EVERY Billboard #1 hit discussion thread 1958-Present

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alphanguy, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Colombia, SC
    A run own of the Billboard 1979 Year End Charts...

    Top Male Singles Artists

    1. Rod Stewart
    2. Kenny Rogers
    3. Billy Joel
    4. Gerry Rarrerty
    5. Elton John

    Rod won in the singles race, but Billy Joel was the Top Male artist of the year overall with LP's combined.

    Top Female Singles Artists

    1. Donna Summer
    2. Anne Murray
    3. Olivia Newton John
    4. Gloria Gaynor
    5. Anita Ward

    Donna was not only the Top Female Singles act but she was the Top pop act of the year overall, no surprise there.

    Top Singles Groups

    1. Chic
    2. Bee Gees
    3. The Knack
    4. Earth Wind & Fire
    5. Dr. Hook

    Chic won the group race, Bee Gees finally lost their title.
    joemarine, Cheevyjames and sunspot42 like this.
  2. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Wow, what a solid year on the charts. Really just three songs I think are duds, and even then nothing of the "You Light Up My Life" variety of awfulness.

    The Worst
    24) Commodores - Still
    What a shapeless, amorphous turkey this one is. My allergy to Lionel Richie began with this dud. Fortunately, unlike a lot of other Richie / Commodores tracks, this one seems to have largely fallen down the memory hole.

    23) Styx - Babe
    Shrill, ball-less ballad from pretentious ex-prog schmaltzy hard rockers. Has nostalgia value, though... Also, a preview of the kind of crap that would clutter the charts post-disco.

    22) Robert John - Sad Eyes
    Speaking of the kind of crap that would clutter the charts post-disco, here's this dud with ball-less vocals.

    Highlights In Many Other Years
    21) Peaches & Herb - Reunited
    I was over this one for many years just due to overexposure, but it's a lovely recording and has huge nostalgia value.

    20) Bee Gees - Tragedy
    These guys came pretty close to predicting the techno-driven sound of 1983/84 almost half a decade earlier. I'd rank it higher if it weren't for the over-the-top screeching falsetto vocals, which are both impressive and ear-splitting. This one no doubt laid the tracks for the disco hate train.

    19) Eagles - Heartache Tonight
    Their run as monsters of the pop charts was rapidly coming to an end, and this stomper isn't one of their best hits, but it's still arresting.

    18) The Doobie Brothers - What a Fool Believes
    The reconstituted Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald score a mellow, Yacht Rock classic #1, helping to announce the commercial ascendency of that genre. In the wake of disco's implosion it would be seeing a lot more chart dominance before MTV began to displace it circa '83. A great, Motown-tinged example of a genre dominated by this kind of precise studio perfection.

    17) Anita Ward - Ring My Bell
    A little of that synth tom hook goes a long, long way, but this thing is a monster earworm and the #2 R&B hit of the year. Dumb fun, and a powerful flashback to '79 trigger. Still gets play to this day.

    16) Amii Stewart - Knock on Wood
    Unlike "Ring My Bell", this cut sounds a lot like things to come on the pop charts - Stewart was well ahead of the curve. Oddly forgotten today in spite of that, and the fact that Stewart - unlike Ward - delivers a hell of a vocal performance, more than a little reminiscent of the kind of full throated delivery a young cousin of Dionne Warwick would begin charting with in just a few years. Stewart should have been a much bigger star, but got caught in the disco backlash undertow...

    15) Bee Gees - Too Much Heaven
    Another lovely ballad from the Brothers Gibb and a monster hit, it's also a little too heavy on the screechy falsettos, but not as toupee frazzling and polyester melting as "Tragedy".

    14) Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer - No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
    Streisand already proved she could dominate the charts in a duet ("You Don't Bring Me Flowers"), and here she is back at it again with disco superstar Donna Summer. Surprisingly, Streisand more than holds her own here, perhaps in a preview of how well she'll acquit herself when she teams up with Barry Gibb in a little while.

    13) Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
    I was never an enormous MJ fan, but this cut certainly kicks off the Quincy era of his career in style. Jackson was one of the few big dance acts to escape the disco era unscathed, such was the degree of his stardom already. It wasn't apparent yet but would be by early 1980 that his partnership with Quincy had launched him into a new realm of popularity.

    12) Rupert Holmes - Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
    Another Yacht Rock monster, the last hit of the '70s and the only hit to chart at #1 in two separate decades. As a story song that deals with adultery derailed by monogamy, it perfectly reflects the changing cultural and political landscape of the times. Loved it as a kid, and it's still a powerful nostalgia trigger.

    The Best
    11) Herb Alpert - Rise
    Love this one. Who would have expected stellar material like this from Herb in 1979? Awesome funky beat, sensuous horns, fantastic loose jam atmospherics. A real winner.

    10) Donna Summer - Bad Girls
    Vaguely raunchy, definitely helped launch the blend of disco and rock. While disco would collapse within a year, this sound really didn't go away. In fact, it formed the basis of a lot of '80s pop rock.

