Spillyear 1979

Still, the music was good.

We’re running out of years… But we haven’t done 1979 yet. I was  1 year old. Pity, coz I reckon it would have been fun to be a teenager.

Listen to the playlist here

Try this link too if YouTube is being temperamental:





85 thoughts on “Spillyear 1979

  1. 1. The Clash – London Calling
    An obvious one so you can all have another pick.

    2. The Specials – A Message to You Rudy
    What a great band.

    3. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry
    The loveliest of guitar riffs.

  2. Pre-prepared this one!

    The Clash – London Calling
    Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles
    Wire – A Mutual Friend

    We’re doing Clash snap again. Can’t really alter the fact it’s my favourite record of 1979 but I’ll come back with another one – a lot to choose from though

  3. I’ll probably kick myself later but off the top of my head:

    Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Oliver’s Army
    Talking Heads – Life During Wartime
    PIL – Poptones

  4. I was 20, left home, got a flat in a converted garage – I use the word “converted” generously – it did at least have a shower, loo and kitchen and a very damp bedsitting room. It didn’t really matter because I was either at work, at the pub or at my boyfriend’s flat. Off the top of me ‘ead:

    Sad Cafe – Every Day Hurts
    Lene Lovich – Birdsong
    Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

    • Donds for Comfortably Numb.

      It is the only track on “The Wall” that I really like. It is an album that I didn’t like when I first heard it and which I have come to actively loathe since then.

      It is Roger Waters’ almost paranoid self-loathing that repels me, and when it is coupled to his monumental ego it becomes unbearable. I don’t need to experience all that stuff, thanks all the same. We’ve all done self-loathing, surely? Most of us don’t turn it into a wallow across two albums of turgid self-pitying music.

      • I like “Goodbye Blue Sky” too. I hated The Wall when it came out but I went to see them play it live and it did come across much better with the whole Pink Floyd theatrical thing. Still don’t like the album, though. (And i won a tenner from the Melody Maker because I wrote a letter about it!!)

      • Not necessarily a boy thing! Can’t stand Floyd and the self-pity is one of the things that grates. But I also quite like Comfortably Numb – ever since the Sisters Of Mercy opened with a cover of it the first time I saw them!

  5. All My Love – Led Zeppelin
    Reasons to be Cheerful, Part III
    Atomic – Blondie

    The right year for Atomic this time. There must be plenty of other choices

  6. donds also for the Floyd (I was going to go for Hey You, but good, they’re covered now), Led Zep, and Talking Heads. Still spoiled pretty rotten for tunes.

    B – 52’s – Planet Claire
    Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover
    Marianne Faithfull – Broken English

    hon. mention –

    Ramones – Blitzkreig Bop
    Van Halen – Dance the Night Away
    Elvis Costello – Accidents Will Happen
    Cars – It’s All I Can Do
    Michael Jackson – Working Day and Night
    Clash – Lost in the Supermarket, Clampdown, Train in Vain

    I’ll probably end up adding the Ramones to the playlist, as i doubt i’ll find Prince on Youtube.

  7. Final year in college and seriously roadie-ing for the first time in 1979. Went to Delhi, Pilani and Bombay as crew for our local and visiting bands … rocking to AC/DC, Deep Purple and just about learning to love fusion which was becoming big. But what a year! The Wall came out and for once we could buy it almost immediately, Dylan, The Who, Queen, Marley, ELP, Foreigner – wow. Spoilt for choice.
    I’l lgo with :
    * AC/DC – Highway To Hell
    * ZZ Top – Cheap Sunglasses
    * Led Zep – Fool In The Rain.

    • Donds for all three, although I wasn’t listening to either ZZ Top or AC/DC in 1979.

      I was really very immersed in post-punk miserabilism and all things gloomy.

  8. Sorry barbryn but both links not working for me. I’m having the same issue with my collaborative playlist too. I’ll try later as it ay be some regional restrictions going on.
    If you can add these three will be much obliged.

  9. Ok, this is tricky:

    Joy Division – New Dawn Fades
    Magazine – Permafrost
    Fall – Rowche Rumble

    Sorry, Gang Of Four, Artery, Killing Joke, Monochrome Set, Tubeway Army, Bauhaus, P,I.L., Durutti Column, Young Marble Giants, Ruts, Bill Nelson & the rest of the rest.

  10. Fear of Music was my fave album of 1979. I bought that along with Elvis C, The Jam, PIL, Gang of Four, The Clash, The Undertones, The Fall etc. So donds to all above from this lot.

