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1976 in British music

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1976 in British music

This is a summary of 1976 in music of all genres in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.



This year saw the emergence of disco as a force to be reckoned with, a trend which would hold for the rest of the decade and peak in the last two years. This was also the year which truly established ABBA as the top selling act of the decade with them achieving their second, third and fourth number ones (as well as releasing the biggest-selling album of the year). The ABBA formula was also replicated in the biggest-selling song of the year - the Eurovision-winning "Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man, who began a three-year run in the UK charts from 1976. Other acts to achieve notable firsts were Elton John, who scored his first UK number one single this year (albeit as a duet with Kiki Dee), Showaddywaddy had their first and only number one and long-standing hitmaker Johnny Mathis also scored his biggest hit this year. The album charts saw TV advertising become a major factor in changing the landscape of big sellers with non-regular singles artists achieving high sales with compilations. Among these were Slim Whitman, Bert Weedon, Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys, who remained at number one for ten consecutive weeks.

Also emerging this year was a new trend, which became known as punk rock. This was little evident on the charts as yet, and was more a lifestyle choice, but would become much more significant the following year, as many new acts who typified the trend came onto the scene.

Overall, 1976 is not considered a vintage year by music critics, with its overwhelming dominance by pop and MOR acts. Certainly, many consider 1976 to be the nadir of British music and hold the year's charts up to be the very reason why Punk and New Wave music emerged with such force the following year.

Britain's foremost classical composers of the late 20th century, including Sir William Walton, Benjamin Britten and Sir Michael Tippett, were still active. Sir Charles Groves conducted the Last Night of the Proms, and the soloist for "Rule Britannia" was contralto Anne Collins; the programme included Walton's Portsmouth Point overture.


  • 6 March - EMI Records reissues all 22 previously released British Beatles singles, plus a new single of the classic "Yesterday". All 23 singles hit the UK charts at the same time
  • 7 March - A wax likeness of Elton John is put on display in London's Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
  • 9 March - The Who's Keith Moon collapses on stage ten minutes into a performance at the Boston Garden.
  • 3 April - Brotherhood of Man win the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK with the song "Save Your Kisses For Me". It goes on to be the biggest-selling Eurovision winner ever.
  • 3 May - Paul McCartney and Wings start their Wings over America Tour in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first time McCartney has performed in the US since The Beatles' last concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park.
  • 19 May - Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is involved in a car accident. Cocaine is found in his wrecked car. Richards is given a court date of 12 January 1977.
  • 2 July - Benjamin Britten is created Baron Britten of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk, less than six months before his death.
  • 11 September - Sir Charles Groves conducts the Last Night of The Proms, which includes music by Britten, William Walton, Frederick Delius and other British composers. Anne Collins is guest soloist.
  • 20 September & 21 September - 100 Club Punk Festival, the first international punk festival is held in London. Siouxsie and the Banshees play their first concert.
  • 8 October - The Sex Pistols sign a contract with EMI Records.
  • Year-end charts

    Between 5 January and 10 December 1976.

    Best-selling albums

    The list of the top fifty best-selling albums of 1976 were published in Music Week and in Record Mirror at the end of the year, and reproduced in the second edition of the BPI Year Book in 1977. However, in 2007 the Official Charts Company published album chart histories for each year from 1956 to 1977, researched by historian Sharon Mawer, and included an updated list of the top ten best-selling albums for each year based on the new research. The updated top ten for 1976 is shown in the table below.

    Bands formed

  • Elvis Costello & the Attractions
  • The Jam
  • The Clash
  • The Cure
  • The Damned
  • Generation X
  • Madness
  • UK Subs
  • Bands disbanded

  • Soft Machine
  • The Pretty Things
  • Argent
  • Deep Purple (they reform in 1984)
  • Classical Music: new works

  • Benjamin Britten - Welcome Ode for young people's voices and orchestra
  • Jonathan Harvey - I Love the Lord
  • Alun Hoddinott - A Contemplation upon Flowers
  • Daniel Jones - Dance Fantasy
  • William Mathias - Zodiac Trio
  • William Walton - Varii Capricci
  • Opera

  • Peter Maxwell Davies - The Martyrdom of St Magnus
  • Iain Hamilton - Tamberlaine (radio)
  • Film and Incidental music

  • John Addison - Swashbuckler (US film).
  • Musical films

  • Bugsy Malone
  • The Slipper and the Rose
  • Births

  • 16 January - Stuart Fletcher (The Seahorses)
  • 21 January - Emma Bunton, singer and actress (Spice Girls)
  • 8 March - Gareth Coombes (Supergrass)
  • 17 March - Stephen Gately, Irish singer (Boyzone) (died 2009)
  • 6 April - James Fox, singer-songwriter
  • 8 May - Ian "H" Watkins (Steps)
  • 10 May - Stuart Braithwaite, singer-songwriter and guitarist (Mogwai)
  • 2 June - Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane)
  • 13 June
  • Jason "J" Brown (5ive)
  • Kym Marsh (Hear'Say)
  • 22 June - Gordon Moakes (Bloc Party)
  • 3 July - Shane Lynch, Irish singer (Boyzone)
  • 10 July - Philip Howard, pianist and composer
  • 12 August - Stuart MacRae, composer
  • 16 September - Tina Barrett (S Club 7)
  • 1 October - Richard Oakes, guitarist (Suede)
  • 16 November - Dan Black (The Servant)
  • 12 December - Dan Hawkins, English guitarist, songwriter, and producer (The Darkness and Stone Gods)
  • Deaths

  • 5 January - Mal Evans, Beatles' former roadie and patron of Badfinger, 40 (shot)
  • 8 January - George Baker, singer, 90
  • 13 January - Isolde Menges, violinist, 82
  • 19 March - Paul Kossoff, guitarist, (Free), 25 (drug-related)
  • 26 March - Duster Bennett, blues musician, 29
  • 14 May - Keith Relf, vocalist (The Yardbirds), 33 (electrocuted)
  • 15 May - David Munrow, early music performer, 33 (suicide)
  • 26 May - Dame Maggie Teyte, operatic soprano, 88
  • 30 May - Hugo Rignold, violinist and conductor, 71
  • 24 August - Michael Head, pianist and composer, 76
  • 27 October - Deryck Cooke, musicologist and broadcaster, 57
  • 28 November - Harold Darke, organist and composer, 88
  • 4 December - Benjamin Britten, composer, 63
  • date unknown - Malcolm Boyle, organist and composer, 74
  • References

    1976 in British music Wikipedia

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