With an advertising tagline of 'No Static At All', the film told the story of the fictional Los Angeles radio station Q-SKY, that had become the number one station in the area mainly due to the music they played and because they were running the station the way they wanted to run it. The movie focuses on the battle between rebellious head of the station Jeff Dugan, played by Michael Brandon, and his corporate bosses, who wanted more advertising and less music. The movie also starred Eileen Brennan as Mother, burned out from being a DJ, Cleavon Little as the hip late-night DJ ~The Prince of Darkness and Martin Mull who portrayed a self-centered romantic who wanted to be more than just a DJ. Although the film's plot was thin it was saved by the music, especially the tracks performed by Linda, although she had second thoughts about appearing in the movie and even refused to appear in any publicity photos for the film.
The concert footage was excellent with Linda looking stunning in a loose shirt over a striped t-shirt with tight pants that were tucked into knee-high boots. She performed powerful versions of 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me', Tumbling Dice' and Elvis' 'Love Me Tender', All three songs were filmed during her 'Simple Dreams' tour at a concert in Houston, Texas. A soundtrack album was released that featured Steely Dan, Bob Seger, Dan Fogelberg, The Eagles, James Taylor and Linda whose live versions of 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me' and Tumbling Dice' were included.
The film was based on an FM radio station but following its release, many AM stations started playing an edited version of the title song on which an A was substituted for the F of FM!
The film was not well received and one reviewer felt that "FM is likely to please only those who find incendiary power in the sound of Joe Walsh's voice backed by a bland pseudo-reggae instrumental track." In the book Hollywood Rock, compiled by Marshall Crenshaw and featuring several different reviewers, Andy Langer wrote: "If FM weren't so concerned with painting radio as a good guy in the battle against corporate America, a little extra wit might have made this movie Spinal Tap's natural forerunner." He also felt that it wasted an ideal opportunity to exploit the humour and personality of the seventies radio scene but did praise both Linda's and Jimmy Buffet's performances. There are similarities between FM and the TV series WKRP In Cincinnati which premiered the same year and it is possible that WKRP had its beginnings in FM. Many felt that the film would appeal to seventies nostalgia buffs and that, as a peek into what was a crazy decade, it would become a good time capsule [extract from Linda Ronstadt: A Life In Music by Peter Lewry, 2010]
The Bands / Albums.
In 1972, nobody really knew quite what to make of Steely Dan and their debut album Can't Buy A Thrill, not even founding members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. However, those that saw them as just another polished West Coast rock outfit were missing the point. Although the album was just the first step of a voyage of musical discovery, there was already plenty to distinguish Steely Dan from the pack.
While the vocal harmonies here are often suggestive of Crosby, Stills, Nash, And Young, the arrangements reach new levels of sophistication. Miles Davis had previously had a go at fusing rock and jazz, but when Fagen's vocals drop in after the exquisite Latin jazz intro to "Do It Again," you know these guys were really on to something. When Denny Dias'electric sitar solo comes in, you know they could really nail it.
Billboard were masters of understatement when they said this album would have "good hit possibilities for a group that should be around for some time."
"FM (No Static at All)" is the title theme to the 1978 film FM and Soundtrack. It made the US Top Forty that year when released as a single, a success relative to the film it was from, which failed at the box office and has remained obscure since then. Musically, it is a complex jazz-rock composition driven by its bass, guitar and piano parts, typical of the band's sound from this period; its lyrics look askance at the album-oriented rock format of many FM radio stations at that time, in contrast to the film's celebration of it.
It was the first single Steely Dan released on MCA Records (which had released the soundtrack), predating MCA's acquisition of ABC Records, the band's previous label, by one year. At the time of its release, the band's album Aja was enjoying great critical and commercial success, leading some listeners to assume that "FM" was also on that album. It was not, although it has since been included on some of the band's compilation albums.
However, it had been recorded during the same sessions as Aja and employed some of the same studio musicians and recording personnel, in addition to band members and songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Among them were saxophonist Pete Christlieb and drummer Jeff Porcaro; several members of the Eagles sang backing vocals.