    My Picks:
    Talking Heads – Drugs
    The Jam – Eton Rifles
    Earth, Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland (high energy!)

  11. 1979 was the year that I decided that I needed a big change in my life, so I upped sticks, left London and ended up in Bristol in the summer of that year.

    The main thing for me was sorting out somewhere to live in the longer term, so buying lots of music wasn’t really my top priority. However, I did buy a few albums, but some of the really good ones, like the eponymous first album by The Specials and Elvis Costello‘s Armed Forces had to wait until 1980 before I got hold of them.

    I knows that I did buy the following;

    Led ZeppelinIn Through The Out Door
    The ClashLondon Calling
    MagazineSecondhand Daylight
    David BowieLodger
    Joy DivisionUnknown Pleasures
    Talking HeadsFear Of Music

    I expect that London Calling will be heavily oversubscribed, so I’ll regretfully give that album a miss and I didn’t really appreciate In Through The Out Door properly at the time, so I’ll leave that aside too.

    So, I am picking;

    Talking Heads – Life During Wartime
    Magazine – Permafrost
    Joy Division – New Dawn Fades

    • 1980 was when I heard Talking Heads first, Life During Wartime actually, and became an ardent fan. So big, big donds. And In Through The Out Door has been a firm Led Zep favourite of mine, along with Physical Graffiti and IV.

      • Yes, I have come to like In Through The Out Door a lot more since my initial listenings. I think that it only really made sense to me after I’d started getting into Robert Plant’s solo stuff.

      • I’ve never really got In Through the Out Door, In The Evening is kind of hypnotic, but it just doesn’t have the same impact as the others to me. I’m revisiting some later Bowie at the moment, but I shall re-listen to this after that 🙂

  12. Great year. New wave everywhere.

    And I’ll dond everything above, but it was also immense for pop tunes and dance music. Some of the greatest grooves ever. Amy’s got Michael Jackson, so I’ll add:

    M – Pop Muzik
    McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now
    Chic – Good Times


    • Ain’t No Stopping Us Now always makes me thing of Bob Hoskins’ early TV appearances in an adult literacy programme called On The Move.

      • I remember the theme tune. Could do with some of that adult literacy. Joking aside, when I worked in Blackpool, I was always amazed at the amount of people who would ask me to write their postcards home because they couldn’t.

    • Pop Muzik donds. I do remember, at the time, telling everyone that it was “the most important single since Anarchy in the UK” or some such.pretentiousness. It was just a bloody good single and one of the many signs that pop music was changing – as it always is.

  13. Hmm, 1979: in Shrewsbury, on Matt’s 7th birthday*, I put the kids in the junk car I’d just bought (which had a hole in the petrol tank, as I found out halfway) and headed for Clacton, where I’d booked a holiday flat for three weeks, thinking that’d be long enough for me to find a proper house to rent. *hollow laugh*

    Oh, you want to hear about music? R&LT brought out Sunnyvista in 1979 and I’d have chosen Traces Of My Love but there’s not a good version on YT so I’ll go for Sisters. A band called the Tourists appeared on the OGWT and I was strangely attracted to their song Blind Among The Flowers. And in a retrospective cheat I really must choose the mighty Refugee, the opening track on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ breakthrough album Damn The Torpedoes.

    *I bought him a ginger cake from a garage on the way and he was quite happy with that.

  14. Massive donds for Talking Heads, Costello and B-52’s. There were some great songs around in 1979.

    I’m going for:
    Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
    Madness – One Step Beyond
    and, for its indefensible sleaze,
    Frank Zappa – Jewish Princess

    • 1979 was, as the photo indicates, the year that The Rot started. Before that, many people had the kind of ideas about society that Bernie Sanders is pushing; after that, personal wealth was the only thing that mattered. It’s almost that simple. I’ll never forgive the twats who voted for her. Ever.

      • And yet we seem to be poised to nominate our own corrupt warmongering bought and paid for corporate candidate with uterus to head up the country. Dog help us all, the alternatives (save for Sanders) are just as bad.

  15. I can do a “what I actually listened to then” and “what I rate now” on this year
    So, I was still at primary school and liked Blondie Heart of Glass, Village People YMCA and Walking on the Moon by the Police at the time. However my picks now are
    1.Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
    for the bass and Danny Ash and the theatricality and the vampires and because it’s so long
    2. Siouxsie and the Banshees -Playground Twist
    Siouxsie shouting at you
    3. Japan – Life in Tokyo
    because of the vibe man

    Apologies to Steve Hillage, Bowie and Damned and the Cure

    • Bat-shaped donds for Bela Lugosi’s Dead.

