“You Light Up My Life” is a ballad written by Joseph “Joe” Brooks, and originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack album to the 1977 film of the same name. The song was lip synched in the film by its lead actress, Didi Conn. The best-known version of the song is a cover by Debby Boone, the daughter of singer Pat Boone, which held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks in 1977, setting a new record for that time.
“Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” is a disco single recorded by Meco, taken from the album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 1, 1977, holding on to the spot for two weeks and peaked at no. 7 on the UK Singles Chart, remaining in the charts for nine weeks. To date it is the biggest-selling instrumental single in the history of recorded music, having sold two million units, being the only one ever to be certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
In the late 1970s CBS Sports used the song as opening music for its NFL coverage.
“Best of My Love” is a 1977 song by the American band The Emotions. Released as a single on June 9, 1977 from their album Rejoice, the song was composed by Maurice White and Al McKay of Earth, Wind & Fire. Earth, Wind & Fire would later team up with the Emotions for the 1979 hit “Boogie Wonderland”. “Best of My Love” won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and also won an American Music Award for Favourite Soul/R&B Single.
The song was listed at #87 on The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. and it was the third biggest Pop song of 1977 and the fifth biggest R&B song of 1977. “Best of My Love” has been certified platinum in the US by the (RIAA) and silver in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry. Recent reviews have been largely positive, and the song continues to appear on “Best of the ’70s” lists.
“I Just Want to Be Your Everything” is a song recorded by Andy Gibb, initially released in 1977. It reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, starting on the week ending 30 July 1977, and again for the week ending 17 September 1977. It was Gibb’s first single released in the United Kingdom and United States. His previous single, “Words and Music” was only released in Australia. It is ranked number 26 on Billboard’s 55th anniversary All Time Top 100 list. The song became a gold record.
“Looks Like We Made It” is a song sung by American singer Barry Manilow, from his 1976 album, This One’s for You, composed by Richard Kerr with lyrics by Will Jennings. It was released as a single on 20 April 1977.
The song was first released in 1976 on his album This One’s For You, and it was released as a single in 1977 where it reached the number one spot on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart. It is ranked as the 37th greatest U.S. hit of 1977.
Despite the optimism suggested by the song’s title, the narrator is actually ruminating on the fact that he and his ex-lover have finally found happiness and fulfillment—though not with each other. They have, indeed, “made it,” but apart, not together. Songwriter Will Jennings commented,
Richard [Kerr] and I have often remarked on the people, millions of them in the world, who misunderstood the lyric of “Looks Like We Made It.” It is a rather sad and ironic lyric about making it apart and not together, and of course everyone thinks it is a full on, positive statement. I don’t know. Perhaps it is… in a way.
“Da Doo Ron Ron” is a song written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector. It first became a popular top five hit single for the American girl group the Crystals in 1963. American teen idol Shaun Cassidy covered the song in 1977 and his version hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There have also been many other cover versions of this song, including a version by the Raindrops, which featured the original songwriters of “Da Doo Ron Ron” Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.
“Undercover Angel” was a hit single for singer/songwriter Alan O’Day. Certified gold, it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (one of 1977’s ten biggest hits) and #9 on the Australian Singles Chart.
In 1977, Warner Bros. Music decided to form a special label, Pacific Records, for their composers who also performed. O’Day was the first artist signed, and his first release was “Undercover Angel.” The original vinyl pressing was released with the B-side “Just You”.
The song, which O’Day described as a “nocturnal novelette”, was released without fanfare in February 1977. Within a few months, it had reached #1 in the U.S., even without an album to support it. O’Day said of the experience, “It’s wonderful when you find out what feels right, and then it also feels right to other people. That’s a songwriter’s dream.” O’Day had also composed “Angie Baby”, a #1 hit for Helen Reddy; “Undercover Angel” thus landed him in a very exclusive club of singer/songwriters who wrote a chart-topper for themselves and one for another artist.
“Gonna Fly Now”, also known as “Theme from Rocky”, is the theme song from the movie Rocky, composed by Bill Conti with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, and performed by DeEtta Little (the sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford. Released in February 1977 with the movie Rocky, the song became part of American popular culture after main character Rocky Balboa as part of his daily training regimen runs up the 72 stone steps leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia and raises his arms in a victory pose, while the song plays. The song was written in Philadelphia. The song is also often played at sporting events, especially at sporting events in the city of Philadelphia or featuring sports teams from there.
