Mixes By Year: Best of 1977 Most Recommended Albums

1977- Also known as Year Zero- No Beatles, Elvis or Rolling Stones in 1977!  The sound of punk, which had been coming to a boil in New York City and London in the previous few years,  broke out full-tilt in the U.K. with the most important and famous singles and album releases by groups like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks & the Damned, becoming the most dominant musical force in the country.  Though Punk was much less commercially viable in the U.S. there were plenty of amazing releases- namely “Marquee Moon” by Television, The Remones 2nd and 3rd albums, and the debut albums by The Talking Heads and Richard Hell & the Voidoids.  Blondie’s second album, “Plastic Letters” was a disappointing follow up to a stellar debut but still contained some great moments.  Flawless debuts by U.K. artists’ Elvis Costello (My Aim is True) and Wire (Pink Flag) pointed the way to the New Wave and Post-Punk to come in the following years.

In addition to the aforementioned albums by The Ramones (“Leave Home” and “Rocket to Russia”). David Bowie (“Low and “Heroes”), Iggy Pop (“The Idiot” and “Lust for Life”) and the punk influenced arena rock group Cheap Trick (“Cheap Trick” and “In Color”) each released two terrific albums in 1977.  Just those eight albums by themselves make for a pretty sick year in music- Amazing!

Bowie and Iggy recorded both of their four total albums in Berlin- and all of them except perhaps “Lust for Life”, were heavily influenced by Brian Eno and electronic music by groups like Kraftwerk who also released their masterpiece “Trans-Europe Express” in Berlin the same year.  Eno came out with his very good “Before and After Science” album- his last album of the 70’s that contained actual pop/rock music, and the NYC band Suicide combined electronic music and punk to release their incredibly unique debut album.  Their sound has still yet to be replicated- not even close!

’77 was also a landmark year for reggae- particularly roots reggae music which mainly concerns itself with the spiritual side of rastafarianism.  Culture (with “Two Sevens Clash”) and The Congos (with “Heart of The Congos”) released two of the best and important reggae recordings ever, the latter produced by wizard-genius Lee Scratch Perry.  “Exodus” by Bob Marley & the Wailers was released as well- the most popular studio album by certainly the most famous and important reggae artist of all time.

Though much of mainstream radio had become extremely bland by ’77, three terrific albums by veteran bands/artists separated themselves from the chaffe-  Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” was a commercial and artistic achievement- 4 huge singles deep with not a band song on the album and at the time the #1 selling album of all time before being eclipsed by “Thriller” some year’s later.  “Rumours” helped to define the commercially dominant mellow Southern-California sound.  On the east coast, Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” was his artistic triumph in an artistically checkered career- it also contains 5 top 40 hits.  Steely Dan’s “Aja” was close to a perfect rock record- the culmination of jazz rock- not a note out of place but still not bereft of an ounce of soul.  E.L.O. was also in the mix combining elements classical music, Disco & The Beatles to create some classic singles.


By 1977 soul music was almost officially over- it had morphed into the even more-danceable Disco & Funk genres.  Disco dominated the musical landscape in the U.S. in 1977 even more than Punk dominated in the U.K.  Though Disco had been happening commercially since ’73 or ’74, it was much more popular in the Gay, Black & Latino  communities than in mainstream “white” middle America.  That all changed with the release of the amazing “Saturday Night Fever” movie and soundtrack which contained and flurry of huge hits by the Australian group The Bee Gees.  After that the music was suddenly everywhere.  Another huge musical fad/movement broken by minority communities first.  No surprise there!  Chic, the NYC disco group featuring the stalwart rhythm section of writing partnership of Nile Rogers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass), would be hugely influential both inside and outside the disco genre in the decade to come.  Giorgio Mororder also produced the “I Remember Yesterday” by Donna Summer which contains “I Feel Love” perhaps the most amazing and influential disco ever- Moroder combined elements of electronic music and funk to create the Eurodisco sound- at it’s best like with “I Feel Love” it seemingly came from outer space.  In the funk genre Parliament would continue it’s artistic and commercial success with the “Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome” album and lesser groups like Con Funk Shun and Brick released some amazing funk singles as well.

’77 was a huge year of change in music with the older hard & progressive rock & soul music making way for the new punk, funk & disco bringing to life some of the landmark albums ever made.




David Bowie- Low

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Television- Marquee Moon

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The Ramones- Rocket to Russia

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Kraftwerk- Trans-Europe Express


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Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols

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Bob Marley & the Wailers- Exodus

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The Talking Heads- ’77

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Cheap Trick- Cheap Trick

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The Clash- The Clash

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Fleetwood Mac- Rumours

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The Congos- Heart of the Congos

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Steely Dan- Aja

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The Ramones- Leave Home

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Iggy Pop- the Idiot


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Suicide- Suicide


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David Bowie- Heroes

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Elvis Costello- My Aim is True

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Pink Floyd- Animals


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Wire- Pink Flag

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Iggy Pop- Lust for Life

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BONUS SOUNDTRACK COMPILATION


Saturday Night Fever- OST


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