Wednesday, December 12, 2018

McQ's Best Of 2017 Mix Collection

All right! 2017!

Though not an elite music year by any stretch, when looked at from the standpoint of the year's best 100 albums, not just it's top 10, 2017 proved to be one of the richest, most varied, and deepest music years of this decade - hence the super expensive size of this year's collection.

For those with an interest on how McQ rated 2017's albums, click here.

Otherwise, enjoy these mixes, and know that clicking on the individual mix titles will take you to a detail page that really gets into the specifics of each song we've included here in this celebration of the best of 2017.


McQ's choices for the very best singles and top tracks from the most significant albums of 2017.




2017's most intimate female sing-songwriter, folk, alt-country, and indie fare are presented here on McQ's personal favorite mix of the entire 2017 collection.



So many of last decade's top indie acts were back with a vengeance in 2017.  This mix focuses on those veteran indie superstars with a rock lean to their sound. 





2017's best funk, jazz, and international music get their due here! 





Returning to those indie veterans of 2017, this mix celebrates those awesome lifers, and a few younger guns, with an electronic lean to their rock. 





2017's best straight-forward, no frills rock and hard rock efforts are the emphasis here. 





This mix combines songs from some of the best undercard acts Nancy and I caught at the 2017 and 2018 Coachella festivals.





Our first ever all ambient mix highlights a few of the most notable tracks in a rich year for the genre. 




Shoegaze, Industrial, Pysch Rock - the best 2017 efforts from rock acts that like to bury their melodies in layer after layer after layer of instrumentation, feedback, and noise are featured here 




2017's best Rap and Grime efforts (as McQ sees it, not the critics or general public) are featured here. 






Most of 2017's sharpest political songwriting is featured here on this post-punk centered mix. 




The lighter, easy listening counterpart to Vol 9 - Thick and Fuzzy features 2017's best efforts in the dream pop, slack rock, and bedroom pop genres.  




Some of 2017's best Post-Rock and Experimental Rock and Electronica get their due here. 




McQ's favorite 2017 Pop and R&B chart toppers are highlighted here. 




2017's strongest Country, Alt-Country, Roots-Rock and Indie-Folk efforts all get their moment here. 




Some of 2017's most interesting efforts from the electronic genre's more cerebral, less dance-oriented artists are spotlighted here.   




2017's best, super bouncy Punk Pop and Eno lead the way here in a mix designed to play like the soundtrack to a fictional High School Musical/Rock And Roll High School movie. 



Volume 18 - Nancy's Favorites!

Always a fan favorite, Nancy reveals those 2017 tunes that appealed to her most.




Bonus Mix - The Next 100

Was your favorite song of 2017 left out?  It might be on this mix here. In no particular order, here are the next 100 tunes I was considering for these mixes




Thursday, November 22, 2018

McQ's Best Of 1977 Vol 14 - Soft Rock Nights (The Be(wor)st of WLS Pt 3)

Continuing our look at some of 1977's most nostalgia triggering tracks as filtered through the programming sensibilities of Chicago AM giant WLS, we conclude the three part series (as well as our entire 77 mix collection), with Soft Rock Nights.

If WLS mornings were for the moms, and WLS afternoons were for the boys, WLS nights were for couples. The music got softer, the music got more sophisticated, and the music got better, as the radio station tried to hook in young lovers going about their evening plans.

Not surprisingly, this is probably the smoothest listen of all our 1977 mixes.

Here's the link...



About The Artists/Albums/Songs:



1. The Chain - Fleetwood Mac: Hitting two more tracks from Rumours on this mix, giving them seven tracks in this collection (second behind only Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced for the most songs we've ever included from one album).  This track, probably Rumours' most instrumentally sophisticated, is a perfect tone setter for what's coming in this mix.



2. Deacon Blues - Steely Dan: Finally, we get to Steely Dan's Aja, the last genuinely great album to be profiled in our '77 collection. And while I've always preferred the songs on the band's singles-oriented debut Can't Buy A Thrill and '75's Katy Lied a little more, there's no denying that on certain evenings, no album other than this one-of-a-kind, jammy, Eros-driven masterwork will do. Deacon Blues has always been my favorite from this one.



3. Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel: Joel's first top-ten hit of his career almost didn't see the light of day.  According to Joel, neither he or his band cared for the song after laying it down, and weren't going to include it on The Stranger, but at the urging of Linda Rondstadt and Phoebe Snow who were both recording in the same building at the time, Joel acquiesced. Joel's producer Phil Ramone had a different take on the issue, stating no matter how hesitant Joel and the band were about the song, or how much Rondstadt and Snow loved it, Joel hadn't written enough material for the album to ever consider cutting it. Either way, I came back to this song for this first time in years expecting to dislike it, but was actually surprised at how well it has held up.



