You could make a case for pretty much any 12-month period in the 1970s being The Greatest Year In Rock Ever. 1970 was the year that heavy metal took its first steady steps. 1972 saw the arrival of David Bowie and glam rock. In 1975, Led Zeppelin owned the stadiums of America and Queen released a gloriously crazy single named Bohemian Rhapsody.
But 1976 takes some beating. The bridge between the soft rock era of the early 70s and the punk rock explosion that jolted the music industry out of its cocaine stupor, it was an year of instant hits and slowburning classics.
In America, Kiss, Aerosmith and Peter Frampton ruled the roost with multi-million selling albums. The UK had charismatic bad boys Thin Lizzy, heads-down boogie merchants Status Quo, Beatles devotees ELO and prog rock giants Genesis showing the breadth of what rock was capable of.
It saw the arrival of debut albums from future giants – Boston, Ramones, Blondie – and of cult legends, not least pioneering all-girl punks the Runaways and the criminally overlooked Starz. Bands who had been bubbling under stepped up to the plate – Rush, Scorpions, Bob Seger. And then there was the matter of a little ol’ record titled Hotel California…
Whichever way you want to slice it, 1976 was a vintage year. And here are 40 albums that prove it.
Scroll through our list 40 Albums That Turn 40 in 2016 – and then vote for your favourite.