Well, that’s the 53 weeks of 1976 done and dusted so it’s time to check out the facts and figures and hits of the year.
123 songs spent time on our top 20 during the year 1976, 6 less than we had seen in 1975 and 27 less than 1969 when we saw a record to date 150 songs. 103 artists accounted for the 124 songs (duets/collaborations counting as a separate acts to the individuals making them up). The trend of number of hits so far looked like this:
|Year||No. Of Hits|
The local acts managed 36 of the 123 hits, the 3rd best effort to date with only 1971 and 1973 having more (41 and 39 respectively). 29 acts brought us these 36 hits.
Based on a points system of 20 points for a number 1 position, 19 for number 2 etc down to 1 for position 20, the following are the top 20 chart performers for the year (Note: this does not reflect sales):
|1||I Won’t Give Up||Bruce Millar||284|
|2||Don’t Go Breaking My Heart||Elton John & Kiki Dee||273|
|3||One Day At A Time||Marie Gibson||247|
|4||December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)||Four Seasons||246|
|6||Let Me Into Your Life||Flood||237|
|7||Let Your Love Flow||Bellamy Brothers||234|
|=9||Devil Woman||Cliff Richard||218|
|=9||Lady In Blue||Joe Dolan||218|
|12||I Hate The Music||John Paul Young||205|
|13||No Charge||J.J. Barrie||195|
|=15||Arms Of Mary||Sutherland Brothers & Quiver||181|
|=15||Miss You Nights||Cliff Richard||181|
|=18||Jeans On||David Dundas||168|
|=18||Green Eyed Angel||Bobby Angel||168|
This was the third time the best performer for the year was a local song. The Staccato’s ‘Cry To Me’ took the top spot in 1969 and Alan Garrity’s ‘’I Need Someone’ was the best of 1972. You can compare this to the list published in Top 40 magazine in 1989 which can be found here:
The cumulative points from the beginning of 1969 to the end of 1976 gave the following top 5:
|1||I Need Someone||Alan Garrity||464|
|2||I Can See Clearly Now||Johnny Nash||448|
|3||Cry To Me||Staccatos||447|
|5||Sunday, Monday, Tuesday||Jessica Jones||391|
This top 5 had not changed since 1973 and the highest placed song on the cumulative list of points that spent time in the charts in 1976 was this year’s top song, Bruce Miller’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’ which was 32th on the list.
The top songs pointswise on the local front for 1976 were as follows:
|1||I Won’t Give Up||Bruce Millar||284|
|2||One Day At A Time||Marie Gibson||247|
|3||Let Me Into Your Life||Flood||237|
|5||Green Eyed Angel||Bobby Angel||168|
NUMBER OF HITS
Three acts managed to have 3 hits spend time in the charts during the year and those were Abba, Lionel Petersen (the only local act to manage this) and Smokie. A further 14 acts managed 2 while all the rest only had 1. No one had managed more than the record to date of 5 which The Archies and The Bee Gees had managed in 1969, Neil Diamond had managed in 1971 and Middle Of The Road managed in 1972.
The local acts which managed 2 hits were Bruce Millar, Bobby Angel, Caroline Du Preez & Tommy Dell, Roy Bulkin and Jonathan Butler.
Creedence Clearwater Revival had been the top act for cumulative number of hits since 1969, sharing that lead in 1969 and 1970, but had been out in front on their own since then. In 1976 they were joined in the lead on 11 hits by Billy Forrest under his various guises (2 as Billy Forrest, 1 as Dennis, 3 as Quentin E. Klopjaeger, 2 as William E., 2 as part of the duet Geli & Billy with Angelika Illman and 1 as part of a duet with Sharon Tandy). Neil Diamond was the only other act to have reached double figures so far as he stood on 10 hits. There were two new acts in the top 10 on this list this year and they were Cliff Richard and Abba who were both now on 8 hits. Barbara Ray was second for a local artist with 8 hits to her name while John Edmond, Jody Wayne, and Dave Mills were tied 3rd on 7.
WEEKS ON THE CHARTS
Tommy Dell was the 3rd local artist to end a year with the most weeks on the chart for the year as he managed 41 (14 with ‘Sometimes’, and 13 with ‘Golden Ring’, both duets with Caroline Du Preez, and then a further 14 with his solo hit, ‘Don’t Worry About Me’). Abba, who had topped this list for the past 2 years (sharing the honours with Wings in 1974) were second in1976 with 35 weeks.
The previous two years had seen the lowest total of weeks in a year for an act drop to new lows, however Tommy Dell broke this trend, beating the 38 weeks Abba and Wings managed in 1974 and the 33 Abba managed in 1975. Middle Of The Road’s 58 weeks in 1972 was still the best in a year to date.
Bruce Millar was the next highest placed local act with 31 weeks followed by Caroline du Preez on 27 (all of them as part of a duet with Tommy Dell).
