Saturday, May 29, 1976

Aerosmith charted with Rocks

First posted 3/28/2011; updated 9/7/2020.



Buy Here:

Charted: May 29, 1976

Peak: 3 US, -- UK, 14 CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, -- UK, 6.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Back in the Saddle (4/9/77, #38 US)
  2. Last Child (6/12/76, #21 US)
  3. Rats in the Cellar
  4. Combination
  5. Sick As a Dog
  6. Nobody’s Fault
  7. Get the Lead Out
  8. Lick and a Promise
  9. Home Tonight (9/25/76, #71 US)

Total Running Time: 34:31

The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)


4.534 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

Quotable: “Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking.” – Greg Prato, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“Many Aero fans will point to Toys as the band's quintessential album…but out of all their albums, Rocks did the best job of capturing Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking.” GP “Few albums have been so appropriately named.” GP This is the band “at a crazily driven peak of creativity; anyone who heard it and continued to dismiss them as mere Stones clones was just being willful. This is blues rock cranked up to ‘70s stadium level, the sound of the Trans Am, or maybe the Porsches several of these guys (surprisingly) remember driving.” RW

“Like its predecessor, a pair of songs have become their most renowned – the menacing, hard rock, cowboy-stomper Back in the Saddle, as well as the downright viscous funk groove of Last Child. Again, even the lesser-known tracks prove essential to the makeup of the album, such as the stimulated Rats in the Cellar (a response of sorts to ‘Toys in the Attic’)…and the forgotten riff-rocker Get the Lead Out.” GP

“Also included is the apocalyptic Nobody’s Fault, the up-and-coming rock star tale of Lick and a Promise, and the album-closing ballad Home Tonight. With Rocks, Aerosmith appeared to be indestructible.” GP

However, “they’d soon crash, and hard, thanks to their own excesses.” RW “The psychic battering they would succumb to on the next year’s Draw the Line is foreshadowed in Joe Perry’s” RW “Stonesy Combination.” GP “The party-fueled tension, the tension-fueled party.” RW

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Saturday, May 22, 1976

Paul McCartney & Wings “Silly Love Songs” hit #1

Silly Love Songs

Paul McCartney & Wings

Writer(s): Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)

Released: April 1, 1976

First Charted: April 2, 1976

Peak: 15 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 14 HR, 11 AC, 1 CL, 2 UK, 12 CN, 20 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 16.20 video, 67.91 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

After his career with the Beatles, Paul McCartney had a successful career as a solo artist and with his group Wings. In 1976 – “the year of the great disco takeover” SG – McCartney landed his fifth post-Beatles #1 song with “Silly Love Songs,” which “only barely nodded in the direction of disco.” SG It could be viewed as his “attempt to grapple with the changing sound of popular music” SG with “a distant echo of disco in its bassline and its insistent beat.” SG

With five non-consecutive weeks atop the chart, it also gave McCartney the biggest #1 song of the year. It made him the first person to have year-end songs with two different acts. He accomplished the feat with the Beatles in 1964 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and again in 1968 with “Hey Jude.” WK

The song was a response to critics who accused McCartney of writing sentimental love songs without substance. As such, it “isn’t just a song about love, and it isn’t just a song about love songs. It’s McCartney defending his own soppiness.” SG Some people also understood the song as a subtle dig at former Beatles mate John Lennon who was generally favored by critics and attacked McCartney for his less-artistic and more commercially-minded product.

“Silly Love Songs” may not have erased some people’s perceptions, but it was, according to Time magazine, “the sort of tune that comes at the unwary out of car radios and open windows, attaching itself like a particularly stubborn lap cat. It will probably never go away.” FB


  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 436.
  • SG Stereogum (9/4/2019). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 7/12/2023.

Wednesday, May 19, 1976

Billy Joel’s Turnstiles released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 10/17/2020.


