singers had all but disappeared. View the video online
Girls Girls Girls - Sailor
Sailor is a British pop group, mostly famous in the 1970s, whose best material revolved around sailors' adventures on shore leave, especially in the "red-light quarter". Dressing in sailor gear that went with the image, they might easily be dismissed as something of a novelty act, but created some enduring and finely crafted pop music. The group's leader, Georg Kajanus (stage name Georg Hultgreen), had previously had minor success as a songwriter, notably by penning 'Flying Machine' for Cliff Richard in 1971. The single, 'A Glass of Champagne', gave them their breakthrough in Britain. The follow-up, "Girls, Girls, Girls", was a hit worldwide, but of their subsequent singles, only 'One Drink Too Many' registered in the Top 40, and that was in the UK only. View the video online
Hard Luck Woman - KISS (right)
Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, KISS rose to prominence in the mid-1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured firebreathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, and pyrotechnics. The original lineup of Gene Simmons (bass and vocals), Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar and vocals), Ace Frehley (lead guitar and vocals) and Peter Criss (drums and vocals) is the most successful and identifiable. "Hard Luck Woman" was originally written by KISS guitarist Paul Stanley as a possible track for Rod Stewart, although when Stewart showed no interest in singing it the band decided to keep it themselves.
Sung by drummer Peter Criss (who sings in a Stewart-esque manner), the band was trying to cash in on the successful single "Beth" released earlier in the year by releasing another ballad sung by Criss. The plan worked, and the single became a top 20 hit. In 1994, country singer Garth Brooks did a straight rendition of "Hard Luck Woman" for the Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved tribute album, for which KISS provided the musical accompaniment. Hear the song online
Heading In The Right Direction - Renée Geyer (right)
Geyer's singing career began in the early 1970s as a vocalist in Melbourne with Dry Red though she soon right for the more accomplished jazz band, Sun. In 1975 she formed Sanctuary, her own band. Sanctuary, who were by then co-writing most of the material with Renee, were renamed the Renee Geyer Band. Geyer's second album, It's A Man's Man's World, spawned a number of singles, inculding her signature song, "Heading In The Right Direction". Hear the song online
Heart On My Sleeve - Gallagher and Lyle (right)
Scotsmen Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle joined forces in 1964, initially as songwriters. Their first recognition came in 1968, when they were signed by The Beatles to write for Apple Records artists like Mary Hopkin ("Sparrow"). By 1970, they had joined McGuinness Flint, and penned that group's hits "When I'm Dead And Gone" and "Malt And Barley Blues". They recorded under the name of Gallagher and Lyle in 1972, but not until their fifth album Breakaway in 1976 did they chart again with the hits "Heart On My Sleeve", and "I Wanna Stay With You". Art Garfunkel's cover of the title track "Breakaway" was also a hit at the time, and the duo penned and performed "A Heart In New York"; it was later covered by Simon and Garfunkel on The Concert in Central Park album. Their mellow sound was only briefly in vogue, prompting their split in 1979. Lyle formed a new songwriting partnership with Terry Britten, their hits including "What's Love Got to Do with It?" and "We Don't Need Another Hero" for Tina Turner. Gallagher was later briefly a member of The Manfreds, a group featuring several former members of Manfred Mann. View the video online
Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel - Tavares
The Tavares brothers of Cape Verde (Africa) descent, started performing in 1964 as Chubby and the Turnpikes when the youngest brother was 13 years old. In 1973 they scored their first hit with "Check it Out", and soon began charting regularly in the US. In 1974 Tavares had a US No.1 hit with a Hall & Oates' cover, "She's Gone" (which became a hit for Hall & Oates as well the following year). Tavares followed up that success with "Remember What I Told You To Forget." 1975 turned out to be their most successful year chart-wise, chalking up a top 40 album (In the City) and their biggest hit, "It Only Takes a Minute", which was later successfully covered by Jonathan King and Take That. This was followed by a a string of hits: "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" (1976), "Don't Take Away the Music" (1976), and "Whodunit" (1977), among others. View the video online
Hurricane - Bob Dylan (right)
In the summer of 1975, Dylan wrote his first successful "protest" song in twelve years, championing the cause of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who he believed had been wrongfully imprisoned for a triple homicide in Paterson, New Jersey. After visiting Carter in jail, Dylan wrote "Hurricane", presenting the case for Carter's innocence. Despite its 8:32 minute length, the song was released as a single, and made top 40 lists worldwide. Carter's saga inspired the 1999 feature film The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington in the title role. Carter now works as a motivational speaker. The question of Carter's actual guilt or innocence remains a strongly polarizing one. However this much is certain: either the criminal justice system released a triple murderer from the punishment that two separate juries had recommended, or it imprisoned an innocent man for almost 20 years. View the video online
I Write The Songs - Barry Manilow (right)
This much recorded song was written by Bruce Johnston, a member of The Beach Boys, who wrote it as a homage to Brian Wilson, the song-writing genius behind that band. Johnston joined The Beach Boys when Wilson refused to tour and Johnston stepped in and took his place. This song's title has been misunderstood to mean that the singer (or songwriter) "writes the songs," but Johnston has stated that the "I" in the song is "music." He went on to say that songs come from the spirit of music in all of us: "I am music, and I write the songs." This song won a Grammy for Song Of The Year in 1976; The Beach Boys never won a Grammy - so after winning this, Johnston became the only member of the group to get one until Brian Wilson's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" was awarded Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2005. Teen heartthrob David Cassidy was the first artist to record the song. Clive Davis, who was in charge of Barry Manilow's record label, heard Cassidy's version and had Manilow record what is now seen as the difinative version. Manilow was originally reluctant to record this song, saying to Arista Records chief Clive Davis, "This 'I Write The Songs' thing, I really don't want to do it." Manilow says his worry "was that the listeners would think I was singing about how "I" write the songs, when it was really about the inspiration of music.
