The Rock Year 1979

1979 Classic Rock Reviews
1979 Images
At the end of rock’s most active decade, punk and disco reached the peak of their short respective existences before sharply falling after 1979. Meanwhile, classic rock acts like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, The Eagles, and Neil Young each proved that they had at least one more great album left in them.

We featured albums from the year 1979 during November and December of 2014. During this 35th anniversary celebration of this music, we have written original reviews these albums:

*1979 Album of the Year

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

November 4, 2014
Candy-O by The CarsAvoiding the “sophomore slump” after a tremendously successful debut is often not an easy task. However, The Cars did just that with their second studio album, Candy-O, which became a Top 5 hit while spawning some radio staples.

Review of Candy-O

November 9, 2014
The Wall by Pink FloydBased on a rich concept by bassist and composer Roger Waters, Pink Floyd produced their most ambitious album ever, The Wall in 1979. Today’s Classic Rock Review of this album is done in coordination with affiliated River of Rock sites to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Review of The Wall

November 13, 2014
Head Games by ForeignerLong derided as “corporate rock” or even “arena rock”, there is still no doubt that Foreigner put out well composed, quality material throughout their long career. Their third album, Head Games, is their most solid with a solid set of gritty and rewarding rock songs.

Review of Head Games

November 16, 2014
Low Budget by The KinksIn a career that spanned nearly three decades and produced scores of fine albums, one might be surprised that The Kinks‘ highest charting record in the U.S. was 1979’s Low Budget. This album struck a nice chord with its return to simple rock forms.

Review of Low Budget

November 19, 2014
Van Halen IIVan Halen successfully followed up their blockbuster debut with the potent and powerful Van Halen II. An album which was recorded in just three weeks, this may well have been the most complete band effort even though it is rarely cited as one the group’s top albums.

Review of Van Halen II

November 24, 2014
Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young and Crazy HorseNeil Young finished off the seventies with a unique recording. Rust Never Sleeps is an album of all new material mainly recorded live but post-produced with some studio overdubbing and most of the audience ambiance removed, making for a raw and potent effect.

Review of Rust Never Sleeps

November 28, 2014
Black Rose by Thin LizzyThin Lizzy‘s ninth overall studio album proved to be their final classic effort, as Black Rose: A Rock Legend turned out to the band’s highest charting album, led by the eclectic songwriting of Phil Lynott and an enhanced duo lead guitar sound, featuring Gary Moore‘s only appearance on a group record.

Review of Black Rose

December 1, 2014
Degüello by ZZ TopZZ Top came back from an extended break to close out the 1970s with Degüello, a funk and blues influenced record, which borrowed its name from the Mexican Army bugle call at commencement of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Review of Degüello

December 4, 2014
Stormwatch by Jethro TullJethro Tull‘s twelfth studio album, Stormwatch theme and album cover seemed to be rather prophetic for the band as their were soon coming personnel departures, making this a unique release in the band’s collection.

Review of Stormwatch

December 7, 2014
Flirtin With Disaster by Molly HatchetMolly Hatchet had a very brief and meteoric rise that climaxed with their second studio album, Flirtin’ with Disaster. This strong and unambiguous effort finds the band fully utilizing their three guitar attack for a thick and rich sound.

Review of Flirtin’ with Disaster

December 10, 2014
The Long Run by The EaglesThe Eagles soared during the decade of the 1970s and finished that era with the ultra-popular album The Long Run, which was on the top of the charts as the decade ended. What this record lacks in consistency it makes up for in diversity, with four different lead vocalists and multiple styles and sub-genres throughout.

Review of The Long Run

December 14, 2014
In Through the Out Door by Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin wrote the final chapter of their recording career with In Through the Out Door, their only studio album of their final four years as a band. What makes this album unique is the strong compositional influence by bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones.

Review of In Through the Out Door

December 17, 2014
Dream Police by Cheap TrickCheap Trick completed their torrent through the late seventies with their fourth studio album, Dream Police. The highest charting album of their career, this album used richer production and more complex songwriting than the group’s previous releases.

Review of Dream Police

December 20, 2014
London Calling by The ClashThe Clash composed and recorded their most indelible album in 1979, with the diverse double album London Calling. This critically acclaimed album fused elements of pop, funk, reggae, and even disco with the group’s core punk sensibilities.

Review of London Calling

December 23, 2014
The Fine Art of Surfacing by The Boomtown RatsThe Fine Art of Surfacing was the third album by The Boomtown Rats, where the group evolved from their punk roots and found a pop-influenced new wave sound which elevated this album to the apex of the band’s career.

Review of The Fine Art of Surfacing

December 27, 2014
Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
In the wake of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers‘ label being sold to MCA Records and a subsequent battle of over publishing rights, the group delivered their commercial breakthrough with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, the group delivers a powerful and distinctive sound with simple yet impressive songs.

Review of Damn the Torpedoes

December 30, 2014
Breakfast In America y Supertramp, 1979 Album of the Year
Breakfast In America was the climax of Supertramp‘s career, both compositionally and sonically. The album’s title reflects the English band’s decision to relocate to Los Angeles in the late 1970s while the music finds the balance between the group’s theatrical past and their mastery of the pop sensibilities at the end of the seventies.

Review of Breakfast In America

February 27, 2019
George Harrison
A positive record in every way, George Harrison‘s self-titled 1979 release is a pleasant and polished listen, inspired by the domestic bliss of a new family as well as an extended period of leisure. The album also provides a nod back to some Beatles moments, nearly a decade of his old group disbanded.

Review of George Harrison

March 22, 2019
Motorhead 1979 albums
During the year 1979, Motörhead released the albums Overkill and Bomber, two records that helped put this hard rock / proto-metal trio on the commercial and critical map.

Review of Overkill and Bomber

June 22, 2019
Get the Knack by The Knack
Few debuts matched the success of The Knack‘s 1979 debut Get the Knack. Filled with catchy and hook-filled new wave pop, this record propelled the group and the album immediately to the top, albeit for a very short ride.

Review of Get the Knack

June 30, 2019
Highway to Hell by AC DC
Highway to Hell was both the commercial breakthrough for AC/DC as well as their final record with vocalist Bon Scott, making the success bittersweet. Musically, the album defines their signature sounds and themes of deviance, sex talk and drinking anthems.

Review of Highway to Hell

August 7, 2019
Into the Music by Van Morrison
To close out a decade of albums with divergent musical styles, Van Morrison set out to return to something musically deeper with 1979’s Into the Music. Here the music is rich and rootsy while the vocals are gritty and often improvised.

Review of Into the Music

September 16, 2019
Joes Garage by Frank Zappa
In 1979 Frank Zappa released Joe’s Garage, a triple length set of albums. Here we find all of the Frank Zappa benchmarks that his fans love, including musical virtuosity, social parody, pop satire, compositional complexity, stylistic diversity, crude lyrics and a wicked sense of humor.

Review of Joe’s Garage, Parts 1, 2 & 3

October 27, 2019
Reggatta de Blanc by The Police
By the time The Police recorded their second album, Reggatta de Blanc, they had refined their blend of punk, reggae and rock through heavy touring. This album was the first of four consecutive number one albums by the trio and it featured a pair of number one singles to help propel it into the commercial stratosphere.

Review of Reggatta de Blanc

Final 1979 Poll Results
Q: What is the best album of 1979?

1 The Wall by Pink Floyd 57%
2 Breakfast In America by Supertramp 19%
3 Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young  9%
4 Tusk by Fleetwood Mac  7%
5 Head Games by Foreigner  3%

Conducted on our site, November-December, 2014

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