[feature] New Year’s Count-Up: 1976 in five songs

Led Zeppelin shows a new sense of urgency, Ramones usher in punk rock, and Kiss are a bunch of pussies.

- Nov 28, 2012

As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 1976!

Kiss - "Beth"

"Beth" is Kiss' highest charting single ever. It's also their wussiest, and one of the few sung by the catman himself, Mr. Peter Criss. Even wussier, it was covered on hit TV show Glee. The clip above comes from their horrible 1978 movie Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Man, Kiss has done a lot of bad shit.

Led Zeppelin - "Achilles Last Stand"

Zeppelin's 1976 album Presence is their least commercially successful (only a mere triple platinum, pfff), but it was a massive success internally. The year prior, lead singer Robert Plant was seriously injured in a car accident in Greece, forcing the cancellation of a world tour and putting the band's future into question.  He was stuck in a wheelchair for the recording of this album, which took only eighteen (very long) days. As Jimmy Page put it, "[Presence] was just a reflection of the total anxiety and emotion of that period. There's a hell of a lot of spontaneity about that album. We went in with virtually nothing and everything just came pouring out."

Ramones - "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"

Ramones - Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

Their eponymous debut from this year is widely considered to be the first punk rock record ever, and contains some of the band's best material. This track was penned by Dee Dee Ramone, who died from heroin overdose 26 years later. I've never sniffed glue before, but judging by this song it seems pretty fun.

The Modern Lovers - "Roadrunner"

The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner

Produced by Velvet Underground's John Cale, and showcases much of that band's best attributes – rough, bare-bones art rock and nonchalant speak-sing. This comes from the band's highly influential first and only record.

Parliament Funkadelic - "Do That Stuff" live

Parliament Funkadelic - Do That Stuff - Mothership Connection - Houston 1976

Here's a great clip of P-Funk at their funkiest, laying down the funk on a hit single from their funktastic 1976 album Dr. Funkenstein. Incidentally, this show took place on Halloween, but that really has nothing to do with the futuristic costumes and stage set up. To say the least, it's funky.

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