    9) The Knack - My Sharona
    Hugely important single, and I still love it, but perhaps not quite as much as some of the other #1s from this year. The intro announces that rock is back. These guys were tipped for superstardom, but it wasn't to be.

    8) Bee Gees - Love You Inside Out
    The brothers were still innovating right up to the end of their reign as disco superstars. The funkiest of their disco #1s - and their last #1 - the skip-stomping beat of this one sounds like a preview of the hip-hop era to come late in the next decade.

    7) Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
    Poor Rod catches a lot of grief from rock fans for going disco on this one, and the lyrics are a magnet for people who want to paint Rod as the ultimate sleazemaster, but as with "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", there's actually a shoutout to traditional romance at the end of this record. Again, a reflection of the changing times.

    6) Chic - Good Times
    A monster groove we'd be hearing again, soon. Elegance and funk - a winning combo.

    5) Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
    Iconic. Gaynor rang in the start of the disco era on the charts with her massive hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" and - unbeknownst to her - serenaded the beginning of the end of it as well.

    4) Donna Summer - Hot Stuff
    Moroder and Summer hit upon the same disco/rock hybridization that Chapman and Blondie were pursuing as well. Summer's hybridization is probably superior from a musical stylings standpoint, but Blondie had the better song. They also had the advantage of sounding more like rock/disco than disco/rock, something that would prove commercially critical in the coming two years.

    3) M - Pop Muzik
    Of all the #1 hits this year, "Pop Muzik" sounded the most like the future and ultimately best-reflected where the charts were going...but they'd take an awful long time getting there. I can't hear this one and not think about how utterly different it sounded, or how much I loved it.

    2) Chic - Le Freak
    The sad thing about disco is it peaked just as it started falling out of fashion, and here's another example. The song that (briefly) made Chic superstars.

    1) Blondie - Heart of Glass
    The other single that had me bouncing off the walls in '79 because it sounded so fresh, from the album of the era in my opinion. Blondie pointed the way to life beyond disco, and finally managed to propel New Wave to the top of the charts after years of resistance from American radio and consumers. While New Wave was able to penetrate the charts after Blondie and many established acts started coloring with New Wave crayons, it would be another couple of years before it began to truly redefine which acts we heard on the radio and bought in the record stores. Slowly but surely though - and with a lot of help from MTV - New Wave won the war to replace disco.
  3. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    Great write up there.
  4. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    As for the #2 hits of the year...I'd say all of them best some of the weaker #1s:

    5) The Village People - Y.M.C.A
    Dumb fun, a la "Ring My Bell", and certainly well-remembered.

    4) Earth Wind & Fire - After The Love Has Gone
    I was never big on ballads, but this one is lovely. Better than "Reunited" certainly.

    3) Sister Sledge - We Are Family
    About as good as the Chic #1s, and in some ways even more iconic. This was the era of family-based women vocalists - see also my fave #2 hit of the year.

    2) Donna Summer - Dim All The Lights
    Summer wrote this one herself, and it's an incredible dance number. Iconic. Really should have been a #1. Casablanca effed things up by releasing "Enough Is Enough" a few weeks too early. It could have waited.

    1. The Pointer Sisters - Fire
    The ladies had been thru a lengthy lull on the charts, and regrouping as a trio with producer Richard Perry I'm not sure the label knew what exactly to expect. What they got is a smoldering hot single that takes Bruce Springsteen to places he could never go on his own. Fantastic work, easily better than all but maybe the Top 5 hits on my list up above. Another indication of just how strong a year 1979 was. Made the sisters true music stars, a status they'd retain thru the middle of the '80s.
  5. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Colombia, SC
    Billboard Year-End Top 10 Albums

    1. 52nd Street - Billy Joel

    2. Spirits Having Fun - Bee Gees

    3. Minute by Minute - Doobie Brothers

    4. Cars - Cars

    5. Breakfast In America - Supertramp

    6. Live and More - Donna Summer

    7. Pieces of Eight - Styx

    8. Bad Girls - Donna Summer

    9. Parallel Lines - Blondie

    10. Blondes Have More Fun - Rod Stewart

    As big a year as Donna had, Billy Joel's was just as noteworthy. He also won Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for 'Just The Way You Are' at the 1979 Grammy's. 1979 was just as much Billy's as it was Donna's. His biggest hit was 'My Life' which peaked at #3.
  6. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I thought that was a number one coming up?
  7. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Totally agree.
  8. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Still love this song today and recently found an audiophile version of the album it’s from, The Original Soundtrack. Unfortunately, I prefer the single version. But easily one of the very best quality songs to come out of the 70’s, and how they recorded it is an interesting story as well.
  9. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Pretty stellar line up. Glad it wasn’t held up by the Denver song mentioned! I’m Not In Love is probably the least commercial of the four, so kinda makes sense. The Hustle is the only one that doesn’t really hold up today.
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  10. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Him is certainly more of a “real” song, and I still like it today (I have the album...almost all dreadful filler except the singles...he also had the hit Answering Machine). Escape sure straddles awfully close to novelty territory, but decent production values and vocals keep it just on the right side to be a big hit, but three weeks at the top?
    sunspot42 likes this.
  11. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    A shame that wasn’t on his last TK album, it would have really helped the album to be a big hit as there were some strong album tracks, just not much in the way of hit singles. Give It Up is another great radio friendly song by them and better than most of the tracks on their last album from their golden years. His albums were terrible after that (Give It Up came out late, long after TK folded) and I can see why Epic didn’t want to issue it. That was the only good track.
    ARK and MielR like this.
  12. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    I'm just gonna cover the ones that weren't also #2 hits...

