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by Rick Henry 4 months ago in 70s music / list · updated 3 months ago
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A few random albums...

In this article I am looking at 13 random albums released in 1979.

1979 was a great year in music with albums by artists such as Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, The Cars, Donna Summer, Supertramp, Styx, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and many other favorites.

I have two favorite years for music in the 1970s. Those are 1975 and 1979. 1979 symbolized a time of change. Disco was still very popular but soon faded out making way for New Wave a sub-genre and hybrid of rock, punk and dance music. Artists such as The B-52s, Depeche Mode, and Blondie began racking up the club hits while hits for Donna Summer, The Village People, and The Bee Gees began to cool down.

But New Wave (and it's related genres) not only affected disco. It dug into rock music which was once again in a transition period. Classic Rock (which was still very much alive) was sharing the spotlight with the punk (post-punk and pop-punk included) side of the equation that stole the spotlight from classic rock. The Clash and The Ramones were the stars (or anti-stars) of the late 70s into the 1980s.

1979 was realistically the last great year for Classic Rock as Led Zeppelin released (unbeknownst to them) their last studio album, and The Wall by Pink Floyd was the last by the classic lineup of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright. Bands like Chicago and The Moody Blues abandoned their classic rock style for adult contemporary ballads and others such as The Doors were no longer around.

Some argue 1979 was the death of hard rock and classic rock. I tend to agree.

The following are Billboard Magazine's Year-End charts for 1979 and 1980.

I included 1980 because several albums released in 1979 ended up on their 1980 chart. Billboard usually does their year-end charts from November the previous year to the end of October of the year they are tracking, which really is not completely reflective of the year.

Top Albums of 1979 (Billboard Magazine)

10. Rod Stewart - Blondes Have More Fun (1978) / 9. Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978) / 8. Donna Summer - Bad Girls (1979) / 7. Styx - Pieces of Eight (1978) / 6. Donna Summer - Live and more (1978) / 5. Supertramp - Breakfast in America (1979) / 4. The Cars - The Cars (1978) / 3. The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute (1978) / 2. The Bee Gees - Spirits Having Flown (1979) / 1. Billy Joel - 52nd Street (1978)

Top Albums of 1980 (Billboard Magazine)

10. Kenny Rogers - Kenny (1979) / 9. Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door (1979) / 8. Blondie - Eat to the Beat (1979) / 7. Pat Benatar - In the Heat of the Night (1979) / 6. Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band - Against the Wind (1980) / 5. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes (1979) / 4. Billy Joel - Glass Houses (1980) / 3. Michael Jackson - Off the Wall (1979) / 2. Eagles - The Long Run (1979) / 1. Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)

The following image is a copy of Cashbox Magazine's Best Selling Albums of 1979. Cashbox relied more on sales then airplay. Therefore, I feel they gave a better depiction of what was happening in music in 1979.

Cashbox Magazine: Top Albums of 1979

Now for the Main Feature: 1979 A Few Random Albums in Review

Pat Benatar - In the Heat of the Night

Benatar's debut album was released on August 27, 1979 and debuted on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart in the U.S. on October 20, 1979. The album remained on the chart for 122 weeks into the early months of 1982. The album made its best chart appearances in Canada at #3 and New Zealand at #8. In the U.S. it made it up to #12 and reached the Top 30 in Australia and France. Finally, the album made its way to #98 where it stayed on the UK chart for one week on August 24, 1985.

The first single, "I Need a Lover" was released on the same day as the album. The John Mellencamp (Johnny Cougar) penned song gained a good amount of attention for Benatar and became a hit on AOR radio. The song did not chart in the U.S. but made it to #24 in Belgium and #31 in the Netherlands. Mellencamp took the song to #28 in the U.S. credited as Johnny Cougar.

The album's second single, "If You Think You Know How to Love Me" was a cover of the 1975 hit by British band Smokie. The song failed to chart for Benatar and now she was at a crossroads. She had to release a legitimate hit single. "Heartbreaker" was that song. It was her breakthrough in the US where it made it to #23. Its best chart appearances were #3 in France than #12 in Canada. It also rose to #14 in New Zealand and #95 in Australia. Benatar was firmly on her way to superstardom. The next single "Rated X" (written by Nick Gilder) was only released in France where it ascended to #8.