Bob Seger - Night Moves (1976)
Eight albums into his career, Bob Seger finally caught some mass success with the release of Live Bullet, a concert album recorded by the Michigan native at Detroit's Cobo Hall. The road veteran and his Silver Bullet Band were working on their next studio LP, Night Moves, at the time, a record that showed both their honed chops and Seger's mix of songwriting maturity and nods to the classic rock 'n' roll of his teen years. With some help from the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Night Moves brought Seger to national acclaim thanks to bar anthems like the title track "Nightmoves" and the retrospective "Mainstreet." Those are the hits that still get played on classic rock radio, but "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," "The Fire Down Below," and "Mary Lou" are feel-good stompers that showcase Seger's often-overlooked singing, a unique voice that sits comfortably between John Fogerty and Brian Johnson.
Popular music critic Robert Christgau wrote that the riffs on Night Moves were classic rock and roll riffs, like those performed by Chuck Berry or the Rolling Stones, and that the album was about rock and roll for those who are no longer in their teens, like the song "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". The Rolling Stone review of the album by Kit Rachlis stated that the album was one of the best to come out of 1976-77, that Seger sounded like Rod Stewart and wrote lyrics like Bruce Springsteen, and that album was classic rock and roll.
Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle (1976)
It took the Steve Miller Band eight years and nine albums before they finally hit the big time. They got a taste of it in 1973 when the title track to "The Joker" reached No. 1. But "Fly Like an Eagle", which was released in April 1976, took Miller and his group to a whole new level.
At least half of the album’s dozens songs are classics today, with three of them scoring huge on the pop chart: “Take the Money and Run,” the first single, which stopped at No. 11; “Rock’n Me,” the second of Steve Miller Band’s three No. 1 hits; and the title cut, which stayed at No. 2 for two weeks.
Fly Like an Eagle turned them into one of music’s biggest acts in the mid-’70s. Miller was the star, singing, playing guitar and keyboards, producing and writing or co-writing nine of the songs. The band at the time included Lonnie Turner on bass and drummer Gary Mallaber, but the LP also featured contributions by harmonica player James Cotton, session guitarist Led Dudek and the Doobie Brothers‘ John McFee.
Foreigner - Selftitled (1977)
Formed in New York City in 1976 by British-born guitarist Mick Jones (not the Clash one) and King Crimson founder member Ian McDonald, slick stadium rockers Foreigner released their highly acclaimed, selftitled album in 1977, which spawned the hit "Cold As Ice". Sales for that and the following year's Double Vision confirmed that Foreigner had hit upon a top-dollar trademark sound.
But the inexhaustible Jones and his songwriting Lou Gramm (vocals) weren't content with laurel resting. In 1979, a return to gritty basics on the Head Games album led to artistic clashes and the first of several personnel reshuffles within the Foreigner camp. Subsequently, their fourth album, 4, made No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1981. It contained a hit single in an unexpected vein: "Waiting For A Girl Like You."
It's combination of lyrical delicacy and rock-oriented musical bombast is a style that is a cliche today and
has come to be known as the power ballad but it was then uncommon. 1984's Agent Provocateur gave Foreigner their biggest transatlantic success to date: "I Want to Know What Love Is" - an authentic, emotive gospel-inspired epic, penned by Jones - went to No. 1 in the UK and held the same position on the U.S. Billboard charts for two weeks from February 2, 1985, confirming Foreigner's position as power ballad masters.
Despite numerous ongoing sagas involving ego clashes, solo projects, dissolutions, and reshuffles, the kings of windswept power-pop still rock on today. But we all know that without that first hit Cold As Ice, none of this would have happened.
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Selftitled (1976)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a popular straight-ahead rock band who have proven themselves as both socially conscious as well as acclaimed hit makers. Guitarist Mike Campbell is the main musical counterpart to lead singer Tom Petty. Formed in Florida, the group’s first album was issued in 1976, including the then-little noticed single “Breakdown.” The song peaked at number 40 in 1978, after the group’s second album became a minor hit. Dylan Sevey tells how the song came about on his blog
“‘Breakdown,’ I wrote that, and we cut it. It was really long. Maybe seven or eight minutes … And somewhere near the end, [Mike] played that lick … Dwight Twilley came in, and when that lick came by, he goes, ‘That’s the lick! Oh man, that’s the lick!’ So we stopped the tape, rolled back and listened to that lick. And I said, ‘Yeah’ … By now it’s one or two in the morning. And I called [The Heartbreakers] and had them all come back. They had all gone home. I called them, and they came back at two-thirty or three in the morning, and we cut the song. The version you now know.”