Clive understood, but didn't think it would be a problem. "Besides," he told me, "You DO write songs!"" Manilow says he was concerned about coming off as a gigantic egomaniac. He adds, "Whenever I heard the song in public, I felt the need to run to everyone who was listening and say, 'You know, I'm really not singing about myself!'" Frank Sinatra did a version too, only he changed it to "I SING the Songs". By altering the words he totally missed the point of the song - that it celebrated the inspiration of the songwriter, not the writer himself. The singer has a different kind of inspiration. Bruce Johnston recorded his own version of this song on his forgotten "Going Public" album. In 1997 Manilow did a parody duet titled "I Write The Songs/I Wreck The Songs" with Rosie O'Donnell on her show. A sample of the lyrics are: "I write the songs that you sing in the shower, You write the songs I mutilate by the hour, You sing my songs and make your neighbors complain, I write the songs, I wreck the songs, I am music And I wreck the songs!" Hear the song online
Kiss And Say Goodbye - The Manhattans
The R&B vocal group The Manhattans, originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, were formed in 1962. It wasn't until 1976 that they hit the big time with "Kiss and Say Goodbye", written by Blue Lovett and arranged by Bobby Martin. The group hit it big again in March 1980, with the release of "Shining Star". It received a Grammy award the following year. View the video online
Last Child - Aerosmith
Aerosmith's 1976 album, Rocks, which has been described as "capturing Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking", went platinum swiftly and featured two hits, "Last Child" and "Back in the Saddle", as well as the ballad "Home Tonight". Rocks has sold four million copies to date. Both Rocks and Toys in the Attic, the album that preceded it, are highly regarded, especially in the hard rock genre, and appear on such lists as Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums, and are cited by members of Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Mötley Crüe as having large influences on their music. Hear the song online
Let 'Em In - Paul McCartney & Wings (right)
"Let 'em In" was the second single from the Wings' 1976 chart-topping album, Wings at the Speed of Sound. The album represented a departure from the Wings template in that each of the five primary members of the band (including Linda and Joe English) sang lead on at least one song. "Let 'em In" was written and sung by Paul McCartney. The somewhat odd lyrics include references to a list of Paul's friends and relatives: "Sister Suzy (supposedly a reference to Linda McCartney, who was "Suzy" in Suzy and the Red Stripes), Brother John (Linda's brother John Eastman), Martin Luther (Paul and the other Beatles sometimes referred to John Lennon as Martin Luther Lennon), Phil and Don (The Everly Brothers), Brother Michael (Paul's brother, also known as Mike McGear, who was the lead singer of Scaffold on their novelty hit, "Lilly The Pink"), Auntie Gin (Paul's Auntie Gin), Open the door and let 'em in." In a later verse, "Brother Michael" is replaced by "Uncle Ernie" (Keith Moon, who played the role of Uncle Ernie in the movie version of The Who's Tommy). View the video online
A Little Bit More - Dr. Hook (right)
The founding core of the band consisted of four Southern-born friends who had played up and down the US east coast since the early 1960s. Told by a club owner that they needed a name to put on a poster in the window of his establishment, they suggested: "Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: Tonic for the Soul." The name was inspired by the travelling medicine shows of the old West. To this day, frontman Ray Sawyer is mistakenly considered to be Dr. Hook because of the eyepatch he wears as the result of a near-fatal 1967 car accident. In 1970, they were selected to sing the songs for the soundtrack of the movie, Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, starring Dustin Hoffman as a successful songwriter having a nervous breakdown.
