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Top 5 (Non-David Bowie) Albums of 1977

March 16, 2015

Because it just wouldn’t be a level playing field if I included them.

Though it wasn’t exactly an off-year for these 5 artists either:

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5. Elvis Costello, My Aim is True
Review #385 to follow.

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4. Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell
Fewer students appreciate my ‘2 out of 3 ain’t bad’ reduced fraction example each year. But I don’t intend on ceasing and desisting with the Meatloaf math quote anytime soon!

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3. Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel
Is there a more pleasant acoustic intro than Solsbury Hill‘s?

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2. Billy Joel, The Stranger
When I took a break from blogging in Movember, I spent much of the month listening to a pair of unrelated artists: weezer and Billy Joel.  His (surprisingly inexpensive) records haven’t drifted very far from the turntable since.

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1. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
A few years ago, a friend didn’t speak to me for weeks after I claimed Rumours only had one truly great song (The Chain).  I was meaning it as praise for the entire album, showing how impressed I was with the synergy of this collection of very good tunes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, I’ve since been un-shunned.

To avoid similar Dwight Schrute-esque shunning in the future, when discussing this 1977 gem, I’ll stick to my intended take-away message: Rumours is a great record.

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1977 is stop #3 on my Top 5 Duplicate Digit Years journey – Elvis Costello and Steely Dan reviews are coming up this week, enjoy!

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59 Comments
  1. I admit this is a mighty year. For my own treasures, this year saw the release of Love Gun, and Alive II!

    • They were impressively prolific in the mid-70s – I like how the studio albums like Destroyer and Love Gun fit the ‘half hour of power’ model but then they spilled into doubles on the live records!

      • Yeah true. I also liked how they changed directions at the drop of a hat.

  2. Great list!

    Man, any friendship that can get shunned over a comment about Fleetwood Mac needs review!

    Also, where are the Sex Pistols? Punkers represent! 🙂

    • Speaking of review, I’m slightly embarrassed to say I still haven’t heard the full sex pistols debut album yet.
      Talk about bullocks!

      • Haha well, no time like the present. I’d be very interested to hear your take on it, hearing it for the first time in 2015, 38 years later!

      • Ha. I haven’t either tbh. But I have heard most of rhe PiL catalog in full 🙂

      • And Public Image is another one that’ll be new to me, decades later!

  3. And Leave Home/Rocket To Russia, for that matter! 🙂

  4. Haha wait! “IT’S 38 YEARS OLD, NEVER HEARD THE PISTOLS…” Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa

  5. jprobichaud permalink

    I’ve also heard “rumours” that there were pretty good albums by Talking Heads and Iggy Pop in 1977.

    • I looked it up, Iggy had three (3!) records that year!

      The Idiot, Lust For Life AND Kill City.

      Crazy!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Though perhaps they shouldn’t be mentioned, given the “non-David Bowie” proviso.

    • Very true! Kill City gets under the wire, though. 🙂

      • Ahh good call – I suppose the Bowie-affiliated ones would be a gray area! Incidentally, the idiot and lust for life are on the 1001 (as is talking heads 77)

  6. I can’t argue with any of these five. 1977 was a great year for new studio albums, and no discussion of that year is complete without mentioning Kiss “Love Gun” (as Mike already suggested), Pink Floyd “Animals,” Jethro Tull “Songs From The Wood,” Bob Marley “Exodus,” AC/DC “Let There Be Rock,” Steely Dan “Aja,” ELO “Out Of The Blue,” Queen “News Of The World,” Eric Clapton “Slowhand,” Cheap Trick “Cheap Trick” and “In Color,” Van Morrison “A Period Of Transition,” Utopia “Ra” and several others I can’t quite remember right now. Four of your five would definitely be in my Top 10, with Floyd, Tull, Steely Dan and Cheap Trick being right near the top of the list.

  7. I would find it very difficult to pick only 5 from that year.

    Love your list:) and a Schrute name-drop never hurts for awesomeness points.

    • Haha, my thanks – I’d also accept Schrute bucks in lieu of awesomeness points!

      • Damn, I am fresh out of Schrute bucks. Spent the last few on a “Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica” T-shirt.

      • Those 30 seconds of ‘question: what bear is best?’ might be my favourite clip of the whole series!

      • Favorite clip from the Office? I don’t know….might be Oscar wearing the Jazz Babies as a t-shirt….or the whole Fun Run for Rabies episode….

        If I had time, I would suggest we start an Office blog.

      • I’d definitely subscribe to an office clip/quote of the day blog!

      • Right! If there were only a few more hours in the day….

  8. Also gotta give a shout-out to Television’s Marquee Moon, and The Clash’s S/T!

    • I’m only a casual Clash fan but I love Television and wholeheartedly support the inclusion of “Marquee Moon.” Well done.

      • And both the Clash and Marquee Moon make appearances on the 1001, hoping to get to at least one of them this week!

      • And that is steering me in a very positive direction I think Rich, this sounds promising!
        You mentioned ‘4 of my 5’ – I’ve always been fascinated by that ratio (4 out of 5 dentists agree, which one keeps disagreeing?) – so naturally I’m quite curious, is it Meatloaf that wouldn’t make your top 10?