Finally, "We Live for Love" was the first single released written by Pat's then boyfriend (now husband) Neil Giraldo. The song was her first to make the Top 10 in more than one country reaching #3 in France and #8 in Canada. As well the song was #27 in the U.S., #27 in New Zealand, and #28 in Australia. The song was a deviation from her normal sound. She sang in a higher pitch and the song had a rock disco rhythm. It sounded rather much like Blondie's "Heart of Glass." Some radio programmers mistook her for Chrysalis Records labelmate Debbie Harry from Blondie.

Other tracks from the album that received radio attention were "Don't Let it Show" (an Alan Parsons Project cover), "No You Don't" (a cover of glam band Sweet), and a Pat Benatar/Roger Capps song "So Sincere."

The Cars - Candy-O

Released on June 13, 1979, exactly one year after the release of their hugely successful debut album The Cars continued in a trend of success. Their second album hinted more at an electronic KROQ new wave style while their first album featured a classic rock sound.

Candy-O, like their debut, featured a female on the album cover. This cover was painted by Alberto Vargas, an artist known for his paintings of pin-up girls which showed up in Esquire and Playboy magazines from the 40's to the 60's. The model who posed for the painting coincidentally was named Candy.

With Candy-O the Cars proved they were not a one album wonder. The album reached #3 on the US chart as well as #6 in New Zealand, #7 in Australia and #30 in the UK.

The first single from the album was the classic "Let's Go", which was written by Ric Ocasek and featured lead vocals by the band's bassist Benjamin Orr. The song was a huge hit in many countries around the world reaching #14 in the U.S., #5 in Canada and #6 in Australia. The song featured a signature clapping sound which was derived from a 1962 instrumental called "Let's Go" recorded by the Routers. The second single "It's All I Can Do" wasn't quite as successful on the charts but was certainly a big favorite by fans of the Cars and AOR music listeners. This song is described as a romantic new rock ballad. The third single "Double Life" failed to chart but received heavy airplay on classic rock radio stations across the U.S. This song featured the lead vocal of Ric Ocasek with backing vocals by the entire band. "Double Life" embraces a fresh modern rock sound as its lyric speaks of the alienation of infidelity in a relationship. "Lift me from the wondermaze, alienation is the craze".

Besides the three singles the album also features several outstanding album cuts including "Since I Held You", "Candy-O", "Nightspots", "Lust for Kicks", "Got A Lot On My Head" and "Dangerous Type" - all of which received a good amount of airplay on classic rock and new wave radio stations.

Eagles - The Long Run

After releasing five consecutive albums one right after the other it took the Eagles 3 long years to record and release "The Long Run". Released on September 24, 1979, the album reached #1 in the U.S. and stayed there for 8 weeks. It dethroned Led Zeppelin's "In Through The Out Door'' (of which you can read later in this post). The album also reached #1 in Australia, Canada and Sweden. It was Top 5 in Norway, New Zealand and the UK.

The track "The Geeks Don't Want No Freaks" included Jimmy Buffett on backing vocals. The moody "Sad Cafe" featured jazz musician David Sanborn playing saxophone.

The album included three U.S. top ten hits with "The Long Run", the ballad "I Can't Tell You Why" and the classic "Heartache Tonight". The latter of which went #1. "In The City", "Sad Cafe" and "Those Shoes" also received radio airplay on classic rock stations.

"Heartache Tonight" won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. This was their fourth of six Grammy Awards.

Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery

"Discovery" was a big hit worldwide charting in Japan, New Zealand, Italy, Austria and Canada as well as reaching #1 in the UK, Australia and Norway. In the U.S. the album made it up to #5.

Released on May 31, 1979, there were five singles released from the album. The first was "Shine A Little Love", which contained a disco beat and gave ELO a huge boost in universal sales. The song reached the Top Ten in 8 different countries around the world including #1 in Poland and Canada. In the UK the song reached #6 and in the U.S. #8.

