I have just finished re-editing my list for 1978 because of the depth of great music. Of course, this is not a 1977-type year, but those seismic years are few and far between. Yet, this year remains something of a milestone year in rock music for this writer.
During the Summer of 1978, while the movie Grease was packing teens in the movie theaters, I was running with a couple of high school teammates and another runner from another school in a 1600-meter relay team in the old AAU state tournament. I was doing this in preparation for my running in a national track meet to be held in Fort Collins, Colorado, at Colorado State University. And, I was doing all of that running workouts while playing Babe Ruth baseball, where I made the All-Star team but turned down the honor in order to run in the AAU State Championships before my trip out west. Just for giggles, I was playing basketball in our high school basketball summer open gym workouts. Yet, for some reason, the basketball coach was very upset that I was running in those two big meets at the time. I mean, come on! I had a chance to run in a couple of meets that most kids would never get the opportunity to do just to remain at home for two weeks so I could be playing basketball. Little did Coach know, but I ran my race early in the week, then played basketball with high school and college players from all around the United States. In other words, I was playing against better competition out in the Rockies than back home. Plus, I actually met and shook hands with the great Jesse Owens while at this event. And, that, my friends, is the greatest non-family event to have occurred in my life. I have never been able to describe what is different in the person that makes them able to achieve greatness, but whatever it is, Mr. Owens had it oozing from every pore in his body; yet, he was the most humble and down-to-earth gentleman. And, it was my honor to have met him. And, that happened in 1978!
Additionally, in 1978, I made one of the greatest album purchases in my high school days. I remember going to the local independent record store called The Browser. This place sold music, of course, but also young men’s clothing. Still, I walked in the store after cashing my paycheck from detassling corn, and walked out with three terrific albums, all that remain as favorites to this day. The albums were The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf AND REO Speedwagon’s You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish. To this day, it remains one of my greatest days of purchasing music.
1978 will be remembered for disco music reaching its peak in popularity, while punk was morphing into a more accessible form known as new wave. And soundtracks were everywhere: Grease, Sgt. Pepper, Thank God It’s Friday, FM, to list a few. Arena rock was beginning to ascend in popularity. In many ways, 1978 was a transition year. Regardless, it was a solid year with much diversity.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 40 albums that I still enjoy today. Start the countdown!
- The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
- Van Halen – Van Halen
- Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight
- Ramones – Road to Ruin
- The Cars – The Cars
- Blondie – Parallel Lines
- Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town
- Queen – Jazz
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – You’re Gonna Get It!
- Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
- The Jam – All Mod Cons
- Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model
- The Band – The Last Waltz
- Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
- Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool
- The Police – Outlandos d’Amour
- Jackson Browne – Running on Empty
- Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove
- Chic – C’est Chic
- Kraftwerk – The Man Machine
- AC/DC – If You Want Blood You’ve Got It
- Todd Rundgren – Hermit of Mink Hollow
- Doobie Brothers – Minute by Minute
- Ace Frehley – Ace Frehley
- Styx – Pieces of Eight
- Roadmaster – Sweet Music
- Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous
- Daryl Hall & John Oates – Along the Red Ledge
- Neil Young – Comes a Time
- Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers
- REO Speedwagon – You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish
- The J. Geils Band – Sanctuary
- Patti Smith Group – Easter
- Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus
- The Jacksons – Destiny
- Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
- Fotomaker – Fotomaker
- Bob Seger – Stranger in Town
- Dire Straits – Dire Straits
- Commodores – Natural High
I really do feel bad for the artists whose albums were left off this list. Besides the many soundtracks that I listed earlier, The Clash, Boston, Parliament, Faith Band, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Foreigner, Willie Nelson and Wings. However, I stand by my list, and I hope you found it a little bit interesting.