4. Just A Song Before I Go - Crosby, Stills & Nash: Surprisingly, given all the other classic rock staples in their catalog, Graham Nash's parting words for his family and friends, written on a bet in 20 minutes before heading back out on another tour, is taken from the band's 1977 release CSN, and was the biggest hit of the their career!



5. Takin' The Time To Find - Dave Mason: Definitely felt we needed another number from Dave Mason's '77 guest-star-loaded release Let It Flow, but with Nancy already thieving the album's title track for her Favorites mix, I went with this rocking, AWBish number here over the album's biggest hit We Just Disagree.



6. Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle: Originally released on Gayle's fourth studio album We Must Believe In Magic, the country singer's signature hit would end up the #71 selling single of 1978.  I considered it for Lujack Mornings, but there's just a touch more late-night sophistication to this number that suggested it was a better fit here.



7. Dreamer - Dennis Wilson: Though it wasn't one of the two singles issued from Dennis Wilson's '77 solo debut Pacific Ocean Blue, it was this surprisingly gruff, bluesy number built around a super cool bass harmonica passage that has, over time, emerged as the album's most popular song.



8. April Sun In Cuba - Dragon: One of New Zealand's biggest rock acts during the mid-to-late 70s, Dragon's April Sun In Cuba, from their fourth studio release Running Free, was one of the band's biggest chart successes in the United States.



9. Baltimore - Randy Newman: While Short People got most of the airplay and attention, the best song on Randy Newman's Little Criminals was its oft-covered, bleak portrait of a dying city Baltimore which, like most of Little Criminals, featured members of the Eagles (in this case Glen Frey and Joe Walsh) in instrumental support.



10. Lovely Day - Bill Withers: From the bleak to the buoyant. Released in December, 1977, the lead single for American soul singer Bill Wither's sixth studio release Menagerie also owns the distinction of holding one of the longest-sustained vocal notes ever put down in recording history, with one of Wither's final "days," clocking in at eighteen seconds.



11. Handy Man - James Taylor: Though the seventies singer-songwriter movement was already in decline, genre-icon James Taylor enjoyed his most successful year in 1977 powered by his eighth studio album JT, which in addition to being the best-selling album of his career, also featured two of his biggest charting hits.  Handy Man here, and Your Smiling Face, which Nancy has already featured on her Favorites mix!



12. Smiling Stranger - John Martyn: While not a huge name here in the states, British singer/songwriter/badass guitarist John Martyn had a prominent five-decade career overseas from the late sixties until his death in 2009, and his daring, idiosyncratic combination of blues, reggae, jazz, and folk and have led many to dub him the father of 90s trip-hop. His 1977 seventh studio release One World is one the most popular of the 22 studio albums he left us, and contains two of him most famous songs in the title track and the Lee "Scratch" Perry collaboration Big Muff. But as cool as those songs are, I found Smiling Stranger to be even cooler. So all you Portishead / Massive Attack fans, this is where some of it started.



13. Slip Slidin' Away - Paul Simon: After deciding not to include Slip Slidin' Away on 1975's Still Crazy After All These Years, Paul Simon decided to include it two years later on his 1977 greatest hits collection Greatest Hits, Etc. to give that album a lead single. The ploy worked, as Slip Sliding' Away ended up as the #48 single of 1978.



14. Like A Hurricane - Neil Young: Though not horrible in its own right, when compared to the spectacular quality level of most of his 70s output, Neil Young's 1977 studio release American Stars N' Bars is a straight-up dud... until one gets to this song towards the end of side two, a contender for the title of the greatest song in Young's entire, mind-bogglingly prolific career.



15. Songbird - Fleetwood Mac: Like Dreams, I thought Nancy would claim Christine McVie's best Rumours' song Songbird for her mix, but she did not, giving this mix one last gorgeous come down before its big closing stretch.



16. Peg - Steely Dan: One more from Steely Dan's all-time best seller and audiophile sacred cow Aja.




17. & 18. The Load Out / Stay - Jackson Browne: Following the tremendous success of 1976's labored-over The Pretender, Jackson Browne chose to lighten things up in 1977 with his fifth album Running On Empty. A record about life on the road recorded on the road (either live, or on the tour bus, or in hotel rooms, etc.) it's not one of Browne's most accomplished works, but it does possess a killer set of bookends in the opening title track (already featured on Vol 2 - Nancy's Favorites) and the closing tandem of The Load Out / Stay included here, which just felt, not like the perfect ending for this mix, but this entire 1977 collection as well.  Hope you enjoyed it all. 





























Friday, November 16, 2018

McQ's Best Of 1977 Vol 13 - AOR Afternoons (The Be(wor)st Of WLS Pt 2)

Continuing our three-part look back at some of 1977's most beloved guilty pleasures...

If, in 1977, WLS mornings were programmed for the moms, afternoons were definitely targeted at the boys, all those tween and teen coming home for school and young adult males commuting home from work.

