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Published on January 6th, 2016 | by Gerry Galipault

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Shoulda-Been-Hits: The Spirit of ’76

Forty years ago, America was overcome with Bicentennial fever, the “Son of Sam” terrorized New York City, Concorde jets cut transatlantic flying time to 3½ hours, Apple Computer Company was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the average household income was $12,686, a gallon of gas cost 59 cents and first-class stamps were 13 cents.

Let’s go back to 1976, to the thick of the “Me Decade.” Polish those mood rings, we’re digging up long lost songs from those happy days. These non-hits have been added to our growing Shoulda-Been-Hits list – hits that never were but shoulda been.

You can also follow along with our Spotify playlist.

ARTFUL DODGER
“Scream” (1976) … from “Honor Among Thieves”

Not to be confused with the U.K. garage band that made Craig David famous, this power-pop band from Fairfax, Va., was signed to Columbia Records and landed Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas. But critical praise never led to big album sales.

BOSTON
“Hitch a Ride” (1976) … from “Boston”

Their first album sold 17 million copies … the most for a debut album until Whitney Houston came along.

DAVID BOWIE
“TVC15” (1976) … from “Station to Station”

It featured Bowie’s last great album “character,” the Thin White Duke. In 2003, the LP was ranked No. 323 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
“8th Avenue Shuffle” (1976) … from “Takin’ It to the Streets”

The first Doobies album to feature Michael McDonald on lead vocals.

FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
“Shake Some Action” (1976) … from “Shake Some Action”

This influential power-pop band was big in the U.K. but largely ignored in its native USA.

PETER FRAMPTON
“I Wanna Go to the Sun” (1976) … “Frampton Comes Alive!”

One of the best-selling live albums of all time, with worldwide sales of more than 11 million.

MARVIN GAYE
“Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again” (1976) … from “I Want You”

The album expanded on the sexual themes of his previous LP, “Let’s Get It On.”

GENESIS
“A Trick of the Tail” (1976) … from “A Trick of the Tail”

Drummer Phil Collins took over lead vocal duties after the departure of Peter Gabriel the year before.

BILLY JOEL
“James” (1976) … from “Turnstiles”

A very “New York” album, featuring “Summer, Highland Falls,” “New York State of Mind,” “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” and “Say Goodbye to Hollywood.”

CAROLE KING
“It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” (1976) … from “Thoroughbred”

Her last album for Ode Records and her last with producer Lou Adler.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
“Positive Vibration” (1976) … from “Rastaman Vibration”

His first U.S. Top 10 album contained “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” his only chart single in America.

JONI MITCHELL
“Coyote” (1976) … from “Hejira”

The self-produced songs were written during Mitchell’s drive from Maine back to Los Angeles.

THE MODERN LOVERS
“Roadrunner” (1976) … from “The Modern Lovers”

The album was in recorded in 1971 and 1972 but not released until 1976. Early members included Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) and David Robinson (The Cars).

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
“Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1976) … from “Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers”

Their debut album was released in November 1976 but didn’t reach the U.S. chart until a year later.

RAINBOW
“Starstruck” (1976) … from “Rising”

Ritchie Blackmore’s lineup at the time: vocalist Ronnie James Dio, drummer Cozy Powell, bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Tony Carey.

RAMONES
“Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976) … from “Ramones”

Commercially unsuccessful and critically ignored at first, their debut album later would become one of the most essential punk records of all time and sparked the punk-rock scene.

THE ROLLING STONES
“Memory Motel” (1976) … from “Black and Blue”

By then, Ronnie Wood had replaced Mick Taylor. In spite of heavy criticism (Lester Bangs particularly loathed it), the album still went No. 1 in the U.S.

DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND
“You Were So Warm” (1976) … from “Sincerely”

A year after Twilley’s first hit “I’m On Fire” went Top 20, he had to wait a whole year for the release of his debut album (due to label troubles).

THE UPSETTERS
“Zion’s Blood” (1976) … from “Super Ape”

All the tracks on this dub classic were produced and composed by Lee “Scratch” Perry and credited to his studio band The Upsetters.

WINGS
“Beware My Love” (1976) … from “Wings At the Speed of Sound”

The album, which featured “Silly Love Songs” and “Let ‘Em In,” has been McCartney’s most successful chart album to date, logging seven weeks at No. 1.

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About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



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