The songs for the film were written by cartoonist, poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein, who determined that Dr. Hook was the ideal group for the soundtrack. From then onwards, the band's repertoire was compiled mainly of his compositions. By the mid 1970s, the band's irreverent attitude and stage show began to wear thin with fans, and a change of direction was considered vital if they were to survive. From 1976 onwards, starting with "A Little Bit More", Dr Hook's singles were all romantic ballads. "Sharing the Night Together", "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" and "Sexy Eyes" were all certified million-sellers. The band toured constantly but never managed to turn their success with singles into album sales. View the video online
Livin' Thing - Electric Light Orchestra
Written by Jeff Lynne, "Livin' Thing" appears on ELO's 1976 platinum selling album, A New World Record. In August 2006, it was named by the UK's Q magazine as the No.1 Guilty Pleasure single of all time, a list which celebrated what are regarded as uncool but excellent records. The Single had the added bonus of having "Fire On High" on the flip side, a song that became the band's most popular instrumental piece. The repeated chorus of the song has been subjected to frequent interpretation because the song never explicitly identifies what "it" is.
This has led to the mistaken impression by some that the song is an anti-abortion or a pro-environmentalist statement. Lyrical imagery elsewhere in the song may also give support to these impressions. However, a straightforward reading of the lyric identifies "it" as: You and your sweet desire. Jeff Lynne has confirmed that the song was intended to be about love and the loss of love. View the video online
Lost in France - Bonnie Tyler (right)
Bonnie Tyler (real name Gaynor Hopkins), the pop/rock singer with a distinctive, powerful husky voice, has worldwide record sales in excess of 80 million to her credit. It all began for her with this song, a Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe composition, which was a worldwide No.1 hit and led Tyler to record her first album in 1977. View the video online
Love Really Hurts Without You - Billy Ocean
Born in Fyzabad, Trinidad and Tobago to Grenadian parents, Ocean moved to England with his family at the age of eight. In his teenage years, he sang regularly in London clubs. He released his first single in 1972 on Spark Records as Les Charles. By 1976 he had adopted the name Billy Ocean and recorded his debut album, Billy Ocean, with the first single, "Love Really Hurts Without You," charting at No.2 in the UK. More hits followed, including "L.O.D. (Love On Delivery)". He also wrote songs for other artists such as LaToya Jackson. View the video online
Love And Other Bruises - Air Supply (right)
Air Supply is a duo of soft rock musicians who had a succession of hits worldwide through the late 1970s and early 1980s. It consists of English guitarist and vocalist Graham Russell and Melbourne-born lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock. The duo met in May of 1975 while performing in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. Later that year, along with Chrissie Hammond, they formed Air Supply as a five-man group. Hammond right the band and was replaced by Jeremy Paul in time for the group's first Australian hit single, "Love and Other Bruises."
It was followed by a self-titled debut album that reached gold in Australia. After a tour, the band was reduced to a duo. Although their music met with some success early on, Russell recalls that he and Hitchcock were so poor, they were reduced to checking the backs of hotel sofas for change so that they could buy bread to make toast. The pair started out fresh again in 1978, when the band that was to record almost all of the hit records was formed. View the video online
Misty Blue - Dorothy Moore (right)
American pop, R&B, and soul singer Dorothy Moore began singing with her church choir at the age of five, and eventually became a soloist. She formed a vocal group The Poppies who had US hits in 1966 with the songs "Lullaby of Love" and "He's Ready". By the mid-1970s Moore had begun a career as a solo vocalist, and released a series of best-selling singles and albums. Among her hits of this period was "Misty Blue", featuring backing vocals by her Poppies bandmate, Fern Kinney. The song saved her record label, Malaco, from bankruptcy and was her only single to chart in Australia. Her next two singles were "I Believe You" (later covered by The Carpenters) and a cover version of the Willie Nelson song "Funny How Time Slips Away". View the video online
No Charge - J.J. Barrie
Written by Harlan Howard and produced by Bill Amesbury, this hugely popular tearjerker of the finest order was Barrie's one and only No.1 hit song. He never had another hit and so is classed as a one-hit wonder. "No Charge" was in fact made famous in the US by Country singer Melba Montgomery in 1974. Tammy Wynette, another fellow country singer recorded the song in the 1970s. It is an ode to motherhood. A young boy gives his mother a list of charges he says he's owed for performing various chores and comes to collect; the singer tells this part in spoken word. The mother responds (in song) by reminding her son about all the things she's done for him, that she never asked him to pay for services rendered and that, all things considered "the cost of real love is no charge." Enlightened, the young boy realizes that his mother is right and forgives the charges (once again, narrated) before the singer sings the moral. View the video online
Old Sid - Daryl Braithwaite (right)
Daryl Braithwaite, the lead singer of 70s supergroup Sherbet, is one of the few Australian artists to have successfully embarked on a solo career while maintaining a parallel career as part of the music group. During his 14 years with Sherbet, Braithwaite enjoyed seven solo hit singles, of which "Old Sid" was his third. It peaked on the Australian singles chart at No.10. During that time, Braithwaite won the TV Week King of Pop Award twice (1975 and 1976).