And the catnip of choice for capturing this crew: AOR - Album Oriented Rock.

Though these starkly middle-of-the-road rock and prog-rock acts didn't do nearly as much damage on the singles charts as their counterparts featured on Vol 12 - Lujack Mornings, they would prove as a group to be even more enduringly popular... with most, in some bastardized form or another, still active on the nostalgia circuit today and still omnipresent on classic rock radio playlists.

And while I poke fun at some of these bands in write-up as I now view them from a much older perspective, let the record show that there is no overstating how much joy they brought me back in the day.

Here's the link to the mix...




About The Artists/Albums/Songs:



1. Feels Like the First Time - Foreigner:  When word broke that Ian McDonald, the multi-instrumental genius responsible for all those crazy sounds one hears on the King Crimson's 1968 prog-classic In The Court Of The Crimson King, was leaving Crimson to form his own band, expectations ran high as to just how great the new act would be.  What no one anticipated was that McDonald was about to go full-on Greg Rollie/Neil Schon - leaving a popular cutting-edge act to create something as middle-of-the-road-safe and mass-marketable as music comes.  And like many of the songs on this mix, middle-of-the-road mass marketable with a heavy prog accent is exactly what Foreigner's eponymous debut turned out to be. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fun, and the masses ate it up, making Feels Like The First Time - one of three top-20 hits from the album - the band's highest charter in the weeklies, peaking out at #4.



2. Point Of Know Return - Kansas: Following the huge success of the single Carry On Wayward Son from their multi-platinum-selling '76 release Leftoverture, the midwest's biggest prog-rock act ever hurried back even stronger in '77 with Point Of Know Return, which in addition to doing even better sales than Leftoverture, included two of the band's greatest songs (starting with the title track here), and is now almost universally regarded as Kansas's best album (though, let's be honest, that's not saying a ton). And while this band's pretensions have proved as enduringly entertaining in a campy nostalgic sense as those of their midwest prog-rock counterparts we'll get to in a moment, this track still brings up a lot of warm memories.



3 & 4. We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions - Queen: If you caught Bohemian Rhapsody the move, you know this pair of songs from their '77 release News Of The World  were written in an effort to increase audience participation at their shows Mission accomplished.



5. The Grand Illusion - Styx: Wow. Styx. The Grand Illusion. Combine Kubrick-level pretension with Ed Wood-level insight, and this is what you get. Though on an instrumental level they could clearly hold their own, few bands have ever strived for deep meaning harder and missed the mark more consistently than Roseland, Illinois's um..., finest? But whatever their lyrical ineptitude (and it could get comically bad), they could find their way around a riff and a hook, making the one of the most appealing and greatest of the 70's "bad" bands. We'll be hitting not one, not two, but three tracks from the band's '77 breakout album here on this mix, starting with the album's magnum opus (a least until Mr. Roboto) opening track here.



6. Jungle Love - Steve Miller Band: As middle-of-the-road-safe as The Steve Miller Band was (and let's be clear, they don't come more middle-of-the-road safe than The Steve Miller Band), I have nothing but good things to say about Miller's hits-packed '77 release Book Of Dreams. It may not challenge its listeners, but it remains a super fun listen. So we kick off our Book Of Dreams appreciation fest with Jungle Love here, a song originally written for Dave Mason.



7. I'm In You - Peter Frampton: The title track to Frampton's Comes Alive '77 followup, I'm In You the song had the distinction, in addition to being the year's #42 song, of drawing the mocking ire of Frank Zappa, who annoyed by Frampton's shift in direction from a respectable if earnest rocker to blatant teen idol chart climber, rerecorded his version of the song as I Have Been In You.



8. Black Betty - Ram Jam: Flirted with putting this one-hit-wonder from Ram Jam's full-length debut on Lujack Mornings, but the harder-rocking vibe of the New York-based act's cover of the ages-old prison work song that had been recorded many times since the 1930s (most notably by bluesman Leadbelly) suggested it go here. And a little trivia, though Ram Jam's version of the song did cause a minor stir with the NAACP (who felt Ram Jam's version presented a negative portrait of African-American women), most interpretations of the song suggest that Black Betty of the title is actually not a woman, but a reference to one of many objects associated through the years with African American oppression - a prison guard whip, an eighteenth century musket, a paddy wagon, a nasty bottle of home-brewed alcohol.



9. Sweet Talkin' Woman - Electric Light Orchestra: I've never been a big ELO fan (or a fan of any Jeff Lynne-led project through the years, from The Move all the way to those god awful Traveling Wilburys). I always felt, too often, Lynne stole everything he could from the Beatles - except what worked. But as sappy as the band's full-length albums like '77 double Out Of The Blue (the second best-selling soft-rock album of 1977 after Rumours) could be, the band definitely delivered a some priceless hits. We're including two of Out Of The Blue's big three (sorry Mr. Blue Sky) on this mix, starting with Sweet Talkin' Woman here.



