1976 in Music

1976 was rock’s shining vortex, with sophisticates like 10cc, Al Stewart, Camel, David Bowie, Genesis and Jon Anderson reaching stratospheric heights, and heavy-hitters Ian Gillan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Rory Gallagher, Russ Ballard, Thin Lizzy and Van Der Graaf Generator exhibiting newfound might.

Musicianship brimmed from Southeast England to the Scottish Highlands, with combos coming on frisky (Alkatraz, Bandit, City Boy, Judas Priest, Lone Star, Tiger) and funky (Cado Belle, Hummingbird, Krazy Kat, Locust, Moon, Quantum Jump); tune-smiths turning up crisp (Arbre, The Babys, Charlie, England, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Racing Cars) and charismatic (Deaf School, Doctors of Madness, Easy Street, John Miles, Metro, Shabby Tiger); ensembles displaying folksiness (5 Hand Reel, Aslan, Bothy Band, Crooked Oak, Frogmorton, Spriguns) and fluidity (Absolute Elsewhere, Automatic Fine Tuning, Brand X, Colosseum II, The Enid, Supply Demand & Curve).

Throughout the cities and countrysides, performers geared themselves for the clubs (500 Volt, Billy Ocean, The Real Thing, Tina Charles), coffee houses (Nigel Mazlyn Jones, Rowen & Mills, Silly Sisters, Tony Rose) and conservatories (Gordon Giltrap, John G. Perry, Neil Ardley, Penguin Cafe Orchestra); while voices sounded off with holiness (Adrian Snell, Cephas, Graham Davies, Presence), hilarity (Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, Roogalator, Supercharge, The Wurzels) and hellfire (The 101ers, The Gorillas, Plummet Airlines, The Sex Pistols).

Along the Tropic of Capricorn, Australasians ranged from aggressive (Finch, Kevin Borich Express, Redhouse, Southern Cross) and acoustic (Chad Rose, Kanguru, Mike McClellan, Peter Harris) to elaborate (Cybotron, Dr. Tree, Rainbow Theatre, Think) and edgy (Avalanche, The Saints, Supernaut, Taste), while others set out to conquer the whole wide world (Ayers Rock, Little River Band, Sherbet, Split Enz). In the heady climates of Argentina, sounds were delivered with studiousness (Alas, Invisible, La Maquina de Hacer, M.I.A.) and stridency (Crucis, El Reloj, Espiritu, Polifemo).

Gauls astounded (Albert Marcœur, Carpe Diem, Claude Bolling, Emmanuel Booz, Guy Skornik, Ocean, Nyl, Pulsar, Shylock, ZNR, Av’nir, Dionne Bregent, Et Cetera, June Wallack, Michel Madore, Opus 5, Pollen, Sloche), Nordics mounted (Buki Yamaz, Secret Oyster, Déjà-Vu, Flax, Kaseva, Moose Loose, Nova, Saluki, Vanessa, Magnus Uggla), Latins sizzled (Atila, Celeste, Errata Corrige, Goblin, Júlio Pereira, Luciano Basso, Maad, Musica Urbana, Picchio Dal Pozzo, Roberto Colombo, Tilburi), Baltics swiveled (Budka Suflera, Extempore, Extra Ball, Laboratorium, Mess, SBB, Zbigniew Seifert), Asians elevated (Akiko Yano, Dōji Morita, Far East Family Band, Yonin Bayashi, Yoshiko Sai), Balkans agitated (Omega, Skorpió, Agapanthos, Dimitris Poulikakos, Socrates, Selda, Oko, September, Teska Industrija), Krauts mobilized (Eloy, Frob, Jane, Lake, Octopus, Schicke Furs & Frohling, Welcome, Eela Craig, Kyrie Eleison, Michael Mantler) and Flems fortified (Abraxis, Cos, Dragon, Machiavel, Napalis, Spin, Third Eye, Trace).

Dramatists drilled the heartland (Albatross, Ethos, Flight, Heart, Locust, Mirthrandir, Starcastle, Yezda Urfa) and heated the North (Garfield, Klaatu, Max Webster, Rush, Symphonic Slam, Triumph), whilst funksters fried (Automatic Man, Brick, Seawind, Starcrost) and Rastas rooted (Abyssinians, Aswad, Burning Spear, Third World).

Amidst rolling cameras and endorsement deals, composers lit up the big screen (Beto Strada, Bill Conti, Michael Masser, Norman Whitfield) and the small (Andy Mackay, David Dundas, De Vorzon & Botkin, Pratt & McClain).

Globally, the syntax shone of pop refinery (Andy Pratt, Boz Scaggs, Cliff Richard, Henry Gaffney, Roderick Falconer, Stephen Bishop), fusion fury (David Sancious, Egberto Gismonti, Flora Purim, Jan Hammer, Jeff Beck, Jean Luc Ponty, Hermann Szobel, Miroslav Vitous, Shadowfax, Stomu Yamashta) and electro luster (Elektriktus, Heldon, IT, Jean Michel Jarre, Mother Mallard, Patrick Vian, Peter Baumann, Vangelis, Zanov).

The Spirit of ’76 (Annus mirabilis)

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