Canonically speaking, 1976 is the year before punk happened - a year by which all the vital musical movements of the preceding years had spent themselves, leaving listeners in a wilderness of faded glories, novelty pop, nostalgia and kitsch. Or so the story goes.
It's also the year I was born. Friends and family will have heard me maintain in the past that the 1970's is my spiritual decade, both for the music and the fashion. And if that is so, then 1976 has to be my own personal temporal anchor within it.
So, I've decided an interesting exercise in semi-autobiographical history will be to follow the 1976 UK charts in real time through 2017 to see what made it into the top ten and the truth behind the mythology. Look at some classics, maybe pick out some hidden treasures; almost certainly cringe at some of the rubbish that made it in.
We'll be starting this week with the New Year's Top Ten, which by finding a home for Queen, Hot Chocolate, Bowie, Dana, Demis Roussos, Chubby Checker and Laurel & Hardy, seems to simultaneously validate any and all arguments about the condition of music that year.