Since 1955, Billboard has ended each year by releasing their list of Hot 100 singles. What’s great about this is that it allows future generations to get a glimpse of what was popular back in the day. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what charted this month 40 years ago.
1) Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke (June 04)
Topping the charts starting on May 21 and holding the #1 spot for a solid three weeks, Stevie Wonder’s tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington was one of many, MANY hits off his masterpiece (and EIGHTEENTH ALBUM), Songs in the Key of Life. The song laments the passing of not only Ellington back in 1974, but several other legends of the genre, including Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong.
As a song though, “Sir Duke” isn’t sorrowful. Instead, it’s a celebration of the people who accomplished so much to bring jazz to where it was at that time, staying upbeat and funky the entire time. Between its catchiness and the sheer marketing power that was behind the album (it would go on to be the most successful of Wonder’s career, achieving DIAMOND status with over 10 million copies sold), it’s easy to see why it held its chart position as long as it did.
2) KC And The Sunshine Band – I’m Your Boogie Man (June 11)
Allegedly written about a Miami DJ who was the first to give the group’s “Get Down Tonight” airtime, “I’m Your Boogie Man” remains one of KC And The Sunshine Band’s biggest hits, right up there with “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty” and “Keep It Comin’ Love.”
While a bit on the repetitive side, the song’s groove is undeniably catchy as hell. Combined with the other aforementioned singles, the song lead to the group’s Part 3 album (which, ironically enough, was actually their fourth album) becoming their best-selling ever. Apparently June 1977 was a good month for massive enduring albums.
3) Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (June 18)
Continuing the trend of singles from landmark albums, “Dreams” is the second single from Fleetwood Mac’s most popular album Rumours (which has gone on to sell over 20 million copies and is considered the sixth-best selling album in US history).
You might know it best as the album that featured “Don’t Stop,” Bill Clinton’s Presidential Campaign song from 1993 (which inspired comedian John Mulaney to joke “The song is from an album by, and for, people cheating on each other. He let us know who he was right away.”)
Singer Stevie Nicks apparently wrote the song using her piano and a drum track in the span of about 10 minutes, and describes the initial reaction of the band as “They weren’t nuts about it.” In fact, singer and keyboardist Christine McVie described the initial version as “just three chords and one note in the left hand” and “boring.”
Despite the band’s apprehension, it would go on to be one of the group’s highest-charting songs in several countries, and definitely contributed to the album’s massive success.
4) Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up (Pt. 1)
While not quite as fondly remembered today as “Let’s Get It On” or “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” was the singer’s biggest hit at the time. Gaye’s producers had requested that he perform a disco-style song, and while other singers like Diana Ross had found success with that, Gaye decided to make his more of a parody.
While supposedly recorded more as a means to keep himself afloat financially while dealing with lawsuits and a failing marriage, “Got To Give It Up” went on to have quite a legacy. Michael Jackson would first use it as the inspiration for “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” while still performing with The Jacksons, and again with producer Quincy Jones on “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” years later.
The song’s even come up in recent years for an entirely different reason. In 2015, a federal jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams’ smash hit “Blurred Lines” infringed on “Got To Give It Up,” awarding Gaye’s children $7.4 Million in compensation!
Suffice to say, the #1 hits of June 1977 were pretty impressive. Which one is your favorite?