For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Bruce Warren is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1977.
If the word “punk” isn’t on your lips when you hear the word 1977, you might want to check your pulse. That year, 42 years ago, saw classic releases by The Clash, Sex Pistols, Wire, Suicide, Iggy Pop, and punk-adjacent folks like pub-rocker Elvis Costello, and Television, punk’s first jam band.
The other word that possibly sums up the musical tone of 1977: “smooth.” Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, Pink Floyd’s Animals, Steely Dan’s Aja and Bob Marley’s Exodus all have completely different genre reference points and emotional underpinnings, but they are unified in the way they express themselves through mellow moods
The big story on the big screen in 1977 was, without a doubt, Star Wars. But the year was filled with classics — cult, and otherwise — from Spielberg’s dazzling Close Encounters of the Third Kind to the dark and distressed disco flick Saturday Night Fever, the irreverent Kentucky Fried Movie and the haunting chills of Suspiria and Eraserhead.
It was a solid year for classic television debuts, as well: comedies Threes Company and Eight Is Enough, adventure in The Amazning Spider Man, and a huge green bear-tossing superhero played by Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk.
Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of music from 1977.