Tag Archives: 1977

David Bowie – Heroes (1977)

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I caught sight of Bowie on a Glastonbury retrospective last night. I sat there watching it all over again. It was his set on the pyramid stage in 2000. His alchemy still affects me like few others. ‘Heroes’ is the title track off one of his trio of experimental Berlin albums. Wailing guitars, pulsing electronica and an anthem… what else can a fan ask for? Have a great week.

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Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (1977)

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This week, we learnt that electronic music lost one of its innovators. As a founding member of Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider-Esleben was described as “sound fetishist” by band mate Ralf Hütter. In fact, band isn’t the right word is it? Laboratory colleague feels more apt. In 1977, Kraftwerk produced the futuristic LP Trans-Europe Express. The title track would have a huge influence. You can hear the birth of Japan and The Human League in its synthesised sound; and of course, the electro loop used by Afrika Bambaataa on ‘Planet Rock’ made Kraftwerk references cool for a new generation too. R.I.P. Florian. Have a great weekend all.

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Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – Born To Lose (1977)

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Did I say garage rock?! New York-born guitarist, singer-songwriter John Anthony Genzale, Jr. first came to prominence as lead guitarist for the New York Dolls. After he and drummer Jerry Nolan quit the band, they formed The Heartbreakers with ex-Television bassist Richard Hell. Still carrying his alias, the band became known as Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers due to their frontman’s ever growing notoriety. ‘Born To Lose’ is not only a crucial slice of garage rock that opens their 1977 debut album L.A.M.F., but it was also a premature epitaph.

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Blondie – Heart Of Glass (1977)

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A lot of nostalgia this week and no more so than reminiscing about listening to Blondie on childhood holidays in Northumberland. Before ‘Heart of Glass’, Blondie were a cult band with a CBGB punk edge. Afterwards, they sat atop music charts across the world. ‘Heart Of Glass’ was written by Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein and features on the band’s 1977 album Parallel Lines.

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Talking Heads – Love → Building on Fire (1977)

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Having signed to Sire Records in November 1976, ‘Love -> Building on Fire’ was Talking Heads’ first officially released piece of music in February 1977. Recorded before former Modern Lovers member Jerry Harrison joined the band on keyboards and guitar, it would become one of his favourite to play due to the Television-like guitar licks. It’s great track, but remarkable for sounding more like Dexys Midnight Runners than Talking Heads. I mean, check out those horns! This was David Byrne and crew before they had carved out their very own new wave. “When my love/ Stands next to your love/ I can’t compare love/
When it’s not love/ It’s not love!”

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Biddu & The Orchestra – Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon (1977)

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I wanted to post this track yesterday, but Monday is no time for disco. Tuesday’s much better, sure. I recently heard this track in a hillside restaurant bar in Istanbul. I could not believe my ears… is it bird, is it a diamond, no… it’s Biddu. There was me thinking that Neil Diamond’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon’ found a second life when the cover by Urge Overkill appeared on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. But no, how could anyone overlook this 1977 disco version by Bangalore-born, London-based producer Biddu Appaiah? Biddhu was no slouch; he knew his disco rhythms. In 1974, he produced the multi-million selling ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ by Carl Douglas, he launched the career of Tina Charles and scored the soundtracks the cult movies The Bitch and The Stud. All very unexpected for a man from Coorg.

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Iggy Pop – China Girl (1977)

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By 1976, the Stooges were history and Iggy had been on a downward spiral, including some self-induced time in an asylum. Longtime confidant, David Bowie stepped in to help him out. The two of them wrote some new material and produced The Idiot. It was far removed from the proto-punk of the Stooges, but it was new, different and full of promise. Take ‘China Girl’… underrated at the time, it was always destined for greater things.

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The Damned – Neat Neat Neat (1977)

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While Peter Perrett and The Only Ones were flirting with punk rock in 1976/77, The Damned were the real deal. Formed in 1976 by Dave Vanian, guitarist Brian James, bassist Captain Sensible and the irrepressible Rat Scabies on drums, they were the first UK punk band to release a single (‘New Rose’, 1976). ‘Neat Neat Neat’ was the second single off the album Damned Damned Damned.

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The Motors – Dancing The Night Away (1977)

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Morning folks. I give you ‘Dancing The Night Away’ by The Motors. The track is the opener off their 1977 debut LP 1. I’ve always though that this is the music Status Quo should have made. It’s pub rock, but has those riffs. The London band was formed by former Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster together with guitarist Rob Hendry and drummer Ricky Slaughter. Have a great week.

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Althea and Donna – Uptown Top Ranking (1977)

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Having initially recorded it as a joke, teenagers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid struck gold with their take on deejay Trinity’s ‘Three Piece Suit’. With John Peel’s endorsement, the surprise reggae hit ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ reached number 1 in the UK charts. Have a great weekend.

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Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman (1977)

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Bad relationships + lot of drugs = Gold Dust Woman. But aside of all the symbolism, this was a song rich in confidence. Listen to the depth, the complications and Stevie Nicks’ vocals. Reputedly recorded at 4 a.m. after a long day of trying to get it right, the finished article would fittingly serve as the last track on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

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Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill (1977)

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Solsbury Hill is located near Bath, where Peter Gabriel would often stroll. It became the setting for his all-important first single as a solo artist after leaving Genesis. It was a big deal for him and the lyrics say it all: “My heart going boom boom boom/’Son’, he said ‘Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home’. The song is the second track on the first volume of Peter Gabriel’s eponymous body of work, later retitled Peter Gabriel 1 (Car). Despite his trepidation, it’s incredibly uplifting sound. Have a great weekend.

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David Bowie – Be My Wife (1977)

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As David Bowie got more experimental, his singles became less successful, but no less influential. 40 years ago (19 June 1977) this month, ‘Be My Wife’ was the 2nd and final single release from the ground-breaking album Low, the first of the so-called Berlin Trilogy. It failed to chart but was frequently played during his live sets due to his predilection for the sound. The ragtime intro still stands out.

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First Choice ‎- Doctor Love (1977)

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In 1977, First Choice comprised constants Rochelle Fleming and Annette Guest, with Ursula Herring half way through her stint as their number three. But as is the norm with a Salsoul production, the success of ‘Doctor Love’ is about the bigger team. The opening track off their album Delusions was written by the Philly musicians Felder, Tyson and Harris; it was mixed by Tom Moulton; and it was arranged by Norman Harris. That is calibre; at about 3 mins, after the upbeat vocals, just listen to that choppy guitar, drum and orchestral workout. So we start and end the week with disco. Have a great weekend.

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Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (1977)

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Is this really the first song I’ve featured off the Fleetwood Mac’s off-the-chart success Rumours? Unsurprisingly, it is one of Stevie Nicks’ showpiece sounds ‘Dreams’. This time she takes aim at her strained relationship with Lindsey Buckingham; what they’d had and what they’d lost. Classic. The sound of 1977.

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