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October 14, 2021


[Albums 943 – 945 / 1001]

Of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,’ 20 are from the year 1976.

I’ve reviewed all but three of them so far.

The last trio of non-reviewed albums from 1976: David Bowie – Station to Station, Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music from the Penguin Cafe, and Fela Kuti – Zombie.

Which 1976 albums are the most essential to hear again?

Ranked by their essential-ness, here’s how I’d prioritize revisiting these 20* albums, enjoy!



20. Peter Tosh – Legalize It. ‘It’ has been legal in Canada since October 2019.

19. Jorge Ben – África Brasil. Neat to learn that because of the similarities to Jorge Ben’s song, Taj Mahal, all the royalties from Rod Stewart’s song, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, are donated to UNICEF.

That is easily my favourite settlement (so far) in a copyright infringement case!

18. Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène. Avec l’accent grave.

17. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

16. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life.

Two legends, I’m just more likely to reach for some of their other albums (Wonder’s Innervisions / Petty’s Greatest Hits) first.

15. Abba – Arrival. My girls love the Mamma Mia soundtrack, I imagine that will be in the rotation more frequently.

14. Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music from the Penguin Cafe.

13. Fela Kuti – Zombie.

At the risk of being repetitive, I should unequivocally note, these rankings are based on the order in which I’m most likely to revisit the albums.

So if an album appears at #14, that doesn’t necessarily mean that album #13 (or 12,11,10…) is superior when evaluated note-for-note / lyric-for-lyric / significance-for-significance.

Instead, purely in terms of probability, I’d wager I’ll play Zombie again slightly before I re-play Music from the Penguin Cafe.

12. The Eagles – Hotel California. Great as the title track is, I just don’t recall much of the rest of the album.

11. Rush – 2112. Speaking of which.

10. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers. Released in ’76, recorded in ’72.

9. Joni Mitchell – Hejira. Her 4th of 4 on the list.

8. Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive!. And thanks to my friend Aaron, Frampton comes via the mail too!



7. Kiss – Destroyer. Somewhat surprisingly, the lone Kiss appearance on the list.

6. Boston – Boston. I’m pleased with the return on investment from my $2.99 record purchase!

5. David Bowie – Station to Station. To modify a Mitch Hedberg line, I used to like David Bowie. I still do, but I used to too!

4. Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading. One of a pair of ‘Joan’s (along with Baez) with an eponymous LP on the list.

3. Parliament – Mothership Connection. Gotta have the funk.

2. Ramones – Ramones. I didn’t always to see the appeal, I do now.

1. Aerosmith – Rocks …Not just a clever name!



Verbalize the Positive

*Hard to think of the number twenty without thinking of Paul Rudd!

From → 1970s

  1. Petty, Boston, Rush, Eagles, KISS and Aero at Numero 1 is awesome and a Frampton 8 track as well! 1976 a good year in Rock!

  2. I do believe Deke is right and this was the first year with a lot of albums that I have and all Rock (including Rocks). Good year and as far as Paul Rudd, I have those days!!

  3. Oooo Aero bumping out the Ramones. Tough one! Man I forgot Frampton was in the motherlode but that’s super-cool! Did you actually keep that post-it? Lol.

    • There’s a great line in Wayne’s World 2 where Wayne says, Everyone in the world has Frampton Comes Alive – if you lived in the suburbs, you were issued it, it came in the mail along with samples of Tide.
      As of yet, no Tide samples, but I did quite enjoy receiving it in the mail!

  4. Station to Station, Hejira, and Modern Lovers are my favourites from that list.

  5. You know, I’m currently doing a marathon of ‘American Idol’ season 7 and there’s this dude that looks like Peter Frampton lol!

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