Creedence Clearwater Revival still led the way in terms of total cumulative weeks to date having clocked up 119 since the beginning of 1969. They were followed by The Sweet on 109 and Abba on 107. Abba knocked Neil Diamond into 4th place during the year. Alan Garrity was the top local act with 84 (5th overall) and Barbara Ray was a close second on 82 (6th overall).
1976 was the first year where no song managed to get to 20 week on the charts (not even those carried over from 1975). There would only be 1 other year when this would happen. The best for the year was the 19 weeks that Marie Gibson’s ‘One Day At A Time’ managed. Bruce Millar’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’ and Michael Holm’s ‘I’ll Return’ both managed 18.
We had 16 songs spend time at the top of the charts in 1976 averaging a stay of 3.31 weeks each. Only Abba managed to have more than 1 number 1 as both ‘Fernando’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ topped the charts. This was the second year running that they had managed to have 2 number 1s. Chris Andrews’ 3 in 1970 was yet to be matched.
There were 4 local chart toppers, Flood’s ‘Let Me Into Your Life’, Bruce Millar’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’, Marie Gibson’s ‘One Day At A Time’ and Glenys Lynne’s ‘Ramaja’ (the only fully Afrikaans number to top our charts). This was the highest number of local chart toppers in a year to date.
The 2 chart toppers Abba managed put them ahead of The Hollies on the list of number 1 hits to date as they now had a total of 5, overtaking the previous best of 4 that The Hollies had managed. Chris Andrews, The Sweet and Creedence Clearwater Revival were on 3. No local act had yet managed to get a second chart topper.
The first number 1 of the year, Joe Dolan’s ‘Lady In Blue’ was joined by Bruce Millar’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’, Abba’s ‘Fernando’ and Elton John & Kiki Dee’s ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ in spending 6 weeks at number 1, the most managed by a song this year. Elton John & Kiki Dee’s run was broken by Cliff Richard’s ‘Devil Woman’ which split the latter’s effort into 4 weeks at 1, then a week at 2, then back to the top for a further 2 weeks. ‘I Won’t Give Up’ was obviously the best for a local song.
Solo hits by women that spent time in the charts in 1976 totalled 13 with a further 6 coming as part of a duet with a male artist, giving a total of 19 altogether. This equalled the second best total that they managed in 1974 and falling 1 short of the 20 that we saw in 1975.
Tina Charles, Caroline du Preez and Barbara Ray were the only women to mange 2 hits in the year and the latter 2 were therefore the best by local acts. To date, Gloria Gaynor had been the only woman to managed more than 2 hits in a year when she got into the charts with 3 in1975.
Two solo woman topped the charts and 1 managed it as part of a duet. The solo ones were Marie Gibson with ‘One Day At A Time’ and Glenys Lynne with ‘Ramaja’, both of them local acts. Kiki Dee’s duet with Elton John, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ was the only other number 1 by a female.
Barbara Ray was still the top woman for number of hits to date as she now had 8 to her name. Maria, Vicky Leandros, Dolly Parton and Olivia Newton-John were all tied second on 4 hits.
The top solo female songs for 1975 based on the points system described above were:
|1||Don’t Go Breaking My Heart||Elton John & Kiki Dee||273|
|2||One Day At A Time||Marie Gibson||247|
|4||Sometimes||Caroline Du Preez||153|
|5||You Set My Heart On Fire||Tina Charles||136|
To date, the top 5 songs by females based on the points system were:
|1||Sunday, Monday, Tuesday||Jessica Jones||391|
|2||I Don’t Wanna Play House||Barbara Ray||336|
|3||Come What May (Aka Aprés Toi)||Vicky Leandros||321|
|4||It’s Too Late Now||Lauren Copley||303|
|5||Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet||Maria||302|
This was the fourth year in a row that this top 5 had not changed.
REST OF THE WORLD
Aside from artists from the UK and US (who tend to dominate most charts worldwide), and local acts the following are the top hits from other nationalities:
|2||Lady In Blue||Joe Dolan||218||Ireland|
|3||I Hate The Music||John Paul Young||205||Australia|
|4||No Charge||J.J. Barrie||195||Canada|
To date the rest of the world top hits were:
|2||We Believe In Tomorrow||Freddy Breck||376||Germany|
|3||Come What May (Aka Aprés Toi)||Vicky Leandros||321||Greece|
|4||You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet||Bachman-Turner Overdrive||305||Canada|
Artist from the US had had the most hits in 3 of the years so far and the locals and acts from the UK had managed it in 2. In 1976 the local acts joined the US acts with having had the most in 3 years as their 36 hits outdid the 35 from the US and 31 from the UK. This was the second lowest total to take a national to the top of the list for a year. France, Holland, Germany and Sweden followed with 3 each from acts from those countries. We had 2 hits each from Greece and Ireland while Australia, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica and Romania all gave us 1 apiece.
