Radio Hits This Week in December 1977

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Queen in 1977, from BrianMay.com

Queen in 1977, from BrianMay.com

In early December 1977, we were a week away from Saturday Night Fever opening in theaters, a surprise hit that catapulted the Bee Gees‘ career into the stratosphere (their “How Deep Is Your Love” was #2 this week) and launched John Travolta to movie stardom.

Meanwhile, on the Top 40 this week on Boston’s WRKO, some huge names in classic rock were enjoying some of the biggest hits of their careers.

Bubbling under and climbing from #30 to #27 was “Turn to Stone” from Electric Light Orchestra, the first single from their double-LP Out of the Blue. The song would peak at #13 in the U.S.

Jumping from #26 to #21 was James Taylor‘s buoyant “Your Smiling Face.” While researching this story, we were surprised to find out that the song reached only #20 on the Hot 100.

Santana‘s great cover of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” took a nice jump this week from #22 to #18 (though the song would only hit #27 nationally.

Taking a big jump from #23 to #16: Rod Stewart‘s “You’re in My Heart,” which would ultimately reach #4.

The Steve Miller Band weighed in with “Swingtown” at #9. Though it would only reach #17 nationally, it was his seventh Top 30 hit in a two-year period.

At #8, Bob Welch enjoyed a big hit with “Sentimental Lady,” a cover of the tune he wrote and originally recorded in 1972 while a member of Fleetwood Mac (more about them in a moment). He’s joined on this version by Christine McVie, who provides a great background vocal, as well as by Mac members Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood. The video has to be seen to be believed…

Linda Ronstadt was in the midst of a string of huge hit singles when her cover of “Blue Bayou,” co-written by Roy Orbison, was released. Her version – at #7 this week – would ultimately peak at #3, far surpassing Orbison’s own 1963 performance, which stalled at #29.

At #6 was Fleetwood Mac‘s own “You Make Loving Fun,” the fourth Top 10 hit from the band’s massive Rumours album. The song was written and sung by Christine McVie.

Although Randy Newman would go on to disparage his hit single “Short People” as a novelty song, it was far and away the singer/composer’s biggest pop hit of his career, peaking at #2 nationally. The lyrics were criticized at the time by, well, short people who found the lyrics distasteful.

Related: 11 surprising 1970’s radio hits

And at #1… Queen‘s “We Will Rock You”/”We Are The Champions.” Though it somehow only reached #4 nationally, it was the band’s biggest hit up until then. Since then, the song has taken on a life of it’s own, often played on stadium and arena loudspeakers when a team wins a championship game.

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10. “Baby Come Back” – Player

9. “Swingtown” – Steve Miller

8. “Sentimental Lady” – Bob Welch

7. “Blue Bayou” – Linda Ronstadt

6. “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac

5. “Short People” – Randy Newman

4. “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” – Crystal Gayle

3. “Native New Yorker” – Odyssey

2. “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees

1. “We Will Rock You”/”We Are The Champions” – Queen

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
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