The 77s

Last updated
The 77s
Origin Sacramento, California, U.S.
Genres Rock, Christian rock, Christian alternative rock, new wave
Years active1979present
Past members
  • Mark Proctor
  • Jan Eric Volz
  • Mark Tootle
  • Aaron Smith
  • David Leonhardt

The 77s (alternatively spelled the Seventy Sevens or the 77's) is an American rock band consisting of Michael Roe on vocals/guitar, Mark Harmon on bass guitar, and Bruce Spencer on drums.



The group was “formed at a church by a church” under the name Scratch Band in Sacramento, California, during the late 1970s according to Mike Roe. [1] Accompanying him were Mark Tootle on guitar and keyboards, Jan Eric Volz on bass guitar, and Mark Proctor on drums. They were occasionally joined by singer Sharon McCall and guitarist Jimmy A. Their repertoire included originals and songs by English poet Steve Scott among others. The “church” that brought the players together was Sacramento's Warehouse Christian Ministries with the band being a part of the ministries artistic outreach, performing every weekend at the Warehouse. [1] [2] The name of the band was changed to The Seventy Sevens before the release of their first album, Ping Pong Over the Abyss in 1982, on WCM’s own Exit label. While the meaning of the group's name has never been revealed, it is thought to be derived from either Matt 18:22, Daniel 9 or, simply, a year – possibly 1977 – which holds some significance to the band. In 1984, the group toured with labelmate Vector and Resurrection Band with all 3 bands playing the very first Cornerstone festival. [1]

When Proctor left the band, he was replaced by Aaron Smith, who appeared on the album All Fall Down (1984) and remained with the band until 1995. Smith had been a former sideman with Ray Charles and The Temptations and a member of Vector. [1] [2] The next album, The Seventy Sevens, was released by Island Records in 1987. While the album received favorable reviews, it did not sell as well as it might; the reason being The Joshua Tree by labelmate U2 was released that same year. In his article on the subject, John Thompson (True Tunes) thought it likely that Island put most of its resources into promoting The Joshua Tree while others on the label received less promotional support. The album received a positive review by Rolling Stone critic, Margot Mifflin: "the 77s have come up with a sound that suggests not only that they know where they’re coming from, but also that they’re going places". Mark Alan Powell called it "an artistic masterpiece – probably one of the ten best albums of the year not simply in the Christian market but in rock and roll, period". [1]

A compilation album – Sticks and Stones (1990) and a live album – 88 (1991) (which contained a manic version of Over, Under, Sideways, Down) were released after their eponymous Island Records release. At some point in 1992 Tootle and Volz left the band which left Roe as the only original member. David Leonhardt (guitar) joined in early 1992 with Mark Harmon (bass) joining that year also, replacing Tootle and Volz. [1]

Pray Naked was released in 1992 but the title was changed by the label, Word Records, to The Seventy Sevens. The album title change would cause confusion in the minds of consumers and marketers since the 1987 album on Island bore the same name. [1] This was followed by Drowning with Land in Sight in 1994. Leonhardt and Smith left the band soon after, with Smith being replaced by former bandmate Bruce Spencer of Vector. This change brought about a new version of the band, namely a power trio line up with Harmon, Roe and Spencer which started referring to itself as “the band that won’t go away”. It also brought the release of Tom Tom Blues (1995). [1]

At the end of the 1996, The 77s started the label Fools of the World and reissued some of its albums. New material was also released following the label's formation: Echoes o' Faith (1996 live acoustic material), EP (1999) and A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows (2001). [2] Also, Scott Reams occasionally played in the band during concerts beginning in 2000. [1]

In 2010, The 77's participated in the tribute album Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, a compilation of 17 unreleased tracks written by Tommy Bolin. [3]

Critically, the 77s are considered by fans and music critics; such as Dwight Ozzard (Prism magazine), Brian Quincy Newcomb ( HM ) and John Thompson ( True Tunes ), as the greatest – or “best” depending on whom one might quote, rock and roll band in the world. [1]


Promotional singles

peak pos
1983"Renaissance Man"1 Ping Pong over the Abyss
"Ping Pong over the Abyss"5
"A Different Kind of Light"
1984"Someone New"18
"Mercy Mercy" All Fall Down
"Caught in an Unguarded Moment"14
1987"Do It for Love"13 The 77s
"I Can't Get Over It"
1990"Miserable"12More Miserable Than You'll Ever Be
"This Is the Way Love Is"1 Sticks and Stones
1991"You Walked in the Room"6
"The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes & the Pride of Life"6The 77s
1992"Woody"4 Pray Naked
"Phony Eyes"7
1993"Nuts for You"6
1994"Snake"1 Drowning with Land in Sight
"Nobody's Fault But Mine"3
1995"Cold, Cold Night"14
1996"Rocks in Your Head"7 Tom Tom Blues
2001"Related"6 A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows
"Mr. Magoo"
"—" denotes singles that did not chart.