      • Nope, it’s Costello. I’ve had a love-hate thing with his music for years. I actually own all of his albums through the late-’90s and enjoy many of them, but something about him continues to rub me the wrong way and keeps me from being passionate about his music in the same way I am for, say, Joe Jackson. “Bat Out Of Hell,” on the other hand, was a huge album for me when it was released and I still love it. Mr. Loaf’s subsequent releases? Not so much.

      • Interesting – Costello’s on the list a few times, so far I’ve only explored the first two. He seems like he might be one of those ‘the less you hear him speak, the better’ types (and admittedly, I know little about him beyond his Austin Powers 2 appearance). He ended up more on my radar when he married one of my favourite female jazz singers, Diana Krall

      • Part of it is definitely his personality, at least the one he presents in public. His old musical comrade Nick Lowe (who I’m listening to today) once said that Elvis loves being a celebrity as much as being a musician/songwriter. Also, whenever he talks or writes about music he likes he presents himself as the most diverse, knowledgeable person in the world. There’s nothing wrong with that, but use that knowledge in the context of a conversation, not like you’re trying to teach the rest of us dummies a lesson.

      • That loving being a celebrity/professing to love an assortment of diverse things sounds like a Chuck Klosterman interview of Bono that I read – the whole interview, he kept asking himself, is Bono for real or full of ____!

  9. Oh! And then there’s

    Wire – Pink Flag
    Dead Boys – Young Loud & Snotty
    Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation
    Damned – Damned Damned Damned

    You can see which way I lean for this year! 😉

  10. This was the year I was born and my parents always had these albums in their collection. I would take out all the records and spread them on the floor to look at all the amazing sleeves. They had all of these except I don’t remember Elvis Costello. I have to bring up David Bowie. As a little girl, I was fascinated by that Diamond Dogs artwork! I still am.

    • And the art is such an argument in favour of owning the LPs – it’s just not the same looking at the art in CD form.
      I find the words ‘fascinating’ and ‘Bowie’ often show up together in my sentences too – thanks for reading Christa!

      • As a teenager, I ransacked my parent’s album collection and used it as wall art. Now we don’t even have much CD cover art, just digital thumbnails, lol.

  11. My son requests The Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes every time we get in the car. Its #1 on the playlist. Good thing I love the song I hear it about 4 times a week.

    • Your son has good taste! I love when the kids request our music – my daughter’s been on a Kinks’ kick lately, I’m certainly not complaining!

      • Heres the current playlist

        Red Shoes
        Another One Bites the Dust -Queen
        All for Leyna (Billy Joel)
        Da do do do de da da da – Police
        Low Budget – the Kinks
        Octopus -Syd Barrett
        Dreadlock Holiday -10cc
        Fly Like an Eagle -steve miller

        Not bad huh. I can stand playing these songs nearly every day.

      • That’s not bad at all – especially perhaps my favourite Billy Joel tune, All for Leyna. That’s some fine parenting!

      • awww. Thank you. 🙂

        He has a good ear for melody though, his mother has extensive musical training as well as perfect pitch and I’m no slouch myself. 😉

  12. What was I saying about you and Top 5s?

    1977 a lot of goodness that year. Chalk some votes up for KISS Love Gun and Alive II, Cheap Trick debut (and In Color I think?), Scorpions Taken By Force, Yes Going For the One, Thin Lizzy Bad Reputation, Skynyrd’s Street Survivors…

  13. What can I say HMO, I’m a fan of ’em!
    In large part because of the comments section – I know all these groups, can’t say I own any of the albums though. I’ll keep my eyes peeled at the thrift shops for them!

  14. Nice list … I’d probably have Television’s Marquee Moon, Neil Young’s American Stars ‘n Bars and Chrome Dreams (I know, I know … a bit of a cheat), and Marley’s Exodus or Pink Floyd’s Animals alongside Rumours.

  15. That is a fine set of grooved plastic and I have no argument – Elvis Costello makes my top ten of all time with his debut record.

    • I recall the Prentenders & London Calling making appearances on that list too: 77 through 80 had some pretty solid records!

      • You have a great memory sir, since I still have to finish that list. 🙂

      • Thanks for that Wayne – I was drawing blanks on a lot of the other ones (Lyle Lovett and Bob Marley I think made appearances too?) so I’m relieved to hear the list is not yet complete, so I’m not forgetting everything!

      • You know Geoff, it was so weakly received that I plan to overhaul the whole deal and go for a rerelease in the near future. That is the funny thing about blogging: some posts you think will work fall flat and some that have no legs just keep running and running. 🙂

      • Absolutely – I’ve found that with teaching, lessons that I’ve spent ages preparing don’t end up resonating but then a completely improvised one will be the one that’s memorable! I look forward to the rerelease, I’m a sucker for lists!

  16. Hackskeptic permalink

    I’m amazed you were able to narrow it down to a top 5 for this brilliant year in music, however I can’t argue with Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac (and I’m guessing “Low” and “Heroes” would have made your list). I would have probably mulled over “Exodus”, “Rattus Norvegicus”, “The Clash”, “Aja”, “Talking Heads 77”, “Marquee Moon” and “Rocket To Russia”.

    • They certainly would have!
      A few of yours made the 1001 list as well – haven’t explored Exodus or Talking Heads 77 yet, they sound like they’re well worth investigating

  17. Good mention of “Solsbury Hill”–agreed! I’d add Aja, and my ’77 favorite (though it only sold about 25 copies, probably): Jonathan Richman’s Rock & Roll with the Modern Lovers.

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