My Favorite Albums of 1979
I should preface this list by pointing out that many of these albums didn't even come into my life until the early 1980's... some even more recently than that. There are also several albums that would most probably be on this list, but I still haven't listened to them in a proper album format. Case in point would be TALKING HEADS' "Fear of Music". I've heard most of the songs, but have not heard "the album". I can't, in good conscience, put albums like that on the list, without knowing them in the proper context. As I approach the 1980's (which will begin with the next list), these albums will appear in a more consistent "real time", meaning that they were albums that impacted my life... and managed to still resonate with me, even to this day...from the time that they were released. So, in the meantime, sit back and enjoy my favorite albums of 1979.
1. THE CLASH: "LONDON CALLING"
Coming in by the wire.... not at number one, although Pink Floyd would be a close second... but having it's release in December of 1979 (Rolling Stone actually had this album topping their Top 10 Albums of the 80's chart, justifying it's December release as a 1980 release... silly Rolling Stone), it came close to topping my next chart. This album is quintessential Clash music. Political, catchy, diverse.
2. PINK FLOYD: "THE WALL"
Coming in at a close second place is "THE WALL" by PINK FLOYD. Do I REALLY need to explain why? I didn't think so. But... just in case you want a valid explanation, let me sum it up in two words: COMFORTABLY NUMB. 'Nuff said.
3. CHEAP TRICK: "DREAM POLICE"
If you have seen my charts for the past several years (referring to pre-1979), you would see every Cheap Trick album released up to, and now including, Dream Police. This album was the current release at about the time I not only fell in love with Cheap Trick, but fell in love with music, in general. And I attribute this band. They not only rocked, they had melody. And, if that weren't enough, they had kitsch. These guys were quirky in about every way imaginable.
4. JOE JACKSON: "LOOK SHARP"
This album is the first of two offerings by Joe Jackson. Both albums are rather similar in style (one thing that Joe Jackson would NOT be known for, throughout his career), but this one edges out the other because it has a higher quantity of songs that I was nutty for. I mean, do I need to even go deeper than "GOT THE TIME"? No... I didn't think so.
5. THE B-52's: The B-52's
The album that put this band from Athens, Georgia on the map. An album that would boast one of the most loyal cult followings for years. An album that had "ROCK LOBSTER". In reality, this band helped me become the adolescent nut job that I became.
The first of two Ska albums. This is one of those albums that didn't rock my world until the early 80's, but that would be the case with most of these albums. "ONE STEP BEYOND" was really the epitome of Madness' Ska career. By time their self-titled American release came out, they had adopted a more Pop-friendly format, although that album had some of their tastiest hits. But... all you need to hear is the opening charge, "Don't watch that, watch THIS" to know that this album demands your attention. And it does.
7. THE SPECIALS: "THE SPECIALS"
The second of two consecutive Ska albums, this debut album from British group, THE SPECIALS, featured some of the greatest 80's... well... late 70's Ska music ever to surface. This album is for all you "Punks" and all you "Teds", "Mods", "Rockers", "Hippies" and "Skinheads".... let's face it. It's for everyone.
8. JOE JACKSON: "I'M THE MAN"
Yeah... it's a close call. But this one takes second out of two Joe Jackson albums. It's great, don't get me wrong... I mean, "I'M THE MAN"? It doesn't get much better than that. Except for "GOT THE TIME".
9. AC/DC: "HIGHWAY TO HELL"
As much as my LDS Seminary teachers tried to tell me that I shouldn't listen to this album, I couldn't stop. I discovered this shortly after their follow-up album, "Back in Black", was released. At the time, I enjoyed it, but it didn't hold a candle to "Back in Black", which was their first album with second vocalist, Brian Johnson. Bon Scott, the lead vocalist on "Highway To Hell" died the ultimate cliche' Rock and Roll death... choking on his vomit... or drowning in it... however they like to word it. Suffice it to say, he drank himself to death. I love that apart from the official cause of death being listed as "acute alcohol poisoning", it was also listed as, "death by misadventure". That's choice. Anyhow, I should also point out that after all these years, when it comes to listening to AC/DC albums, I enjoy this one the most. I don't know why, but it seems the most fresh of their offerings.
10. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA: "DISCOVERY"
If I had compiled this list back in 1979, not only would most of these albums NOT be on this list, but this one would probably have been at a solid second place. I loved this album. I still have vivid memories of delivering my paper route with this album playing over the crappy cassette deck. I would happily sing along with so many of the songs, never tiring of their catchy refrains.... until the 1990's, anyhow. When I first picked up the CD of this album, back in the mid-90's, I was not only disappointed by the crappy sound quality (it had a very muddy sound), but I noticed that it's Disco influence did NOT age well. There are a few songs that still resonate with me, even today, but for the most part it doesn't nearly as much. Truth be told, I almost left this album off the list, replacing it with DIRE STRAITS' "COMMUNIQUE", but still chose to list this album based entirely on how important it was to me, back in 1979.
Dire Straits: "Communique"
Supertramp: "Breakfast in America"
Bob Marley: "Survival"
The Police: "Regatta De Blanc"
Gary Numan: "Pleasure Principle"
Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays: "American Garage"
Pat Metheny: "New Chautauqua"