10. Long, Long Way From Home - Foreigner: God, it doesn't say much for my youthful tastes, but I ate this song up in junior high. It hasn't aged as well as Feels or Cold As Ice, but it would be the third and final single cut from Foreigner's debut to make the charts, peaking at #20 on the Billboard weeklies.



11. You Too the Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) - Meatloaf: One last cut from Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. It's not as good a song as the album's title track, but I couldn't leave this one off, the spoken-word intro by songwriter Jin Steinman is just too priceless.



12. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) - Styx: "Relax... Take it easy..." The Grand Illusion, in addition to being the band's breakout album, was also the band's first album to fully integrate new member, singer/songwriter/guitarist Tommy Shaw.  In addition to bequeathing upon Styx the most generic blond-haired / blue-eyed pretty-boy rocker of all-time, Shaw was also about to deliver a number of huge hits, starting with these oh-so-cheesy words of encouragement for bandmate Dennis DeYoung, whom Shaw felt was wound tighter than a clock and overreacted to every little setback.



13. Give A Little Bit - Supertramp: Apologies to Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, and Jethro Tull, classic prog-acts who all released significant albums in 1977 but that I chose not to profile because they just didn't fit with the more mainstream-oriented feel of this mix. But Supertramp's Give A Little Bit, which, as the lead single from the band's fifth studio effort Even In The Quietest Moments, was the band's breakout hit in the states, did.



14. Swingtown - Steve Miller Band: Though the final single released from Book Of Dreams, the light, breezy Swingtown would perform better than Jungle Love on the charts, peaking at #17 on the Billboard weeklies.



15. Dust In The Wind - Kansas: For all of Point Of Know Return's over-heated Kings-and-Queens-and-Fairies prog ramblings, it would be the album's simplest track that left the biggest mark. And for as much as I've been poking fun at the songs on this mix, and despite the doom-and-gloom fatalism of this song's lyrics, there's really not much to make fun of here.  Dust In The Wind is just a well executed, well produced, Brit-styled folk-ballad, anchored around one of the most iconic finger-picked riffs of all time.



16. She's Not There - Santana: I don't know about you, but I've always loved Santana's jammy '77 cover of the 1964 Zombies classic.  The public did, too, turning the cover version into a UK and US smash, and turning the album on which it appeared, '77 double-album Moonflower, into Santana's first gold record since 1972.



17. Turn To Stone - Electric Light Orchestra: Turn To Stone was the first of four singles released from ELO's ten-times-platinum Out Of The Blue. It would end up the worst performing single from the album, but no matter, it's always been my all-time favorite song from the band.



18. Cold As Ice - Foreigner: Though it wasn't the band's highest weekly charter from their self-titled debut, Cold As Ice would go on to be the best selling single from the album, finishing as 1977's #68 song, and in the process would become the band's most well known song.



19. Jet Airliner - Steve Miller Band: Book Of Dreams biggest hit had actually been first written and recorded by blind bluesman Paul Pena in 1973, but conflicts between Pena and his label would prevent his version from being released for another twenty-seven years In the interim, Ben Sidram, who had produced Pena's album and had also previously been a member of The Steve Miller Band, brought the song to Miller, who tweaked it and made it (along with Threshold, the synth-intro that usually accompanies it in tandem but is not included here) Book Of Dream's opening track. Miller's version would peak at #8 on the Billboard charts.



20. Come Sail Away - Styx: Ranking right their with Lady and Renegade as Styx's greatest guilty pleasure track, Come Sail Away would be a monster hit for the band, peaking at #8 in the weeklies, and along with The Grand Illusion, launch Styx on a half-decade ride as one of America's top-earning acts.



21. Pigs On The Wing 2 - Pink Floyd: So yeah, Floyd and Animals are awesome, and even though a prog band, are of such higher quality level than the other acts they probably shouldn't be here. But I had two minutes of space remaining on this mix, and I do love those short Animals bookends, so Pigs On The Wing 2 gets to close things out.



























Friday, November 9, 2018

McQ's Best Of 1977 Vol 12 - Lujack Mornings (The Be(wor)st Of WLS Pt 1)

Ah, WLS!

By 1977, Chicago was growing itself a serious slate of niche rock and roll radio stations.

For the era's hipster set, DJ-run WXRT (my homeboy vote for the greatest radio station of all-time) had just entered its second year of 24-hour-a-day programming.

Just five numbers up the FM dial, WLUP was winning over the hard rock set, led by their Disco-hating bad-boy superstar Steve Dahl.

But despite the expanding presence of those FM players and others, the big boy in town was still Chicago's mighty AM powerhouse WLS.

And as far as the nation's mainstream AM rock stations went, one could do a lot worse.

WLS was as egalitarian as they come, playing music from just about every genre and rock decade.