      I bought it as a 12″ single (not the very rare white vinyl one). I had got it into my head that it came out in 1980, but I see that I was wrong. A terrific record.

      • Thank you for the dond. I am sometimes in danger of not listening to the track because it is so familiar (and so defined as goth), but it still sounds so good when I invest the time. I didn’t own it at the time. Bauhaus are a band who went in many directions they remain very interesting to my ears, which I know is to be expected as I’m a self confessed goth, but they’re more than the genre 🙂

  16. I had a gander at the singles list for the year, as i always seem to miss some goodies there (dond for Ian Dury, also for the DKs). Seems that i missed out on Rapper’s Delight, which i’ve added to the list. Some decade in the future when some whippersnapper, maybe some of your kids even, will check out the Spill to see what was up in various years. 1979 wouldn’t be complete without it, that’s basically where the hip hop behometh started.

      • 1979 is one of those years that’s musically pretty clear in my head. I was a freshman / sophomore art major in college (not overly taxing mentally), and we were either driving around and drinking listening to New Wave – B-52s, Heads, Cars, Pretenders, REM – or drinking and doing drugs and dancing to Prince, MJ, and Rapper’s Delight.

      • Fun times. If I’d been older, I would’ve enjoyed that dancing.

        I was 13 and I started working in a record shop in Blackpool that summer. Thus beginning this obsession with music. It also helped that 1979 was full of brilliant singles (Buggles, Janet Kay; Rickie Lee Jones) and even the cheese was of a higher quality.

        Picture discs and coloured vinyl, ska, The Damned, The Police, Roxy Music, Buzzcocks, Blondie and lots of heavy metal (Motorhead, Cheap Trick, Rainbow, Saxon) are what I remember from my friends at that time.

  17. I was 15 years old and glued to my radio-cassette player ALL the time. I’m glad Madness, Elvis Costello, the Jam and Ian Dury have already been taken, because I wouldn’t have been able to choose between them. Apart from pop radio (I think I’d just transferred my allegiance from Radio One to Capital Radio) and the local jazz club (the only place I ever got to hear live music), I had just discovered the public library had record as well as books and had their Kate & Anne McGarrigal and Led Zep LPs on semi-permanent loan.

    Squeeze – Cool For Cats
    Dave Edmunds – Girl Talk
    Crusaders – Street Life

    In a mock election at my (home counties grammar) school the Conservative Party won by a mile; 27 years on I still feel the shame.

    • Donds for all three. I remember my mother was delighted that a woman was now prime minister. My father thought Thatcher was a nutter and he couldn’t relate to her at all.

      I remember my woodwork teacher at school saying he’d vote for the Liberals cos he didn’t want a woman in power. I also remember that there was a lot of local support for the NF, which seemed daft to me because I hardly ever saw black people in Blackpool. Being 1979 and Blackpool it seemed almost everyone voted for the Tories, they probably got about 60% of all votes cast in North B and South B. Safe seats and an area almost free of left-wing political activism. Crap.


    • Donds for Street Life. I remember being hugely disappointed when I heard the album because apart from the glorious title track the rest of it was the kind of dull jazz-funk you would hear in a wine bar called Brahms & Liszt or something similar.

  18. OK, I’ll toss in my usual selection, I must say that in 1978 I was imersed totally in reggae and these are just a partial list of what I bought and listened to that year. The Singles were bought mostly in Kingston and the albums in LA. I can’t possibly choose any three singles, so I’ll pick 3 albums,
    1. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Forces Of Victory
    2. Gregory Isaacs – Soon Forward
    3. Bob Marley And The Wailers – Survival

    If I’d chosen 3 more they’d be;
    Culture – International Herb
    Diamonds – Deeper Roots
    The Congoes – Heart Of The Congoes

    Here’s a partial list:
    Gregory Isaacs – Soon Forward
    The Mighty Diamonds – Indentity
    Heptones – Losing You
    Dennis Brown – Money In My Pocket
    Michigan/ and Smiley – Rubadub Style
    Marcia Griffiths – Stepping Out A Babylon
    Jimmy Riley – Give Thanks And Praise
    Bob Marley – Rastaman Live It Up
    Black Uhuro – Plastic Smile
    Al Campbell – If Loving You Is Wrong
    Barrington Levy – Collie Weed
    Sugar Minott – Hard Time Pressure
    Ken Boothe – Satta Massa Gana
    Bob Marley – Ambush in the night
    Delroy Wilson – Dancing Mood
    Gregory Isaacs – The Border
    Heptones – Love Won’t Come Easy
    Barrington Levy – Shine Eye Gal
    Sheila Hylton – Breakfast In Bed
    Black Uhuru – General Penitentiary
    Willie Williams – Armagideon Time
    Oku Onuora – Reflections In Red
    Freddie McGregor – Rastaman Camp
    Bob Marley And The Wailers – One Drop
    Gregory Isaacs – Poor And Clean
    Kiddus-I – Love Child

