Saturday, September 1, 2018

McQ's Best Of 1977 Vol 2 - Nancy's Favorites!

All right, the final rollout for this first week, the 1977 edition of the most popular of the three annually recurring mixes in these collections - Nancy's Favorites!

I'll go light on the comments on this one in the hope that Nancy steps in and adds some thoughts of her own, but I think it's safe to say her choices speak for themselves - enjoy, and have a great Labor Day weekend everybody.

And for those of you who want to look back on Nancy's previous selections, here are links to her other mixes through the years.

Nancy's Favorites 2016
Nancy's Favorites 2015
Nancy's Favorites 2014
Nancy's Favorites 2013
Nancy's Favorites 2012
Nancy's Favorites 2011
Nancy's Favorites 2010
Nancy's Favorites 2009
Nancy's Favorites 2008
Nancy's Favorites 2007
Nancy's Favorites 1967
Nancy's Favorites 1966

Now, About Those 1977 Songs:

1. Fantasy - Earth Wind & Fire: Fun bit of Wikipedia trivia about this huge hit from Earth Wind & Fire's 1977 release All 'N All. It took Maurice White over three months to write this song, and supposedly it wasn't until he caught Close Encounters Of The Third Kind that he was struck with a final burst of inspiration that allowed him to pull everything into place.

2. You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac: One of Rumours definite standouts, but I have to admit I'm surprised this is the track Nancy ended up grabbing, as I thought Dreams and Songbird were the locks.  Guess it goes to show even after twenty-five years of marriage, your loved ones can still surprise you.

3. Your Smiling Face - James Taylor: One of the kingpin of mid-seventies singer/songwriters' finest songs, released on his last album to make it in before punk and new wave pushed the genre back to the margins, the winning JT.

4. Nobody Does It Better - Carly Simon: Leave it to Nancy to  sequence Carly's theme song for 1977's James Bond installment The Spy Who Loved Me right after a song by her husband at that time.

5. It's So Easy - Linda Rondstadt: This is one of two tracks we'll be hitting from Rondstadt's appealing '77 full length Simple Dreams.

6. It's A Heartache - Bonnie Tyler: Believe it or not, It's a Heartache, though a huge hit for the Welsh Tyler at the time, never hit number one on the charts. But as the years have passed, its popularity has proven far more durable than the songs that charted ahead of it, to such an extent that it is now ranks as the second all-time highest selling single of 1977, ranking only behind Paul McCartney's Mull Of Kintyre.

7. Running On Empty - Jackson Browne: The popular lead track to Browne's 1977 live album of the same name, Running On Empty was inspired by Browne's tendancy to race to the studio a few miles away each morning on a near empty tank of gas while recording The Pretender, always thinking he could squeeze in one more trip before needing to fill up.

8. Let It Go, Let It Flow - Dave Mason: The quasi-title track and one of two big hits from Let It Flow, the biggest solo album of Mason's early post-Traffic career, Let It Go, Let It Flow reached #45 on the US charts the following year and remains a fan favorite to this day.

9. The Core - Eric Clapton: I've heard it said many times that up through Derek & The Domino's Layla, Eric Clapton's career was all about his guitar, and after that, it was all about his voice.  I think there's a core truth to this, but as this extended romp from 1977's Slowhand shows, Clapton wasn't done with his gunslinging ways just yet!

10. The Blues Had A Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll - Muddy Waters: More gnarly fun from Muddy's Hard Again, this track armed with what has to be one of the best song titles ever.

11. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley: Possibly Exodus's best track. Is there anyone out there who doesn't love this song?

12. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes - Elvis Costello: Another quick-hitting, punchy classic from Costello's debut My Aim Is True.

13. Misunderstood - Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane: Classic angsty Towshend here, turning a positive, the sense his fans and friends see and understand him clearly, into a catastrophic personality flaw that has completely robbed him of cool. 

14. Little Darling (I Need You) - The Doobie Brothers: This cover of the 1966 Marvin Gaye song for the Doobie's 1977 full length Livin' On The Fault Line was a big hit for the band, and is arguably now the definitive version of the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic.

15. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours - Peter Frampton: Yet another rock conversion of a Motown classic, and with all apologies to Stevie, this redo for Frampton's smash 1977 album I'm In You, which punches up the tempo and just about everything else on the song, really does supercede the original (though we still love that version, too).

16. Best Of My Love - The Emotions: Nancy's lone disco selection for this mix is one of 1977's best singles in the genre.

17. Smoke From A Distant Fire - Sanford & Townsend Band: The Nancy theft from my theme mixes that hurts the most, Sanford & Townsend may no longer be household names, but this is a fantastic bar band track.  

18. Easy - The Commodores: The mega-hit song that started the Commodore's shift in emphasis away from Walter Orange's funk barn burners to make more room for Lionel Richie's romantic balladry.

19. Feels So Good - Chuck Mangione: An unlikely jazz crossover hit in 1977, this has always been a song near and dear to Nancy's heart.

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