Occasionally, they would champion new artists other radio stations didn't have the guts to take a flyer on.

And they weren't complete stuffed shirts - they played a ton of cool stuff.

The only problem with WLS, if one considers it a problem, is there was zero quality control!

As long as a song passed FCC regs and was popular with a portion of their regular audience - no matter how bad, how cheesy, how saccharine -  it played... and it played over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again!

This would lead to some hysterical playlist juxtapositions:  Sympathy For The Devil would lead into Muskrat Love: Sky Rockets In Flight would precede Train In Vain, Superstition would play into Slow Ride would play into Puppy Love would play into Barracuda would play into Copacabana. You get the idea.

But that said, there was still a definite programming strategy at work amid the chaos, with the playlists carefully curated to the shifting demographic makeup of the station's listening audience at different times of the day. And it's along those time-of-day programing strategies that Nancy and I have organized the final three, purely nostalgia-driven mixes of our 1977 collection. Starting with the mornings.

And make no mistake, with the husbands off to work and the kids off to school, WLS mornings were for the moms!  The unchallenging, top-10-driven soundtrack to their quiet hours as they set about their household chores, ran their errands, got their kids to wherever those ragamuffins needed to be, and maybe, just maybe, took a rare moment for themselves.

Easy listening rock, pop, cross-over country and especially a never-ending barrage of the era's earnest, over-orchestrated, autumnal ballads were the order of those early hours, and presiding over this dreck was the most unlikely of MCs - WLS's curmudgeonly, disinterested elder statesmen Larry Lujack. Good 'Ol Uncle Lar!

I once heard him asked in an interview if he actually liked the stuff he had to play, and after a long, long pause, he just diplomatically stated "I like some of it."

Well, that's exactly how I feel about the music set forth here in the twelfth volume of our 1977 collection and the first disk in our three part The Be(wor)st Of WLS series - I like some of it.  But I can't forget any of it.

So no pretense to quality being the organizing principle on this epic, double-length mix.  The songs included here were not selected because they were great... or brilliant... or inspired (though some definitely are), but simply because in 1977, just like the Kardashians in our era, they were very, very well-known.

So brace yourselves. You may not be fond of all these songs, but there's no escaping your memories of them!

I give you... Lujack Mornings.



About The Artists/Albums/Songs:


1. The Things We Do For Love - 10cc: An intriguing British quartet composed of four multi-instrumentalists who could all also produce, write, and sing, the band's early albums were an eclectic jumble as they shifted between the pop stylings of Eric Stewart and Graham Goulding and the artier sensibilities of Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. But when Godley and Creme left in '76 to form their own band, Stewart and Goulding were freed to focus exclusively on their pop ambitions for the band's fifth studio album Deceptive Bends, which produced the #44 single of 1977 included here.


2. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac: Though the emphasis here is on guilty pleasure hits, there are also a number of great-by-any-standard tunes on this mix that just happened to be tremendously popular in 1977, starting with this track here, which closed 1977 as its #39 best-selling single. That's saying something when you subtract the millions upon millions who bought Rumours wholesale in '77 as well.


3. Short People - Randy Newman:  He should have known better. Though his heart was usually in the right place, Randy Newman had flirted with a public backlash for years, regularly turning his acerbic wit towards to subjects of the greatest cultural sensitivity and addressing them with irony and often from the perspective of third person antiheroes (check out the Sail Away's title track or Political Science). But it all caught up with him in '77's when his anti-prejudice screed Short People set of a firestorm from people too incensed by the song's opening verse to wait for the chorus where the song's real intent is made clear. As time passed, even Newman came to hate the song, feeling in retrospect it was just a gimmick, but despite all that, the Side 1 opener for Newman's fifth full-length Little Criminals was still a huge hit, doing the bigger part of its chart damage in '78, where it ended up as that year's #41 song.


4. Gonna Fly Now: Theme From "Rocky" - Bill Conti: I don't care how cheesy this one is. It still makes me want to jump up and shout "Adriaaaaaaan," at the top of my lungs! Also 1977's #21 single.


5. Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton: Believe it or not the title track to Parton's twentieth album Here You Come Again was her very first crossover hit.  It was also, ironically (or maybe not) just one of a small handful of songs she had recorded over the years that she did not write herself.  It would linger on the charts deep into 1978, where it finished as that year's #60 single.


6. Whatcha Gonna Do? - Pablo Cruise: Okay, I have to admit that  this track from Pablo Cruise's '77 release, third album A Place In The Sun, is a serious guilty pleasure for me. It would go on to claim 1977's #16 spot for the San Francisco-based band.


7. Undercover Angel - Alan O'Day: True story here to clarify just how omnipresent this song was in 1977.  In junior high I had my AM radio plugged into my bedroom light switch, so every time I entered my bedroom, WLS immediately popped on. Over the course of one July '77 day, I entered my room eight times, and every time I entered, this song - Alan O'Days godawful one-hit wonder Undercover Angel, the #9 best-selling song of 1977 - is the first thing I heard. Oh, the horror, the horror!


