But first, a couple of extras. The breakthrough hit by the younger brother of The Bee Gees topped the charts in the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Chile. It also crossed over to the soul chart, peaking at #19.
I Just Want To Be Your Everything - Andy Gibb
Next, the first charted single by this singer from Gary, Indiana. It peaked at #2 soul and #25 on the Hot 100, and also hit #1 in the UK. Co-produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Welcome to the Billboard #1 Soul Songs Of 1977 Rankdown!
As a reminder, here are the 20 songs you were asked to rank:
Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) - The O'Jays I Wish - Stevie Wonder Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston I've Got Love On My Mind - Natalie Cole Tryin' To Love Two - William Bell At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up) - Rufus feat. Chaka Khan The Pride - The Isley Brothers Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye Whodunit - Tavares Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder Break It To Me Gently - Aretha Franklin Best Of My Love - The Emotions Easy - The Commodores Slide - Slave Strawberry Letter 23 - The Brothers Johnson Float On - The Floaters Keep It Comin' Love - K.C. & The Sunshine Band It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me - Barry White (Everytime I Turn Around) Back In Love Again - L.T.D. Serpentine Fire - Earth, Wind & Fire
We kick off this rankdown with the song that has the 2nd lowest SD. Five people will get a perfect ranking, and only one person had this in their Top 10.
The lead single from their Love Storm album, "Whodunit" was the last of three soul #1s for the Tavares brothers. Also peaking inside the Top 25 on the Hot 100, it invokes several fictional detectives to help find a missing love interest, including Sherlock Holmes, Dirty Harry, and Kojak.
Four of the brothers are still with us. The oldest, Ralph, passed away in December 2021.
Stats Chart Entry: March 26, 1977 Peak Date: May 21, 1977 Weeks At #1: 1 Weeks In Top 10: 7 Weeks On Chart: 17 Hot 100 Peak: #22
Points: 96 Average: 16.83 Standard Deviation: 2.933 (2nd lowest)
Born in Memphis, William Bell was the first male soloist to sign with Stax Records, staying with them for over a decade before signing with Mercury. It was there that he recorded his biggest hit. In addition to topping the soul chart, "Tryin' To Love Two" was William's only single to reach the Top 40 on the Hot 100 and was a million seller.
Stats Chart Entry: December 11, 1976 Peak Date: April 2, 1977 Weeks At #1: 1 Weeks In Top 10: 8 Weeks On Chart: 26 Hot 100 Peak: #10
Points: 127 Average: 15.48 Standard Deviation: 5.342 (5th highest)
Formed in Detroit, The Floaters consisted of brothers James and Paul Mitchell, Ralph Mitchell (unrelated to the former two), Charles Clark, and Larry Cunningham. Their breakthrough single, "Float On", was their biggest hit, topping the soul chart and peaking inside the Top 5 on the Hot 100. The verses combine astrological signs and video and phone dating, which were popular at the time. "Float On" was Billboard's top soul single for 1977, and was parodied in the Cheech & Chong song "Bloat On".
Two of the members are no longer with us. Larry passed away in 2019, and Paul passed away in December 2021.
16. Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) - The O'Jays
The follow-up to their #1 soul hit "Message In Our Music", "Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)" matched that success on the soul chart. It was the last single to feature vocals from Michael Powell, who passed away from cancer in 1977 at just the age of 35.
The song was later sampled in Big Pun's "I'm Not a Player".
Stats Chart Entry: November 27, 1976 Peak Date: January 8, 1977 Weeks At #1: 1 Weeks In Top 10: 10 Weeks On Chart: 16 Hot 100 Peak: #72
Points: 187 Average: 12.87 Standard Deviation: 3.468 (6th lowest)
I Wish - Stevie Wonder Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston I've Got Love On My Mind - Natalie Cole At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up) - Rufus feat. Chaka Khan The Pride - The Isley Brothers Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder Break It To Me Gently - Aretha Franklin Best Of My Love - The Emotions Easy - The Commodores Strawberry Letter 23 - The Brothers Johnson Keep It Comin' Love - K.C. & The Sunshine Band It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me - Barry White (Everytime I Turn Around) Back In Love Again - L.T.D. Serpentine Fire - Earth, Wind & Fire
"'Vision Of Love', when I first heard that song, I knew it, my mind was made up, I had to be a singer." - Beyonce "When I discovered Mariah Carey and 'Vision of Love,' that was a breath of fresh air. And I adored her from that moment on and idolized her." - Christina Aguilera "I think ['Vision Of Love'] was a vision of the future world of American Idol." - Rich Juzwiak, Slant
Post by beyoncelover on Aug 15, 2022 13:06:31 GMT -5
20. Whodunit - Tavares: Aww sad to see this show up first. I didnj't know this beforehand but really liked this while listening to it for this list, hence it being my #12. It's a really fun song but I guess I can get how this didn't standout for most people.
19. Tryin' To Love Two - William Bell: Even though I ranked this at #16, I'm more okay with this showing up here. This is a nice, soulful and enjoyable song but it wasn't a standout to me on first listen. Interesting how this has the 5th highest SD.
18. Slide - Slave: Hmm now my #14 is lost. Well I'm glad none of my Top 10 showed up yet but hopefully my Bottom 4 can show up soon. Really fun song and I do really like the sound of this but I just liked other songs more.
17. Float On - The Floaters: Wow at the all over the place rankings and 2nd highest SD for this song. I wasn't expecting this song to be so polarizing. This is a nice song but it was just one that didn't really grab or move me while listening to it, so that's why it was my #20. Maybe it could grow on me with more listens. I can get how some people love this or had this as their #1.
16. Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) - The O'Jays: Kinda impressive with this making it to 16th with no rankings above 8th. This was another nice and enjoyable song but also another song that didn't really standout to me hence it being my #17.
This extra is one of the signature songs by this band from Tuskegee, Alabama. It peaked at #4 on the soul chart and #5 on the Hot 100.
Brick House - The Commodores
I'm not the hugest Commodores fan, but man if this was on the rankdown list, it would have ranked WAY UP. This is quintessential 70's. I don't know if this song would fly in the 2020's but damn this is a fun song.
The fact that, IMO, the ultimate Commodores song is not sung by Lionel Richie and instead by Walter "Clyde" Orange is not lost on me. (Lady and Oh No would be #2 and 3)
"Break It To Me Gently" was the lead single from Lady Soul's Sweet Passion album. Written and produced by Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch, it was her final Hot 100 entry on the Atlantic label. Features Ray Parker Jr. on guitar.
Stats Chart Entry: April 30, 1977 Peak Date: June 18, 1977 Weeks At #1: 1 Weeks In Top 10: 6 Weeks On Chart: 14 Hot 100 Peak: #85
Points: 190 Average: 12.74 Standard Deviation: 5.216 (6th highest)
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