The second single was the big beat sounding "Don't Bring Me Down", which ended up being ELO's biggest worldwide hit (barring movie songs and/or duets). It charted in the Top Ten in 12 countries around the world, which is more than any of their other songs. The song placed the best in Australia and Canada where it reached #2 and in the UK, it was #3. In the U.S. the song made it to #4 becoming their biggest U.S. hit.

The third single didn't fare too well. "The Diary of Horace Wimp" was a curious song obviously influenced by the Beatles with the added electronic technology of the late 70's. The song was patterned after one of their hits from 1978 "Mr. Blue Sky". Despite its catchy feel-good sound, the song failed to catch on in most parts of the world, although it did hit #8 in Ireland and #10 in England.

The fourth single "Confusion" brought ELO back into the Top 20 throughout many countries around the world. By the time the fifth single, "Last Train to London'' was released the album had run its course and the song did not chart in many countries although it fared well in France reaching #3 there. It also reached the Top Ten in the UK and Ireland. In the U.S. the song just squeezed into the Top 40 at #39.

The song "On the Run" received a fair amount of classic rock radio airplay and could have been a single had there not already been five releases. Some people have suggested it should have been released in place of "The Diary of Horace Wimp."

As with other ELO releases the album featured an entire orchestra including instruments such as cello and violin. The orchestral and choral arrangements were composed by Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Louis Clark. Clark also conducted the orchestra. Louis Clark is best remembered for his "Hooked on Classics" albums released in the early 80's.

Journey - Evolution

In 1979 Journey was just on the brink of taking an already hugely successful career into worldwide super-stardom within the next 2 and 3 years.

"Evolution" brought Journey their first legitimate U.S. hit single with "Lovin' Touchin', Squeezin'". The album was their first to chart in the UK reaching #100.

"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" was written by Steve Perry and was influenced by Sam Cooke's 1962 classic "Nothing Can Change This Love". "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" hit #16 in the U.S. as well as #6 in Canada and #37 in New Zealand.

"Just The Same Way" was the album's first single release but did not chart so well. It reached #58, but still showed an upward progression in the records sales and chart positions. "Just The Same Way" was co-written by Journey band members Gregg Rolie, Neil Schon and Ross Valery. The lead vocals were shared by Gregg Rolie and Steve Perry.

"Too Late" was a third single that showed poorly on the charts but received a good amount of classic rock radio airplay.

"City of the Angels" was a highlight from the album which some claim may be the album's strongest track. The song received radio airplay on FM classic rock stations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

With Steve Perry now firmly fronting the band, "Evolution", their fifth studio album, found Journey sounding stronger and more focused than ever. They incorporated elements of romance and radio friendly hooks in the songs. This was the prototype for future albums such as "Departure", "Escape" and "Frontiers".

Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door

Several diehard Led Zeppelin fans were disappointed when this album was released. Many fans at the time felt it was weak. As time has gone on those doubting fans have come to appreciate the album.

The album was released on August 15, 1979. On September 8, 1979, the album entered the US Billboard album chart at #10. The very next week it shot to #1 and stayed there for seven weeks.

The album was a huge hit around the world reaching #1 in the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand. It also reached the Top 10 in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain. In 2015 the album reached #6 in Hungary due to being reissued as a Deluxe Edition. In Through The Out Door also received several certifications including: 6×Platinum in the US, 2×Platinum in Australia, Platinum in the UK and New Zealand, Gold in Argentina and Hungary.

Only one single was released from the album, "Fool in the Rain" which was backed with "Hot Dog." The single made it to #21 in the US and #12 in Canada - ending up as one of their five biggest hits in each country. The song also reached #44 in New Zealand.

The B-Side, "Hot Dog," received a fair amount of airplay. Some people speculate that it could have been a hit on its own. A promo single of the song was released in Brazil. The single contained a stereo mix of "Hot Dog," while the B-Side was a mono mix of the song. The B-Side of this promo was misprinted and is missing the text on the Swan Song label. A mint copy of this record has been seen to sell for more than $200 in USD.

Probably the album's best-known track "All My love," was not released as a single. But boy did this song ever get a ton of airplay all around the world. I had a few friends that thought the song was a #1 hit.