Pinball Wizard - Elton John
Pete Townshend of The Who asked Elton John to play the character of Tommy, the Pinball Wizard, in the film of the rock opera, Tommy, and to perform the song of the same name. Tommy is about a young man who is deaf, dumb, and blind, but becomes a pinball champion and gains hordes of adoring fans. It was made into a play and continues to run as an off-Broadway production. Drawing on power chords, John's version was recorded and used for the movie release in 1975 and the single came out in 1976 (1975 in the US).
The song charted worldwide. Bally subsequently released a "Captain Fantastic" pinball machine featuring an illustration of Elton John in his movie guise. The story goes that the male singer originally offered the part of The Pinball Wizard in the movie Tommy was none other than Rod Stewart. As the story goes, Elton John so wanted the role, he convinced Stewart that the part was small and that the movie wouldn't be much of a success. Rod backed out, leaving the part open for John to slip into. View the video online
Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win) - Fleetwood Mac (right)
A Fleetwood Mac classic, Stevie Nicks wrote this song on a piano with help from her boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham. At the time, they were recording as Buckingham-Nicks and about to release it on their second album, but they joined Fleetwood Mac instead and recorded it with them. Rhiannon is the name of a Welsh goddess. According to myth, Rhiannon shuns a God and marries a mortal man. That God then frames her for the murder of her own son, and she is forced to stand at the entrance to a city and tell everyone entering that she killed her child. Nicks had written various songs related to Rhiannon before joining Fleetwood Mac.
At one point, she considered making it a project of some kind, perhaps a movie. Her inspiration for the song was the book Triad by Mary Leader. It is about a woman who believes she is being possessed by the spirit of a woman named Rhiannon. The book contains themes of mythology and the occult that Nicks used in her song along with the name. Nicks did not know the story of Rhiannon the goddess until after she wrote the song, but she felt the lyrics fit that story as well. The Goddess Rhiannon rode a white horse and travelled with three birds that had healing powers. The birds appear in various Celtic symbols. This song became a huge influence on the image of Stevie Nicks, inspiring the flowing shawls and black outfits she began wearing on stage. It gave her a mystical look that caught on with her fans, who often dress like her, and began calling her a witch (she wasn't). The song was so popular on its release, it brought the name Rhiannon back in favour, resulting in flood of girls born at that time being named Rhiannon after the song. View the video online
Right Back Where We Started From - Maxine Nightingale (right)
London born Nightingale began recording in the early 1970s while appearing in the West End productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Savages. In 1975, she switched labels, and with the collaboration of record producers J. Vincent Edwards and Pierre Tubbs, she recorded the album Right Back Where We Started From, which yielded this hit single. Other Top 40 hits followed, including the song "Love Hit Me" and a cover of the Delfonics' song "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)". Nightingale found it difficult to match the success of "Right Back Where We Started From" and in 1979, her singles "Lead Me On" and "(Bringing Out) The Girl in Me," became her last entries on the U.S. pop charts. She released one album a year until 1980, when she decided to retire from regular recordings. View the video online
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers (right)
Several non-charting singles were released in the years prior to the Bay City Rollers taking the musical world by storm in the mid 1970s. In late 1973 they narrowly missed the UK chart with "Saturday Night", one of many singles written and produced for the band by the highly successful songwriting duo of Scotsman Bill Martin and Irishman Phil Coulter. The song was re-released in 1976, when the band was at the height of its popularity, and rocketed to No.1 on singles charts around the world. View the video online
Save Your Kisses For Me - Brotherhood of Man
"Save Your Kisses for Me" was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1976, performed for the United Kingdom by Brotherhood of Man in The Hague, Netherlands. The lyrics and music were written by Tony Hiller, Lee Sheriden, and Martin Lee, the latter two being members of the band. This was the third consecutive occasion on which a group had won the contest, and the second consecutive occasion on which the song performed first had won. The bouncy hit describes the emotions of a young man for a young lady as he leaves for work in the morning. The song's final line provided the twist: that he was leaving a three year old behind, ending with "save your kisses for me/save all your kisses for me...even though you're only three".