By the end of 1975 we had seen hits from artists from 20 different nationalities. During 1976 we added Romania (Zamfir) to this list to give us 21. Cumulatively the US led the way with 290 hits to date, followed by the UK (263 hits) then SA (215). Canada added 1 to their total from last year to move on to 19, but Holland added 2 to also give them a total of 19 to date and therefore joined Canada in tied 4th place. Germany followed on 17, then Jamaica on 11, Ireland on 10 and Sweden on 9.
WHAT DIDN’T CHART
The following songs topped either the UK or US charts (or both) during 1976, but did not make our charts. Those marked with an * would, however, make the SA top 20 in 1977 or later:
|50 Ways to Leave Your Lover||Paul Simon|
|Afternoon Delight||Starland Vocal Band|
|Boogie Fever||The Sylvers|
|Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)||Wurzels|
|Disco Duck||Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots|
|Disco Lady||Johnnie Taylor|
|If You Leave Me Now*||Chicago|
|Love Hangover||Diana Ross|
|Love Machine||The Miracles|
|Love Rollercoaster||Ohio Players|
|Play That Funky Music||Wild Cherry|
|Rock’n Me*||Steve Miller Band|
|Silly Love Songs||Wings|
|The Roussos Phenomenon EP||Demis Roussos|
|Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)||Diana Ross|
|Theme from S.W.A.T.||Rhythm Heritage|
|Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)||Rod Stewart|
|Under The Moon Of Love*||Showaddywaddy|
|Welcome Back||John Sebastian|
|When A Child Is Born (Soleado)*||Johnny Mathis|
|You Should Be Dancing||Bee Gees|
|You To Me Are Everything||Real Thing|
This list of 24 songs was well down on that of 1975’s record 41 that didn’t make it. Additionally while ‘The Roussos Phenomenon EP’ by Demis Roussos didn’t make our charts (we never had EP’s make out chart), one track from that EP, ‘My Friend The Wind’ did make our top 20.
CHARTING IN CONSECUTIVE YEARS
The Sweet and Alan Garrity had managed to spend at least 1 week in the charts in every year from 1971 to 1975 and up to the end of 1975 they had the longest unbroken run of all the acts who charted in 1975. Neither of them managed to extend that run into 1976, but David Cassidy, whom we had seen in the charts every year from 1972 now had a 5 year consecutive run of charting. He joined The Sweet and Alan Garrity in this, as well as The Bee Gees (1969-1973) and The Rising Sons (1970 – 1974).
Abba, Lionel Petersen and Richard Jon Smith had managed 4 years in a row (1973-1976) and were all hoping to be the next act to make it to 5.
So far, Neil Diamond led the way in terms of number of years in which any act had appeared in the charts as he featured in 7 of the previous 8 year we have looked at so far, only missing out on 1973. Barbara Ray and Billy Forrest led the way for local acts, charting in 6 of the 8, Barbara missing out on 1969 and 1972 while Billy failed to chart in 1970 and 1974.
I WRITE THE SONGS
Ernie Schroder took top song writing honours this year as he had a credit on 5 of the songs that appeared in the chart during the year (Buttercup’s ‘Sha La LaLa’, Roy Bulkin’s ‘Twinkle Toes’, Ian & Dix’s ‘Sonder Jou’, Mike Eager’s ‘Rock Me To Sleep’ and Geoff St. John’s ‘Candy’). We had not seen a song writer have this many hits in a year since Terry Dempsey managed a massive 9 hits in 1971. Ernie’s usual song writing partner Ken Levine managed 4 hits and sat second next to KC & The Sunshine Band’s Harry Wayne ‘KC’ Casey and Richard Finch. Levine had credits on all the Schroder songs with the exception of ‘Sonder Jou’.
Terry Dempsey was still the king when it came to song writing as he had 23 of his compositions chart. Roger Greenaway closed the gap on Dempsey by 1 as he moved onto 16 hits. Jeff Barry was 3rd on 15, also increasing his tally by 1 in 1976.
Dempsey also still led the way for weeks on the charts for a song writer but had not moved on from the 244 he had at the end of 1974. Mike Chapman & Nicky Chinn were still tied second, but they had increased their week count from 139 at the end of 1975 to 158 by the end of 1976. Both Jeff Barry and Roger Greenaway overtook John Fogarty who had been in 4th place at the end of 1975 as they moved on to 126 and 120 respectively, leaving Fogarty to drop down to 6th with his unchanged 119 weeks.
As in 1975 Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson were the only song writers to managed 2 number 1’s as song writers. They were responsible for the 2 Abba chart toppers, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Dancing Queen’. They had now had a total of 5 chart toppers and led the way on that front, leaving Neil Diamond, Terry Dempsey, Geoff Stephens, Chris Andrews and John Fogarty all lagging behind on 3. On the weeks at 1 front, they overtook Mike Chapman & Nicky Chinn who were stuck on 14, by moving onto 16 weeks.
Well, that’s it for 1976. Next up 1977.