A promo copy of "All My Love" was released in Argentina under the title "Todo Mi Amor." The B-Side is "Hot Dog." There are two Argentinian releases, one on the Swan Song label and one on Atlantic.

The most common promo release of "All My Love" is from Brazil. Side A is a mono version of the song while the B-Side is the standard stereo version. The time on the label for both sides reads at 4 minutes. This is a misprint; the song on this 7" vinyl pressing is the 5:53 version as found on the album. Very good copies of this promo sell for about $250.

In Peru "All My Love" was released commercially on Capricornio label with Herb Alpert's #1 hit "Rise" as the B-Side - that's an odd pair - but both songs were big hits in 1979. Mint copies of this rarity with picture sleeves have sold for close to $1,200.

"All My Love" was written as a tribute to Robert Plant's son, Karac Pendragon Plant. Karac died of a stomach virus, at the age of six on July 26, 1977. Plant was in New Orleans, Louisiana on Led Zeppelin's 1977 North American tour. The rest of the tour was cancelled, and Robert Plant flew back home. Karac's death affected Plant profoundly and hindered the future of Led Zeppelin.

Gary Numan + The Tubeway Army - Replicas

Replicas was the first album of what Numan termed the "machine" phase of his career, preceding The Pleasure Principle and Telekon, a trilogy linked by common themes of a dystopian science fiction future, transmutation of man/machine, and a synthetic rock sound.

"Down in the Park" was the first single release from Replicas. The single failed to chart but has become a staple in Numan's live performances. The song was his first composition on keyboards and his first release to feature the electronic sound that became his trademark.

The second single, "Are Friends Electric?" was a huge hit throughout Europe and other parts of the world. The song was #1 in the UK and made it into the Top 10 in Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, and France. The song was certified Gold in the UK. The song also made Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top 100 Singles chart in the US at #8 effectively placing it at #108.

The album is filled with several songs that have become Gary Numan classics including: "Me! I Disconnect from You," "The Machman," "Praying to The Aliens," and "You Are in My Vision."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes

"Damn The Torpedoes" became part of rock music culture and resonated strongly with music listeners around the world. The album goes back to the roots of rock with hints of country and blues yet with the technology and electric power of the late 1970s. The album was a staple at most house parties throughout 1979 and 1980.

Their 3rd studio album, "Damn the Torpedoes", was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers U.S. breakthrough having reached #2 (for seven weeks) and selling over 2 million copies. Pink Floyd's "The Wall" kept Petty from reaching #1. The album was released on October 19, 1979.

The first single "Don't Do Me Like That" received heavy rotation on FM classic rock radio including KROQ, KLOS and KMET as well as some Top 40 radio. The song reached U.S. #10 and generated enthusiastic interest and strong sales for the album. Tom Petty was firmly poised for worldwide super-stardom.

Two other singles "Refugee" and "Here Comes My Girl" both received heavy airplay and reached U.S. #15 and #59 respectively. "Refugee" became an anthem of sorts with its chant like chorus..."Everybody's had to fight to be free. You see, you don't have to live like a refugee". The song gave a feeling of freedom and release for those locked up in the torments of love.

"Even The Losers", "Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)", "Century City” and "Louisiana Rain" all received critical acclaim as well as consistent airplay on album oriented rock stations.

Just a quick personal note here... As I was listening to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers video I posted here... I had a strong feeling... it made me wish very much that my brother was still with us... My brother (Chris) and I saw Petty in the early 1980s and boy it ws a great show. We had such a good time. I miss my brother.

Pink Floyd - The Wall

"The Wall'' was released on November 30, 1979, and became a classic upon its release. The album went on to become one of the Top 30 biggest selling albums worldwide having sold more than 30 million copies to date.

The album delved into themes of isolation and loneliness. Pink Floyd asked Is there anybody out there? Was this a cry for help? In the song "Another Brick in The Wall", the author (Roger Waters) is tormented by his schooling in 1950's Britain. The school was extremely controlling and as Waters said, rebellion was needed. To escape the loneliness Waters built a wall around himself.