“Got to Give It Up” is a song by American music artist Marvin Gaye. Written by the singer and produced by Art Stewart as a response to a request from Gaye’s record label that he perform disco music, it was released in March of 1977.
Upon its release, it topped three different Billboard charts and also became a worldwide success. Gaye sometimes used the song to open up his live concert shows. The song has been covered by several acts.
“Dreams” is a song written by singer Stevie Nicks, for the group Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album, Rumours. It is the only U.S. No. 1 hit for the group where it sold over a million copies, and remains one of their best known songs.
The members of Fleetwood Mac were experiencing emotional upheavals while recording Rumours. Drummer Mick Fleetwood was going through a divorce. Bassist John McVie was separating from his wife, keyboardist Christine McVie. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks were ending their eight-year relationship. “We had to go through this elaborate exercise of denial,” explained Buckingham to Blender magazine, “keeping our personal feelings in one corner of the room while trying to be professional in the other.”
Nicks wrote the song at the Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California, in early 1976. “One day when I wasn’t required in the main studio,” remembers singer Stevie Nicks to Blender, “I took a Fender Rhodes piano and went into another studio that was said to belong to Sly, of Sly & the Family Stone. It was a black-and-red room, with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano, and a big black-velvet bed with Victorian drapes.”
“I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me,” continues Nicks. “I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote ‘Dreams’ in about 10 minutes. Right away I liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat, because that made it a little unusual for me.”
When Nicks played the song to the rest of the group, “They weren’t nuts about it. But I said ‘Please! Please record this song, at least try it’. Because the way I play things sometimes…you really have to listen.” The band recorded it the following day. Only a basic track was recorded at Sausalito. Recording assistant Cris Morris remembers that “all (they) kept was the drum track and live vocal from Stevie – the guitars and bass were added later in Los Angeles.”
Christine McVie described the song as having “just three chords and one note in the left hand” and “boring” when Nicks played a rough version on the piano. McVie changed her mind, after Lindsey “fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there’s a thread running through the whole thing.”
“Dreams” was the second single from the Rumours album in the US, and it reached the number one spot on 18 June 1977, and held it for one week. On the AC/Easy Listening chart, “Dreams” was Fleetwood Mac’s highest charting song during the 1970s when it reached No. 11 on that chart. In the United Kingdom, “Dreams” went to No. 24 as the third single, staying in the top 40 for eight weeks, following “Go Your Own Way” (#38) and “Don’t Stop” (#32). A performance of the song on stage was used as the promotional video. Fleetwood Mac would not begin to make concept music videos until 1979.
“I’m Your Boogie Man” is a song written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, and performed by Casey’s band KC and the Sunshine Band from the band’s fourth album Part 3 (1976).
Richard Finch said that the song was written about a DJ at a Miami, Florida radio station called Robert W. Walker, who was the first to give their hit single “Get Down Tonight” airplay.
In 1977 the song reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the soul charts. Billboard ranked it as the #11 song of 1977. The song was also an international chart hit, reaching number one in Canada and charting in Australia (No. 38), Belgium (No. 16), the Netherlands (No. 6), New Zealand (No. 12) and the United Kingdom (No. 41).
The song was sampled in at least one preview for all five of the Scary Movie films, as well as in the 2005 film Roll Bounce, the 2007 film Superbad and comic-to-film-adaptation Watchmen. It was also the opening song for the 1995 film The Last Supper.
“Sir Duke” is a song composed and performed by Stevie Wonder, from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. Released as a single in 1977, the track topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Black Singles charts, and reached number two in the UK Singles Chart, his joint biggest hit there at the time. Billboard ranked it as the No. 18 song of 1977.
The song was written in tribute to Duke Ellington, the influential jazz legend who had died in 1974. The lyrics also refer to Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Wonder re-recorded the song for the 1995 live album Natural Wonder.
“When I Need You” is a popular song written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager. Its first appearance was as the title track of Hammond’s 1976 album When I Need You. Leo Sayer’s version, produced by Richard Perry, was a massive hit worldwide, reaching number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in February 1977 after three of his earlier singles had stalled at number 2. It also reached number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 for a single week in May 1977; and the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. Billboard ranked it as the No. 24 song of 1977. Sayer performed it on the second show of the third season of The Muppet Show.
