79 thoughts on “Spillyear 1978

  1. Kate Bush was number one with “Wuthering Heights” the day that I was born, so that seems like a good choice to start with.

    Then let’s have “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais)”, which is probably my favourite Clash song.

    And something from Parallel Lines… searching for the album version of Sunday Girl, I came across the single version with bilingual lyrics, so I’ve added that. Blondie recording the blueprint for my beloved brand of indie pop.

  2. Happy birthday, barbryn! Not a bad year to be born in.

    Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden
    Talking Heads – Take Me to the River
    Jacksons – Shake Your Body Down to the Ground

    Many runners up –

    Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate
    Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated
    Devo – Mongoloid
    Police – So Lonely

    • I love that Talking Heads “Take Me To The River” cover. In fact, I think that I might even like it more than the Al Green original.

      • I had More Songs About Buildings and Food, and i think i probably just ended up playing Take Me to the River over and over again.

      • I always took it to be quite PC in it’s own slightly provocative punky sort of way ie he’s a “mongoloid” but he’s having a normal life, or something like that. I’ve read another more fascistic interpretation though. I’ll go with my theory as I’ve read about Devo’s and they seem quite liberal/left-leaning

  3. Happy birthday, Barbryn!

    I’m picking

    Blondie – Picture This
    Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
    Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

    Probably my favourite Blondie. A few other possibles.

  4. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Helter Skelter
    The Cure – 10.15 Saturday Night
    Magazine – The Light Pours Out of Me

    And so many others by Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex, Talking Heads, Wire, PiL, Pere Ubu, Elvis Costello………

      • I thought you might.

        It was the second great year in a row (for me – ok?) for live gigs, for singles and, this time, for albums too. Absolutely spoilt for choice. It was the year that punk changed/split and took a variety of different paths. I was 20 and frankly never wanted this to end.

    • I think, for me, One Nation Under a Groove was the only sign (apart from the Heads occasional funky-ness) that there was a whole other world of music out there waiting to be explored. I did buy a few reggae albums in 77/78 but for the most part it was punk and it’s various offshoots. We didn’t call it post-punk back then and would probably have been insulted by the label. I guess Kraftwerk’s Man Machine didn’t fit in to this picture either. They had ploughed their own furrow for some time and would continue to do so. It was probably this year that some new British bands started to show their influence though. Otherwise and albumwise for me it was:

      The Scream
      Real Life
      Road to Ruin
      Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts
      Public Image – First Issue
      Another Music in a Different Kitchen
      Love Bites
      More Songs About Buildings and Food
      Germ Free Adolescents
      Chairs Missing
      The Modern Dance
      Dub Housing
      This Years Model

      I hated Give Em Enough Rope at the time and sold my copy within a week.

      Just re-read my first paragraph up above and it’s completely incoherent. Should start again really – but I shan’t.

  5. Public Image Ltd. – Public Image
    Scritti Politti – Skank Bloc Bologna
    Magazine – Give Me Everything

    The punk virus has mutated.

  6. Happy birthday Barbryn – so young! I was 19 in 1978. And I’m spoilt for choice for music, hard to narrow it down to three. Heavily played (by me) were:

    Thin Lizzy – Emerald (from “Live and Dangerous”);
    The Alan Parsons Project – The Eagle Will Rise Again (I didn’t actually discover this album (“Pyramid”) till 1979; my boyfriend had it. I love Colin Blunstone’s vocal on this track. And the guy on the album cover looked just like my boyfriend).
    Yes – Onward (from “Tormato” – much slated, but one of my favourite albums at the time).

    Narrowly escaped – Jethro Tull and “One Brown Mouse”, from “Heavy Horses”; Andrew Gold – “Never Let her Slip Away”; 10CC “Dreadlock Holiday”, and more.

  7. 1978 also my birthyear!

    If you asked my mum, I think she would doubtless say Rivers of Babylon by Bony M, remembering that it was played on the radio constantly whilst she was trying to feed me and calm me down – I was a proper lung shredding crier apparently – this would be right as it was No1 about 2 months after I was born – interested to note that Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs by Brian and Michael was number 1 on the day that I was born – as I now work in Salford, it is perhaps fitting.

    Anyway, my picks…

    Jean Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Part 4

    I would regularly go and explore my older brothers’ record collections when I was nipper and would find all sorts of interesting things in there – I became somewhat obsessed with a double album of the first two breakthrough Jarre albums, Oxygene from 1976 and Equinoxe from 1978 – I think it was the haunting album artwork by Michel Granger that first caught my imagination, especially for Equinoxe, a haunting graphic image of hundreds of ghostly figures in a theatre in an identical pose, all looking at the stage through their opera glasses – and that mysterious, haunting quality was certainly there in the music, a strange, otherworldly but still intently melodic experience that sparked my love of electronic music that lasts to this day.