"Another Brick in The Wall (Part Two)" was released as a single and immediately rose to #1 in more than ten countries around the world as well as Top 3 in several others. The song brought out a sense of rebellious unity as the chorus shouts "we don't need no education". It was a means of speaking out against discipline as a means of control. The North London Islington Green School students provided the school choir vocals. The choir included 23 kids aged 13 to 15. They were overdubbed 12 times to give them a larger and more haunting choral sound.

Two other singles were subsequently released "Run Like Hell" and "Comfortably Numb". Both received heavy airplay while "Comfortably Numb went on to become an all-time classic and has been covered by many acts including radically re-arranged Bee Gees disco styled version which reached #10 in the UK in 2004 by Scissor Sisters. David Gilmour 's guitar solo in "Comfortably Numb" is regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.

Roger Waters' vision was that of a momentous musical experience. The result was well beyond the band's wildest expectations. Millions of music lovers identified with the philosophical statements in the album.

Many musicians from various musical genres participated in the making of the album. Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys and Rip Chords), Toni Tennille (Captain and Tennille) both contributed background vocals in a few songs. Lee Ritenour (guitar) and Jeff Porcaro (Toto, drums) were only a few of many uncredited musicians who participated in the recording of "The Wall".

The double album, Pink Floyd's 11th studio album, includes many classic tracks such as "Mother", "Goodbye Blue Sky", "Young Lust", "Hey You", "Is There Anybody Out There" and "In the Flesh".

Roger Waters has stated The Wall was created to be listened to as a whole instead of a set of individual songs - although each song holds up well on its own.

The 1982 film, "The Wall", incorporates live action and animation and every song from the album The Wall is featured in the movie except for "Hey You" and "The Show Must Go On".

The Police - Regatta de Blanc

The single release of "Message in A Bottle," was the perfect teaser for the upcoming album Regatta de Blanc. The song had all the trademarks of classic written all over it. A chant like chorus. A message of a cry out for help, a plea to be noticed. Right from the opening guitar chords the song hits on strong and keeps a driving momentum with Stewart Copeland's always fantastic drum work. The song was a huge European hit reaching #1 in England, Ireland and #2 in the Netherlands. In the U.S. it didn't fare as well, it only reached #74, but received very strong radio airplay and became a classic Police track.

One month later, in October 1979, Regatta de Blanc was released to a welcome reception. The album flew to #1 in the UK, Australia, France and the Netherlands. As well as reaching #3 in Canada and #4 in New Zealand. The U.S. seemed to be the hard sell, the album fared decently reaching U.S. #25 and eventually sold over a million copies. The album recharted on the U.S. billboard chart at #153 in 1983, after the release of "Synchronicity". This was the Police's 2nd studio album.

The reggae influenced "Walking on The Moon" was the second single and it sold just a s well as "Message In A Bottle" with the exception of not charting in the U.S. The video for the song was filmed at the Kennedy Space Center and features footage from NASA.

The instrumental "Regatta de Blanc" brought the Police their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. This was their first of 6 total Grammy wins.

The song "Bring on The Night" was written about the execution of Gary Gilmore who was found guilty of robbing and murdering two men in Utah. He was executed by a firing squad on January 17, 1977.

Five of the eleven songs were written by Sting. Stewart Copeland wrote 3. Copeland and Sting co-wrote one song together, while the last two were written by the entire trio of Sting, Copeland and Summers.

Donna Summer - Bad Girls

This was the Queen of Disco's Pinnacle. The album was released on April 25, 1979. Bad Girls reached #1 on the US Billboard 200, where it stayed for six weeks: for one week on June 16, 1979, and then for five consecutive weeks, from July 7 to August 4, 1979.

The first single from the album was "Hot Stuff." The eye-opening rock influence disco track which includes a great guitar solo by Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers guitarist, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, was released on April 13, 1979, and sailed to #1 on Billboard's Top 100 Singles chart. The song stayed at #1 for three non-consecutive weeks and was certified Platinum in the US and Canada as well as in Canada. The song received a Gold certification in Italy and Silver certification in the UK. The song was also #1 in Australia, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland and made it into the Top 5 in Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. Probably the song's greatest claim to fame is winning the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in the inaugural year the award was given out.