Billy Joel

Released: May 19, 1976

Peak: 122 US, -- UK, -- CN, 12 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (1976: 45 AU, 9/12/81: live version, 17 US, 6 CL, 35 AC, 11 AR, 27 AU)
  2. Summer, Highland Falls
  3. All You Wanna Do Is Dance
  4. New York State of Mind (11 CL)
  5. James (77 AU)
  6. Prelude/Angry Young Man (18 CL)
  7. I’ve Loved These Days
  8. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) (16 CL)

Total Running Time: 36:22


3.781 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


About the Album:

“For all his seemingly natural pop instincts, it took Joel almost a decade to find his voice – which he finally did on his fourth album, a commercial flop. His singing and songwriting felt supple and relaxed, balancing uban sophistication and suburban gruffness, beauty and bravura, in ways that would often escape him later.” DB It “may not have been a hit, but it remains one of his most accomplished and satisfying records, clearly paving the way to his twin peaks of the late '70s, The Stranger and 52nd Street.” AMG

“There’s a reason Turnstiles begins with the Spector-esque epic Say Goodbye to Hollywood. Shortly after Streetlife Serenade, Joel ditched California -- and, by implication, sensitive Californian soft rock from sensitive singer/songwriters -- for his hometown of New York. ‘Say Goodbye to Hollywood’ was a celebration of his move, a repudiation of his past, a fanfare for a new beginning, which is exactly what Turnstiles was.” AMG

“He still was a singer/songwriter – indeed, Summer, Highland Falls was his best ballad to date, possibly his best ever – but he decided to run with his musical talents, turning the record into a whirlwind tour of pop styles, from Sinatra to Springsteen. There’s little question that the cinematic sprawl of Born to Run had an effect on Turnstiles, since it has a similar widescreen feel, even if it clocks in at only eight songs.” AMG

“The key to the record’s success is variety, the way the album whips from the bouncy, McCartney-esque All You Wanna Do Is Dance to the saloon song New York State of Mind; the way the bitterly cynical Angry Young Man gives way to the beautiful I’ve Loved These Days.” AMG That song and James offer “tender concessions to impending adulthood” DB and “countered by the apocalyptical New York science-fiction of Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).” DB

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Saturday, May 15, 1976

Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination released

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Alan Parsons Project

Released: May 15, 1976

Peak: 38 US, 56 UK, 81 CN, 45 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.06 UK

Genre: progressive rock lite


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Dream within a Dream (instrumental) [3:43] narration by Orson Welles
  2. The Raven [4:01] v: Alan Parsons (10/16/76, 80 US, 20 CL)
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart [4:40] v: Arthur Brown
  4. The Cask of Amontillado [4:29] v: John Miles
  5. (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether [4:15] v: John Miles (7/24/76, 37 US, 54 CB, 62 HR, 36 RR, 15 CL, 62 CN)
  6. Fall of the House of Usher (instrumental) (Parsons/Powell/Woolfson)
    I: Prelude [5:51]
    II: Arrival [2:36]
    III: Intermezzo [1:06]
    IV: Pavane [4:44]
    V: Fall [1:07]
  7. To One in Paradise [4:14] v: Terry Sylvester (10/76, 49 CL)

All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson except where noted. The ‘v’ after the song listing indicates who does lead vocals.

Total Running Time: 40:46

The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (producer, engineer, synthesizers, etc.)
  • Eric Woolfson (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, executive producer)
  • Ian Bairnson, Kevin Peek, Laurence Juber, David Pack (guitar)
  • David Paton, Joe Puerta, Les Hurdle (bass)
  • Stuart Tosh, Burleigh Drummond (drums, percussion)
  • Andrew Powell (orchestra arrangement, conductor)
  • Arthur Brown, John Miles, Leonard Whiting, Jack Harris, Terry Sylvester (vocals)
  • Francis Monkman, Billy Lyall, Christopher North (keyboards, piano)


4.070 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Quotable: “A classic excuse to dim the lights, pour a glass of sherry…and break out the headphones” – Daniel Durchholz,

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Tales of Mystery and Imagination was not supposed to be the start of the band. Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, who had worked together at the famous Abbey Road studios where the last few Beatles albums were recorded, collaborated to create a one-shot project “based on the work of American author Edgar Allan Poe.” DV ”As unlikely as the idea seems today…listeners in the 1970s--who were barraged with such high-flown concepts during the heyday of prog-rock--turned the record into a major hit.” AZ It was “ambitious, daring, and audacious for its time.” DV