8. Southern Nights - Glen Campbell: One of 1977's biggest cross-over country hits, Glen Campbell's cover of the 1975 Allen Toussaint song ended up #22 on the '77 year end charts.


9. Ebony Eyes - Bob Welch: Luckily, as Rumours was dominating the album charts like no album ever had prior, ex-Fleetwood Mac-er Bob Welch was too busy having the best year of his own career to fall into a Pete Best pity spiral. His '77 album French Kiss would deliver his two biggest hits, the lesser of which, Ebony Eyes, did most of its work in '78, ending up as that year's #96 best-selling single.


10. We're All Alone - Rita Coolidge: I can take or leave Rita Coolidge's treacly '77 Anytime...Anywhere cover of Boz Scagg's Silk Degrees' song We're All Alone that was one of many interpretive cover hits she had in the late 70s (and which was the #98 song of 1978 after its late '77 release), but OMG, what a crazy awesome life this woman has had. A talented singer and striking woman of Native American descent, Coolidge was one of the industry's top back-up singers in the late 60s/early 70s after being discovered by Delany and Bonnie and becoming part of their touring ensemble. She recorded with virtually everyone of note from the era (including Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Mason, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell), but her list of paramours is even more legendary. Of her more notable liaisons, she's oft cited, fair or not, as the main reason for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's first break-up after leaving Stills for Nash. And not soon after that all ended, she met Kris Kristofferson on a flight to Tennessee, and he was so instantly smitten he got off with her at her stop rather than continue on to his intended destination to ponder names for their first children. The two soon married, recording several albums together before the marriage went south and her solo career took off. Oh, and one last coda (pun intended), she's also claims to be the actual uncredited composer of the iconic back-half piano melody to Derek And The Domino's Layla.


11. Heard It In A Love Song - The Marshall Tucker Band: Though now universely considered one of Southern Rock's all-time best acts, South Carolina's Marshall Tucker Band never had huge success on the mainstream charts, and this '77 track from their sixth studio effort Carolina Dreams would prove to be their biggest hit, ending up ranked as the #57 song of that year.


12. Evergreen: Theme From "A Star Is Born" - Barbara Streisand: Bab's Oscar-and-Grammy-winning theme song to her 1976 movie, not released as a single until January 1977, lands the distinction of being the top '77 charter featured on this mix. It ended 1977 as the year's fourth best selling single (Rod Stewart's 1976 release Tonight's The Night, Andy Gibbs's I Want To Be Your Everything, and The Emotion's Best Of My Love claimed 1977's top three spots).


13. Ariel - Dean Friedman: It's fitting that on this WLS mix, we feature a hit that WLS made.  The radio station jump all over this 50s-flavored track about a free-spirited vegetarian Jewish girl from Friedman's eponymous debut long before other radio stations in the States caught on.  And though it was Friedman's only North American hit (he'd have more overseas), thanks to WLS's early support, Ariel ended 1977 as the year's #69 song.


14. You're My World - Helen Reddy: Though her previous album had certified gold, Reddy's most recent single's had not charted, so husband/manager Jeff Wald pulled out all the stops to make sure her ninth studio release, Ear Candy, halted the downward trend, auditioning hundreds of producers and nearly a thousand new songs for his better half. But in the end, it was an updated English version of the oft-recorded Italian standard You're My World that provided the upward spike Wald was hoping for, landing Reddy in the #56 spot on '77's year end charts.


15. Looking For The Magic- Dwight Twilley Band: I'll be the first to admit that this song, the most popular song of The Dwight Twilley Band's career from their second and final album Twilley Don't Mind, doesn't belong on this mix. It wasn't a hit, and they were never a mainstream oriented act. The problem is Dwight Twilley really didn't fit with any other band of their era, stylistically caught somewhere between their brilliant, equally ignored Memphis peers Big Star, and the alternative rock/college rock movement that was still a half decade away but which they seem to be very much anticipating here.


16. So Into You - Atlanta Rhythm Section: Another big guilty pleasure for me here in Southern Rockers ARS's biggest hit ever (the #38 selling single of '77), from their best-selling album ever, A Rock And Roll Alternative.


17. You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone: Ugh! Here we go. Holding down the top spot on the charts for ten straight weeks in 1977 (a record at the time) Boone's cover of songwriter Joseph Brooks' You Light Up My Life (the original version by actress Kasey Cisyk had been released just a few months earlier as part of the You Light Up My Life movie soundtrack) would put up even bigger numbers in 1978, where it ended that year as it's #3 single.


18. Do Anything You Wanna Do - Eddie & The Hot Rods: The last track cut from our earlier Bar Band mix, Do Anything You Wanna Do from the 1977 release Life On The Line was a top-ten hit in the UK for these British pub rockers, so I felt it was fair game to include here.