Members of The 77s have used the moniker 7&7is to release projects that they do not see as fitting under their regular band name. The name comes from the title of a classic song by the 60s music group Love, called "7 and 7 Is."

The name was first used for Alternative Records' 1989 collection of rarities and outtakes (later released as More Miserable Than You'll Ever Be). The name was revived in 2004 for Fun with Sound, a collaboration between lead singer Michael Roe and bassist Mark Harmon. Harmon and Roe also toured that year under the name.

7&7iS discography

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<i>Ping Pong over the Abyss</i> 1982 studio album by The 77s

Ping Pong over the Abyss is the debut album by the 77s, released in 1982 on the Exit Records label.

<i>The 77s</i> (album) 1987 studio album by The 77s

The 77s released their self-titled, third album in 1987 on the Exit and Island Records labels.

<i>All Fall Down</i> (The 77s album) 1984 studio album by The 77s

All Fall Down is the title of the 77s' second album, released in 1984 on the Exit Records label.

<i>Sticks and Stones</i> (The 77s album) 1990 studio album by The 77s

Sticks and Stones is the 77s' fourth album, released in 1990 on Broken Records.

<i>Eighty Eight</i> 1991 live album by The 77s

Eighty Eight is the title of The 77s' fifth album, released in 1991. The album was recorded live at the Warehouse in Sacramento, California on March 12, 1988.

<i>Pray Naked</i> 1992 studio album by The 77s

Pray Naked is the title of The 77s' sixth album, released in 1992 on the Brainstorm Artists, Intl label.

<i>Drowning with Land in Sight</i> 1994 studio album by The 77s

Drowning with Land in Sight is the seventh studio album by American rock band The 77s. It was released in 1994 on Myrrh Records. The music, their heaviest up to that point, ranged from the opening note-for-note Led Zeppelin cover to the straightforward Rolling Stones homage "Cold Cold Night" to Roy Orbison-influenced ballads "Film at 11", "The Jig Is Up", and "Alone Together". The lyrics primarily reflected the stress of singer Michael Roe's divorce, except for "Dave's Blues", about guitarist David Leonhardt's illness with cancer. At the record label's insistence, the final track was written and added to provide a more upbeat conclusion. Also, a vulgarity in "Dave's Blues" was backward masked into unintelligibility.

<i>Tom Tom Blues</i> 1995 studio album by The 77s

Tom Tom Blues is the title of The 77s' eighth album, released in 1995 on the Brainstorm Artists, Intl label.

Echoes O' Faith is the title of The 77s' second live album, released in 1996 on the band's own Fools of the World label. This album was recorded live at Echoes Of Faith Church in Ontario, California on November 28, 1992.

<i>EP</i> (The 77s EP) 1999 EP by The 77s

EP is an EP by American rock band the 77s released in 1999 on the band's own Fools of the World label.

<i>Late</i> (album) 2000 studio album by The 77s

Late is the title of The 77s' eleventh album, released in 2000 on the band's own Fools of the World label.

<i>A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows</i> 2001 studio album by The 77s

A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows is the title of The 77s' twelfth album, released in 2001 on the band's own Fools of the World label, with distribution through Galaxy21 Music.

<i>Direct</i> (EP) 2002 EP by The 77s

Direct is the title of The 77s' second EP, released in 2002 on the band's own Fools of the World label.

Mutt is an album by the band Lost Dogs, released on Fools of the World and Lo-Fidelity Records in 2004.

<i>Holy Ghost Building</i> 2008 studio album by The 77s

Holy Ghost Building is a 2008 album by the Sacramento-based rock band The 77s.

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Oomph! is a German rock band from Wolfsburg, formed in 1989. The band pioneered the Neue Deutsche Härte movement. Their work contains lyrics in both English and German, with a shift towards German exclusively on recent albums.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Powell, Mark (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (Second 2003 ed.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 811–817. ISBN   1-56563-679-1.
  2. 1 2 3 Alfonso, Barry (2002). The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music (First ed.). New York, NY: Billboard Books/Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 238–241. ISBN   0-8230-7718-7.
  3. Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival, 2010