1978 List

1978 Classic Rock Album Reviews
1978 Music
While punk and disco loomed in the background, classic rock and pop continued to thrive in 1978 with a rich selection of albums from very diverse artists released that year. Rush reached their virtuoso climax with Hemispheres while Van Halen and The Cars each had very impressive self-titled debuts.

We featured albums from the year 1978 during September and October 2013. During this 35th anniversary celebration of that classic rock music, we originally reviewed 16 albums:

*1978 Album of the Year

Below are further descriptions of each album, in the order that we reviewed.

August 30, 2013
But Seriously Folks by Joe WalshJoe Walsh found his greatest solo success with But Seriously Folks in 1978, although “solo” is used loosely here. The versatile rocker did have help from members of his current and former bands but, no matter how the credit gets dispersed, this album is excellent and original album, methodically combining musical styles with top-of-the-line production.
Review of But Seriously Folks
September 2, 2013
London Town by WingsWith such an unparalleled and storied career, there’s no doubt that some of Paul McCartney‘s fine material would go unnoticed. Perhaps his most underrated gem is 1978’s London Town, presented as an album by Wings, but really a duo collaboration between McCartney and guitarist Denny Laine.
Review of London Town
September 5, 2013
52nd Street by Billy JoelThe third of three consecutive masterpieces by Billy Joel in the late 1970s, 52nd Street amazingly encapsulates musical elements from Joel’s past, present and future all in a rather short album. It was put together by Joel and producer Phil Ramone in near secrecy in a small studio around the corner from the street which bears its name.

Review of 52nd Street

September 9, 2013
The Cars debut albumThe 1978 self-titled debut album from The Cars was a unique sounding breakthrough which brought the group instant worldwide attention and may be one of the best produced albums of the era. The potent compositions and new wave sound positioned The Cars as an unavoidable jewel to carry the day in the late seventies.

Review of The Cars

September 12, 2013
Parallel Lines by BlondieBlondie abandoned much of their traditional new wave sound for pop success with 1978’s Parallel Lines, produced by Mike Chapman. This third studio album by the group, which masterfully blended bubblegum pop with elements of punk, went on to sell over twenty million copies worldwide and reached the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Review of Parallel Lines

September 15, 2013
Excitable Boy by Warren ZevonExcitable Boy was the best selling album of Warren Zevon’s up and down career and reached the Top 10 of the Billboard album charts. The remainder of Zevon’s three decade long career was marked by self-imposed declines and a inspired comebacks, right up to his final album produced shortly before Zevon’s death in 2003.

Review of Excitable Boy

September 19, 2013
Darkness On the Edge of Town by Bruce SpringsteenDarkness On the Edge of Town was a unique album, not just within Bruce Springsteen‘s catalog, but perhaps in all of rock history. It came on the heels of lengthy litigation when he was not able to record, and was subsequently forged from a massive collection of new material during the most prolific writing period of Springsteen’s career.

Review of Darkness On the Edge of Town

September 23, 2013
Don't Look Back by BostonOnce you’ve put out the biggest selling debut album of all time, it is understandably impossible to produce an apt follow-up. So Don’t Look Back does fall a bit short of Boston‘s incredible 1970s standard. Still, there are moments of brilliance dispersed through this album which are among the finest ever produced by mastermind Tom Scholz.

Review of Don’t Look Back

September 27, 2013
This Year's Model by Elvis Costello1978 was a breakthrough year for Elvis Costello. His second album, This Year’s Model, was released in the Spring of that year and featured his backing band, The Attractions, for the first time. The album continues the retro sound of Costello’s 1977 debut but also nudges towards the punk rock direction.

Review of This Year’s Model

October 2, 2013
Stranger In Town by Bob SegerFollowing his major commercial breakthrough in 1976, Bob Seger continued the momentum with 1978’s Stranger In Town. The album contains a mixture of ringing rock anthems and poignant ballads, with topics of restlessness, escape, and longing which defined blue collar rock ethic.

Review of Stranger In Town

October 7, 2013
Some Girls by The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones showed that they were far from finished as a major pop act with the success of 1978’s Some Girls. With a contemporary sound that was much more “New York” than British, the group moved firmly into the next phase of their long career, which was then already a decade and a half old.

Review of Some Girls

October 11, 2013
City to City by Gerry RaffertyIt all finally came together for Gerry Rafferty with the success of his 1978 release City to City. This was his first release of any kind in three years due to the legal wrangling following the demise of former band Stealers Wheel and offered a mature and reflective lyrical tone above some finely arranged musical compositions.

Review of City to City

October 16, 2013
Hemispheres by RushRush reached the zenith of their prog-rock period with the (partially) concept album Hemispheres. Although the album only officially has four tracks, including the side-long title track, it is packed with musical virtuosity by this trio at the very height of their talent and creativity.

Review of Hemispheres

October 20, 2013
Infinity by Journey album coverThe classic lineup of Journey came together for the album Infinity, released in 1978. Although this was the fourth overall album for the group that had been together since 1973, it was the first to feature lead vocalist and iconic front man Steve Perry, who was added when the band decided to go in a more “pop” direction.

Review of Infinity

October 24, 2013
Time Passages by Al StewartTime Passages was the third of Al Stewart‘s popular late seventies albums. Musically, it continues Stewart’s traditional blend of folk, jazz, and pop/rock, while lyrically it alternates between the contemporary subjects and Stewart’s distinct knack for presenting historical figures an events in graceful yet easily accessible pop song epics.

Review of Time Passages

October 29, 2013
Van Halen, 1978 Album of the Year
Van Halen‘s debut album was completely original sonically, especially due to the guitar work of Eddie Van Halen. This totally original and innovative record which sounds every bit as fresh 35 years after its release, Van Halen has risen to become Classic Rock Review’s Album of the Year for 1978.

Review of Van Halen

Final 1978 Poll Results
Q: What is the best album of 1978?

1 Van Halen debut album 46%
2 Hemispheres by Rush 14%
3 52nd Street by Billy Joel 11%
4 Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon 10%
5 Infinity by Journey 9%

Conducted on our site, September-October, 2013

Other 1978 Albums of Note

There were several albums released by established artists in 1978, including albums from Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Queen, Jethro Tull, The Kinks and The Grateful. There were releases by The Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, Devo, The Ramones, and Foreigner and 1978 also featured the debut album by The Police.

Double Vision by Foreigner  Road to Ruin by The Ramones  Please Don't Touch by Steve Hackett  Outlandos D'Amour by The Police  Shakedown Street by Grateful Dead  Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! by Devo  Pieces of Eight by Styx  Minute by Minute by The Doobie Brothers  Generation X  Backless by Eric Clapton  Dog and Butterfly by Heart  Heavy Horses by Jethro Tull  Earth by Jefferson Starship Bloody Tourists by 10cc  Street Legal by Bob Dylan  Misfits by The Kinks  From The Inside by Alice Cooper  Tormato by Yes  All This and Heaven Too by Andrew Gold  Nightwatch by Kenny Loggins  Briefcase Full of Blues by The Blues Brothers  Street Hassle by Lou Reed  Heaven Tonight by Cheap Trick  Easter by Patti Smith Group  Long Live Rock and Roll by Rainbow  Blondes Have More Fun by Rod Stewart  Jazz by Queen  You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish by REO Speedwagon
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