It was awarded the maximum twelve points by seven countries, totalling 164 points compared to the second-placed French entry with 147 points. After winning the contest, the song was released and reached No.1 in more than thirty countries and eventually sold more than five million copies. In the U.K. it was the biggest-selling single of 1976. The lyrics have come in for their share of lampooning, most notably as "Save Your Kippers for Tea" included in a medley by the Barron Knights. View the video online
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty - KC & The Sunshine Band (right)
This song was recorded for the KC & The Sunshine Band album, Part 3. The song became their third No.1, and is considered one of the most popular disco songs in history. The song was controversial as the lyrics were interpreted by many as having sexual connotations, even by those who misheard the lyrics and thought they said, "shake your boobies". The B-side of Shake Your Booty was "Boogie Shoes", which later became a hit on its own when it appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1978. According to the Urban dictionary, booty is the female posterior. Hear the song online
Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney & Wings
Wings recorded their Wings at the Speed of Sound album just prior to the U.S. leg of the world tour. The album's two No.1 singles, "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'em In", were both written and sung by Paul. McCartney had often been teased by fellow Beatle John Lennon and by music critics for writing lightweight, "silly love songs" so McCartney wrote this number in response. McCartney once commented: "The fact is, deep down, people are very sentimental. If they view a sentimental movie at home, they cry, but in public they won't. We don't like to show our emotions; we tend to sneer at that.
And in the same way, people may not admit to liking love songs, but that's what they seem to crave." In addition, "Silly Love Songs" was McCartney's first foray into the then-popular disco sound, with his bass guitar taking a lead role against a steady disco-style drumbeat. As such it was the forerunner for other 1960s-era British musicians trying their hand at disco; examples that followed included The Rolling Stones' "Miss You" and Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" View the video online
Say You Love Me - Fleetwood Mac
In 1974, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie Nicks (better known as Stevie Nicks), became part of Fleetwood Mac, a move that would give the band not only a new lease of life but also new musical possibilities to explore. In 1975, the new line-up released the self-titled Fleetwood Mac, which has since informally become known as their "white album" due to its cover. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band bringing them hitherto unexperienced popularity. Among the hit singles from this album were Christine McVie's "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me", and Stevie Nicks' "Rhiannon" and "Landslide" (actually a hit twenty years later on "The Dance" album). View the video online
Shannon - Henry Gross
Gross is a singer-songwriter best known for his hit song "Shannon". He began his career with Sha Na Na as a guitarist. "Shannon", a song from his fourth album, was inspired by the death of Beach Boy Carl Wilson's Irish Setter. The song reached No.6 on the U.S. charts in 1976. "Shannon" is remembered for being the subject of a profanity-laced tirade by American Top 40 radio show host Casey Kasem while recording an episode of the show in 1985. A listener had requested "Shannon" as a "Long Distance Dedication" (a regular feature of the show) to his own recently-deceased dog. Kasem was upset that the show's producers had placed the dedication immediately following the Pointer Sisters' hit "Dare Me", an up-tempo song that Kasem considered a poor lead-in to a sad song like "Shannon".
In the end, the dedication, and the mismatched songs were presented as scripted in spite of Kasem's objection, but the out-take of his rant eventually surfaced as a bootleg recording. The so-called "Snuggles tape" (named for the dog to whom the dedication was made) contradicted Kasem's normally straight-laced, easygoing on-air persona, and provided an amusing footnote to his 18-year-long run as the show's original host. Gross's only other hit single was "Springtime Mama", which reached No.37 in the U.S.. He also recorded the Beatles song "Help!" for the documentary All This and World War II; both occurred in 1976. Hear the song online
Shop Around - The Captain & Tennille (right)
Many who bought this single in 1976 didn't know - and some weren't even born when - this song first charted 16 years earlier. Back in 1960, this Bill 'Smokey' Robinson and Berry Gordy composition was a big hit on the Tamla Motown label for The Miracles, whose lead singer was Bill 'Smokey' Robinson. It is notable as being the label's first No.1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart, and also for being The Miracles' first million selling record, the first million selling record for The Motown Record Corporation, as well as a 2006 Grammy Hall Of Fame Inductee. The song depicts a mother giving her now-grown son advice about how to find a woman worthy of being a girlfriend or wife.