“Hotel California” is the title track from the Eagles’ album of the same name and was released as a single in February 1977. Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). The Eagles’ original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh.
The song is considered the most famous recording of the band, and its long guitar coda has been voted the best guitar solo of all time. The song was awarded the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. The lyrics of the song have been given various interpretations by fans and critics alike, the Eagles themselves described the song as their “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”. In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about “a journey from innocence to experience… that’s all…”
“Southern Nights” is a song written by Allen Toussaint and recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell. It was the first single released from Campbell’s 1977 album Southern Nights and reached No. 1 on three separate US charts. It was covered by the Chicago band Whitney in 2015.
The lyrics of “Southern Nights” were inspired by childhood memories Allen Toussaint had of visiting relatives in the Louisiana backwoods, which often entailed storytelling under star-filled nighttime skies. When Campbell heard Toussaint’s version, he immediately identified with the lyrics which reminded him of his own youth growing up on an Arkansas farm. In October 1976, Campbell recorded the song with slightly modified lyrics.
“Don’t Leave Me This Way” is a song written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert. First charting as a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, an act on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label in 1975, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was later a huge disco hit for Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1977. The song was a major hit for British group The Communards in 1986.
The Blue Notes’ original version of the song, featuring Teddy Pendergrass’ lead vocal, was included as an album track on the group’s successful album Wake Up Everybody released in November 1975. Though not issued as a single in the United States at the time, the Blue Notes’ recording reached #3 on the US Billboard Disco Chart in the wake of Thelma Houston’s version. The song proved to be the group’s biggest hit in the UK, #5 on the UK singles chart, when released there as a single in 1977. It became the title track of a budget LP issued on the CBS Embassy label in the UK in 1978. The track was finally issued as a 12-inch single in the US in 1979, coupled with “Bad Luck”.
“Don’t Give Up on Us” is a song by American-British singer David Soul. Riding high on the success of playing in the hit TV show Starsky and Hutch, Soul returned to one of his early career choices as a singer. His debut, the Tony Macaulay-written-and-produced “Don’t Give Up on Us” was a worldwide smash, spending four weeks at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in January and February 1977, and a single week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1977. In addition, the song spent one week at No. 1 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart. It has sold 1.16 million copies in the UK.
Its B-side, “Black Bean Soup”, was a duet with actress Lynne Marta, whom Soul was involved with at the time.
“Don’t Give Up on Us” was rated No. 93 in VH1’s 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders because, despite having more hits in the UK, Soul was never again able to reach the top forty in the US. Soul recorded a new version of the song in 2004, allegedly after being embarrassed when hearing it by chance in an elevator as sung by Owen Wilson in the film version of Starsky and Hutch.
Zsa Zsa Padilla revived this in 1998, making it the first Filipino revival. Piolo Pascual also covered this song for the soundtrack of the film of the same title in the Philippines.
The song was also used in the film Johnny English Reborn (2011).
“Dancing Queen” is a song by the Swedish group ABBA, and the lead single from their fourth studio album, Arrival. It was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson. Andersson and Ulvaeus also produced the song. “Dancing Queen” was released as a single in Sweden on 16 August 1976, followed by a UK release and the rest of Europe a few days later. It was a worldwide hit. It became ABBA’s only number one hit in the United States, and topped the charts in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, West Germany and Zimbabwe. “Dancing Queen” reached the Top 5 in many other countries.
Musically, “Dancing Queen” is a Europop version of American disco music. As disco music dominated the US charts, the group decided to follow the trend, replicating the “Wall of Sound.” The song alternates between “languid yet seductive verses” and a “dramatic chorus that ascends to heart-tugging high notes.” It features keyboard lines by Andersson, which accentuate the melody’s sophistication and classical complexity, while Ulvaeus and Andersson interlace many instrumental hooks in and out of the mix. Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog’s layered vocals have been noted for their dynamism, “[negotiating] the melody’s many turns flawlessly.” Lyrically, the song concerns a visit to the discotheque, but approaches the subject from the joy of dancing itself, thus having a greater emotional content than many disco songs.
“Rich Girl” is a song by Daryl Hall and John Oates. It debuted on the Billboard Top 40 on Feb. 5, 1977 at number 38 and on March 26, 1977, it became their first (of six) number-one singles on the “Billboard” Hot 100. The single originally appeared on the 1976 album Bigger Than Both of Us. At the end of 1977, Billboard ranked it as the 23rd biggest hit of the year.
