'79 is probably best remember for The Clash's London Calling and Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall. One hit wonders start to come out by the barrel full, and Michael Jackson grows up … well, at least in his own way. He grows up musically, I'll say that much. Probably most important is the fact that the first rap songs debut. Here's the list:
60. South Bound Suarez – Led Zeppelin (Rock) – 1979
I’m not exactly sure was Led Zeppelin was trying to accomplish in 1979. They’re definitely the old guy at the college party.
59. Life During Wartime – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
58. A Message to You Rudy – The Specials (Ska) – 1979
57. (Not Just) Knee Deep – Funkadelic (Funk) – 1979
Maybe funk songs are supposed to be so long so one can keep on dancing. This isn’t a bad tune. De La Soul sampled it good and what. Would I ever listen to all of this on my own free will, no, but it is good background party music.
56. Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure (New Wave) – 1979
55. I Zimbra – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
54. Even the Losers – Tom Petty (Rock) – 1979
You’re Gonna Get It was a poor album, but the follow up, Damn the Torpedoes puts Tom Petty back on track. His inconsistency will happen for another few decades. That’s the problem when you’re a hit writer, if you’re not writing hits, the songs just sound plain and boring.
53. Up the Junction – Squeeze (New Wave) – 1979
52. Transmission – Joy Division (New Wave) – 1979
With the formation of Joy Division, music takes a very over-dramatic turn. Joy Division and the Smiths are like wearing skinny jeans, you either do, or you hate the people who do.
51. Money In My Pocket – Dennis Brown (Reggae) – 1979
50. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – The Slits (New Wave) – 1979
Here’s the first song to make the lists three times. Marvin Gaye and Creedence's versions are a little more popular than the Slits I’d say.
49. Death Disco – Public Image Ltd (Punk) – 1979
48. Drugs – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
47. Are “Friends” Electric? – Gary Numan (Synthpop) – 1979
46. Paper – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
45. Strange Town – The Jam (Rock) – 1979
44. Kid – Pretenders (Rock) – 1979
43. Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles (New Wave) – 1979
I was quite disappointed when they never wrote MTV’s follow up of “Reality TV Douchebag Killed the Video.”
42. Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders (Rock) – 1979
41. Heaven – Talking Heads (Slow Rock) – 1979
40. Don’t De Me Like That – Tom Petty (Rock) – 1979
39. The Bed’s Too Big Without You – The Police (Reggae) – 1979
This song was actually practiced as Toast practice, but the bass player wasn’t that big of a fan.
38. Young Lust – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1979
37. Rappin & Rockin The House – Funky Four Plus One (Rap) – 1979
Funky Four Plus One: Home of the Original Jazzy Jeff
36. She’s Lost Control – Joy Division (Gothic) – 1979
I know squat about this band, but this is probably the first gothic song. I can tell because its part of that post-punk movement, and you can definitely goth dance to it while holding a cigarette. The best way to tell if a song is goth or not, is imagine if the South Park Goth Kids can listen to it. If they can, it’s most likely goth.
35. Nobody Home – Pink Floyd (Piano Ballad) – 1979
34. Refugee – Tom Petty (Rock) – 1979
33. Beautiful Girls – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1979
32. I Was Made For Loving You – Kiss (Pop Rock) – 1979
Kiss’ attempt at disco isn’t that bad, aside from the fact that it defies all those principles Kiss had built up (for the record, I have now used Kiss and Genius in the same sentence, and now Kiss and Principles in the same sentence). Gene Simmons probably wasn’t a fan of this one.
31. Mind – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
30. Cars – Gary Newman (Synthpop) – 1979
1979 is the closest thing I’ve heard to 80s music yet.
29. The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band (Country) – 1979
Dominique Moceanu stole this song from my memory.
28. Dancin’ Fool – Frank Zappa (Progressive Rock) – 1979
It’s pretty hard not to like this silly dancin’ fool sometimes.
27. My Sharona – The Knack (New Wave) – 1979
1979 is mad with one hit wonders.
26. Here Comes My Girl – Tom Petty (Rock) – 1979
Even though there’s not a song on Damn the Torpedoes song that’s one of my personal favorites, there are quite a few TP classics recorded on it.
25. Mother – Pink Floyd (Slow Rock) – 1979
24. Air – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
23. Hey You – Pink Floyd (Slow Rock) – 1979
A great bet to make with someone is betting that this song isn’t in the movie version of The Wall.
22. Street Life – Randy Crawford (Disco) – 1979
Yes, I only like this because of its appearance in a movie.
21. Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd (Folk) – 1979
20. Gangsters – The Specials (Ska) – 1979
Here we have the pioneers of the second wave of ska. Ska apparently comes in waves.
19. At Home He’s a Tourist – Gang of Four (Punk) – 1979
18. Rock With You – Michael Jackson (Pop) – 1979
17. Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1979
16. Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash (Rock) – 1979
15. California Uber Allies – The Dead Kennedy’s (Punk) – 1979
These guys are the perfect gorilla to be the missing link between Punk and Speed Metal.
14. Message in the Bottle – The Police (New Wave) – 1979
13. Joe’s Garage – Frank Zappa (Rock) – 1979
Before the album turns into perverted sweaty middle-aged man music, this first track is a great story of a youth’s rock ‘n roll dreams.
12. Highway to Hell – AC/DC (Hard Rock) – 1979
11. Dancing Barefoot – Patti Smith (Rock) – 1979
10. Train In Vain – The Clash (New Wave) – 1979
9. Everybody’s Happy Nowadays – The Buzzcocks (Punk) – 1979
These guys have a good pop sensibility I was not aware of.
8. Cities – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1979
7. Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang (Rap) – 1979
Here it is, the quote unquote first rap song. Whether it is or not doesn’t matter, what’s important is that it’s the first great rap song.
6. In the Flesh? – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1979
There’s nothing like back in the day, when you were in college or high school and you heard this intro song and you knew you were about to experience The Wall in its entirety.
5. Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson (Disco) – 1979
I was reading something I wrote about this song in 2005 and back then he was on his pederast trial and it was up in the air as to how he’d be remembered. I can’t think of a better example of death saving someone’s memory in a positive light.
4. London Calling – The Clash (Punk) – 1979
The Clash must have been so much better if you grew up on the other side of the pond. Here in America, they’re just a great late 70’s band, but over their they were probably divine.
3. Atomic – Blondie (New Wave) – 1979
Earlier I was saying it was a cinch that the Talking Heads would win the “Best New Wave” song, but I obviously forgot about this one.
2. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (Slow Rock) – 1979
This is probably the best song to listen to while you’re sick, either this, or “If I Ever Feel Better” by Phoenix.
1. Another Brick in the Wall Medley – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1979
I remember hearing this song as a kid. With an older brother and sister not enjoying school because kids don’t like school, this was a very popular song for them. Seeing kids don’t like school, we should probably stop funding them.