The Billboard – The Singles 1976By César Valle
Hello dear Elvis Radio 24h listeners. A new chapter of this journey, and which on this occasion will take us to the year 1976, a year in which, as in the previous ones, we will see that the “Disco” sound and everything that has to do with a dance floor is the type of music that monopolizes the charts, placing one hit after another. We are getting closer to the unfortunate death of our idol who, this year, is already showing physical and emotional deterioration. I hope you enjoy reading this new installment, waiting for the next one to arrive, which will take us to the final outcome, be happy.
Elvis started this year with a well-deserved vacation in Colorado, where he celebrated his 41st birthday. In February, specifically on the 2nd, they began their last recording sessions in the Jungle Room at Graceland. These sessions were held at his mansion due to Elvis’s refusal to visit a studio and constant cancellations to record new material. So RCA chose to move the studio to the mansion so that new material could be published once and for all. These sessions produced two LPs “From Elvis Presley Boulevard” and part of his latest album “Moody Blue”, the rest would be completed with live recordings.
From that moment on, Elvis began an unstoppable concert tour. After the Spring Tour he will perform at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Afterwards, another tour in the summer will take him through the United States, and in the fall the performances continue. He will return to Las Vegas in December, and will end the year with a mini-tour, the last concert being held on the night of December 31 in Pittsburgh.
On a personal level, it should be noted that Elvis broke up his relationship with his girlfriend Linda Thompson, and began a new relationship with Ginger Alden, who would be his last girlfriend.
Two famous anecdotes are also worth mentioning: on April 29, a young Bruce Springsteen jumped over the Graceland wall because he wanted to meet Elvis, and on November 23, Jerry Lee Lewis showed up at Elvis’ house at dawn, carrying a gun, and demanding talk to the singer.
The last studio recordings took place at Graceland on October 29 and 30. There would be two singles that were published during 1976. The first would be “Hurt” on one side, and “For The Heart” on the other, and the second would have “Moody Blue” on one side and “She Thinks I Still Care” on the other, all from the Jungle Room sessions” which, as we said, would be his last recordings.
THE BILLBOARD IN 1976
In 1976, “disco” music continued to be the clear dominator in terms of sales, and what began brewing in Philadelphia and Detroit, at Motown, finally ended up spreading throughout the country, reaching that year, the incredible number of 10,000 nightclubs throughout the country, of which 500 were in New York City.
Examples of songs that triumphed under the mirror ball: Ohio Players managed to be number 1 with “Lover Rollercoaster”, as did The Miracles with “Love Machine”. Also “Play The Funky Music”, by Wild Cherry, or “Disco Lady”, by Johnnie Taylor, reached the top that year.
Some groups that in 1976 dedicated themselves to filling dance floors: K.C. and The Sunshine Band, with “Shake Your Body”, a real success, as well as Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band, who reached the top with a disco adaptation of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, a version that would be used later for the soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever”. Something that would also happen with “You Should Be Dancing” by The Bee Gees.
In 1976 people also moved to the rhythm of Rick Dees, a Memphis disc jokey, and his song “Disco Duck”, which was nothing more than a mix of Jackie Lee‘s classic, “The Duck” that he had recorded in 1965. with the voice of Donald Duck. More hits for the dance floor, this time from the world of television, with the central theme of “S.W.A.T.” A song with clear influences from the Philadelphia sound. The Silvers and “Boogie Fever” also triumphed. For this song, this group used the rhythmic basis of “Day Tripper” by The Beatles. Other bands of colored people that triumphed in 1976 were The Manhattans and their “Kiss And Say Goodbye.”
But also the so-called classics have their particular “Hit” in 1976. Illustrious in this profession such as Rod Stewart with “Tonight Is The Night”, the former Beatle Paul McCartney with his band Wings and the song “Silly Love Songs”, Elton John accompanied on this occasion of Kiki Dee, doing the duet on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, or Barry Manilow doing a version of the classic “I Write The Songs”.
More classics: Paul Simon, who would reach number 1 with “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” Other successful bands in 1976 are Chicago and their hit “If You Leave Me Now”, The Steve Miller Band and “Rock’ n’ Me”, as well as The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli‘s group, with “December 1963 (Oh, What a night)”.
Country music also has its place among the best-selling albums of 1976. For example, we find C.W. Wall and “Convoy” (this song would be used in 1978 by Sam Peckinpah for his film of the same title). Others who within this genre manage to be at the top of the list are the duo formed by the Bellamy brothers and their hit “Let You Love Flow.” But, without a doubt, the great winner in 1976 was Diana Ross, who would achieve a double, first with the central theme of the film “Mahogany”, and then repeat the success with “Love Hangover”.
In short, a year with a clear dominator, with everything that revolved around a dance floor. And 1977 was still to come, where this sound would not only dominate the charts in the United States with an iron fist, but also in the rest of the world. From countries like Germany we would get Donna Summer or Boney M and, from Sweden, the group Abba. After this, only the glamor and the exclusive lines at The Church or Studio 54 remained, but something was already brewing in the country of Uncle Sam, something that would be known as the “American New Wave”, with artists like Blondie, The B- 52 or The Talking Heads as the most representative.
But for this to happen we would have to wait until 1979, when The Knack with “My Sharona” once again called for a return to the order of Rock, and dominated the charts. Although this, friends, is part of another exciting adventure in the history of music.
Information provided by César Valle (Torrelavega, Spain)
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