After reading Tom’s recollection of the “Breakdown” recording session, the mood of the song makes a lot more sense. In fact, with its laid-back groove, interweaving parts, and spacious atmosphere, it’s almost impossible to imagine it being recorded any time other than the middle of the night. The Heartbreakers’ drive and determination paid off; the late-night session spawned the first great song they ever committed to record.
The group has scored a series of massive hits, such as “Refugee,” “You Got Lucky,” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” In 1981, the group resisted “superstar pricing” for their new album, winning support of their fans for not going greedy like the record companies. The band survived New Wave but never selling out, but still making some subtle changes from album to album. In later years, they would incorporate more acoustic and folk-oriented sounds and themes.
Randy Meiser - Selftitled (1978)
Randy Meisner (born March 8, 1946) is an American former musician, singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of Poco and the Eagles. Throughout his professional musical career, Meisner's main role was that of bassist and backing high-harmony vocalist as both a group member and session musician.
His self-titled debut solo studio album was released in mid 1978, on Asylum in the United States, and in the United Kingdom. It was recorded shortly after his departure from the Eagles and in a fairly short amount of time so that he could fulfill his contract with Asylum. I think this is probably the reason that Randy's only writing credit on the album is a cover of Take It to the Limit.
The track "Bad Man" was the first song on the album. It was written by Glenn Frey and JD Souther sometime in the early 70s. I remember reading that it was intended for one of the early Eagles albums (either Eagles or On the Border.) While it isn't the best song lyrically it did manage to make it onto the soundtrack for the movie FM, which also included an appearance by his one-time employer Linda Ronstadt.
Linda Ronstandt - Simple Dreams (1978)
Linda Ronstadt recorded a gender-altered version of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" during 1977. Ronstadt has stated that Jackson Browne originally pitched the song to her, teaching it to her in the living room of her Malibu home. Ronstadt's interpretation was produced by Peter Asher for her multi-platinum album 'Simple Dreams' while a live version appeared on this soundtrack album to the smash 1978 movie FM.
"Tumbling Dice" is a song written and performed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. An updated cover version from a female perspective was a Top 40 hit single for Linda Ronstadt in 1978, and was also included in the film FM and on her album 'Simple Dreams'.
One of the most successful albums of Ronstadt's career, Simple Dreams spent five successive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard album chart in late 1977, displacing Fleetwood Mac's Rumours after it had held that position for a record-breaking 29 weeks.
Simple Dreams sold over 3½ million copies in less than a year in the United States alone—a record for a female artist. Among female recording artists at that time, only Carole King, with her album Tapestry, had sold more copies of an album.
Jimmy Buffett - Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
James "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American musician, songwriter, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee, during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the folk rock Down to Earth, in 1970.
During the 1980s, Buffett made far more money from his tours than his albums and became known as a popular concert draw. He released a series of albums during the following twenty years, primarily to his devoted audience, and also branched into writing and merchandising.
"Livingston Saturday Night" is a remake of a significantly different version Buffett recorded for the 1975 Rancho Deluxe soundtrack with a number of lyrical changes. The Son of a Son of a Sailor version of the song also appeared on the soundtrack to the 1978 movie FM that featured a cameo appearance by Buffett. Jimmy Buffett released the studio version of the single "Livingston Saturday Night" when the movie FM came out in 1978 and entered the Billboard Charts on April 12, reaching #52.
Dan Fogelberg - Souvenirs (1974)
Dan Fogelberg was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. He is best known for his early 1980s hits, including "Longer" (1980), "Leader of the Band" (1981), and "Same Old Lang Syne" (1981).
In the early 70's Dan Fogelberg began to record in Los Angeles with guitarist/producer Joe Walsh. Fogelberg quickly discovered that he had a sympathetic and enthusiastic partner in Walsh, and everything literally fell into place, even Graham Nash's presence (at Walsh's request) singing harmonies on the resulting album, 'Souvenirs', which featured a range of renowned Los Angeles-based musicians. The results were more than golden -- they ended up double platinum, with the single "Part of the Plan" reaching the Top 20 in 1974 and Souvenirs rode those charts for six months and sold steadily for years after. The album had mostly the same mix of elements as its predecessor, but this time it was widely heard and accepted.
Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)
The Stranger was the third album from the 28-year-old Billy Joel, who had just begun making a living from his music, having played in piano bars throughout high school in New York to supplement the income of his single mother. Whilst he had already achieved headline status with 1974's 'Streetlife Serenade', 'The Stranger' was Joel's first album to hit number one on the charts and remained Columbia Records' biggest selling album until 1985. It also prompted his biggest tour yet, playing 54 shows in the United States and Europe in the fall of 1977.
The nine-track-long album produced four singles; "Just The Way You Are" that provided his first two Grammy Awards in 1979,"Movin'Out (Anthony's Song)" with its teen rebellion message and car sounds included, the gentler "She's Always A Woman," and the infectious "Only The Good Die Young." Whilst the lyrics are poetic and clever, the album has a youthful appeal and Joel's gift for storytelling is particularly poignant on the astonising "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant."
The Eagles - Hotel California (1976)
Released in December 1976, Hotel California depicts the emotional burnout of the West Coast scene after peace and love hardened into cynical hedonism. The soundtrack of decadent times, it went on to sell more than 16 million copies. It is a mature work from a band whose reflections on the cost of excess had been formed the hard way—by five years of hit records and touring. As founder member Glenn Frey said, the album "explores the underbelly of success, the darker side of paradise."
Part delirious road trip, part murder ballad, the title track's lilting tempo and stinging guitar lines evoke a place where evil lurks behind potted palms and welcoming smiles; the searing lead duel between Joe Walsh and Don Felder is one of the most memorable in rock. Shifting focus from widescreen excess to close-up portraits of the damage done is one of the album's hallmarks. "Life In The Fast Lane" sends us on a dirty boogie down the freeway with a callous pair of socialites—only to encounter their smoking wreckage in the next track, "Wasted Time," a grandly orchestrated ballad of compromised, disappointed lives.
Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (1976)
When Boz Scaggs released Silk Degrees in March 1976, he was on his way to a five-times platinum smash. We know that now. The truth is, the album didn’t immediately start spooling off huge hits. The lead single “It’s Over” only reached No. 38 in 1976. But then came “Lowdown,” a Grammy-award winning No. 3 smash co-written with David Paich, later of Toto fame. It also streaked to No. 5 on both the R&B and the now-defunct disco charts.
Scaggs’ career was, after a two-album late-1960s stint with Steve Miller and six previous solo releases, finally on its way. “Lido Shuffle” from Silk Degrees would go to No. 11 in 1977, opening the door for four consecutive Top 20 singles in 1980 alone. Known initially as a blues-rocking gun-slinger, Silk Degrees also highlighted a period in which Boz Scaggs went from being a guitarist who sang toward a new musical persona as a vocalist who also played a little guitar. Members of the backup band on "Lido Shuffle" include David Paich, Jeff Porcaro and David Hungate who later went on to form Toto
Boston - Selftitled (1976)
After the celebration of the Bicententennial in the United States, engineer-turned-guitarist Donald "Tom" Scholz and his bandmates unleashed soft rock's ultimate Christmas present in December 1976.
Scholz, recording demos since 1970, borrowed Aerosmith's equipment to cut an album in November 1975. He recorded at studios across Los Angeles, to conform to union regulations requiring approved engineers, yet only one of those tracks made the album. For the rest, Scholz slaved over a hot console at home while his bandmates indulged in Californian excess (hence drummer Sib Hashian's herbal surname).
The set was Scholz's take on the Cream/Zeppelin template and boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals by Brad Delp.There was not a synth in sight, yet "Foreplay" is as space age as the UFO-inspired sleeve. "There was a rumor that I wrote the entire first album with a computer program," recalled Scholz. "Smokin"' rocks like a juggernaut, while the boisterous "Rock And Roll Band" and engaging "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"are outstanding slices of pristine rock.
Doobie Brothers - Takin' To The Streets (1976)
Takin' It to the Streets is the sixth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1976. It was the first album to feature Michael McDonald on lead vocals and produced the featured track "It Keeps you Running" and the hit single "Takin' It to the Streets"
By late 1974, touring was beginning to take its toll on the band, especially leader Tom Johnston. Things became worse during touring in support of Stampede when Johnston was diagnosed with stomach ulcers. His condition worsened and several shows had to be canceled. With Johnston forced to reduce his involvement with the band, the other members considered just calling it quits but Jeff Baxter suggested calling up friend and fellow Steely Dan graduate Michael McDonald who at the time was between gigs and living in a garage apartment. McDonald was reluctant at first, feeling he was not what they wanted, according to him, "...they were looking for someone who could play Hammond B-3 organ and a lot of keyboards, and I was just a songwriter/piano hacker. But more than anything, I think they were looking for a singer to fill Johnston's shoes." He agreed to join them and met them at the Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans where they moved on to a warehouse to rehearse for the next two days. Expecting to be finished once touring was completed, McDonald was surprised when the band invited him to the studio to work on 'Takin' To The Streets'.
