Today’s Top 5: February 19, 1977 (via Weekly Top 40)

Forty years ago today, as I write, the first full month of the Carter presidency was almost over; and, all things considered, it had been rather boring. The big news of the day was the revelation that Jordan’s King Hussein had been on the CIA payroll for at least a decade; and, because Jimmy Carter vowed during his presidential campaign to be the first to shed light on such shenanigans, some saw his administration’s newly announced policy of not commenting on covert affairs as being somewhat hypocritical.

Beyond that, the scourge known as inflation had jumped half a percent point to 5.9 percent this month; and the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, about the same as it had been the year before. Weather-wise, at least in the Philadelphia region, it was freakishly mild – in just a few days (the 23rd), we’d hit 70 degrees.

Probably the biggest news in my world, however, was that the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries had premiered on ABC on the last day of January.

There was plenty of good TV shows in those days – well, what I, at all of 11 years old, considered to be good, including Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley on Tuesdays; and The Donny & Marie Show on Fridays. For anyone who has never had the pleasure of that specific variety show, here’s the Feb. 11th, 1977 episode in its entirety:

Anyway, enough of the preamble. Here’s today’s Top 5: February 19, 1977 (via Weekly Top 40) – and they are, in fact, the Top 5 songs of the week.

1) Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – “Blinded by the Light.” Written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen on his 1973 debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, and released as his first single, this classic song was destined for general obscurity until Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released their cover version as a single. Not only did it chart, but it went to No. 1!

2) Eagles – “New Kid in Town.” Glenn Frey, Don Henley & Co. released their classic Hotel California LP in December 1976; and this, the first single from it, worked its way to the top of the charts for the week of Feb. 26th. This week, however, it was holding steady at No. 2.

3) Mary MacGregor – “Torn Between Two Lovers.” Falling from No. 1 to. 3 this week is this soft-rock ode to infidelity, which was co-written and co-produced by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary.

4) Barbra Streisand – “Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born).” Clocking in at No. 4 is this theme from A Star Is Born, which was co-written by Streisand and Paul Williams. It would top of the charts in two weeks’ time.

5) Kenny Nolan – “I Like Dreamin’.” Until just now, I’d never heard or heard of this song before. Nolan, it turns out, co-wrote such hits as “My Eyes Adored You” and “Lady Marmalade” before launching his solo career.

And a few bonuses:

6) Thelma Houston – “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” The Number 19 song this week is this fun disco-lite tune.

7) Wings – “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Released as a single on Feb. 4th, this live version of the classic Paul McCartney song checks in at No. 37 (on its way to No. 10). It was a single from the Wings Over America, a live set that, according to Wikipedia, set history by becoming the first triple-LP release by a group to hit No. 1 on the album charts.

8) Olivia Newton-John – “Sam.”

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2 thoughts on “Today’s Top 5: February 19, 1977 (via Weekly Top 40)

  1. HERC

    Man oh man, 1977 was such a tasty year for music with so many favorites.

    It may be coincidence but I just commented a few days back over on 45 Ruminations Per Megabyte about Manfred Mann’s takes on The Boss’s songs, specifically that epic performance of “Blinded By The Light” on The Midnight Special.

    Another small coincidence is I went out and bought that Kenny Nolan single after hearing it quite often on WLS where it only made it to number 7 on their weekly chart the week of my 11th birthday. The song later appeared on two K-Tel albums in my collection: Music Machine (1977) and Super Star Collection (1977). I remember that American Bandstand performance and the revelation that “My Eyes Adored You” was originally titled “Blue Eyes In Georgia” when Nolan wrote it.

    While I tend to love the music of Olivia Newton-John much like I know you do, the four albums in between 1975’s Have You Never Been Mellow and 1978’s Grease don’t do a thing for me. Sorry, Liv. But I bought them anyway and a few years back made a compilation of the cover songs they contain. Still doesn’t get many listens.

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    1. Jeff Gemmill Post author

      I had read your 40 Years Ago Today post, totally blanked about it when I did mine – which I almost subtitled “40 Years Ago Today” before changing it at the last moment.

      I like much of ONJ’s output during the ’70s – so much so that I purchased pricey import CDs of a few. Aside from Totally Hot, which lives up to its title, they are not consistent. Each has a few songs that are – to my ears, at least – pop gems, though.

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