Nineteen seventy-nine was a very good year in music. In compiling today’s Throwback Thursday playlist focusing on 1979 I had so many very good songs from which to choose. 208 songs, to be exact. That’s how many 1979 cuts bring me much joy. There are another 181 1979 tracks I also like. Somehow I was able to whittle it down to the 30 cuts below. Some years it’s a struggle to come up with 30!
Disco was at its commercial peak in 1979. So many of the disco songs that charted then remain popular today – “I Will Survive,” “We Are Family,” “Y.M.C.A.,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Hot Stuff,” “Good Times,” “Heart of Glass,” “Ring My Bell,” “Knock on Wood,” “Got To Be Real.” While the genre seemed omnipresent, there was more to 1979 music than clams on the half shell and roller skates roller skates. Hear what was going on below.
Inspired by the March 10 birthdays of Neneh Cherry, Timbaland, Boston’s Tom Scholz, The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, Jan & Dean’s Dean Torrence, Edie Brickell, Robin Thicke, Beverly Bremers, Lemon Pipers’ Ivan Browne, and Carrie Underwood.
Inspired by the March 9 birthdays of ABC’s Martin Fry, The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, Lloyd Price, The Raiders’ Mark Lindsay, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Chris Thompson, YG, Chingy, and L.T.D.’s Jeffrey Osborne.
Inspired by the March 6 birthdays of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Tyler the Creator, Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Bubba Sparxxx, Betty Boo, Beanie Sigel, Lou Costello, Kiki Dee, Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick and The Blasters’ Phil Alvin.
Inspired by the March 5 birthdays of Andy Gibb, The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, The Equals’ Eddy Grant, Teena Marie, Murray Head, Paul Evans, The Proclaimers’ Craig and Charlie Reid, Steve Arrington, Tommy Tucker, Rex Harrison and Eddie Hodges.
Nineteen eighty wasn’t a game changing year on the US pop chart. It wasn’t 1964. It wasn’t 1991. For the most part it was music business as usual. The death of disco was greatly exaggerated. Just ask any member of Lipps, Inc., should you have any idea what any member of Lipps, Inc. looks like. Seventies hit makers stayed on the charts. Paul McCartney. Diana Ross. Stevie Wonder. Barbra Streisand. The Captain & Tennille did it to us one more time, it meaning having a hit single. A few outsiders snuck into the top 40 with sounds unlike the rest – Devo hit with “Whip It,” Gary Numan with “Cars,” and The Vapors with “Turning Japanese.” In the coming years more such weirdos would make their presence known.
While many of 1980’s hits were great singles, many classics were born outside of the mainstream. Releases such as Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “Redemption Song,” Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Peter Gabriel’s “Biko,” Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” and Funky 4 + 1’s “That’s the Joint” are often referred to as classics these days. In 1980, not a single one of them troubled the US Hot 100. Change was on its way. In 1980, rap wasn’t a fixture on the top 40, though its influence was heard in Queen’s #1 smash “Another One Bites the Dust.” The next few years saw #1 hits from Peter Gabriel, Prince, David Bowie and a rap song, plus a top ten reggae song.
Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist shines a spotlight on 1980.
I saw Lou Reed (b. March 2, 1942) in concert once. During the show someone in the audience yelled out a song request. “Sweet Jane!”, he yelled. Lou Reed heard the request and responded in the most Lou Reed of ways, using his Lou Reed voice and intonation to say “Gee, that’s original. How long did it take you to think of that?” I said to the person with whom I attended the show “Yell out ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’ It’ll be funny.” He declined. Chicken! Lou Reed did play “Walk on the Wild Side” later in the show. He did not perform “Sweet Jane.”
Today’s playlist consists of thirty highlights from Lou Reed’s career.