19. Looks Like We Made It - Barry Manilow: Not to put a damper on things, but this so cheesy Manilow song (is there any other kind?) from This One's For You, which ended up the #37 single of '77, is one of the most consistently misinterpreted songs of its era. It is not, as most people assume, an inspiring reflection on a couple who have made it through tough times together, but rather, a much more wistful reflection by a one-time couple who have finally regained their individual footings after splitting up.


20. Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac: Though not a first-run mega-hit like Rumours' big four of Go Your Own Way, Don't Stop, You Make Loving Fun, and Dreams, Second Hand News has nonetheless endured as a radio staple for decades, and remains a personal favorite.


21. Right Time Of The Night - Jennifer Warnes: Convoluted history on this Peter McCann song, which McCann originally recorded for his solo debut with Warnes contributing vocals to one verse. But after both artists fell under the control of impresario Clive Davis, who felt Warnes soon-to-be-released self-titled debut still needed a hit single, this song was given to Warnes to rerecord, and her version became '77's #34 song. But don't cry for McCann. He would go on to get the better end of the deal, as the only song of his Davis had rejected in the same six-song bulk sale that gave Davis control of Right Time was Do You Wanna Make Love, which went on to become an even bigger hit, and is featured a few spots later on this mix.  And the B-Side to Make Love, that original recording of Right Time Of The Night which only features Warnes on the second verse.


22. You Make Me Crazy - Sammy Hagar: This lead single from Hagar's third solo LP Musical Chairs is so out of character with what we would later associate with the future Van Halen frontman that I had to include it.


23. On And On - Stephen Bishop: Though he had a few other hits through the years and was beloved by some prominent musicians of his day, most notably Eric Clapton, San Diegan Bishop never charted better than with his earnest '77 soft rocker On and On from his album Careless, which ended 1977 as the year's number #30 song after lasting on the charts for a full seven months.


24. Do You Wanna Make Love - Peter McCann: So yeah, this is one of the songs on this mix that gets me chuckling the most (in a not good way), but to Peter McCann's credit, he actually had a hell of a mainstream career, penning tunes for dozens upon dozens of prominent mainstream, Motown, and country artists in addition to Jennifer Warnes, whom we jus heard from.  In fact, it was the success of Warnes' version of Right Time that gave McCann the clout to strike out as a performer on his own, and with this song from his self-titled debut, he ended up with the one hit of his solo career and the #17 single of 1977.


25. Goodbye Girl - David Gates: Released as a single late in 1977, the theme song to the Oscar Nominated '77 film of the same name became a big hit for the lead singer of Bread in '1978, ending that year in the #47 spot.


26. Angel In Your Arms - Hot: You know you're a one-hit wonder when Spotify only carries one song from your career, and yes, 1977's #5 song from Hot's self-titled debut would prove to be the only hit in the career of this LA-based female vocal trio, who had hoped their unique multi-racial makeup of one white, one black and one Hispanic woman would draw more attention to the band than it did. 


27. This Time I'm In It For Love - Player: Unfortunately, Player's biggest hit of 1977, Baby Come Back, is the one song I wanted for this mix that isn't presently available on Spotify. Luckily, it wasn't the only hit from the LA band's eponymous debut. Following Baby's chart success, This Time I'm In It For Love was rushed out as a second single and caught on in early '78, ending that year in the #58 position on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.


28. You And Me - Alice Cooper: Attempting to sober up after years of hard living, Cooper shed the nightmare theatrics in '77 for his tenth studio release Lace And Whiskey and turned heads (human, not bat) with the album's lead single, the shockingly soft soft-rock ballad You And Me, which ended up as the #48 song of the year.  The song would be further immortalized the following   year when Stewart sang a duet version with Miss Piggy on The Muppet Show, but it was also in many ways his swan song, as he wouldn't land another song on the charts until his disco-gimmick single Poison creaked into the rankings in 1989.


29. You Made Me Believe In Magic - Bay City Rollers: Though they would continue to play for decades, Edinburgh's Bay City Rollers (aka the first "Biggest Thing Since The Beatles") would never score another top ten US hit after You Made Me Believe In Magic from their fifth album of originals It's A Game. The Tartan Teen Sensation's track would end up capturing the #76 spot in the '77 year-end charts.


30. Don't Give Up On Us - David Soul: The first of multiple cash-ins from blond-haired blue-eyed TV celebs to make this mix, Hutch won the musical battle of the network dreamboats with Don't Give Up On Us, which ended the year as 1977's #29 song, sixteens spots ahead of his main Hardy Boy competitor.


31. Baby Hold On - Eddie Money: The biggest hit from Eddie Money's self-titled '77 debut (which also included Two Tickets To Paradise), Baby Hold On was released as a single in the last weeks of December and then went on to gain a lot of chart traction in '78, finishing that year in the #67 position on Billboard's year-end Hot 100.


32. Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love) - Waylon Jennings: Jennings has stated he always hated this anti-materialism country ditty, even when he was recording it, but it showed nothing but love to him, spending five weeks in 1977 atop the country charts.


33. Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill: One of the more prominent singer-songwriters to emerge from Canada's coffeehouse scene in the mid-70s, Toronto-native Hill would only land two big hits in the States, but he enjoyed tons of chart success in his native land and is now considered a bit of an enduring institution there. But yeah, Sometimes When We Touch was his biggest US hit, initially released on his 1977 album Longer Fuse, then catching fire on the charts in '78, where it finished that year as its #33 song.


34. She Did It - Eric Carmen: Considered by some "the best Beach Boy's song Brian Wilson never wrote," She Did It from Carmen's '77 release Boats Against The Current was a surprisingly upbeat hit after he had so much success the previous year with downer ballads Never Gonna Fall In Love Again and All By Myself.


35. Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt: Ronstadt's eighth studio release, '77's Simple Dreams, was one of the most successful of her career, and as some Fleetwood Mac fanatic's know, the album that finally knocked Rumours out of its 29 week run as the best selling album in the states. The album also delivered two of Ronstadt best known songs, It's So Easy, already profiled on Vol 2 - Nancy's Favorites, and this Roy Orbison cover here, which became  arguably Rondstadt's signature song, a regular set closer, and also, the #61 single of 1978.


36. That I Remember - Dwight Twilley Band: One more from the alt-rock anticipating Twilley Don't Mind, which while not the best album of '77, is definitely one of the year's most fascinating, in the way you can hear the path being laid for the likes of The Replacements, Marshall Crenshaw, and REM. Adore the jangly chorus on this one.


37. Sentimental Lady - Bob Welch: Welch's biggest hit from his 1977 solo debut French Kiss was a reworking of his 1972 song that originally appeared in not too different form on Fleetwood Mac's Bare Trees.  The new version would go on to become the defining hit of Welch's career, and ended up the #78 song of 1978.


38. Da Doo Ron Ron - Shaun Cassidy: And here's the biggest of Tiger Beat cover boy Shaun Cassidy's '77 hits (yes he had more than one that year) with his cover of the Crystal's 1963 classic.  Cassidy's version would end '77 as the year's #45 song.


39. Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - Meat Loaf: The second of three songs we'll be featuring from Meat Loaf's '77 camp classic Bat Out Of Hell (each on different mixes), Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad is far from Bat's best song, but it was initially the album's most popular in terms of airplay, gaining steam at the end of '77 and then surging in '78, finishing '78 in the #30 spot.


40. Isn't It Time - The Babys: Not gonna lie, this minor hit from The Baby's '77 release Broken Heart is my second favorite guilty pleasure on this entire mix, ranking only behind our Lujack Mornings' closing track.  


41. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton: No way I could leave this Slowhand number off, which while nearly not as big of a charter as most of the songs on this mix (never getting past #16 on the weekly charts), has gone on to become one the most popular (and cliched) wedding reception songs of all time. Ironically, for the woman it was originally written for (Pattie Boyd of course), it became nothing but a source of pain for several years after its release, a constant and unavoidable reminder of what was lost after her relationship with Clapton collapsed.


42. Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac: The second highest charter of Rumours' four top ten singles, Christine McVie's move-on-from-divorce anthem hasn't aged quite as well as some of the the album's other track - due in large part to its unrelenting overexposure in commercials, movie soundtracks, and political rallies - but it was huge in '77, coming in as the #52 song of the year, and on the end  of this mix, after all those wintry, saccharine ballads, provides some much needed bounce.


43. You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) - Rod Stewart: Initially released on Stewart's 1977 album Foot Loose And Fancy Free, You're In My Heart didn't have nearly as big a chart impact in '77 as did Stewart's 1976 song Tonight's The Night, which was '77's top selling single, but Heart (which in a clever misdirect is really an expression of devotion to Stewart's favorite professional soccer teams, not a woman) did catch on big time in in 1978, ending that year as the #37 single.


44. Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffet: Though it only ended 1977 as the #14 song on Billboard's year-end Hot 100, I can't think of another song that has ever so completely and singlehandedly defined a recording artist's career as Margaritaville from Buffet's seventh full-length Changes In Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes


45. Lonely Boy - Andrew Gold: My favorite guilty pleasure from 1977 closes things out, taken from Andrew Gold's release of that year What's Wrong With This Picture. And it should be noted that Gold, while he may be viewed as a one-hit wonder here in the States, was anything but in England. He had several other hits there in the late seventies, and then went on to a successful half-decade career with Wax, a band he co-formed, in a logical bookend for this mix, with 10CC's Graham Goulding.