The second single, "Bad Girls," was just as popular and similarly acknowledged. The song stayed at #1 in the US for five weeks and was also #1 in Canada. The song reached to Top 5 in Belgium and Switzerland and was certified Platinum in the US and Canada and Silver in the UK. The song won the American Music Award for "Favorite Pop/Rock Single" and was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording.

The third single "Dim All the Lights," did not fare as well as its two predecessors but was still a major hit reaching #2 in the US for two weeks and #13 and #14 in Canada and New Zealand respectively. It was certified Gold in the US.

"Dim All the Lights" was Summer's only hit single that she wrote alone. She had originally intended to give the song to Rod Stewart but, thankfully, changed her mind. "Dim All the Lights" is acknowledged for a sustained note held by Donna Summer for about 16 seconds.

Before the fourth single from the album was released "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" (duet with Barbra Streisand) and "On the Radio" were released to promote the compilation album On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II. The former was another #1 hit and the latter to #5 in the US. Donna scored eight consecutive Top 5 hits in the US by this time.

"Sunset People" was the fourth single release. The song was released throughout the world except the US. It charted at #42 in the Netherlands and #46 in the UK.

"Our Love," the fifth single was released only in Spain and did not chart.

The sixth and final single "Walk Away" was mostly released to promote the compilation album Walk Away - Collector's Edition: The Best of 1977-1980, which was released after Donna left Casablanca Records. The song made it to #36 in the US while the compilation album reached #50.

The country ballad, "On My Honor," was released as a promo single in the UK (around the time "No More Tears" was released). This song garnered a good amount of attention with music promoters stating that it proves that Donna was much more than just a disco diva.

Other tracks that gained attention as well as radio and club play are: "Journey to the Centre of Your Heart," "One Night in a Lifetime," and "Lucky."

Supertramp - Breakfast in America

"Take a look at my girlfriend, she's the only one I got," echoed the halls of many high school campuses and college age dorm parties. Supertramp's 6th studio album, Breakfast in America, was their peak both commercially and artistically. The album reached #1 in seven countries around the world including Canada, Australia and the U.S., where it stayed at #1 for six weeks.

Several of the songs on the album are played on a Wurlitzer electric piano, creating a distinctive sound. The album's first single "The Logical Song" was driven by this sound. Right from the very opening of "The Logical Song" (the album's first single) the Wurlitzer is prominently featured and is a dramatic constant throughout until the end. "The Logical Song" was released a month and a half after the album's March 29th release. The song was an instant hit commanding heavy airplay in both the U.S. and UK, where it reached #6 and #7 respectively.

The second single, "Breakfast in America", didn't do as well in the U.S. reaching only #64, but became a staple on classic rock radio. In the UK it reached #9.

"Goodbye Stranger", the album's third single, took Supertramp back into the U.S. top 15 reaching #15, but only made it to #57 in the UK. It was somewhat a reversal of the chart history of their previous single. This song, like the others, is supported by the Wurlitzer and propels forward with electric guitar and rhythmic bass lines in the chorus.

The band decided to release a fourth single, which was somewhat uncommon during this time. Three singles from one album was the industry norm. Though as we moved into the 80's four to five singles from an album became commonplace. The fourth single was the classic "Take the Long Way Home," which was already well known as it had been receiving heavy airplay on FM AOR stations around the world. The song brought Supertramp back into the U.S. Top Ten reaching #10, though it did not chart in the UK. It did however reach #9 in Germany.

"Breakfast In America" won two Grammy Awards. One for Best Recording Package and the other for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. The album was nominated for Album of the Year but lost out to Billy Joel's "52nd Street".

Talking Heads - Fear of Music

This was the second of three Talking Heads albums produced by the maestro Brian Eno. Eno employed Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame) to play guitar on "I Zimbra". During this time Eno was also working with David Bowie and Devo and was a heavily sought-after producer and musician.

Fear Of Music contains funk-based rhythms which loop back and forth with electronic sounds constructed by Eno. Tina Weymouth (the band's bass guitarist) has commented that David Byrne has an insane but fantastic sense of rhythm.