The original version of the song had a strong blues influence, and was released in the local Detroit, Michigan area; Gordy later decided that the song needed to be re-recorded in order to be more commercially viable outside of Detroit. "Shop Around" also inspired an answer record, "Don't Let Him Shop Around," performed by Debbie Dean (the first white artist ever signed to the Motown label). It charted No.92 in the US in February 1961 and was Dean's only chart entry. Smokey himself also recorded a sequel song entitled "It's Time To Stop Shopping Around". View the video online
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word - Elton John (right)
Besides being Elton John's most commercially successful period, 1970-1976 is also held in the highest regard critically. Of the six Elton John albums to make Rolling Stone's 2003 The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, all are from this period, with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ranked highest at number 91; similarly, the three Elton John albums given five stars by All Music Guide are all from this period too (Tumbleweed Connection, Honky Château, and Captain Fantastic).
Two albums were released in 1976, the live album Here and There in May, then the downbeat Blue Moves in October, which contained the memorable but gloomy hit, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word". That latter is considered by many critics as the swansong to this extraordinarily creative period for John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. Ironically, his biggest success in 1976 was "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", a peppy duet with Kiki Dee that topped both the American and British charts. As the single peaked, in an interview with Rolling Stone that year entitled "Elton's Frank Talk", a stressed John finally stated that he was bisexual. View the video online
Still The One - Orleans
Orleans is an American pop-rock band best known for its hits "Dance With Me" (1975), "Still the One" (1976) and "Love Takes Time" (1979). Orleans was formed in Woodstock, NY in February 1972 and found its core audience touring the clubs and college circuit of the Northeast US, crossing paths with other up-and-comers such as Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits and Hall & Oates. At the time, Rolling Stone magazine called Orleans "the best unrecorded band in America".
It was the smash hit "Still the One" that cemented Orleans' relationship with the American public and introduced the band to pop-rock music lovers worldwide. While the single was climbing the charts , the band did a major cross-country tour with label-mate Jackson Browne. However, within a year internal stresses prompted guitarist/songwriter Hall to leave the band in search of a solo career, as "Still the One" played ceaselessly as the ABC TV network theme song. Since then it has been used for countless commercials and movie soundtracks, including the theme for Australia's Nine television network. Hear the song online
Take It To The Limit - The Eagles (right)
"Take It to the Limit" was lifted off One of These Nights, the Eagles' fourth album, and one which had a more aggressive, sinewy rock stance than their previous works. The album further displayed the growing strength of the Henley/Frey songwriting team, particularly on the album's title track and the Grammy Award winning "Lyin' Eyes". Written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and bassist Randy Meisner, "Take It To The Limit" features a very similar progression to "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers, released three years earlier.
>The third single from the album, it is a slow ballad about lost love and loneliness that became the Eagles' greatest success to that point outside of the US. It was the first and only A-side of a single on which Randy Meisner sang lead and also the first time neither Don Henley nor Glenn Frey sang lead on the A-side of a single. Meisner right the band during their Hotel California tour in 1976. During the Eagles' Farewell 1 Tour in 2004 and 2005, the song was sung by Glenn Frey in a much lower key. On the tour DVD, Frey said his wife called "Take It To The Limit" the credit card song. View the video online
That'll Be The Day - Linda Ronstadt (right)
This song has its roots in the very early days of rock 'n' roll. A young Buddy Holly had been trying to write a hit song for his small Rockabilly band since he had attended an Elvis Presley gig at his High School some time in 1955. His band in those days consisted of him on lead vocals and drums and Joe B. Maudlin on upright bass. Holly and guitarist Jerry Allison saw the John Wayne western, The Searchers, together. In the movie, Wayne keeps replying "That'll be the day" every time another character in the film predicts or proclaims something will happen when he felt it was not likely to happen.
The phrase stuck in Jerry's mind, and when they were at Jerry's house one night, Holly said that it sure would be nice if they could record a hit song. Allison replied with, "That'll be the day," mocking John Wayne in the western. Their exchange convinced them not only that it was possible, but that they could do it with a song themed around that phrase. Holly and his band The Three Tunes recorded the song in Nashville in 1956, but their recorded company refused to release it. A year later, Holly re-recorded it with The Crickets in a studio in Clovis, New Mexico, owned by his new producer, Norman Petty. Backup vocalists were brought in and the key was lowered to fit Holly's voice a little better. This version became a huge hit and made Holly a star. Petty took a writing credit on this because only he produced it.