James Taylor - J.T (1977)
James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. One of his better mid-period albums, JT includes the sunny hit "Your Smiling Face", the requisite R&B cover "Handy Man" and the charming "Secret o' Life. JT reached #4 on the Billboard charts and sold more than 3 million copies in the United States alone. In fact, every album that Taylor released from 1977 to 2007 sold over a million copies.
"Life's Been Good" is a 1978 song by Joe Walsh, which first appeared on the soundtrack to the film FM. The original eight-minute version was released on Walsh's album But Seriously, Folks..., and an edited 4½ minute single version peaked at #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, remaining his biggest solo hit.
As far as studio albums go, But Seriously Folks was Joe Walsh's most insightful and melodic. But Seriously Folks, released in 1978, was the album the Eagles should have made rather than the mediocre The Long Run. It captures a reflective song cycle along the same thematic lines of Pet Sounds, only for the '70s. The album's introspective outlook glides through rejuvenation ("Tomorrow," "Over and Over"), recapturing the simple pleasures of the past ("Indian Summer"), mid-career indecision ("At the Station," "Second Hand Store"), and a melancholy instrumental ("Theme From Boat Weirdos"). The disc's finale, "Life's Been Good," is a sarcastic and bittersweet ode to Walsh's "rock star-party guy" persona which reached the Top 10 on the pop charts and became a staple of FM rock radio.
Queen - News Of The World (1977)
News of the World is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. News of the World was the band's second album to be recorded at Sarm West and Wessex Studios, London, and engineered by Mike Stone, and was co-produced by the band and Stone. Containing the hit songs "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" and "Spread Your Wings", it went 4x platinum in the United States, and achieved high certifications around the world, selling over 6 million copies. News of the World is Queen's highest selling studio album to date.
"We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" are the first two tracks on the Queen album 'News of the World' LP released in 1977. These songs were intentionally arranged to be heard back to back which is why these two songs are almost always played together.
It is widely quoted (even in Queen-sanctioned documentaries) that the single "We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You" was a double A side. This is one of the great inaccuracies in Queen's history. It was not. "We are the Champions" was the single (A) side and "We Will Rock You" was the B side. I can still remember "We Are the Champions" being played on its own and being on the chart on its own when it was first released (and it was not charting in a way that led you to believe that it was going to be a hit).
If you go back to the mid-70's, "singles" generally were played on AM radio in North America and album-oriented rock was played on FM and many FM stations would play 2-3 songs from a band's album at a time. The FM stations started playing Rock You/Champs together simply because they appeared in the that order on the News of the World album and things kind of took off from there. I have read an old interview with John Deacon where he said it was a stroke of good luck that they happened to place these songs next to each other on the album because if they hadn't, they probably would never have had the success they ended up having.
Record One Side A:
1. FM (Steely Dan)
2. Night Moves (Bob Seger)
3. Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller)
4. Cold As Ice (Foreigner)
5. Breakdown (Tom Petty)
6. Bad Man (Randy Meisner)
Record One Side B:
1. Tumbling Dice (Linda Rondstadt)
2. Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Linda Rondstadt)
3. Livingstone Saturday Night (Jimmy Buffett)
4. There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler (Dan Fogelburg)
5. Just The Way That You Are (Billy Joel)
Record Two Side A:
1. Life In The Fast Lane (The Eagles)
2. Do It Again (Steely Dan)
3. Lido Shuffle (Boz Scaggs)
4. More Than A Feeling (Boston)
Record Two Side B:
1. It Keeps You Runnin’ (Doobie Brothers)
2. Your Smiling Face (James Taylor)
3. Life’s Been Good (Joe Walsh)
4. We Will Rock You (Queen)
5. FM-Reprise (Steely Dan)
FM Soundtrack Link (182Mb)