Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle
Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now
The Stranglers – Peaches
Ram Jam – Black Betty
Walter Murphy – A Fifth of Beethoven
This year a bunch of my friends will enter their dirty thirties. To celebrate, I’ll be joining some of them in Dublin for a 1977 themed party. For this shindig I’ve been compiling tunes that were either recorded, released or charted in 1977. Here are a few that certainly sound very timely but, unlike some of my friends, have aged extremely well.
I’m right in the middle of a Steve Miller Band phase at the moment. I can’t get enough of his smooth spacey blues grooves. ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ is the title track to an album that was released in 1976. It was also released as a single and went to number three on the charts early the following year.
‘Gonna Fly Now’ would have to be one of the most easily recognisable pieces of film music. Composed and conducted by Bill Conti for Rocky in 1976, it is motivational music of the highest calibre. If you’re facing a particularly tough challenge I recommend listening to this on repeat while focusing on victory. If you can do this while running up steps, all the better. In 1977 the single climbed all the way to the top chart position. How could it achieve anything less?
The Stranglers’ ‘Peaches’ has one of those unbelievably, sometimes unbearably, catchy basslines. Da da dt, dna dna na, da da dt, dna dna na, repeat ad infinitum. Despite, or perhaps because of, it’s raunchy lyrics ‘Peaches’ was a huge hit during the UK summer of 1977. It appears on The Stranglers first album, Rattus Norvegicus, also released in that year.
Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter died in 1949 and we can safely assume he was unaware of rock, hard rock or disco. But it was with a cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Black Betty’ that, in 1977, Ram Jam invented, perfected and closed the book on hard disco rock. So flawless an example of that subgenre was their revamped version of ‘Black Betty’ that it left little more for other groups to add.
Speaking of nailing subgenres with a single track, the same could be said of classical-disco and Walter Murphy’s ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’. Taken from the best selling soundtrack of all time, Saturday Night Fever, ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’ is a disco adaptation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No. 5 in C Minor’ and is every bit as good as that sounds.
The Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
Donna Summer – I Feel Love