The song’s lyrics are about a spoiled girl who can rely on her parents’ money to do whatever she wants. The song was rumored to be about the then-scandalous newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. In fact, the title character in the song is based on a spoiled heir to a fast-food chain who was an ex-boyfriend of Daryl Hall’s girlfriend, Sara Allen. “But you can’t write, ‘You’re a rich boy’ in a song, so I changed it to a girl,” Hall told Rolling Stone.
“Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” is the theme song from the 1976 film A Star Is Born. It was composed and performed by Barbra Streisand with lyrics by Paul Williams, and arranged by Ian Freebairn-Smith. The song was released on the soundtrack album to A Star Is Born.
As composers, Streisand and Williams earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song. the first woman to be honored as a composer. Streisand also earned a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. She and Williams also won Golden Globes for Best Original Song.
The song’s opening couplet, “Love, soft as an easy chair, love fresh as the morning air,” almost did not appear that way. Williams wrote the morning air line first, but told Streisand to “flip those two first lines, because it sings better.”
In 1997, the track appeared on the tribute album Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute.
“New Kid in Town” is a song by the Eagles from their 1976 studio album Hotel California. It was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther. Released as the first single from the album, the song became a number-one hit in the US, and number 20 in the UK. The single version has an earlier fade-out than the album version. The song features Glenn Frey singing the lead vocals, with Don Henley singing main harmony vocals. Randy Meisner plays the guitarrón mexicano, Don Felder plays electric guitars, and Joe Walsh plays the electric piano and organ parts. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.
“Blinded by the Light” is a song written and originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen which first appeared on his 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park N.J.. A cover by British rock band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in February 1977 and was also a top ten hit in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.
The song came about when Columbia president Clive Davis, upon listening to an early version of Greetings from Asbury Park N.J., felt the album lacked a potential single. Springsteen wrote this and “Spirit in the Night” in response.
“Torn Between Two Lovers” is a pop song written by Peter Yarrow (of the folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary) and Phillip Jarrell. The song describes a love triangle and laments that “loving both of you is breaking all the rules”. Yarrow originally intended the song to be sung by a man, but it was ultimately made famous by a woman, Mary MacGregor, who recorded it at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in 1976. The song became the title track of MacGregor’s first album.
“Car Wash” is a hit R&B song performed by Rose Royce and written and produced by Norman Whitfield. It was the group’s debut single and one of the most notable successes of the disco era. “Car Wash”, the theme of the 1976 film Car Wash, was Rose Royce’s most successful hit single and the lead single from their first album, the Car Wash soundtrack. Reaching number one in the United States on the Billboard pop and R&B charts, “Car Wash” also peaked at number three on the disco charts and reached number nine in the UK singles chart in February 1977. The song was later covered in 2004 by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, who released their version as the single for the Shark Tale soundtrack.
“I Wish” is a hit song by Stevie Wonder. It was released in 1976 as a single and included on the album Songs in the Key of Life. Written and produced by Wonder, the song focuses on his childhood from the 1950s into the early 1960s. The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and soul singles chart.
For the television series Classic Albums, Wonder recreated a small section from the song to demonstrate how he composed and arranged it. He played the keyboards and drums himself, and used most of the musicians that appeared on the original recording.
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” is a song by the British singer Leo Sayer, taken from his 1976 album Endless Flight. The song reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it his first number-one single in the United States, and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 13 song of 1977. Songwriters Sayer and Vini Poncia won a Grammy Award for the song in 1978 in the category Best R&B Song.
“You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” is a song by the husband/wife duo of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., former members of the vocal group The 5th Dimension. Released from their album, I Hope We Get to Love in Time, it became a crossover success, spending six months on the charts and soaring to number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts during late 1976 and early 1977. The song also reached #6 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and #7 on the UK Singles Chart. It would eventually be certified gold, selling over one million copies, and winning them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
“Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” is a song by Rod Stewart, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama for his 1976 album A Night on the Town. The song became his second US chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100, peaked at #5 in UK, #3 in Australia and charted well in other parts of the world as well. It was the number 1 song in Billboard’s 1977 year-end chart. It became the best-selling single of 1977 in the United States.