Top Albums of January 1977: Soaring Up the Charts

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While you read this caption, the album probably sold another copy

In January 1977, Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the 39th President of the United States. The Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XI by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 32-14. Roots, an eight-part mini-series based on the Alex Haley novel, aired on ABC-TV to record ratings.

And what were classic rock fans buying at their favorite record stores? Some memorable albums, many of which might still be in your collection.

From 1964 until 1982, Record World was, along with Billboard and Cashbox, one of the music industry’s three main trade publications. Each week, the record labels, retailers, and so on, eagerly awaited the charts.

Before looking at the Top 10, some chart climbers of note…

Climbing up the chart in January 1977 at #78 was Live Bullet, the 2-LP set from Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. The April 1976 release finally enjoyed national acclaim thanks to the success of the band’s breakthrough studio album, Night Moves, which arrived in October.

Related: Thank you, Bob Seger

Another album with a second lease on life was Aerosmith‘s Toys in the Attic. It was originally released in April 1975 and its “Sweet Emotion” was a minor hit at that time.  A follow-up single, “Walk This Way,” failed to chart. More than a year later, in Nov. 1976, the song was re-released to radio and this time it clicked. This same week, “Walk This Way” was #9 nationally, while the LP was at #72.

A year after Queen truly broke through to American audiences with A Night at the Opera, the band released another album with a title from a Marx Brothers film, A Day at the Races. It debuted on the sales chart this week at #52, on its way to #5.

Soaring up the chart at #15 was Fly Like an Eagle from the Steve Miller Band. The May 1976 release had a new life thanks to the success of its title track, which was at #31 this week, on its way to #2. That marked the album’s third huge single, following “Take the Money and Run” and “Rock’n Me.”

With A Night on the TownRod Stewart was in the midst of his remarkable solo run. The album, at #10 this week, was led by the #1 single, “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright).”

Forty-six weeks after Eagles‘ Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 debuted on the sales chart, it moved up a notch to #9, thanks to the success of a certain studio album. Hits is the biggest selling album in U.S. history, with over 38 million copies sold.

Kiss‘ second release of 1976 – November’s Rock and Roll Over – delivered a #8 album thanks to their continued appeal on Top 40 with a pair of hits, “Hard Luck Woman,” which was climbing the chart this week, and “Calling Dr. Love.”

Best of the Doobies, released in time for the 1976 holiday selling season may have peaked at just #5, but thanks to the band’s sustained success and radio appeal, it’s been certified 10x Platinum.

Another holiday hits collection, Linda Ronstadt‘s Greatest Hits, is also the biggest selling album of her career, with 7x Platinum sales.

A year after its chart debut, Frampton Comes Alive! was still near the very top.

Related: Peter Frampton dominated 1976’s album sales

Wings Over America was just one month old and still climbing the chart, at #3. The 3-LP set, loaded with hits and recorded in May and June 1976, was released at a whopping (at the time) $13.98 MSRP. It’s hard to imagine, but only one song was released as a live single, “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

Released on Sept. 28, 1976, Stevie Wonder‘s double album, Songs in the Key of Life, reached #1 on Oct. 23 and stayed there through the end of the year. The LP earned Wonder his third Grammy Award for Album of the Year and two #1 singles, “I Wish” and “Sir Duke.”

EaglesHotel California was released on Dec. 8, 1976 and first hit the top on Jan. 8. Its reign was interrupted after four weeks, but it regained the #1 spot for seven more, beginning on April 9. (It’s since become the third best-selling U.S. album in history, certified 26-times Platinum in 2018 by the RIAA.)

78. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Live Bullet (Capitol)

72. Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic (Columbia)

52. Queen – A Day at the Races (Elektra)

15. Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle (Capitol)

10. Rod Stewart – A Night on the Town (Warner Bros.)

9. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 (Asylum)

8. Kiss – Rock and Roll Over (Casablanca)

7. The Doobie Brothers – Best of the Doobies (Warner Bros.)

6. Linda Ronstadt – Greatest Hits (Asylum)

5. Boston – Boston (Epic)

4. Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive! (A&M)

3. Wings – Wings Over America (Capitol)

2. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla)

1. Eagles – Hotel California (Asylum)

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