1977 saw a change on the UK music front as punk made a fairly grand entrance. It wasn’t the giant new broom that revisionists will have you believe, as disco and pop still had a strong grip and the prog rock bands remained a fixture in the album charts.
Perhaps the greatest thing the punk movement brought was the idea that such energy could be used to create great three minute songs. In 1978, utilising the energies of punk and a firm grasp of radio friendly pop choruses, bands like Blondie and The Jam went from strength to strength.
Both ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘All Mod Cons’ became huge sellers off the back of some superb singles and remain classic albums some four decades on. Elvis Costello improved on his debut with his second outing ‘This Years Model’, an album which contained more than it’s share of career-defining material and, kickstarting a gothy subgenre of punk, Siouxsie & The Banshees released their debut ‘The Scream’, a unique sounding, cold and confrontational work that would influence future generations.
It wasn’t all about the punk and new wave, of course, and a lot of other classic albums hit the shelves in ’78. Warren Zevon’s ‘Excitable Boy’ continued from where his ’76 album left off, combining his skewed view of the world with some superb westcoast tunes; Billy Joel released another huge seller with his ’52nd Street’ and in the UK, Gerry Rafferty’s ‘City To City’ ensured the Scottish singer songwriter would never be too far away from the radio, years before Quentin Tarantino immortalised one of his compositions in one of cinema’s tensest ever scenes.
1978 also brought four solo albums from the Kiss camp: one excellent record, one very good, one average and one so frankly atrocious we’re not going to talk about it any more; a country-tinged classic from Clapton, debuts from Toto and Van Halen, as well as a career highlight for The Who.
We hope our look back at the year brings back memories or introduces you to something unfamiliar. If you’ve particularly liked something, don’t be shy, tell us… We’ve saved you the indignity of hearing anything from the Gene Simmons solo LP or anything questionable from Lou Reed’s ‘Street Hassle’ for your own safety and sanity.
Wherever you are, happy listening…and have a great weekend!