Blast from the Past: 1979 music

Hey, remember how back in August I talked about music? I’m going to do it again, but this time, in December!

I’m still doing that thing where I’ll listen to almost everything from a particular year on Spotify, and then curate a playlist of my favorites.  After I finished 1971, I moved on to 1979.  And. Oh man. 1979 was an amazing year. I still operate under the illusion that a single other person would want to listen to the playlists, so I try not to have the things be insanely long, but my full playlist for 1979 ended up being my longest yet at 436 songs (131 more than the one for 1982).  It hurt me physically and made me cry to remove some of the songs from the full list, so please listen to it so my suffering will have served a purpose.

Anyway, so much good stuff here!

Not all of it’s disco, but a lot of it’s disco. I guess I’m just a disco fan. I know, I know, disco was just about over by then, but there were still some solid albums in 1979: Grace Jones’s “Muse”, Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”, Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies’ Night”, plus almost any disco album out of Europe (France Joli, Baccara, ‘Luv, . Seriously, you need to listen to Paul Jabara’s “Disco Wedding” as soon as possible. But, basically, when it comes to disco, Michael Jackson just strolls in and shows everybody how it’s done with “Off the Wall”

Also there’s lots of funk!  Despite the fact that, with every funk song I listen to, I’m less sure what “funk” actually is, I’ll probably never get enough of it. (Faves: “Gap Band II”, Parlet’s “Invasion of the Booty Snatchers”, Faze-O’s “Breakin’ the Funk”)

Plus you’ve got early electronic music from artists like Telex, Kraftwerk, and Roberto Cacciapaglia.  And then New Wave! (Sparks, Cars, Boomtown Rats. The Motels.) And just some poppy crap that I like anyway (Dollar, ABBA, Captain & Tennille)! And punk!… well, okay, I’m not that into punk, but I think there’s a few songs in there).

1979 seems to have been this nexus of great music because there was just so much going on, and so many great people doing it.

Top 10 albums? Geez, this part’s hard:

  1. The Ann Steel Album – Robert Cacciapaglia2.
  2. Tusk – Fleetwood Mac (this was my third time listening to it over the course of 6 or 7 years, and I finally get it. It’s a beautiful album.)
  3. Joe’s Garage – Frank Zappa
  4. Bad Girls – Donna Summer
  5. The Wall – Pink Floyd
  6. Breakfast in America – Supertramp
  7. Muse – Grace Jones
  8. Sheik Yerbouti – Frank Zappa
  9. The Fine Art of Surfacing – The Boomtown Rats
  10. Three Hearts – Bob Welch

Again, the idea behind this musical journey is I got tired of listening to the albums and artists I already knew over and over again, so I wanted to just dive in and listen to new stuff.  Just like with every other year I’ve done (so far 1971, 1974, and 1982) there’s a bunch of crap, but a bunch of gems that I may never have come across otherwise.  So here’s the bands I discovered that are pretty cool and that you should give a chance:

  • Baccara
  • Paul Jabara
  • Rickie Lee Jones (holy crap what a voice)
  • Scherrie & Susaye
  • Bob Welch (okay, I *suppose* that’s not entirely true because of his time with Fleetwood Mac, but still)
  • Suzi Lane
  • The Motels
  • The Flying Lizards
  • Rockets
  • Tantrum
  • Parlet
  • Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns

Super-special mention for 1979: Pink Lady

Unfortunately, Spotify does not have any of Pink Lady’s albums, but I was so intrigued by the idea of a Japanese female disco-pop duo that I bought four of their main albums: Pepper Keibu, Hoshi kara Kita Futari, Magical Musical Tour, and We Are Sexy. They are seriously amazing, and their career went sour well before it should have. If you ever get the chance to listen to them, take the chance.

Now, without further ado, here’s a couple embedded playlists.  First, the short one, 56 songs clocking in at 4 hours and 33 minutes:


And then, the full list of my favorites, 436 songs with a total playtime of 34 hours and 15 minutes:


Of course, that second list is a little curtailed for whatever reason, so if you want all 436 songs, you’ll need to go here:

I hope someone out there enjoys these, even if you only listen to a few songs.  Next time, I’ll be doing 1984!

Thanks for reading!

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