So here is 1976 I the form of number one records.
And its every bit a grim as I remember, glad I didn’t make this up
10 January “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen
Bloody Bohemian Rhapsody, It will always be there along with Stairway to Heaven and Hotel California. It was on all over Xmas and we couldn’t get rid of it until New Year.
31 January “Mamma Mia. ABBA
There’s a lot made about Abba’s musical genius but for every ‘Name of the Game’ there’s a ‘Fernado’. This is just the right side of inane but it’s a close call
14 February “Forever and Ever” Slik
The first sighting of the ever opportunistic Midge Ure, without this there would be no Vienna.
21 February “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons were going through a strange period where they became a proper band playing guitars and things. This is a quality song which I will enjoy to this day whenever it appears on Radio 2.
6 March “I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)” Tina Charles
An appearance of disco and a taste of things to come. It’s a bit bland but I rather like it it.
27 March “Save Your Kisses for Me” Brotherhood of Man
1976 in a nutshell. The poor man’s ABBA with s song so high in sugar I could sue them for dental decay. The sting in the tail is that this is a song to a 3 year old, post Saville, Harris and Freud that joke isn’t funny anymore.
8 May “Fernando” ABBA
Yep its crap.
5 June “No Charge” J.J. Barrie
Us Brits were always suckers for a bit of C&W as we used to call it. The likes of Slim Whitman could slip into our charts uninvited then disappear for ever. Who actually bought this stuff ?
12 June “The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)” The Wurzels
The Wurzels actually began as a serious folk act and were as massive as a serious folk act could be around the West Country. Their singer and songwriter, Adge Cutler, was killed in a car accident leaving the less talented band members to make comedy lyric out of other popular songs of the day, rather like a rural Barron Knights
26 June “You to Me Are Everything” Real Thing
More British disco. I think I remember seeing these guys on New Faces which was hugely popular TV talent show featuring the likes of Tony Hatch and Micky Most destroying careers live on TV. If I remember rightly the band got criticised for not being ‘the real thing’ ie not from Detroit or Philadelphia. The band survived this to become a credible act and one of brothers also a made a reputation for breeding show winning Afghan Hounds.
Best no 1 of the year so far.
17 July “The Roussos Phenomenon EP” Demis Roussos
The main track here being ‘For Ever and Ever’ (and everandever).
Despite being the bass player in Athen’s best prog rock band (Aphrodite’s Child). Demis was now making a big splash as a MOR singer. Despite his bulk, kaftan and high voice he was very popular with the ladies.
24 July “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” Elton John and Kiki Dee
I always had a soft spot for Kiki Dee who, at one point was signed to Motown . Her last appearance in the charts had been ‘I’ve Got the Music in Me’ which was popular with the harder rockin DJ’s like Alan Freeman and Jonnie Walker. Enjoyable fluff which still brightens my day if it comes on the radio.
4 September “Dancing Queen” ABBA
Third time lucky the band pulls off a masterpiece, wait for it to be recycled as ‘Oliver’s Army’ a couple of years down the line.
16 October “Mississippi” Pussycat
This says it all, why punk had to happen. If we had wanted country we could have had Hank Williams or at least the Charlie Daniels Band. Instead we picked a Dutch Band who sounded like they were reading the lyric off an autocue. Worst of all though is the line were ‘the guitar turned to rock and roll’ accompanied by limpest rock and roll guitar lick ever committed to vinyl.
13 November “If You Leave Me Now” Chicago
This is probably the worst song of all time as far as I a, concerned. Despite a slight curiosity about what ‘the biggest part of me’ that the singer feared losing was I can sense my life almost visibly ebbing away for the entire duration of the song from the horn intro through the acoustic solo guitar, I assume it fades out I have usually lost consciousness by this time
4 December “Under the Moon of Love”, Showaddywaddy
Another graduate from ‘New Faces’ which was usually about as effective as The X Factor in producing stars. Showaddywaddy had been formed in Leicester by simply welding two different band together which was why there was loads of them including more bass players than are usually regarded as necessary . I have a real soft spot for the band, they may have been crap but they were our crap.
25 December “When a Child Is Born” Johnny Mathis
A genuinely lovely version of this song and a great way to end the year.
So that was 1976 C&W, comedy songs, disco lite, rock and roll lite, MOR and Abba. The only thing that pushed any boundaries was Bohemian Rhapsody and when you have to admit that you are in trouble. Image what Top of the Pops was like week after week. The show had always been a triumph of anticipation over content but once you took dance troupe Legs and Co out of the equation there was very little of genuine excitement.
‘No Elvis, no Beatles, no Rolling Stones’ sung the Clash ‘In 1977’
!976 was a lot worse though, believe me.