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The Best Songs Of 1977: 65 Tunes You Need To Hear

The best songs of 1977 have something for everyone, from Bob Marley to Sex Pistols and Steely Dan to Kraftwerk.

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Bob Marley, writer of the 1977 song 'Three Little Birds'
Photo: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

What can you say about the best songs of 1977? It was a year where punk truly broke through. It was also a year in which Bob Marley continued his incredible run of iconic singles. Kraftwerk built electronic music train tracks. The Bee Gees got Saturday Night Fever. Parliament unleashed the timeless “Flash Light.” It was, in short, one of the most incredible years for pop music, ever. So, dive in, revisit an old favorite, or check out something you’ve never heard before. Either way, there are tons of great songs from 1977 here to enjoy.

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65: Barry White – It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me

With the smoothest baritone in the game, Barry always delivered the goods, especially on tracks like “It’s Ecstacy When You Lay Down Next To Me.”

It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me

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64: Gary Wilson – 6.4 = Makeout

One of the strangest acts in pop music history, Gary Wilson’s style and wild performances were one-of-a-kind.

63: Millie Jackson – All The Way Lover

One of the precursors to today’s more sexually explicit artists, Millie Jackson sang about satisfaction and desire from a woman’s point of view.

62: Peter Gabriel – Here Comes The Flood

An artist ahead of his time, Peter Gabriel made fantastically futuristic pop music on his debut album. The best of the bunch is “Here Comes the Flood.”

61: Richard Hell and the Voidoids – Blank Generation

In 1977 punk was ascendant and Richard Hell and the Voidoids delivered one of the culture’s early anthems with “Blank Generation.”

60: Donna Summer – Now I Need You

The Queen of Disco had another hit with “Now I Need You,” an addictive addition to her chart-topping catalog.

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59: Billy Joel – Just The Way You Are

Billy Joel’s relaxed ode to the gentle pleasures of casual life was a perfect fit for soft rock radio.

58: Earth, Wind & Fire – Runnin’

An astounding band at the top of their game, Earth, Wind & Fire combined jazz, soul, and elements of Latin music to create the monster track, “Runnin.”

57: Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Eyes

ELO were giants of late 70s prog-pop, and the hit “Mr. Blue Eyes” was among their finest hours.

56: Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time

The hard rockers reveled in youthful sexuality on arguably their biggest song, “Feels Like the First Time,” which is as memorable as it is seductive.

55: Giorgio Moroder – From Here To Eternity

Producer Giorgio Moroder created a futuristic world of shimmering synthesizers that galvanized dancefloors across the globe on “From Here To Eternity.”

54: Glen Campbell – Southern Nights

The golden sounds of guitarist Glen Campbell filled the airwaves in 1977 with songs like “Southern Nights,” an ode to the sweet feeling of warm nostalgia.

Southern Nights (Remastered)

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53: Grace Jones – La Vie En Rose

Proving once again that Grace Jones can do no wrong, the iconic singer struts her stuff on “La Vie En Rose.”

52: James Taylor – Your Smiling Face

An upbeat, full-bodied sound from the often folky James Taylor, ”Your Smiling Face” keeps the singer’s usual easy temperament regardless of musical accompaniment.

51: Kenny Rogers – Daytime Friends

In 1977 Kenny Rogers was at the top of his game on hits like “Daytime Friends.”

50: Natalie Cole – I’ve Got Love On My Mind

Singer Natalie Cole had one of her biggest hits with this R&B/soul number.

I've Got Love On My Mind

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49: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly – Happy Feelin’s

A funky ode to feeling good, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly hit gold with this soulful track.

48: Hortence Ellis – I’m Still In Love With You Boy

One of the greatest singers of the Jamaican soul movement, Hortence Ellis’ “I’m Still In Love With You Boy” is an absolute joy of a torch song.

47: Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Iggy found fame and success in the 70s with favorites like “The Passenger,” from his Lust For Life album.

46: Jackson Browne – Stay

A romantic ode to a lover, Jackson Browne channels the charm and innocence of bygone days on his classic hit “Stay.”

45: Loretta Lynn – Crazy

Loretta Lynn takes on Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” proving her talents by making the monumental tune her own.

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44: Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever

The Nuge’s over-the-top persona and guitar style saturate this signature track from his 1977 album of the same name.

43: The Clash – I’m So Bored By The U.S.A.

The Clash’s debut album was rife with angsty anthems, but few as good as “I’m So Bored By The U.S.A.”

42: The Congos – Congoman

Produced by legend Lee Perry, Heart of the Congos is a masterpiece of Jamaican music. “Congoman” is a prime example of The Congo’s unique style.

41: The Jam – In the City

A mod classic, “In the City” could be the stylistic movement’s unofficial theme song.

40: Junior Murvin – Police & Thieves

With his enchanting falsetto vocals, Junior Murvin was unique among the giants of reggae music. His greatest song was “Police & Thieves.”

Police & Thieves

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39: The Isley Brothers – Footsteps In The Dark, Part 1

This dankly funky track was famously sampled by Ice Cube and is among the Isley’s most beloved tunes.

38: Brian Eno – By This River

A man of many talents, Brian Eno delivers a gorgeous piano ballad that fits nicely aside his finest recorded moments.

37: Bryan Ferry – Rock Of Ages

The Roxy Music frontman has had plenty of great solo moments, but this one just might be his finest.