    Elvis Costello – Lipstick Vogue

    Hometown pride kicks in again for me with this, the most lyrically dextrous, snottiest explosion of a track from his breakout period.

    Jeff Wayne – Eve of the War (from War of the Worlds)

    Back to my brother’s record collection, War of the Worlds absolutely transfixed me – I think for a period of around six months in 1986, I listened to the whole album every single day – everything about it held fascination for me, the story, the glorious voice overs, the brilliant melodies, the ghostly sound effects – there is not a drum beat or note of this album that isn’t burnt into my musical memory, but the opening track is still thrilling to me…

    An honourable mention also really needs to go to:

    Bob Dylan – Changing of the Guard – I’d long laboured under the impression that Bob did little of interest after Blood on the Tracks, but this track blew me away when I finally started to challenge my own assumptions about that.

    • I never much liked “War Of The Worlds” at the time, but it has grown on me over the years. I like to play it all the way through on long car journeys.

    • The Tripod battling the Thunderchild was an airbrush painting by my teacher at technical collage Mike Trim – Roger Dean was supposed to do the art but put in a 64 page book of illustrations making the record more of a soundtrack to his book. Jeff Wayne dismissed this idea – luckily for my art teacher.

    • Rivers of Babylon / Brown Girl In The Ring was no. 1 when MummyP was born. At the time I couldn’t begin to perceive of any redeeming possibilities for Boney M, but there you go…

      Lipstick Vogue is a fine choice from This Year’s Model. I heard Steve Harley talking about that Bob Dylan song on Radio 2 a while back, as a reflection on Bob’s career since 1962 (“Sixteen years…”).

  8. Talking Heads – Found A Job. The first TH song that I connected with, for some reason.
    Grateful Dead – France. Even Weir doesn’t like it, but I do.
    Jilted John – Jilted John. Magnificently dumb, un-PC and kinda sweet.

    Happy Birthday (yesterday?) barbryn!

    • Ha! I’m doing a Songs from the North West of England series on Facebook and I was just about to put that up for song 38 or 39. I will steal your words. Every 12-yr-old boy in my school know the words.

  9. Wow 1978! Can only echo Ali: so young. Happy birthday barbryn and by the way I think I solved why one YT link works better than the other – the first one you put up is an https (or secure) and the second is a mere http so open to all.

  10. Age 7, going on 8.

    1) Van Halen – You Really Got Me‘Scuse me, I’ve got some air guitar to play
    2) Bob Seger – Till It ShinesI’ve got a thang for fuzztone guitar, and this is some of the finest
    3) Cerrone – SupernatureBecause there aren’t a whole lot of apocalyptic songs that you can dance to

    • Tracks from “Night Moves” were on Capital Radio’s evening rock programme just about every evening that spring, the soundtrack to my ‘O’-level exam revision, as we called them in England back in the day, when I was 16. Fine album.

  11. The year Shakti died, though it would be confirmed only much later. Also the year.Wishbone Ash came here as did many other bands. Also first time I saw what coke was and too chicken to use it kept talking about it for months later.
    * Woman of the Night – Uriah Heep
    * You See Red – Wishbone Ash
    * Every Tear from Every Eye – John McLaughlin

  12. an ace year for new sounds and funky sounds and cheese. i loved the sound of the synth drum, so i’ll go dancing in the city with Chic and Funkadelic and cry at home with Rose Royce; Le Freak, One Nation Under a Groove and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.

  13. Well, barbryn beat me to the iconic Kate Bush song, but I’m going to have to include her, so I’m choosing Man With the Child In His Eyes, next is the Damned with Love Song, love a bit of Damned, me and lastly to be honest it’ll be Boney M with Brown Girl In the Ring because I have a vivid memory of listening to it whilst on a boat bound for Ireland for a holiday.

  14. The Jam All Mod Cons
    Blondie Plastic Letters
    Patti Smith Easter
    The Clash Give ‘Em Enough Rope
    Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel 2
    Magazine Real Life
    Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings And Food
    Graham Parker And The Rumour The Parkerilla
    George Thoroughgood And The Destroyers Move It On Over

    and there were lots and lots of singles, too. It was a good year for singles.

    So, what to pick?

    OK, let’s start with this.

    Patti Smith – Till Victory
    The Clash – Safe European Home
    Chic – Le Freak

    • Gah! I just noticed that it appears that I didn’t copy and paste the introduction to my post. I’d written it out as a note and then missed the paragraph before I listed out the albums I remember buying in 1978.