>This song has been a source of inspiration for decades. It inspired John Lennon to form what became The Beatles, having been the first song he learned to play on guitar. The story of how the the song came to be written and the affect it had on both Buddy Holly (a short 18 month career and a catalogue of 46 songs) inspired the British movie of the same name, about a young man with dreams of becoming a rock star. The song also inspired Linda Ronstadt to record it, along with two other Holly compositions, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" (1975), and "It's So Easy" (1977), and in so doing, take it back to the top of the singles charts 20 years after its first time there. "That'll Be The Day" is No.38 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs. View the video online
There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World) - The Carpenters (right)
This popular song written by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens, has been taken to the top of the singles charts twice - first by Herman's Hermits in 1967 (eclipsing a cover version which had been released by Gary and the Hornets in the US), and then by The Carpenters in 1976 who extended the title to include almost the entire first line of the lyric: "There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)". Though it was one of their most popular recordings, Richard Carpenter explained in the liner notes to the Carpenters' 2004 best-of compilation, Gold, that he was not particularly pleased with how their remake turned out: "... one of Karen's and my favorite songs from the '60s. In hindsight, however, even though our version was a hit, I wish we'd never recorded it. Here are three reasons why: (1) The original was, and is, perfectly fine. (2) Our foray into the oldies should have ended with the medley featured on side 2 of [the duo's hit LP] Now & Then, 1973. (3) The use of a synthesizer in some of our recordings has not worn well with me, on this track, or just about any other track on which I used it." View the video online
The Things We Do For Love - 10cc
A revised line-up and a new album, recorded at the newly-completed Strawberry South Studio in Dorking, Surrey, brought a new lease of life to the British band 10cc in 1976. The album yielded two hit singles, "The Things We Do For Love" and "Good Morning Judge" and led the band to embark on an international tour with guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O'Malley and drummer Stuart Tosh (ex-Pilot), then record a live album, Live And Let Live (1977), which mixed the hits with material from their previous three LPs. View the video online
Welcome Back - John Sebastian (right)
John Sebastian wrote this as the theme song for the ABC TV show Welcome Back Kotter, staring Gabe Kaplan as a teacher who returns to his old high school and must teach a class of misfits known as The Sweathogs. The show was a big break for John Travolta, who played one of The Sweathogs. Since it was written for the TV show, the song was less than a minute long. Viewers loved the song and related to the message about returning to the place where you laughed and your dreams were born. It became clear that there was demand for a full-length song, so Sebastian wrote a second verse and it was released as a single.
Although the song does not have the word "Kotter" anywhere in the lyrics or title, the first pressings of the single were released as "Welcome Back, Kotter," to make sure everyone connected the song with the TV show. Sebastian was a member of The Lovin' Spoonful. That band became part of the American response to the British Invasion and was noted for such folk-flavoured hits as "Jug Band Music," "Do You Believe in Magic", "Summer in the City", "Daydream," "Nashville Cats," "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," "Six O'Clock," and "Younger Girl." Hear the song online
Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot (right)
This haunting song, Lightfoot's biggest selling single, is the retelling of the loss of the iron ore carrier S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, one of North Amerca's Great Lakes, on the stormy night of 10th November 1975. The wreck claimed the lives of 29 crew members. The ship, heavy with 26,918 long tons of iron ore (taconite) pellets, was bound for the steel mills of Zug Island, just off Detroit (not Cleveland as the song states), after which she was to be dry-docked for the winter. Popular consensus is that she had drifted dangerously close to Six Fathom Shoals off the coast of Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior, and opened a welded seam in the hull at the height of a hurricane. In radio contact with another ship, the Anderson, her captain reported she "had a bad list, had lost both radars, and was taking heavy seas over the deck in one of the worst seas he had ever been in."
Shortly afterwards the Fitzgerald disappeared from the Anderson's radar screen. The sinking of the Fitzgerald was very rapid and it is likely those on board did not know the seriousness of their condition until it was too late. No distress signals were ever issued. Not a single body was found, nor recovered. The Fitzgerald now rests, broken in 3 pieces in 170 metres of water, some 24 km outside Whitefish Bay, in Canadian waters. She has been documented and photographed. Human remains have been located and right to rest at the families request, and it has been put forth that the site remain private, and off limits. Commercial vessels to this day swing at least one nautical mile to avoid sailing overtop the resting site of the once mighty Fitzgerald. Gordon Lightfoot read the story in McLeans Magazine (a Canadian publication) while on a flight, and wrote the song in a short time.
