Rock Flashback: Giants Astride the Earth In 1976

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peter frampton Rock Flashback: Giants Astride the Earth In 1976

Peter Frampton now lacks the impressive head of hair he had in 1976. Many of us have the same problem. (Getty Images/David Paul Morris)

I am a wee bit obsessed with the year 1976. But why wouldn’t I be — why wouldn’t anyone be? — based solely on the Billboard 200 album charts from 1976? There were giants astride the earth in those days. And beginning in the spring, several of them duked it out week to week atop the chart for seven straight months.

Between mid-March and mid-October 1976, a period of 31 weeks, seven different albums swapped in and out of the #1 spot on the Billboard 200. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 by the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Eagles[/lastfm] and Black and Blue by the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rolling Stones[/lastfm] had two different runs at the top; Wings at the Speed of Sound by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Paul McCartney and Wings[/lastfm] came and went from the top spot three times; Frampton Comes Alive! topped the chart on four different occasions. Hitting #1 for a single stretch during that golden age: [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Led Zeppelin[/lastfm]‘s Presence, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Fleetwood Mac[/lastfm]‘s self-titled album, and Breezin’ by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Benson[/lastfm].

Consider also the albums that bracketed this remarkable period at #1: Desire by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bob Dylan[/lastfm] in the late winter, and Songs in the Key of Life by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stevie Wonder[/lastfm], which would hold off all comers for 13 straight weeks beginning in October.

Here’s some video of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Peter Frampton[/lastfm] performing “Baby I Love Your Way,” “Show Me the Way,” and “Do You Feel Like We Do.” I believe it’s from the Day on the Green show in Oakland, California, in July 1977.

From Black and Blue, here are the Stones lip-synching “Hot Stuff” at about the same time:

Read more about 1976 at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’.

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