      Anyway, I was talking about starting work as a computer operator, after a couple of short false starts and then getting a better job as a computer operator in a City-based foreign bank. Every third week, we did night shifts from 11:00pm until 7:30 the following morning and we were all doing, ahem, “stimulants” to stay awake. We used to work to a soundtrack of punk, disco and other stuff and then had the problem of how to get to sleep when we got home after the shift ended. I was living in Notting Hill at the time, which was right in the middle of lots of exciting stuff and I spent a huge amount of my free time going to gigs and clubbing and pubbing. It was a great time, really.

      • There’s that great photo by Jill Furmanovsky, of Chic at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978. A gig I guess I could’ve got to from the other side of London, though probably none of my friends would’ve been interested, but it would’ve been great to be there:


      • There were just so many great albums in 1978, and great singles too. I’d have picked “White Man In Hammersmith Palais” but it was already nommed.

  15. Almost impossible to pick 3 but

    Another Girl Another Planet – The Only Ones
    Ambition – Subway Sect
    Prove It All Night – Bruce Springsteen (probably the best song I’ve ever seen performed live)

    with many many more by Siouxsie, Undertones, Wire, SLF, Mekons, Gang of Four, Costello, Generation X, Tom Waits (Kentucky Ave), etcetc

  16. That photo up top is an amazing coincidence. Yesterday I pulled that LP from my stack and sat reading the liner notes and enjoying the photos, the only cut I played was Wuthering Heights!

  17. I was 16 years old and really enjoying life, though not in a tearaway teenage kind of way. I was good at academic work – 10 grade As at ‘O’ level – doing loads of music with the school orchestra and choir, and mainly because of that had more friends that I’d previously imagined was possible. Plenty of self-confidence, though perhaps at the expense of taking too few risks with my love life. I preferred a deeply safe, unrequited crush. We used to have school music camps where boys were a definite minority and we were all of us lovelier than we realised. It helped me be carefree and happy at the time, but maybe set me up to learn the essential hard lessons a long time after most people do.

    I loved Elvis, his specs were the same as mine, the words were brilliant and there was passion and power in the music. The record shop in Manor Park, London E12, 2 miles from home, where I bought the single of Pump It Up is what I think a record shop is, and their performance of it on Top Of The Pops was outstanding.

    For albums, then, This Years Model; the others were decidedly un-punky or new-wavey – The Darts – Everyone Plays Darts was perfect for the not-very-long-broken voice trying to imitate Den Hegarty’s bassman. Mitch would castigate me were he to read this, but there it was. I suppose for me it was kind of the spirit of punk, three chords and all that. Well, four for the single I’ve chosen.

    Harder to explain is Joan Armatrading ‘ To The Limit, which I listened to loads and loads. Webcore A-listed “Bottom To The Top” the other week (Songs About Overcoming The Odds). When I sent in my votes for the NME end-of-year readers’ poll, I think Darts and Joan’s band got most of my votes.

    Elvis Costello – Pump It Up
    Darts – Come Back My Love

    and, to mark the first time I braved a school disco, I’ll celebrate the cheesier side of the genre. Nowehere near as good as Chic or Earth, Wind and Fire, but here’s:

    Dan Hartman – Instant Replay

    • Instant replay was one of Danny Baker’s favourites. He startled NME readers by saying it moved/thrilled him in much the same way as Anarchy in the UK.

      • That’s right, he had a solo Mission to open NME readers’ bleeding ears to disco, as well as prog ! I owe him thanks for that, all the uncoordinated dancing pleasure over the years.

        I remember his review of Le Freak as well – something like, “it doesn’t have to be Studio 54, just your local disco will do…”

  18. I mustn’t forget the two huge Rock Against Racism festivals in London that year, and I think there was a big one in Manchester too, and strong Leeds connections. My younger brother went to the first London one at Victoria Park; I was festivalled-out after the massive crowds for Bob Dylan at Blackbushe the year before, but I’m so glad he persuaded his wimpy older brother to come to the September one at Brockwell Park. Elvis Costello, Stiff Little Fingers, Aswad….

  19. I was working as a National Insurance Inspector with the DHSS in Woolwich, living in Lewisham. There was a lot of Rock Against Racism and Anti- Nazi League stuff going on to combat the National Front, particularly active in my part of town. Disco was big at work. I saw Spirit at the Rainbow. Listened to a lot of Elvis C, Talking Heads, Television, Springsteen, Beefheart and Dylan.

    Chaka Khan – I’m every Woman
    Bob Dylan – Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
    Floppy Boot Stomp – Shiny Beast

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