It was the Canadian singer-songwriter's only Grammy Award nomination, and was beaten by Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs." For seafarers who ply the Greak Lakes, no other song is said to capture the relationship and mystery of shipping on the big one (Lake Superior). Paul Gross originally wanted to use this tune for his episode of the TV show, Due South, "Mountie on the Bounty." He discreetly tried to secure the rights to use the song, but out of respect for the families who wished not to be reminded of the tragedy, he didn't pursue the option aggressively. He instead wrote the similarly themed song "32 down On The Robert MacKenzie." View the video online
Year of the Cat - Al Stewart
Scottish born Stewart was once described as the chief scribe of English music, and this song, a romantic fantasy about an encounter with a magical enigmatic person, is testament to that belief. The song, co-written by Peter Wood, runs for six and a half minutes in its original form. According to Stewart, the lyrics were inspired by the 1942 Humphrey Bogart movie, Casablanca. The title comes from Vietnamese astrology. The Year of the Cat is also called the Year of the Rabbit and comes every 12 Years; it is supposed to be a stress free year. The last Year of the Cat was 1999. It was also the Year of the Cat in 1975, the year this song was written.
The mention of incense and patchouli places the time in the late 1960s/early 1970s when patchouli fragrance was popular in the free love hippie culture. There are different versions to the song, the shortened version, used for its release as a single, excludes the lyrics, "Well, she looks at you so cooly, And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea, She comes in incense and patchouli, So you take her, to find what's waiting inside, The year of the cat". The line, "strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime" is an allusion to the 1931 Fritz Lang movie, M, in which Lorre plays a man who sexually abuses and then kills children. "A silk dress running like a watercolour in the rain" describes accurately a Vietnamese Ao Dai suit. View the video online
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing - Leo Sayer (right)
In 1976, a year in which he was enjoying success with singles at the top of popular music charts worldwide, Leo Sayer recorded three Beatles songs, "I Am the Walrus," "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" for the ill advised and ill-fated documentary, All This and World War II. His subsequent hits included "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and the romantic ballad, "When I Need You". Sayer also cut remakes of Bobby Vee's "More Than I Can Say" and Buddy Holly's "Raining In My Heart". In the U.S., "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," "When I Need You," and "More Than I Can Say" were certified gold. View the video online
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate (right)
Hot Chocolate was a British pop band formed by Errol Brown (a Briton who was born in Jamaica) in the late 1960s. It was in the disco era of the mid-1970s onwards, however, that Hot Chocolate's star shone brightest, when they became indelibly identified with 'funky disco'. A combination of high production standards, the growing confidence of the main songwriting team of Brown and bassist Tony Wilson, and tight harmonies, enabled them to secure further big hits, like "You Sexy Thing" and "Every One's A Winner". The band became the only group, and one of just three UK chart acts, to score a hit in every year of the 1970s. Considering the other two acts were Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, that achievement has put Hot Chocolate in very elevated company. The success did not stop there, and they eventually had at least one hit, every single year, between 1970 and 1984 in the UK.
Critically they were often lambasted, or simply ignored, and apart from compilations, their albums, like Cicero Park, sold modestly. Hot Chocolate finally disbanded in 1986, however their epic "You Sexy Thing" seemed to have a life of its own. It appeared in various guises to become the only track that made British top 10 status in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Its renewed appreciation can be perhaps credited in part to its appearances in a string of successful films, starting with the 1997 male stripper comedy, The Full Monty. The film's success thrust "You Sexy Thing" and Hot Chocolate back into the limelight. "You Sexy Thing" has also been heard in a myriad other films, including Boogie Nights, Bicentennial Man, Rat Race and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. View the video online
You Should Be Dancing - The Bee Gees
A single lifted from the Children of the World album, "You Should Be Dancing" is the song that launched the Bee Gees into disco stardom, although rock-oriented drums and guitars can be heard in the background. The song is known today as the first chart-topper in which Barry Gibb uses his now-trademark falsetto (he had previously used it on "Nights on Broadway", and "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)"). The song was prominently featured in the hit movie, Saturday Night Fever. View the video online
You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine - Lou Rawls (right)
It was with this song, written by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, that R&B singer Lou Rawls was projected into stardom. It would start off his live shows from 1977 on. The song, a rare venture into the disco sound by Rawls, has been covered by singers Michael Bublé, Laura Pausini reggae legend John Holt and most recently the Dub Pistols (who use a sample of John Holt's version) on their Speakers And Tweeters album. View the video online
Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Staton (right)
American gospel singer Candi Staton is best known for her 1976 disco hit "Young Hearts Run Free", and the dance music hit "You Got The Love". "Young Hearts Run Free" and its follow up single "Victim" came out of her two year association with disco record producer Dave Crawford. In 2004 when the TV show Sex and the City ended its six year run, the last song played on it was "You Got The Love" with Sarah Jessica Parker walking down a New York City street, talking about the endless relationship with herself. View the video online