1979: The First Musical Big Bang of My Life


Let’s make a quick rundown of these album titles: Get the Knack, Breakfast in America, The Wall, Damn the Torpedoes, Tusk, The Long Run, At Budokan, Armed Forces, Off the Wall, Prince, London Calling, Highway to Hell, Fear of Music, Bad Girls, Regatta de Blanc. All of these albums were released during 1979. I gotta tell you, 1979 represents the year when the possibilities were wide open, musically speaking. To all of us older Gen Xers, 1979 represents the year when the underground was finally bubbling into the mainstream.

9.9 pink floyd

The first big earthquake of the year happened when The Knack rocketed to #1 on the Album Chart. Then, in rapid succession came albums by AC/DC, Zep, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd and The Clash. And the singles by Joe Jackson, The Cure, KC & the Sunshine Band, Patrick Hernandez and M were blowing minds. In other words, it was a wonderful time to be a teen. Sure, there was drivel, like that damn disco duet by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer or the seemingly endless stream of Kenny Rogers songs, but the quality of the music from 1979 was absolutely satisfying to me. Hell, one particular song that I loved, and swore to my mother that I would play it at her funeral (I did not, but she would have gotten a kick out of it if I had) was “Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)” by the Pat Travers Band, which did not make my Top 100. I only mentioned it because of the significance it had in our house in 1979 and beyond.

Clash & Jones, Mick & Strummer, Joe & Headon, Topper & Simonon,

Maybe, 1979 is special because it coincides with me getting my driver’s license. Still, I don’t think so. I objectively believe 1979 was just a stellar year for music, much like 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1991 were. Look back at that initial list of albums released in 1979 and ask yourself how many of those listed were either the best album by that artist or that artist is now in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? All but two of the artists are in the Hall, while many of those titles listed are definitely among those artists’ best work. The Wall continues to be a big seller, while London Calling is considered one, if not THE, greatest album of all time.

9.9 led zeppelin

Even here in Indiana, we were experiencing our own little scene of great artists breaking forth to some regional and national fame. First, there was Roadmaster breaking out in 1978. Then, at the end of 1978 and the beginning of 1979, Muncie’s Faith Band was also broke, though, for reasons I still don’t understand, radio played Nigel Olsson’s decent cover of Faith Band’s terrific single “Dancing Shoes.” Finally, a little regarded artist from Seymour finally kickstarted what ended up becoming a rock immortal career, John Cougar, still years away from regaining his Mellencamp surname.

So, let’s get this whole thing moving as I take you through my 100 favorite songs of 1979.

9.9 Wonderful_Christmastime_(Paul_McCartney_single_-_cover_art)

100. “Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney

99. “Bright Side of the Road” – Van Morrison

98. “Disco Nights” – GQ

97. “Rock with You” – Michael Jackson

96. “Ladies Night” – Kool & the Gang

95. “Sara” – Fleetwood Mac

94. “Are Friends Electric?” – The Tubeway Army

93. “Knock on Wood” – Amii Stewart

92. “I Need a Lover” – John Cougar

9.9 tim curry

91. “I Do the Rock” – Tim Curry

90. “One Step Beyond” – Madness

89. “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” – Rupert Holmes

88. “Goodbye Stranger” – Supertramp

87. “Lady” – Little River Band

86. “Mama Can’t Buy Me Love” – Elton John

85. “Shake It” – Ian Matthews

84. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – Bauhaus

83. “Blow Away” – George Harrison

82. “Gotta Serve Somebody” – Bob Dylan

81. “Sail On” – The Commodores

9.9 Robert-Palmer

80. “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” – Robert Palmer

79. “Take Me Home” – Cher

78. “Makin’ It” – David Naughton

77. “Stumblin’ In” – Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman

76. “Gold” – John Stewart

75. “Money” – The Flying Lizards

74. “Jane” – Jefferson Starship

73. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” – Bad Company

9.9 squeeze

72. “Up the Junction” – Squeeze

71. “Dim All the Lights” – Donna Summer

70. “Babe” – Styx

69. “All My Life” – Led Zeppelin

68. “(Not Just) Knee Deep” – Funkadelic

67. “Dance the Night Away” – Van Halen

66. “Heartache Tonight” – Eagles

65. “Still” – The Commodores

64. “Heartbreaker” – Pat Benatar

63. “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” – Ramones

62. “Born to Be Alive” – Pat Hernandez

61. “Tragedy” – Bee Gees

9.9 XTC-Making-Plans-For-Nigel-1979

60. “Making Plans for Nigel” – XTC

59. “Let’s Go” – The Cars

58. “Breakfast in America” – Supertramp

57. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – Charlie Daniels Band

56. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles

55. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” – KISS

54. “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – McFadden & Whitehead

53. “We Are Family” – Sister Sledge

52. “Bad Girls” – Donna Summer

9.9 michael jackson

51. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” – Michael Jackson

50. “Oliver’s Army” – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

49. “Refugee” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

48. “Hey, St. Peter” – Flash & the Pan

47. “Dream Police” – Cheap Trick

46. “Transmission” – Joy Division

45. “New York Groove” – Ace Frehley

44. “Beautiful Girls” – Van Halen

43. “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” – Journey

42. “Run like Hell” – Pink Floyd

9.9 rickie lee jones

41. “Chuck E.’s in Love” – Rickie Lee Jones

40. “Dreaming” – Blondie

39. “Fool in the Rain” – Led Zeppelin

38. “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” – Neil Young & Crazy Horse

37. “Cruel to Be Kind” – Nick Lowe

36. “Take the Long Way Home” – Supertramp

35. “Walking on the Moon” – The Police

34. “Don’t Do Me like That” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

33. “Tusk” – Fleetwood Mac

32. “Pop Muzik” – M

31. “Don’t Bring Me Down” – Electric Light Orchestra

9.9 boomtown rats

30. “I Don’t Like Mondays” – The Boomtown Rats

29. “After the Love Has Gone” – Earth, Wind & Fire

28. “Renegade” -Styx

27. “Driver’s Seat” – Sniff ‘n’ the Tears

26. “Hot Stuff” – Donna Summer

25. “Is She Really Going Out with It?” – Joe Jackson

24. “The Logical Song” – Supertramp

23. “Even the Losers” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

22. “Dance Away” – Roxy Music

9.9 cure

21. “Boys Don’t Cry” – The Cure

20. “Wait for Me” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

19. “Boogie Wonderland” – Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions

18. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – Queen

17. “Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads

16. “Message in a Bottle” – The Police

9.9 ACDC

15. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC

14. “Good Times” – Chic

13. “Starry Eyes” – The Records

12. “Please Don’t Go” – KC & the Sunshine Band

9.9 faith-band

11. “Dancing Shoes” – Faith Band

10. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd

9. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding)” – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

8. “Rock Lobster” – The B-52’s

7. “London Calling” – The Clash

6. “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugarhill Gang

9.9 knack

5. “My Sharona” – The Knack

4. “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” – Pink Floyd

3. “I Want You to Want Me (live)” – Cheap Trick

2. “Train in Vain (Stand by Me)” – The Clash

Prince Performs Live In New York

1. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” – Prince

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: