1. Lay Your Love On Me - Racey
Racey was a British pop group formed in 1976 by singers Phil Fursdon and Clive Wilson. The group was formerly known as 'Alive 'n' Kickin'". Racey scored a series of hit singles in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the biggest sellers being "Lay Your Love On Me" and "Some Girls". Their Smash And Grab album sold about 500,000 copies worldwide. The band's hits were written and produced by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. Another Chinn-Chapman song, 'Kitty', was reworked and released by Toni Basil as 'Mickey' in 1981; it reached No.1 in early 1982. Racey's first single, "Baby It's You", was penned by Smokie members Chris Norman and Pete Spencer.
2. I Was Made For Lovin' You - KISS (right)
A leading exponent of glam rock, KISS was formed in New York City in 1973. The group has performed and recorded continuously since their formation, selling 63 million albums worldwide and has been awarded 22 gold albums to date, and has certified sales of 19 million records in the US alone. Easily identified by their trademark face paint (registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office) and stage costumes, KISS quickly rose to prominence on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured firebreathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars and pyrotechnics. The original lineup became the most successful and identifiable in the band's history, and released a series of gold and platinum albums throughout the 1970s.
Due to substance abuse problems and creative differences, two early members right the group by 1982. The band's commercial fortunes had also waned considerably by that point. In 1983, KISS abandoned their makeup and enjoyed a commercial resurgence throughout the rest of the 1980s. Buoyed by a wave of KISS nostalgia in the 90s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup (with makeup) in 1996. The resulting KISS Alive Worldwide Tour was the top-grossing act of 1996. "I Was Made For Lovin' You" was lifted from band's first album of new material in two years, Dynasty (May 1979). The song, which combined elements of the KISS sound with disco, was a top ten hit throughout the world and stands as the most covered KISS song ever.
3. Heart Of Glass - Blondie (right)
Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (who was her boyfriend) wrote the first version of this song in 1975 as a tune called "Once I Had a Love (aka The Disco Song)." This version is included in the 2001 reissue of their Parallel Lines album. They wrote the song in their dingy New York apartment and keyboardist Jimmy Destri provided the synthesizer hook. The result brought punk and disco together on the dance floor. Said Destri, "Chris always wanted to do Disco. We used to do 'Heart Of Glass' to upset people. When we did 'Heart Of Glass' it wasn't too cool in our social set to play Disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool. It was based around a Roland Rhythm Machine and the backing took over 10 hours to get down." Chris Stein added, "We didn't expect the orginal to be that big. We only did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album."
4. Some Girls - Racey
Racey's third single, "Some Girls", was written for Blondie, for whom Mike Chapman also produced, but was instead given to Racey as a follow-up to "Lay Your Love On Me". Racey parted company with Chapman after releasing "Smash And Grab"; the band split in 1985. Since then two separate groups named have Racey existed, one featuring Richard Gower, the other featuring Clive Wilson, Phil Fursdon and Pete Miller, the original bass player of Racey. Miller died of cancer in 2003.
5. Born To Be Alive - Patrick Hernandez
Patrick Hernandez is a French singer who had a huge worldwide hit with the disco hit, 'Born To Be Alive', in 1979. A year earlier, Hernandez had met producer Jean Van Loo, and with disco music at its peak, decided it was time to try his hand at disco. Hernandez was then sent to Waterloo, Belgium, to work on songs. After about a year, he had come up with six songs that would change Hernandez's life forever and make him an international star for a short period. The first of these was "Born To Be Alive". By year's end Hernandez had racked up an impressive 52 Gold and Platinum Record awards from over 50 different countries.
6. I Don't Like Mondays - The Boomtown Rats (right)
This song is about Brenda Spencer, a 16-year-old San Diego high school student who lived across from a school. On Monday, 29th January 1979, she opened fire on the school with a rifle, killing two adults (including the principal) and injuring nine students before going back to her home. Police surrounded her home and waited for seven hours until she gave herself up. In that time, she spoke with a reporter on the phone. When asked why she did it, she replied, "I just started shooting, that's it. I just did it for the fun of it. I just don't like Mondays. I just did it because it's a way to cheer the day up. Nobody likes Mondays." Her quote also appears written on a wall in the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club.
While in Atlanta touring, lead singer Bob Geldof heard the news story about Brenda Spencer. Geldof composed the song on the spot, originally as a reggae number. Back in Los Angeles after the tour, a studio demo was recorded with grand piano and vocals. By the time 'I Don't Like Mondays' was introduced onstage in Loch Lomond, Scotland, the song had been transformed dramatically. It was a hit in England, but it flopped in America, probably because the subject matter hit too close to home. Group leader Bob Geldof, who wrote the song, went on to organize charity efforts Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8. The Boomtown Rats played this as part of their set at Live Aid.
7. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy - Rod Stewart (right)
Roderick David Stewart (born 10th January 1945) is an English born singer and songwriter of Scottish descent, most known for his uniquely raspy, gravelly, hoarse-sounding voice and personable singing style, as exemplified in his signature song "Maggie May". In a career in its fifth decade, Stewart has achieved 27 Top 10 hit singles worldwide. He is widely recognised as among the best interpretive singers of recent times, and has consistently been a presence in the charts since the early 1970s. In 1975, he moved to the US, applying for citizenship because his love affair with Britt Ekland (an American citizen) and a fight with the UK tax authorities. Stewart scored a No.1 hit with "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" which was a crossover hit, reaching No.5 on the Billboard black charts due to its disco sound. It was the lead single from 1979's Blondes Have More Fun...or do they?, which sold 4 million albums and was to be Stewart's last No.1 album for 25 years.
8. Le Freak - CHIC (right)
The disco hit 'Le Freak' was CHIC's third single and first Billboard Hot 100 No.1 song. A New York Times critic once described it as a "haunting, minimalist pop-funk built around the guitar and bass". The chorus features the memorable lines, "Aaahh freak out!, Le Freak, c'est chic." The single achieved sales of over four million. The track was created in an unconventional way. Guitarist Nile Rodgers says: "On New Year's Eve, 1977, we were invited to meet with Grace Jones at Studio 54. She wanted to interview us about recording her next album. At that time, our music was fairly popular - 'Dance, Dance, Dance' was a big hit and 'Everybody Dance,' although more underground, was doing very well, too - but Grace Jones didn't leave our name at the door and the doorman wouldn't let us in.
Anyway, my apartment happened to be one block away, so Bernard and I went there to sort of quell our sorrows. We grabbed a couple of bottles of champagne from the corner liquor store and then went back to my place, plugged in our instruments and started jamming. And since we were feeling bad, we played music to make us feel good. We started jamming on the now-famous riff. I had always liked the Cream song 'Sunshine Of Your Love,' and I wanted to do a sort of riff song for CHIC, although not a complete linear riff - that wouldn't be like CHIC - so I incorporated a little linear lick and we started singing, 'f__ off!' 'Aaaaahh, F__ off!' So 'F__Off' was a protest song, and we actually thought it was pretty good. That night we actually converted 'f__ off' to 'freak out'. Then, all of a sudden it just hit me. For one second the light bulb went on and I sang 'Aaaaahh, freak out!'"
9. Knock On Wood - Amii Stewart
Washington born Amii Stewart was trained as a singer and dancer, and appeared in the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar on Broadway before being signed to a recording contract by record producer Barry Leng. Her first single, a disco cover version of the Eddie Floyd hit 'Knock On Wood', reached No.1 in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It was her only American hit single, and she was dismissed there as a one-hit wonder. However, in Europe she established herself as a popular performer during the disco era of the late 1970s, scoring her highest chart placing in the UK singles chart with a disco cover version of The Doors' "Light My Fire".
Further singles such as "Jealousy" continued her chart run in continental Europe and proved very popular in European discos, but as disco began to lose popularity, she branched into other contemporary musical styles. During this period she worked with such producers as Giorgio Moroder and Ennio Morricone. Stewart has resided in Italy since the mid 1980s, and in her adopted homeland has become a respected performer of a wide range of musical styles. She has been one of several singers invited to perform at the Vatican before the Pope in Christmas pageants.
10. Pop Muzik - M
The name of M's album and hit single comes from a line in this song's chorus, "New York, London, Paris, Munich, Everybody's talkin' 'bout Pop Music." This was one of the first new wave singles to top the charts. M is actually producer and singer Robin Scott. He went on to collaborate with Oscar-winner Ryuichi Sakamoto on some lesser known music. Scott chose this moniker after seeing a large "M" in Paris, which represented the Metro, Paris' subway system. Three versions (rhythm and blues, funk, and electronic) were pieced together over several months on bartered studio "down time." The released version was the "electronic" one.
11. My Sharona - The Knack
This song is about a friend of band member Doug Fieger who he fancied. Doug was going out with another girl and he wrote the song to try to woo Sharona. They ended up dating. 'Sharona' is in fact Sharona Alpern, who is now a high-end real estate agent in California. In the US, this was the best-selling single of 1979. Quentin Tarantino wanted to use it in the film Pulp Fiction during the scene where Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames are being set upon by Zed and his brother (and the chained submissive). Fieger ended up nixing the request and the song appeared in the 1994 movie Reality Bites instead. The Knack were overwhelmed by the success of this song which led to the band unravelling. Many of the punks and rock bands that had been struggling and resented The Knack for it; this caused animosity among band members.
12. Make Love To Me - Kelly Marie (right)
Kelly Marie (born Jacqueline McKinnon) was one of the great 1970's disco divas. Her success came with this song, a No.1 hit around the world, which she followed up in 1980 with "Feels Like I'm in love", a perfect mixture of disco and the incoming 1980s pop. Kelly Marie released a few further singles but faded from the pop charts along with disco. She is still a live presence of London nightlife, making regular appearances in clubs, mainly at the "Revenge".
13. Up There Cazaly - The Two-Man Band
"Up There Cazaly" is an Australian sporting catchphrase inspired by former St Kilda and South Melbourne VFL great, Roy Cazaly (right). He was a champion footballer of the early 20th Century in a time when Australia was involved in war. He was noted for his high-flying marks . The expression later became the basis of this song recorded and composed by Mike Brady (a former member of 60s rock band, MPD Ltd). Intended as a promotion for Channel Seven's VFL coverage, it was used in the film version of David Williamson's The Club.
Since then it has entered Australian folklore as a song synonymous with the game, and has been a feature as part of the pre/post-match entertainment of many VFL/AFL Grand Finals. In 2006, it was claimed on BBC Radio that Cliff Portwood had released a song called 'Up There Old England', which had a similar tune to 'Up There Cazaly' but with lyrics about the English soccer team. It was falsely claimed that the song was released in 1966 for the team's World Cup campaign. In Australia, Mike Brady appeared on 3AW radio with this news, with legal action being considered, however the British single failed to sell well.
14. Baby It's You - Promises (right)
Canadian born Leslie Knauer's impressive career started with multi-platinum success. As a teenager, Leslie fronted the outfit, Promises, a family band that included her two brothers. Their two albums were huge hits, winning gold and platinum status all over Europe and Australia. Their No.1 hit "Baby It's You" still enjoys a tremendous amount of airplay around the world. The song peaked at No.2 in Australia. After the group split up, Knauer launched her solo career as well as fronting the band, Precious Metal. She is presently a member of the band Kanary.
15. Y.M.C.A. - The Village People (right)
In 1977 producer Jacques Morali assembled a group designed to attract gay audiences while parodying (some claimed exploiting) that same constituency's stereotypes and called them The Village People. The band was essentially engineered; designed and recruited by a producer to become successful and make money. Menudo, New Kids on the Block, N'Sync, and Backstreet Boys all originated this way. Pop music from engineered groups is largely disposable. Y.M.C.A. stands for Young Men's Christian Association, which is commonly associated with the gyms that often provide temporary housing to single men. Ray Simpson sings about the YMCA as a place where men can hang out with "all the boys". It is implied that this is more of a concealed kind of place to gather in-the-closet gay young men so they can leave their worries and troubles behind and let loose. Online video clip
16. Stumblin' in - Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman
Detroit born Suzi Quatro began her musical career in the Pleasure Seekers and then Cradle with her sisters Patti, Nancy, and Arlene. She moved to England in 1971 after being discovered by record producer Mickie Most. She had a run of top 10 singles but for some unknown reason success in the US has eluded her. In the US, Quatro is known more for her role as Leather Tuscadero on the TV show Happy Days. The popularity of Quatro's heavy glam rock style declined rapidly from 1975, and her fortunes did not revive until 1978 when "If You Can't Give Me Love" was a Top 10 hit in the UK and Australia.
Though it still failed to break Quatro into the US market, when she joined Chris Norman of Smokie in 1979 for "Stumblin' In", she made it to No.4 in the US with what was by far the biggest hit in both of their careers. This success was very brief and her last hit (and that only in Australia) was "Rock Hard" in early 1981. Why Quatro and Norman never recorded more duets together, given how good this one was for both of their careers, is not known.
17. Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles (right)
Being the first act ever played on MTV, The Buggles' 'Video Killed The Radio Star' was assured a place in pop music history. Vocalist and bassist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes formed the electro-pop duo in England in 1979 after meeting two years prior as session musicians. Their first single, 'Video Killed the Radio Star', hit No.1 in late 1979; when MTV went on the air in 1981, the prophetically-titled record's video was the first ever broadcast on the fledgling cable network.
Although The Buggles enjoyed three more British hits - 'The Plastic Age', 'Clean Clean' and 'Elstree' - their success was restricted to Britain and Horn and Downes were soon more interested in production than performing. In 1980, they joined the group, Yes, as replacements for Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson. After the Yes break-up, Downes signed on with Asia, while Horn formed ZTT Records and produced hits for the likes of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and ABC.
18. Hot Stuff - Donna Summer (right)
Donna Summer was the unquestioned queen of disco and this was very much her theme song. It has come to symbolise everything that disco and disco music had to offer - having a good time and finding a hot partner.
19. Computer Games - Mi-Sex
Mi-Sex was a New Zealand and Australian new wave rock band active from 1978 to 1985. Led by Steve Gilpin as vocalist, they were best known for their single "Computer Games" in 1979. Steve Gilpin remained in Australia and worked with a number of bands including Under Rapz. In November 1991, Steve was involved in a car accident while returning to his home after a gig in Coolangatta. He lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered. He died in Southport Hospital on 6th January 1992.
20. Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel (right)
After the break-up of Simon & Garfunkel, both singers launched solo careers. Art Garfunkel dabbled in acting and released a few solo albums, but did not reach the heights that Simon and Garfunkel had reached. He scored hits with "I Only Have Eyes For You" (a 1934 song originally written by Harry Warren), "Bright Eyes" and "All I Know". A version of "Bright Eyes" was featured in the movie Watership Down.
3. C'Mon Aussie C'Mon - The Mojo Singers
This song was written by ad-man Alan Morris to help raise public awareness and interest in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Side two features Sidney Hill with 'Establishment Blues'. The single was part of the very successful marketing campaign launched to promote the rebel World Series Cricket in the late 1970s. Ex-Australian Idol contestant Shannon Noll recorded a cover version some years later, but with revised lyrics to reflect a more recent Aussie team. More ...
4. On The Inside - Lynne Hamilton
One of the most popular shows on Australian television in the 1970s was the homegrown drama, Prisoner. The Prisoner theme song, "On The Inside" was written by Allan Caswell, and sung by Lynne Hamilton. Due to a flood of requests for a copy of it, the song was released as a single. A decade later, when the show was one of the most viewed in Britain, the single was released there, and repeated its chart topping performance. Today, Lynne is an Evangelist, the Founder and Senior Minister of Forerunners International Ltd. & Gold Coast Prophets, a company of ministries established on the Gold Coast, in Queensland.
5. Goose Bumps - Christie Allen (right)
Born in England in 1954, Christie Allen was Australia's hottest pop artist around the end of the 1970s. Her 1979 Top 3 hit "Goosebumps" (with sales of 60,000), was for a time Mushroom Record's highest selling single; the follow-up, "He's My Number One" hit No.4 in 1980. To top it off, Allen was also the voice and star of the commercials for the soft drink Tarino - an orange flavoured soft drink manufactured as an alternative to Fanta. If the jingle 'Come Tarino with Me' that she sang had have been released as a Christie Allen single, it is likely to have topped the charts. Top music show Countdown, hosted by Molly Meldrum, awarded Allen the title of Queen of Pop at the Countdown Awards in 1979 and 1980.
6. Too Much Heaven - The Bee Gees (right)
"Too Much Heaven" was The Bee Gees' contribution to the Music for UNICEF fund, which they performed at the Music for UNICEF Concert on 9th January 1979. The song later found its way onto the group's twenty-second album, Spirits Having Flown. It became the latest in a long line of Bee Gees' chart-toppers. In the summer of 1978, the Gibb brothers had announced it as their latest project and that all of the publishing royalties would go into UNICEF to celebrate the International Year of the Child, which was designated to be 1979. The song earned over $7 million dollars in publishing royalities. Then-United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim heralded the move as "an outstanding and generous initiative."
The Bee Gees were later invited to the White House, where President Jimmy Carter thanked the group for their donation. At the ceremony, the brothers presented Carter with one of their black satin tour jackets. Carter remarked that he was "not a disco fan" but knew enough about their music because his daughter Amy was a big fan. The single 'Too Much Heaven' had originally been intended for use in the John Travolta movie, Moment By Moment, but was pulled before the film's release. A slow ballad that was unlike the previous two singles off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Barry Gibb noted that the group wanted to "move in an R&B direction, still maintaining our lyric power, and our melody power as well."
7. Tragedy - The Bee Gees
The Gibb brothers wrote both this and "Too Much Heaven" (another American No.1), in an afternoon off from making the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie in which they were starring. Then in the evening they wrote another American No.1 single, "Shadow Dancing" for their brother Andy Gibb. Released by The Bee Gees as a double A-side with "Heartbeat," it sold over a million copies in the UK, making it the top selling Bee Gees cover of all time in Britain. The Bee Gees' version, from the album, Spirits Have Flown, is one of the most recognisable songs from the disco era. In January 1999, a cover by the British group Steps returned 'Tragedy' to the top of the British charts.
8. I'm Coming Home - Beeb Birtles & Graham Goble
1974 to 1978 were the years of Little River Band's dominance on the international popular music scene, but the success had its down side. Renowned for their impeccable live performances, LRB kept performing and selling records, but frictions inside the band began to surface. These were relieved a little by a Glenn Shorrock's solo hit 'Dream Lover' and a sideline album from Graham Goble and Beeb Birtles (Last Romance), from which this single was lifted. A hit in Australia only, it reflected the pair's yearning to be back home and away from the hustle and bustle of touring and the pressure of being at the top.
9. Six Ribbons - Jon English (right)
British born John English got his first showbiz break when he landed the role of Judas in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971, which ran for five years. In 1978, English released his sixth album, Against the Wind; the single 'Six Ribbons' that was lifted from it became an international top ten hit. He also received a Logie for his performance in Against the Wind TV series and a Countdown award for Best Male Artist.
10. A Little More Love - Olivia Newton-John (right)
Olivia Newton-John's film breakthrough came when she was offered the female lead in Grease (1978), after a chance meeting with producer Allan Carr at a party at Helen Reddy's house in Los Angeles. John Travolta, already chosen as the male lead in the movie, wanted Newton-John to be his co-star in the film, and he let his wishes be known to Carr and director Randal Kleiser before either of them met her. The film was the biggest box office hit of 1978 and remained popular enough to be re-released in theatres on its 20th anniversary. To follow this success, Newton-John released the album Totally Hot in 1978 with extensive promotion. The release was another critical and commercial success.
It spawned the hit "A Little More Love," the No.11 single "Deeper Than The Night," and the No.52 title track, "Totally Hot." A more ambitious album than some of her earlier releases, the record included both sexy up-tempo numbers (including a spirited remake of the Spencer Davis Group's 'Gimme Some Lovin' '), alongside characteristically beautiful ballads. With this, Newton-John further established herself as one of the most versatile and appealing female pop vocalists of her generation. The album also cemented her transformation from the girl next door into a sex symbol.
We Don't Talk Anymore - Cliff Richard (right)
By the early 1970s, many critics had written off Cliff Richard as a has-been, but he was able to make a substantial comeback in the late 70s. A number of strong albums were produced, and in 1979 Cliff went to No.1 with the sad-but-defiant single, 'We Don't Talk Anymore'. It was his first time to the top in over ten years, and would become his biggest-selling single ever. There was even, at long last, some success in the US: his 1976 single 'Devil Woman' accompanied by a promotional tour had given him a No.6 hit there, and now the follow-ups "We Don't Talk Anymore" and "Dreaming" reached the top ten; his 1980 duet "Suddenly", with Olivia Newton-John, would be a hit as well. American anglophiles also heard many references to him in the BBC comedy series, The Young Ones. View the video online
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (right)
As well as being one of the more enduring examples of disco pop, this song is a female-empowerment anthem about moving on after a bad relationship, though it was written about Gaynor's health problems. Over the years, it has taken on meaning for people who have overcome just about any difficult situation. The song won the 1979 Grammy for Best Disco Recording. It was the first and last time that the Grammys offered this category. Gaynor sees this song as simply about survival, regardless of what you have to overcome: "I love the empowering effect, I love the encouraging effect.
It's a timeless lyric that addresses a timeless concern." In June 1998, the French football team made this their World Cup anthem. It has also become an anthem in the British gay community and one of the most popular songs to be sung on karaoke (no connection between the latter two is intended). Gaynor's producers Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris wrote this song for her after she suffered a back injury and spent six months in hospital. She has surgery and was still in a back brace when she recorded the song. View the video online
Just When I Needed You Most - Randy Vanwarmer (right)
Vanwarmer enjoyed success as a one-hit pop artist before becoming a successful country songwriter. He is best known for his 1979 pop hit, 'Just When I Needed You Most'. A Colorado native, VanWarmer had lived in England, New York City and Los Angeles before moving to Nashville in 1985. As a songwriter, his country hits include Alabama's 1992 chart-topping 'I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)' and the Oak Ridge Boys' 1984 No. 1 single, 'I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes'. Vanwarmer died in January 2004, age 48, at the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle following a year-long battle with leukaemia. Apparently his rather amusing name was genuine. View the video online
What a Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers
"What a Fool Believes" was written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and recorded by The Doobie Brothers for their 1978 album Minute by Minute (with McDonald singing lead vocals). Loggins put a version of the song on his 1978 album Nightview. He finished his recording of it before the Doobies finished theirs, and his album was released five months earlier than Minute by Minute. The song received 1980 Grammy Awards for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year. A fictional account of the creation of this song was featured in the first episode of Yacht Rock, an Internet series featuring characters of Michael McDonald and The Doobies. In the parody, Kenny Loggins inspires McDonald to write the song after Doobie guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter threatens to kick McDonald out of the band unless he writes a hit song for them. McDonald's original idea of the song was that of two people meeting in a restaurant - two people who had a passionate relationship a while before the meeting. To the man, the affair was the best thing in his life; to the woman, it was fun, but it was time to move on. In the conversation, the man would make a complete fool of himself.
Loggins became involved with the song when McDonald got stuck on the bridge of the song. Bassist Tiran Porter had suggested Loggins to McDonald because the two were good friends. While he was waiting for Loggins to arrive at his home, McDonald played some of the songs that were "in progress" and asked his sister Maureen which she thought was best. As Loggins was getting out of his car, he heard McDonald playing a fragment of this. According to Loggins, he heard about three-quarters of the verse's melody (no lyrics), but McDonald stopped at the bridge. Loggins' mind continued without a break... and the song's bridge was born. Then Loggins knocked on the door, introduced himself to McDonald, and demonstrated the bridge that he devised before the two of them could sit down. The lyrics were finished over the telephone the next day. View the video online
Reunited - Peaches & Herb
Peaches & Herb are a vocalist duo, once comprising "Herb" Fame (born Herbert Feemster), and Francine "Peaches" Hurd Barker. Herb has remained a constant in "Peaches & Herb" since its creation in 1967, while five different women have filled the role of "Peaches". After retiring in 1970, "Peaches & Herb" lay dormant until Fame decided to re-enter the music business in 1976. In his search for a new "Peaches", Fame met Linda Greene, leading to the formation of the most successful of the "Peaches & Herb" incarnations. Their first album 2 Hot went gold.
It contained the songs "Shake Your Groove Thing" and "Reunited", the unlikely follow-up single, which reached No.1. Unable to repeat the success of 2 Hot with their subsequent albums, Greene and Fame decided to retire their partnership in 1983. Fame again chose to revive his entertainment career in 1990, with the help of a fourth "Peaches" - Patrice Hawthorne. She is now the bandleader of her own orchestra. Nevertheless, Fame retained his job with the Washington, D.C. police department, suggesting a somewhat less than serious approach to his professional music career. View the video online
Ring My Bell - Anita Ward (right)
A popular disco song, it is lyrically a metaphor for the singer's invitation to her romantic partner to make love (to "ring her bell"). A more innocent interpretation of the song is that Ward could be inviting the object of her affection to call her on the telephone or ring her doorbell (visit her). "Ring My Bell" has been covered by many artists since its original release, including DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Tori Amos, Blood Sisters, Dynamic Duo, D'Flow Production Squad, Collette, Saïan Supa Crew, INOJ, Pato Fu and Joey Boy. It has also been remixed many times over and is considered a disco-era classic. View the video online
Rise - Herb Alpert
Herb Alpert disbanded the Tijuana Brass in 1969 so that he could concentrate on a solo career. He had his biggest instrumental hit, "Rise" (from the album of the same name), which went No.1 in October of 1979 and won a Grammy Award, and was later sampled in the 1997 rap song "Hypnotize" by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. It also made Alpert the only solo artist ever to hit No.1 on the Billboard charts with both vocal and instrumental pieces. Herb's nephew, Randy Badazz Alpert, wrote this with Andy Armer. When the 3M Company lent a 32-track digital recorder to A&M Records (then co-owned by Alpert), they had some time to experiment.
Says Randy: "It was Herb's idea to record The Lonely Bull and several other of his old hit records in a dance format, and though I did not particularly like the idea I did go ahead and work up some new dance arrangements for those old songs. I had played Rise and several other new songs for Herb several weeks before the recording session and he loved 2 out of the 3 songs. We had always intended to record Rise during the session. That song was never an after thought. We did try recording the Lonely Bull and one other song before we switched to Rise. The room seemed to light up when we started to record that tune. It was a magical moment for both Herb and me." View the video online
Heartache Tonight - The Eagles
Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bob Seger and J.D. Souther wrote many songs together for The Eagles, and this is one of their best sellers. Bob Seger, who took took 19-year old Frey under his wing in Detroit and got his music career started, also receives a writing credit. Included on their album The Long Run and released as a single in 1979, it reached No.1 and sold 1 million copies in the US alone. The recording also received a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The Long Run, the follow-up to Hotel California, was The Eagles' last studio album until they re-formed in 1994.
There was a lot of tension in the band, and a lot of pressure to make the album perfect. As a result, they spent 3 1/2 years working on it, which was the follow-up to. Frey later explained to Rolling Stone magazine that he learned from the experience: "All one need do was listen to early Stones records to realize that all this striving for perfection is totally unnecessary." "Rise" ran over seven minutes in its full version; the mix played on radio omits the third and fourth verses and the bridge, and shortens the outro by nearly a minute. View the video online
Escape (The Piña Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes (right)
"Escape" (later known as "Escape: The Piña Colada Song") was the highest-charting hit for Rupert Holmes. To this day, Holmes regards the song with a mixture of pride and chagrin; while it has made him wealthy and famous, as one of his friends described it, it is "the success that ruined his career", drawing attention from his more serious and heartfelt musical works. The song speaks of a man who, disenchanted with his current relationship, reads the personals and spots an ad that catches his attention: the ad of a woman seeking someone who, among other things, must like piña coladas. His interest grabbed, he writes back and arranges to meet with the woman "at a bar called O'Malley's", only to find upon the meeting that his new lover is his current lover. The song ends on an upbeat note, showing that the two lovers realised they have more in common than they suspected, and that they do not have to look any further than each other for what they seek in a relationship.
Contrary to the belief of some, the inspiration for "Escape" did not come from a similar event happening to Holmes. Recorded for 1979's Partners in Crime, the song came from an unused track for which Holmes wrote temporary lyrics, and the lyrics were inspired by a want-ad he read while idly perusing the personals. As Holmes put it, "I thought, what would happen to me if I answered this ad? I'd go and see if it was my own wife who was bored with me." The chorus originally started with "if you like Humphrey Bogart", which Holmes changed at the last minute, replacing the actor with the name of the first exotic cocktail he could think of. After its release as a single, the song became immediately popular, though sales were slow due to the song's actual title, "Escape" going unnoticed in the place of the oft-repeated cocktail. Holmes reluctantly agreed to rename the song "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)". The song shot up through the charts, becoming the last No.1 Billboard Hot 100 hit of the 1970s. Hear the song online
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury & The Blockheads
This song's lyrics mix various locations across the world and a number of phrases in non-English languages (including French and German). According to its author, Ian Dury, the song has an anti-violence message. Its music is noteworthy for bassist Norman Watt-Roy playing 16 notes to the bar and saxophonist Davey Payne playing two saxophones at once. Co-writer Chas Jankel has said that the song was written during a jamming session between him and Dury and that the music was inspired by a piano part near the end of Wake Up And Make Love With Me (A song on Dury's solo debut New Boots and Panties!! that Jankel had co-wrote) and Dury presented the lyrics to him upon hearing it the same afternoon. Dury has claimed a number of origins for his lyrics, including that he had written them up to three years earlier and it just took him all that time to realise their quality.
Johnny Turnbull (guitar, The Blockheads) gives a different account claiming the lyrics to have been written while on tour in America six months prior to its recording and that he was still adjusting in-studio. Claiming that the line "it's nice to be a lunatic" was originally "it don't take arithmetic". Band member Chas Jankel often re-tells a story that after recording it he phoned his mother and told her, "I've just recorded my first number one." The song failed to chart in the US. View the video online
Message in a Bottle - The Police (right)
A song from The Police's second album, Reggatta de Blanc, it tells about a castaway on an island who sends out a message in a bottle to seek help. A year later, he feels that there is no need for love. Later on, he sees "a hundred billion bottles" on the shore, finding out that there are more people like him out there. "Message in a Bottle" may also be understood to be deal with isolation and loneliness caused by the loss of a loved one: he seeks help but gets no reply, then realises that there are many more people out there like him, suggesting that everyone has to deal with loss and loneliness as part of the human experience. The single was The Police's first No.1 hit in the UK and Australia, but only reached No. 74 in the United States. View the video online
When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman - Dr. Hook
The release of their 1976 album, A Little Bit More, heralded a change in direction for the band that had once thrived on the irreverant comedy of Shel Silverstein songs, and bragged openly about its excesses in the areas of sex and drugs. The song "A Little Bit More", sung by Dennis Locorriere (right), was an attempt to clean up their image and made the group more palatable to mainstream audiences (they also dropped the "Medicine Show" tag from their name). Dr. Hook got their new formula right first time with that song, and followed it up with a string of equally popular love ballads. This song was written by Country music songwriter Even Stevens, who came recommended by Silverstein, a prolific author who wrote Dr. Hook's hits "Cover Of The Rolling Stone" and "Sylvia's Mother." View the video online
Walking on the Moon - The Police
Lifted from their second album, Regatta de Blanc, "Walking on the Moon" was The Police's second number one hit single in the UK and Australia after "Message in a Bottle", but didn't chart in the United States. According to Sting the song is about the feeling of being in love, "I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and starting walking round the room singing: "Walking round the room, walking round the room". That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down.
But "Walking round the room" was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was "Walking on the moon." In his autobiography Broken Music (2003), Sting alludes that the song was partially inspired by an early girlfriend: Deborah Anderson was my first real girlfriend ... walking back from Deborah's house in those early days would eventually become a song, for being in love is to be relieved of gravity. The video for the song was filmed at Kennedy Space Centre on 23rd October 1979. It features the band members pantomiming to the song amidst spacecraft displays, interspersed with NASA footage. View the video online
Angeleyes - ABBA
ABBA's sixth album, Voulez-Vous, was released in April 1979, with two tracks recorded in the famous Criteria Studios in Miami, U.S. with the assistance, among others, of the recording engineer Tom Dowd. The album topped the charts across Europe and in Japan, hit the Top 10 in Canada and Australia and the Top 20 in the US. None of the singles from the album reached No.1 in the UK, but "Chiquitita", "Does Your Mother Know", "Voulez-Vous" and "I Have a Dream" all made the top 10 in Canada and Australia. "I Have a Dream" became ABBA's second No.1 in the US. In the Australia and the UK, "Angeleyes" was released as a double A-side with "Voulez-Vous".
This was because ABBA's British record label believed that with its classic ABBA arrangement, "Angeleyes" would be the song record buyers would want. However, "Voulez-Vous" received more radio airplay and to this day remains the far more popular of the two songs. "Angeleyes" begins with the words "Ah-aha", a phrase found in no less than 14 ABBA songs. View the video online
Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor) - Robert Palmer (right)
Yorkshire-born English singer-songwriter Robert Palmer was known for his soulful voice and the eclectic mix of musical styles on his albums, combining soul, jazz, rock, pop and blues. In 1978, Palmer released his Double Fun album, a collection of Caribbean-influenced rock, including a down-tempo and syncopated cover of The kinks' "You Really Got Me". Palmer's next album was an artistic departure, concentrating on a rockier direction. 1979's Secrets produced his second Top 20 single with Moon Martin's "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)", which, like "Every Kinda People" from Double Fun, became one of his signature tunes. Palmer, who made his home in Lugano, Switzerland for his last 15 years, died in Paris, France in 2003 of a heart attack at the age of 54. He is interred at the cemetery in Lugano. View the video online
Breakfast in America - Supertramp
'Breakfast in America' is the title track from Supertramp's 1979 album. The song became a staple of classic rock radio. The song's lyrics tell about a person who has never been to America. Roger Hodgson recalls, "Funny enough, 'Breakfast In America' had been around for eleven or twelve years. I wrote it in England when I was about nineteen. That's, in a way, why the lyric is so innocent (laughs) and we had a big tussle, Rick and I, about whether to put it, one, to put it on the album and two, whether I should re-do the lyric entirely. And I even tried and I just couldn't do it. The lyric is so much part of the song. Now we had a big tussle even about the title of the album. He didn't want the album title Breakfast In America either. So I guess I won out on both counts, but it is what it is. It's funny. It's an innocent song written when I was seventeen or eighteen and I had to leave it the way it came out. I didn't even change one word." View the video online
Bright Side of the Road - Van Morrison
Released in 1979, Morrison's album, Into the Music, was hailed as a masterpiece: "An erotic/religious cycle of songs that culminates in the greatest side of music Morrison has created since Astral Weeks". The album for the first time alludes to the healing power of music, which had become an abiding interest of Morrison's, and would dominate his music from this point on. "Bright Side of the Road" was a joyful, uplifting song that would appear on the soundtrack of the popular movie Michael. In 2006 and 2007 concerts, Van Morrison often would enter onstage, playing his harmonica, as his band played the opening bars to this song. View the video of Shakira's cover online
Chiquitita - ABBA
An emotional song, given by ABBA to UNICEF as a fundraiser, it expresses the thoughts of love and support from a person towards a friend who is feeling low. The lyrics of the entire second verse in particular - "Chiquitita, tell me the truth, I'm a shoulder you can cry on, your best friend I'm the one you must rely on, you were always sure of yourself, now I see you've broken a feather, I hope we can patch it up together" - are very moving and Agnetha's diction and delivery is crystal clear. Benny Andersson's piano intro at the beginning of the second verse is one of the most fluent, beautiful examples of this instrument ever recorded in popular music. "Chiquitita" was featured on ABBA's 1979 album, Voulez-Vous.
Under the working titles "Kalsupare" and "Three Wise Guys". A first attempt was made at recording a backing track for "Chiquitita". Frida and Agnetha shared the lead vocals on this first attempt, but when the song turned into "Chiquitita", Agnetha took the more prominent role. An interim version of the song with different lyrics, entitled "Chiquitita Angelina", was also recorded along the way. Apparently, at least two other complete sets of lyrics were tried out before Björn settled on the final version. View the video online
Cool for Cats - Squeeze
The second single released from Squeeze's Cool for Cats album, "Cool for Cats" featured a comparatively rare lead vocal performance from Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford, one of only two occasions he sang lead on a Squeeze single A-side (the other was 1989's "Love Circles"). The song, slightly edited from the album track, peaked at No.2 on the UK Chart, making it one of the band's biggest singles. Difford brought a cockney slant to the way the lyrics were sung which makes it distinctive. The title phrase is a reference to the 1950s/60s UK TV series Cool for Cats, the first British series to regularly feature rock 'n' roll music acts. View the video online
Does Your Mother Know - ABBA
"Does Your Mother Know" was recorded in February 1979 and released as a single in April of that year. Written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the song is something of a pastiche to 1950s/early 1960s-style rock and roll, and touches on the subject of a man flirting with a much younger girl. "Does Your Mother Know" deviated from the typical 'ABBA at their most famous' formula, in that the lead vocals were sung not by the ladies (Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad) as was usually the case, but by Björn Ulvaeus. It made the top 10 charts just about everywhere except the US, where it peaked at No.19. View the video online
Don't Bring Me Down - Electric Light Orchestra (right)
This song - the last track from the album Discovery - was the first song by ELO not to include a string section. It was also the band's biggest hit in the US. A music video for the song was produced, which showed video of the band performing the song interspersed with various animations relating to the song's subject matter. A common mondegreen in the song is the perception that, following the title line, Jeff Lynne shouts "Bruce!". However, according to liner notes, he is actually saying a made-up word "Groos". This is similar to a German word for "greeting" - Gruß.
However, after the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as Bruce that the band actually changed the lyrics and began to sing the word as Bruce. The song is dedicated to the NASA Skylab space station, which re-entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Indian Ocean and Western Australia on 11th July 1979. The chord structure of the song is also quite similar to the popular hit song by blues pioneer Jimmy Reed, "Baby, What You Want Me To Do". View the video online
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) - ABBA
One of ABBA's biggest disco hits, it was recorded and released as a single only in 1979 with "The King Has Lost His Crown" as the B-side. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" features on ABBA's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 album, as well as their bestselling ABBA Gold album. Agnetha, as the narrator, weaves the image of a lonely young woman who longs for a romantic relationship and views her loneliness as a forbidding darkness of night, even drawing parallels to how the happy endings of movie stars are so different from her own existence. Originally, ABBA had recorded another song, "Rubber Ball Man", which was planned as a single. It featured the typical "ABBA-arrangement" with both Fältskog and Lyngstad on lead vocals and the use of classical strings.
This song was also performed by the group during rehearsals for their current tour as "Under My Sun". However, they felt that "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!", with its disco-sound would be a better choice, and thus, "Rubber Ball Man" remained nothing more than a demo. The single version of this song, which was released in its full length of 4:46 everywhere else in the world, was released in the US and Canada in an edited format, being just 3:36 in length. This was done by removing the first half of the opening instrumental, the first four of the eight bars of the instrumental bridge between the second and final chorus, and fading the song out early. It is believed the edit was done without ABBA's knowledge by Atlantic, ABBA's North American record label, and not Polar, hence the reason why it was available only in the USA and Canada. This single version has never appeared on any commercial CD issued by Polar/Universal and marked the only time Atlantic ever released an edited version of an ABBA single. View the video (US version) online
Girls Talk - Dave Edmunds
Although he was primarily associated with pub rock and New Wave, Dave Edmunds was steadfastly devoted to pre-Beatles rock and roll music. He had numerous hits during the 1970s and early 1980s, including Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk", Nick Lowe's "I Knew The Bride", Hank DeVito's "Queen of Hearts" (written for Edmunds but later a smash hit for Juice Newton), Graham Parker's "Crawling From The Wreckage", and Melvin Endsley's "Singing the Blues" (originally a hit for Guy Mitchell). Edmunds recorded less frequently after the mid 1980s, and now lives in Wales in semi-retirement, touring Scandinavia infrequently, after surviving a quadruple bypass several years ago. View the video online
Highway to Hell - AC/DC
The title is often attributed as a phrase AC/DC guitarist Angus Young (right) used to describe touring in America. There is a much more literal explanation, however. Highway to Hell was the nickname for the Canning Highway in Perth, WA, in particular the section which runs from where lead singer Bon Scott lived in Fremantle to the Raffles Hotel at Canning Bridge, which was Perth's big Rock'n'Roll drinking hole in the 1970s. As Canning Highway gets close to the pub, it dips down into a steep decline: "No stop signs ... speed limits ... nobody gonna slow me down." Because many people where killed by driving fast over the intersection at the top of the hill, it was called the highway to hell. So when Bon was saying "I'm on the highway to hell" he meant he was making the nightly or weekly pilgrimage down Canning Highway for a drink with his mates.
Scott choked to death on his own vomit shortly after this was released (on 19th February 1980). Recorded in London, Highway To Hell was the first AC/DC album recorded outside of Australia. The album cover had Angus Young on the cover wearing his schoolboy uniform and devil horns. Some religious groups found this quite offensive. This was the first AC/DC song to chart in the US. Serial killer Richard Ramirez claimed this album compelled him to murder. He believed AC/DC stood for "Anti Christ/Devil's Child" - it didn't. The name AC/DC acutally came from Angus Young's sister's sewing machine. She made the stage costumes for them early on and the letters AC/DC were written on the side of her sewing machine. On the day they were discuss what to call themselves and could not agree on a name. She was sewing, saw the letters and jokingly suggested it. Much to her surprise, all the band members liked it. View the video online
Honesty - Billy Joel (right)
Joel's album 52nd Street was a big success for Billy Joel in the late 1970s. While he was in a New York state of mind, he and producer Phil Ramone were able to muster up three big hit songs for the album including 'Big Shot', 'Honesty' and 'My Life'. He solidly defined himself as the quintessential piano bar rocker who can successfully tell a story through music and captivate an audience. Honesty received a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year. View the video online
In the Navy - The Village People
The music video for the song was shot with the help of the United States Navy which actually intended to use the song in promotional advertising until protests erupted over using taxpayer money for a music video of a gay singing group. Homosexuals can serve in the US Navy, but they must conform to the US military's "don't ask, don't tell' policy. Under this policy, homosexuals are not sought out for expulsion from the Navy, but they may be forced to leave the service if their sexual orientation becomes known. Of all the Village People's songs that have been parodied over the years, and most have, this one has been sent up the most. The song is played in The Simpsons episode "Simpson Tide" (where it is identified as an "ancient sea shanty"!) and it ends as a submarine submerges, taking the Village People and Mr Smithers, with it. It is also briefly sung by The Sea Captain in the episode, Mr. Plow. The song was written by Jacques Morali, Henri Belolo and Victor Willis. View the video online
Is She Really Going Out With Him? - Joe Jackson (right)
English musician and singer/songwriter Joe Jackson is probably best-known for his 1979 hit song "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", which still gets extensive FM radio airplay, and for his 1982 hit, "Steppin' Out". He was popular for his power-pop and New Wave sound early on before moving to more eclectic, though less commercially successful, pop/jazz/classical musical pieces. Jackson was a part of the trio of British-based artists that challenged the punk scene and brought a New Wave sound to the US in the late 1970s, along with Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. View the video online
Lady - Little River Band
1979 was a big year for Australian outfit, Lttle River Band; it was the year in which all the hard work laying the foundations for an assult on the international market finally paid off. Fuelled by a very successful Australian hit single "Curiosity Killed The Cat", the band began making promotional visits to the US in 1976. This resulted in a hit single, "It's A Long Way There", which broke into the Top 30 and galvanised the commitment of the band members.
More concert performances in the US followed, and in 1977 "Help Is On Its Way" (an Australian No.1 single) and "Happy Anniversary" both narrowly missed the US Top 10. From 1978 until 1981, Little River Band achieved six consecutive US Top 10 singles with "Reminiscing", "Lady", "Lonesome Loser", "Cool Change", "The Night Owls" and "Take It Easy On Me". During their career the band have sold more than 25 million records and scored 13 American Top 40 hits. "Lady", written by band member Graeham Goble and lifted from the 1979 album Sleeper Catcher, sold 3 million copies. Hear the song online
Lonesome Loser - Little River Band
From 1978 until 1981, Little River Band achieved six consecutive US Top 10 singles with "Reminiscing", "Lady", "Lonesome Loser", "Cool Change", "The Night Owls" and "Take It Easy On Me". During their career the band have sold more than 25 million records and scored 13 American Top 40 hits. "Lonesome Loser", written by lead sinder Glenn Shorrock and lifted from the 1979 album First Under The Wire, sold 2 million copies. Its theme is similar to the band's briggest hit, "Help Is On Its Way". View the video online
The Logical Song - Supertramp
"The Logical Song" is a hit single from Supertramp's 1979 album, Breakfast in America. Written and sung by band member Roger Hodgson, the song is about the loss of innocence as a child grows up, and the loss of idealism. The sound effects in this song include the 'tackled' sound from the Coleco Electronic Quarterback handheld electronic game, popular at the time this song was released. The signature 'crunchy' electric piano sound on this and other Supertramp hits of the era such as "Goodbye Stranger" is a Wurlitzer electric piano. View the video online
The Long Run - The Eagles (right) The Long Run is the also the name of the sixth studio album by Eagles, released in 1979. It was originally intended to be a double album to be released in 1978 but was instead demoted to a single album. Some of the tracks that were right off the album would be cobbled together to compose the cut "Long Run rightovers" which appeared on the band's 2000 box set Selected Works 1972-1999. The Long Run took almost two years to complete and saw The Eagles move in a more hard rock direction that they started going in with its predecessor, 1976's Hotel California. When released in September 1979, The Long Run debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. The album spawned three Top 10 singles, the chart-topping rocker "Heartache Tonight", the album's opening title track and the ballad "I Can't Tell You Why". "In the City", a song first recorded by guitarist Walsh for the soundtrack to the movie The Warriors, and "Those Shoes" were also on the album. View the video online
Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Written after the author visited Belfast in Northern Ireland, "Oliver's Army" criticises the British Army for targeting disadvantaged young men leaving secondary school (when the song was written in the late 1970s, Britain had a high unemployment rate). The title refers to Oliver Cromwell, who as Protector of the Commonwealth created the New Model Army, an earlier version of the modern British Army. The song also mentions specific "trouble spots" in the world, such as South Africa (at the time experiencing turmoil over Apartheid), Palestine, Cyprus, and most prominently Northern Ireland.
In reference to the latter country, Costello included the controversial lyric "Only takes one itchy trigger/One more widow, one less white nigger", referring to the Irish, who believe they have historically been oppressed by the English in the way many black peoples have been opressed. Costello is himself of Irish descent. During the recording of the album, Armed Forces, on which the song was first released, the incomplete 'Oliver's Army' was nearly dropped, but was eventually kept after keyboardist Steve Nieve created a piano part for the song that was reminiscent of 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. The music video for 'Oliver's Army' was aired on MTV's first U.S. broadcast day, 1st August 1981. View the video online
The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan - Marianne Faithfull (right)
Marianne Faithfull burst onto the pop music scene as the darling of 1960s swinging London with a top hit ("Is This What I Get For Loving You, Baby?"), a famous boyfriend (Mick Jagger), and extreme beauty and style. But when the 1960s came crashing down so did Faithfull; she succumbed to a heroin addiction that right her living on the streets with nowhere to turn. Luckily, she came out of her drug-induced haze, pulled her life and career back together and is today one of popular music's true survivors. Originally recorded by Dr. Hook in 1975, this song, by Shel Silverstein, was also covered by Bobby Bare and Belinda Carlisle and used in the movies Montenegro and Thelma & Louise. >
The lyric tells the story of a suburban housewife who is literally driven crazy by the boredom of her life. Having been to hell and back herself, Faithfull knows her subject matter well and gives a compelling, stark rendition of a very powerful and thought provoking song. In June 2007, when Faithfull was interviewed on Britain's The South Bank Show, she said that when she first heard the song she identified with it immediately. She remarked that some people misinterpret the song, thinking the story ends in suicide. In fact, although Lucy Jordan has climbed onto the roof, she doesn't jump but is taken away in an ambulance - to a mental hospital. When she climbs into the ambulance she is so far gone that she imagines she is riding through Paris in a sports car, something she had always dreamed about doing. View the video online
Shape I'm In - Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons
In late 1975 Ross Wilson (ex-Daddy Cool frontman) who was waiting out his Daddy Cool/Mighty Kong recording contract, had started producing other artists for a label he was involved in - Oz Records. He also decided to produce a version of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run", as a one-of Christmas single for Mushroom Records. Since contractually he couldn't perform the vocals himself, Ross asked musician-around-town Joe Camilleri to sing and play on the record, and front it. In Maltese, 'Joe' is 'Zep'.
The name Wilson put on the single was Jo Jo Zep and His Little Helpers. To promote the single it seemed a good idea to put together a scratch band comprised of other people who had worked on the recording. On stage they called themselves Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons. In 1978 the Oz Record label folded and the band moved to Mushroom Records, and another new musical direction began to emerge in the mix: reggae. English producer and latterday Procol Harum member Peter Solley became involved with the band upon hearing "Shape I'm In". View the video online
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
This 1979 dance hit song, composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, was released as a single from the album of the same name and quickly began to enjoy club and radio play. "We Are Family" was used as the 1979 theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won baseball's World Series that year. Artists who have covered the song include The Spice Girls and the Minneapolis girl band, Babes in Toyland. It is now widely considered a gay anthem. View the video online