The standard page for 1977 lists the biggest hit songs across the whole World. This page compares that with the top 20 biggest hits of the year in North America and Europe. The region index explains how these results were generated and the long term trends.
The most distinctive songs of 1977 (that is the hits that only charted in one place) has been calculated.
Previous Comments (newest first)
1 Aug 2011
Excuse me, the biggest U.S. hit of 1977 was "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone (on your website is 2nd). On Billboard Hot 100: No. 1 for 10 weeks, 25 weeks in the chart, best selling single of the year (platinum cert.), Oscar and Grammy Award for Song of the Year winner...
"Hotel California" went to No. 1 only for 1 week, stayed 19 weeks in theBillboard chart...
The Grammy award we use is the Record of the Year (which for 1977 was "Hotel California"), the winner of Song of the Year was actually Joe Brooks (for writing it) not Debby Boone (joint winner of course since "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" also won). We don't use the Song of the Year Grammy since it is specifically focused on the song, not the particular performance.
In terms of sales during 1977 you are correct, "You Light Up My Life" was a bigger seller than "Hotel California". However we're trying to measure the total 'success' of a song (which we admit is a rather vague term). For example if you were to ask a random person in the street to quote some of the lyrics which song do you think they'd be more likely to know? Which of these two songs is more likely to be on a random North American's MP3 player?
The longer lasting impact of the Eagle's song is attested to by the fact that it is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 (selected in 1983), in 2001 it was one of the RIAA's "Songs of the Century" and, in 2003, was given the Grammy Hall of Fame award. It was finally awarded Platinum by the RIAA in Feb 2009.
We suspect you would agree that the Eagle's song has had more exposure than Debby Boone's since, say 1985. The question is has it had enough extra exposure to overcome the 1977 sales difference. The calculation we use seems to suggest that it has.
So we agree you do have a good point, total sales at the time are important, but the metric used here indicates that "Hotel California" is more 'important' and 'well known', that's why is is listed top North American song of 1977.
5 Jul 2011
Crystal Gayle - Regional Hits
What about Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"? No. 2, 26weeks, gold certification? No. 2 for 3 weeks November - December 1977
The 41st most successful song of 1977 worldwide, by our calculation it was not in the top 20 North American songs of the year.