36: Commodores – Brick House

This funk hit still resonates today: It’s a staple at weddings and celebrations everywhere.

35: Steve Miller Band – Jungle Love

Steve Miller’s funky “Jungle Love” was the biggest hit on his excellent Book of Dreams album.

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34: Pink Floyd – Dogs

Pink Floyd stretch their musical muscles on “Dogs,” an almost 20-minute track from their epic 1977 album Animals.

33: Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

As addictive as soda with extra sugar, the Ramones remain beloved today via unabashed singalong classics like “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.”

32: Rose Royce – Wishing On A Star

This smooth soul ballad was a big hit, and a quietly intense lament for lost love.

31: Rufus & Chaka Khan – Everlasting Love

The silky grooves and powerful vocals of “Everlasting Love” proved why Rufus and Chaka were such a powerful musical combination.

30: Lynrd Skynrd – One More Time

This introspective, mid-tempo rocker has extended guitar work, confident vocals, and endless southern charm.

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29: Meatloaf – Paradise By The Dashboard Light

This mega-hit catapulted Meatloaf to superstardom and went on to be a staple of classic rock radio.

28: Kiss – Love Gun

Among the band’s least subtle innuendos, “Love Gun” was a stadium-sized hit for the emerging hard rock superheroes.

27: Kansas – Dust in the Wind

In 1977 Kansas were already prog rock mainstays. “Dust In The Wind” took them to another level.

26: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae

A wonderfully fun instrumental piece by the Modern Lovers, “Egyptian Reggae” sounds remarkably like its title, thanks to that band’s subtle stylistic shifts.

25: The Saints – (I’m) Stranded

Australia’s finest punk export, the Saints were among the movement’s most aggressive and full-throttled outfits.

Henry Rollins Recommends: The Saints

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24: The Stranglers – Peaches

A sexually tinged dirge, “Peaches” is a punk staple that leans heavy on attitude and repetition, while exuding a tossed-off cool.

23: Waylon Jennings – Luckenback Texas

“Luckenback Texas” is the kind of song Waylon Jennings could deliver like few others, an authentic American country ballad.

22: Weather Report – Birdland

1977 was the peak of Jazz fusion, and Weather Report were among the genre’s most successful acts. “Birdland” was among their best.

21: Wire – 12XU

This post-punk quartet married spiky rhythms with intelligent songwriting to create an indelible sound.

20: Supertramp – Give A Little Bit

The gloriously upbeat “Give A Little Bit” became an enduring hit for Supertramp, with its bright acoustic guitars and soaring vocals.

Give A Little Bit

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19: Suicide – Cheree

“Cheree” evokes the bleak, dystopian world of downtown NYC using only a few sounds.

18: Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Eric Clapton sounds calm and relaxed on this mid-tempo love song, a delightful ode to romantic domesticity.

17: The Brothers Johnson – Strawberry Letter 23

This dance floor monster features the Brothers Johnson’s smooth vocals sailing over a heavy-as-funk bassline.

16: Styx – Come Sail Away

With a huge, anthemic chorus, Styx made one of the all-time great prog singles with “Come Sail Away,” an unforgettable track.

15: Queen – We Are The Champions

“We Are The Champions” is a song so epic that it’s now become synonymous with victory everywhere.

Queen - We Are The Champions (Official Video)

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14: Elvis Costello – Alison

One of new wave’s most beloved ballads, Elvis Costello shows he’s a romantic at heart on “Alison” from his 1977 debut album.

13: Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville

The vacation never ends in Jimmy Buffet’s career-making single “Margaritaville,” a song that still echoes through resort bars to this day.

12: Parliament – Flash Light

George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and crew presented a bold technotronic vision of Black futurism on tracks like “Flash Light” from their album Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome.

11: Television – See No Evil

The most outwardly literary of the NYC punk crowd, Television reclaimed the guitar solo with their incredible melodic interplay on tracks like “See No Evil.”

10: Bee Gees – Night Fever

One of the most instantly recognizable hits from the disco era, the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” was a once-in-a-generation hit.

Bee Gees - Night Fever

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9: Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me

Power pop was an emerging sound in 1977, and Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” is a prime example of the form.

8: Rush – Closer to the Heart

This prog ballad helped cement Rush’s stadium-sized status.

7: Fleetwood Mac – Dreams

The easy delivery of “Dreams” contrasts with the fiery tension that ran through the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

6: Kraftwerk – Trans Europa Express

One of Germany’s great contributions to modern music, Kraftwerk laid the foundation for electronic music on tracks like “Trans Europa Express.”

5: Steely Dan – Deacon Blues

Employing only the finest session players, Steely Dan’s sophisticated funk is on full display on “Deacon Blues.”

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4: David Bowie – Heroes

David Bowie brings out the best in his existential anthem “Heroes,” one of the standout tracks of his mid-period catalog.

3: Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

David Byrne led this crew of art school weirdos to bold heights on the addictively oddball favorite “Psycho Killer.”

2: Sex Pistols – Anarchy In the U.K.

“Anarchy In the U.K.” delivered all the spite and vitriol of working-class 1977 England.

1: Bob Marley – Three Little Birds

A song of pure joy, “Three Little Birds” is a truly universal hit by the singular Bob Marley.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Three Little Birds (Official Video)

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