Parsons tapped a host of performers to serve as session musicians on the album. He roped in all four members of Ambrosia (David Pack, Joe Puerta, Christopher North, Burleigh Drummond) and all four members of Pilot (David Paton, Ian Bairnson, Stuart Tosh, Billy Lyall). The latter was a band Parsons was producing; they had a 1975 top 5 hit with the song “Magic” while under Parsons’ watch. The Project was also aided by a variety of vocalists (a practice that followed on every album to come), including Terry Sylvester (who sang lead on the Hollies’ top 10 hits “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” and “The Air That I Breathe”), Arthur Brown (who had a #2 hit in 1968 with “Fire”), and British singer John Miles (who had a #3 UK hit with 1976’s “Music”).

Also lending his services on this, and every Project album to follow, was Andrew Powell, who “arranged and conducted the orchestra and choir that dominate the album.” RS Powell’s contributions went a long way in defining the Project’s sound as falling into the vein of the symphonic prog-rock of bands like The Moody Blues.

Tales makes for “an extremely mesmerizing aural journey.” AMG “Without any underlying theme to be pondered upon, Alan Parsons instead paints a vivid picture of one of the most alluring literary figures in history by musically reciting his most famous works in expert fashion.” AMG The ”variety of different singing styles adds color and design to the album's air.” AMG “With the use of synthesizers, drums, guitar, and even a glockenspiel, Parsons' shivering effects make way for an eerie excursion into Poe's well-known classics.” AMG

“Parsons' expertise surrounds this album” AMG “which means unlike most progressive rock 'masterpieces' you can actually listen to it without slogging through mud. The sound is astonishingly crisp for a 1976 recording -- as Parsons himself put it in the liner notes to the 1987 version, ‘it is interesting to note that Tales was originally recorded without the use of such now commonplace items as digital reverberators and delays, drum machines, or computer assisted mixing.’ Given those standards, the stingingly clear sound is even more astonishing.” DV

A “slyness…prevails in (The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” AMG a song which features some great “vocal counterpoint.” DV This was even a top 40 single in the U.S.

The Raven was also released as a single. It didn’t fair near as well, stalling at #80, but “thanks to FM radio overplay [it] is probably the album's best-known track today.” AZ There is “a clever use of vocoder to distort Parsons' vocal intro.” DV In fact, ”the EMI vocoder is used throughout…with the Westminster City School Boys Choir mixed in to add a distinct flair to it's chamber-like sound.” AMG

The 1987 remix of this album fleshes out the instrumental opener Dream Within a Dream with “Orson Welles narrating in front of this wispy collaboration of guitars and keyboards.” AMG

“The bodeful thumping of the drums…imitate a heartbeat on The Tell-Tale Heart.” AMG Arthur Brown, who went to #2 with 1968’s “psychedelic-era hit "Fire,” lends his “unique vocal ravings [which] supply the necessary dose of hysteria” RS one would expect from music based on Poe.

There’s also The Cask of Amontillado, which “is a beautiful piece of work,” DV and ”the wistful To One In Paradise [is] a suitable close.” DV

“The most ambitious track,” RS The Fall of the House of Usher, “is a lengthy but dazzling array of musicianship that keeps the album's persona in tact, while enabling the listener to submerge into it's frightening atmosphere.” AMG It “is both beautiful and unpretentious, an excellent piece of classical composing;” DV it “rises majestically with a Fantasia-like opening and a spectacular thunderstorm, then shifts into intermezzo and pavane passages that are quite moving. But the atonal, chaotic ‘fall’ seems more an intrusion on the rest of the opus than the holocaustal finale it should have been.” RS

“The album remains a classic excuse to dim the lights, pour a glass of sherry (amontillado, natch), and break out the headphones.” AZ “It's one of the…CDs that are de riguer for any fan of progressive rock to own.” DV

Notes: The 2007 deluxe edition included demos, unreleased material, an interview with Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, and a second disc featuring a 1987 remix of the album with more bonus tracks.

“The 1987 CD version…differs somewhat from the original vinyl. Parsons dropped in synthesizer parts to modernize the album,” AZ adds “some tasty guitar licks by Ian Bairnson,” DV and “an opening recitation by Orson Welles. But the integrity of the original is maintained well enough.” AZ

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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/23/2021.