    Augustus Pablo – East Of The River Nile
    Israel Vibration – The Same Song
    Burning Spear – Social Living
    The Congoes – Heart Of The Congoes
    Linton Kwesi Johnson – Forces Of Victory
    Freddie McGregor – Mr McGregor
    Dennis Brown – Words Of Wisdom
    Gregory Isaacs – Soon Forward
    Diamonds – Deeper Roots
    Judy Mowatt – Black Woman
    Aswad – Hulet
    Bob Marley And The Wailers – Survival
    Culture – International Herb

  19. Tremendous list so far. Here’s my sluff. Two – you just gotta dance songs – and one air guitar all time champion. The year my daughter was born and I danced her round the house to all these.

    We Are Family – Sister Sledge

    Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits

    Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

  20. ’79 at Uni going to Erics to see all the punks and the Empire for the old farts
    Some of the oldies I saw do fantastic shows that year
    Steve Hillage healing feeling from live herald
    Alex Harvey the whalers from Mafia stole my guitar
    somehow missed the talking heads and then blondie shows at Erics
    enjoyed Zep at Knebworth
    wouldn’t recommend a Yes tune as I didn’t like Drama at the time, but its grown on me down the years

  21. Difficult to choose from what was a good year (though not as good as the 3 previous years)

    She’s Lost Control – Joy Division (probably would have gone for Transmission if not taken)
    You Can’t Be Too Strong – Graham Parker + Rumour
    Kentucky Avenue – Tom Waits

    mentions for The Jam (Strange Town, When We’re Young and Eton Rifles), Gang of Four (Ether, At Home He’s a Tourist) and Squeeze (Cool for Cats, Up The Junction)

  22. A year with an embarrassment of musical riches, when it was ‘Fast, Rough, Factory time’. My three off the top of my head are :

    ‘Instant Hit’ – The Slits
    ‘Mind Your Own Business’ – Delta 5
    ‘Clown Town’ – Pink Military

    It was Peel’s world and we just lived in it.

  23. Top 3 as Madness and Blondie were the first albums I payed for with my own money:

    Sugar Hill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (Original Extended Full 15 minute version please)

    Madness – The Prince

    Blondie – Dreaming

    Here’s my 13 playlists

    The Cure – 10:15 Saturday Night

    Why D’ya Do It?- Marianne Faithfull

    Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Fire (Arthur Brown Disco Cover)

    Flying Lizzards – Money thats what I want

    The Selecter – On My Radio

    The Specials – Nite Klub


    Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Original)

    Talking Heads – I Zimbra

    THE SLITS typical girls

      • Hugo Ball was the turn of the (previous) century DaDa poet that wrote I Zimbra – it’s actually nonsensical German – the African style rhythms are there to confuse and disorientate. I’m assuming because a lot of the tracks on the album are deceptive – Drugs, Paper, Heaven, Animals, Cities; deception was/is a major theme in Byrne’s world.

        David Byrne, on the choice to use Ball’s poem on Fear of Music:

        I remember hearing an old recording of Kurt Schwitter’s Ur Sonata when I was in school. It struck me as very musical, very rhythmic … (almost funky) … very funny and very entertaining. It was one of the first times I had heard the musicality of ‘language’ made so explicit. It didn’t matter that it was a made up language. … Using Hugo Ball’s text for I Zimbra was Brian Eno’s suggestion. I felt it was the perfect solution to the quandary we had gotten ourselves into: how do we have a ‘chant-like’ vocal that doesn’t place undue emphasis on the lyric content.

    • Yes, donds from me too. Wasn’t buying records at that point, mainly just listening to the radio and tv. Reason being, no spare cash, had not long moved house to bungalow in the country, had given up work, one baby/toddler to care for, another soon on the way….I had a temporary job which I enjoyed but that only lasted 6 weeks or so. Remember meeting our MP, Francis Pym, we were living in a very Conservative area. Cambridge our nearest city, and for some reason associate Heart of Glass with being there, walking through Lion Yard and hearing it playing from some shop or other. Elder daughter who was then 8/9 liked it because there was a naughty word (ass).

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