The album was a minor but worldwide hit having charted in the Top 40 in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia. The album made to #11 in New Zealand. Three singles were released as follows: "Life During Wartime", "I Zimbra" and "Cities". None of them charted well anywhere, but all of them became alt-rock classics and garnered airplay in dance clubs. Talking Heads entered a new phase in their career - dance music.

"I Zimbra" was the first of three Talking Heads to place on the U.S. Dance chart reaching #28. "I Zimbra" capitalized on a prominent disco beat and funk filled bass lines which pushed the song forward to become an underground dance floor classic.

"Life During Wartime" is the album's most prominent track. The song is a grim look of a recruit on the front-line. Byrne's lyrics speak of gunfire, grave sites, roadblocks and disease. Byrne shouts out, "this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around," (which became an anthem in the clubs and at house parties). In one round of the chorus Byrnes names Mudd Club and CBGB, both popular underground clubs in New York.

Critics have hailed Fear of Music as one of rock music's finest moments. In a Rolling Stone Magazine review, John Pareles commented, "Fear of Music is often deliberately, brilliantly disorienting." He continued to say, "The album is foreboding, inescapably urban and obsessed with texture." Other critics described it as an unconventional rock release and praised the album's gritty weirdness.

In the Rough Guide to Rock published in 1979, Andy Smith commented that the album was a strong contender for Best Album of the 70's because it's "bristling with hooks, riffs and killer lines."

Thank you for visiting and checking out the music!!!

If you enjoyed this article... you may enjoy "Fans Choice: 20 Favorite Songs of Roxy Music"


Thank you for checking out my

70s musiclist

About the author

Rick Henry

Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.

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Comments (16)

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  • aaliyah kale2 months ago

    Well written

  • Frosch Pernice2 months ago

    Department of eh's very good

  • jamar chilcote2 months ago

    Great writing

  • Frank Lomax3 months ago

    An in depth article. Some great music and musicians.

  • Whoa, I truly admire all the effort you put into these. Very well organised and you provided a lot information. I enjoyed reading this!

  • Amethyst Qu4 months ago

    "Fear of Music" was my favorite album for years. Sigh. As for "Breakfast in America," if I never hear it again, it'll be too soon. So overplayed back in the day...

  • Dawn Salois4 months ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story! Very well deserved for such a well written, thoroughly researched article. I’m sorry for the loss of your brother, but glad you were able to make some great memories together.

  • Keila Aartila4 months ago

    Congrats on your tops! As a "late. bloomer" to appreciating good music, I enjoy many of these - and our 16 yo daughter chose Styx as her first concert to attend this coming Labor Day weekend - we are thrilled, of course! 🥳 Thanks for sharing!

  • Heather Lunsford4 months ago

    Great article, great year for music. My friend bought Blondie Parallel Lines. We listened to it in their attic bedroom. It changed my life. I'm the youngest of four kids, I had never actively chosen music in my life I just heard what they played. I realized I didn't have to like their music it was ok if I was more about punk than disco. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Fantastic review! And, the beat goes on. Saw Pat Bentar on Sunday Morning last Sunday. Congratulations on TOP story too!!!💖😊💕

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    Thus is great, Rick. Lots of incredible memories from my much younger days.

  • Catherine Kenwell4 months ago

    Lot to think about there! It was a great year for music, thanks for reminding me!

  • P. M. Starr4 months ago

    Your personal note mentioned under Tom Petty made all of the impersonal facts and details of this piece seem like an elaborate frame holding and making this one sound of a distant faint heartbeat ache so poignantly. I think most of us click on these thumbnails of album covers and read through pieces like this hoping to find nuggets of memories & nostalgic feelings. Just that one sentence or two sticks out like a beautiful painful thumb illustrating all of the deeply personal attachments we have to music that can't be measured or quantified on industry charts.

  • An excellent recap Rick , some good music in there

  • 1977-1979 was the best! I suppose it helps that I was young and carefree. But, you hit that nail square on!!

  • Kendall Defoe4 months ago

    I remember being a child and hearing a lot of these. Thanks for this, especially the mention of Talking Heads, Donna Summer and Supertramp ("When I was young...")

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