It was the year of a 25 hour blackout in New York City and the release of the Atari 2600 game system. British Airways inaugurated regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service, while Reggie Jackson led the New York Yankees to a World Series Win over the L.A. Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays played their first baseball game. It is also the year Quarterback Tom Brady was born.
In 1977, Disco was in full swing, the Punk scene was just emerging (The Sex Pistols were kicked from two record labels that year), and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was released to become the then best selling album of all time. Bands Van Halen, The Police, The Cars and Devo are signed to record labels, while three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd – including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant – are killed in an airplane crash. 1977 was also the year we lost crooner Bing Crosby and the King, Elvis Presley, left the building.
Yet love found a way in 1977, and several notable musical babies were born that year like Jason Mraz, Shakira, John Mayer, Fiona Apple, Kanye West and Robin Thicke. Check out the list below for twelve great love songs from the third to the last decade of the 1970s, and scroll down to click play so you might listen as you reminisce.
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer
This tune won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1978. It actually debuted on the Pop Top 40 charts in November of 1976 and topped the U.S. and Canadian Billboard charts at #1 in 1977. It’s a fun and flirtatious song that’s one part Disco and two parts Pop, and its repeated chorus which merely repeats the title is infectious. What better way to express the elation of love than the title (and chorus) of this tune?
“After The Lovin’” by Engelbert Humperdinck
This sentimental love song is a slow dance classic, and was the last U.S. Top 40 appearance of the peculiarly named artist Engelbert Humperdinck. It’s arrangement, tone and lyrics have a distinctly Popular Standard sound, which, although a #8 Top 40 hit of 1977, makes this powerful love ballad virtually timeless.
“Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’)” by Barbra Streisand
This moving love song was penned by Paul Williams for the 1976 motion picture A Star Is Born and delivered by the brilliant voice of Barbra Streisand. This 1977 hit was Streisand’s second #1 Top 40 Billboard chart hit, and its lyrics transcend the trap of a movie theme or song, singing of the glory and awe of good love, ageless and ever green.
“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney & Wings
Written as a dedication to his wife Linda, McCartney wrote this love song in 1969, originally releasing it in 1970 on his album McCartney, which was never released as a single and hence never charted. It was the live version from the album Wings over America that was released as a single on February 4, 1977 climbing to its peak position of #10 on the charts that year.
“When I Need You” by Leo Sayer
The second song on this list by British singer Leo Sayer, and his second #1 song on the Pop Top 40 charts (two in one year; not too shabby). The lyrics – while unquestionably vowing love – suggest some sort of long-distance relationship with the sentiment being that with a little patience and time the lovers will come together, but their love remains unwavering.
“I Just Want To Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb
This was the first U.S. single to be released by non-Bee Gees brother Andy Gibb, where it debuted on the Billboard Top 40 in late May of 1977, reaching the top of the charts in late June and holding the position for a non-consecutive four weeks, being bumped by “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions for a week only to return to the #1 spot the week after. A great love song, and a declaration of boundless love.
“(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher”
A Top 10 hit for Jackie Wilson in 1967, it reached #6 on the Pop Top 40. Ten years later, with a slightly different title, Rita Coolidge covered the Soul classic, almost entirely omitting the chorus of the original Jackie Wilson version. This more mid-tempo version from 1977 reached the #2 spot and was the Top 40 debut for 70s songstress Rita Coolidge.
“Best Of My Love” by The Emotions
The 1977 Disco hit “Best Of My Love” was written by the members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and literally battled back and forth with another love song on this list – Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” for the top spot, winning out in the end with a cumulative five weeks at #1. The title sums up the theme of this love song with a catchy chorus and endearing love lyrics.
“Just Remember I Love You” by Firefall
The 1970s Soft-Rock group Firefall reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts with this love song, but failed to break the Pop Top 10, stalling at #11. Regardless, as the title suggests, this love song falls into the “I’ll be there for you no matter what” sub-genre of love songs (a popular theme), with a love-filled uplifting message of encouragement.
“You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone
Debby Boone loved the Lord, or at least that’s what she claims she was thinking of when she recorded this song. Whether love for the Lord or a dedication to a beloved or betrothed, this mega-hit from 1977 spent ten weeks in the #1 Billboard Top 40 charts, the first to do so since Elvis Presley did it in 1956 with “Don’t Be Cruel”. This love song won Debby Grammys for Best New Artist and Song of the Year (tied with Barbara Streisand’s “Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’)”).
“How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees
“How Deep Is Your Love” was the first single to be released from the soundtrack of the motion picture Saturday Night Fever, prior to the release of the film. An anthem of the Disco sub-culture of the 1970s, this love song remained in the Top 10 for a record-breaking seventeen consecutive weeks, and holding the #1 spot on the Pop Top 40 for three weeks.
“You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac
Written and performed by Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, and the fourth Top 10 hit from the album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. “You Make Loving Fun” was arguably Fleetwood Mac’s dip into the Disco pool, while receiving strong Rock radio airplay. The title suggests what we sometimes forget, that love should be made fun. Although “You Make Loving Fun” broke the Top 10, it stalled at a peak #9 position on the Pop Top 40 Billboard charts.
This list of 12 love songs from 1977 are listed in order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts, and have been carefully checked and re-checked for any lyrics that might suggest heartache, breakup, lost love or infidelity, leaving some of only the very best love songs of the year. Any of these tunes would make for a great dedication of love, with over half of them being #1 hits, proving that love was as popular as ever.
Love the love…
Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.