Hotel California ~ The Eagles. Considered their Magnum Opus, The Eagles' Hotel California was the only album of theirs that I really liked. Why dat? I suppose because I bought into their message at the time, about being sensitive stewards of the land (man). And I liked the addition of Joe Walsh. He added something that I would call Midwestern sensibility. The departure of Randy Meisner after this album did in the Eagles though.
American Girl ~ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Tom Petty's debut album with the Heartbreakers. Prolific songwriter, his best was still to come.
Do You Feel Like We Do (live) ~ Peter Frampton I know, I know, utter schlock rock in retrospec. But I liked Peter Frampton from his Humble Pie days and didn't begrudge him some commercial success. Ron posted a video at his blog featuring the Ventures using the the same "voice guitar" more than 10 years earlier. Frampton rolled through Madison around this time and I saw him for a second time (the first time with Humble Pie).
The Piano has Been Drinking ~ Tom Waits. I saw him open for Jerry Jeff Walker at a show at the Orpheum Theater in Madison 1976 or '77. Leo Kottke was supposed to be there but canceled at the last minute.
Year Of the Cat ~ Al Stewart. A great song, but I tend to listen more to Al Stewart's Past, Present and Future, especially his retelling of the entire Second World War from a Russian Partisan's POV. link
Shake Your Booty ~ KC & the Sunshine Band. This man did more for disco music than any other person.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ~ AC/DC. Already established in Austrialia, AC/DC reached out to the US and found a willing market. I probably would have loved them as a 13 year-old. I still think they rock.
The Wreck Of the Edmund Fitzgerald ~ Gordon Lightfoot. This song appeared exactly around the time when I was making annual summer trips to Lake Superior with my dad. I think it even played on the AM radio in heavy rotation around this time.
Go Your Own Way ~ Fleetwood Mac I didn't realize that this was released as a single prior to its release on the album Rumours the following year)
On the horizon:
Final Solution ~ Pere Ubu. Proto-angst ridden number. Direct link to bands like Sonic Youth in the future. I don't think Pere Ubu ever had a commercial success, but that doesn't matter, they're still great. They're still around too.
Blitzkrieg Bop ~ The Ramones. The only band with more eponymous members than the Marleys of Jamaica. The Ramones were a legend.
Cherry Bomb ~ The Runaways. Joan Jett's launch. All girls all the time. "Hello Dad, Hello Mom, ch-ch-ch-ch-Cherry Bomb!"
All good stuff.