    6) Stumblin' In by Suzi Quatro - Peaked at #4 (#23 song of 1979)
    Sorry, Leather Tuscadero, but this is a cheezy bit of Eurofluff from Chinn & Chapman. Reminds me of those awful UK chart hits of the mid-'70s, like Brotherhood of Man's "Save Your Kisses For Me".

    5) Makin It by David Naughton - Peaked at #5 (#14 song of 1979) (I do not remember this song at all)
    A '70s TV theme. And it sounds like it. Hadn't heard it in decades - definitely fell down the memory hole. There's a reason for that.

    4) Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) by The Jacksons - Peaked at #7 (#25 song of 1979)
    Ah, finally something good! I feel like this one has held up extremely well.

    3) Lead Me On by Maxine Nightingale - Peaked at #5 (#24 song of 1979)
    Her last big fling on the pop charts. She had a great voice, which was effective singing in several different styles, and I was always surprised this erotically charged, Olivia-esque cut was the end of her run.

    2) When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman by Dr. Hook - Peaked at #6 (#13 song of 1979)
    Hitmakers since '72, this somewhat raggedy band of stoners were rapidly approaching the end of their chart career, but they went out with something of a bang, scoring two of their biggest hits - this #6 and a #5 in 1980 - near the end of their run. It's a great disco-tinged cut, a little pop, a little Yacht Rock. Radio candy.

    1) A Little More Love by Olivia Newton John - Peaked at #3 (#17 song of 1979)
    In a different league from the songs above. Had it been a #1 would have made it to my Top 5. Also erotically charged, and Olivia delivers maybe the vocal of her career. With blasts of electric guitar and that smokin', powerful vocal it's another preview of the sound of the '80s. Seems oddly forgotten today for such a tour de force.
  13. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Don't Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester - Peaked at #10 (#26 song of 1979)
    Hard to believe this only made it to #10. Played like a Top 3 song. Was everywhere on pop and light rock radio, and kept getting play on the latter for a decade or more. It's a bit over the top, but you can definitely elicit a laugh from people of a certain age whenever the word "baby" comes up in conversation by saying, "Baby cried the day the circus came to town"...

    The Gambler by Kenny Rogers - Peaked at #16, #1 Country (#40 song of 1979)
    Kenny Rogers was everywhere in Arizona. You couldn't escape him except on hard rock and R&B radio. He was like wallpaper on the pop, light rock and country stations. Might as well have been a #1.

    Lady by Little River Band - Peaked at #10 (#42 song of 1979)
    They were sort of Australia's answer to the Eagles, pumping out immaculately-produced product that sort of straddled several genres - country rock, Yacht Rock, pop, light rock. Since it was friendly to so many formats, and was so inoffensive, it was played incessantly on Phoenix radio. Not only did it get more play than you'd expect for a #10 hit, you'd have thought it was a #1 hit. And it kept getting played thru the end of the next decade. It's a fine pop song...but I've heard it so many times I'm just over it.

    Heaven Must Have Sent You by Bonnie Pointer - Peaked at #11 (#43 song of 1979)
    Forgot all about this one - it's a fine retro Motown outing, apparently co-produced by Barry Gordy himself. For a moment it looked like Bonnie made the right call breaking away to become a solo star. Then her sisters hit with the far more cutting-edge "Fire" and it was off to the races for The Pointer Sisters. Whoops!
  14. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    All great tracks (I like Stumblin’ In but I admit to liking Chinn/Chapman schlock) but boy, Makin’ It is an absolutely terrible song...I have no idea how that ditty did so well. That was the RSO marketing team for you, though they were just about out of gas by then.
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  15. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Don’t Cry Out Loud...had top three written all over it and is easily for me her best song, and I was a big fan of both her and Jennifer Warnes during their years at Arista. Fire is just an incredibly well produced song! Love it still. Shows how important a producer is.
  16. MielR


    Georgia, USA
    You mean Space Cadet? Yeah, I actually like that album a lot. I just got a vinyl copy a couple of weeks ago. It's kind of offbeat...the title track is very interesting.
    Jrr likes this.
  17. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    United States
    I already mentioned that I screwed up. I'm guessing you don't go back and read past comments, or you don't see them all. Sometimes posts don't show up, and you have to reload the page or click that link at the bottom that says something like "17 more messages".

    You see, on the Billboard R&B thread, we are already at the end of the year, and it is easy to get mixed up when replying to them.
  18. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    United States
    I also made a nice needledrop of the album, and I concur about the quality of the sound, and it is a good album.

    Rupert Holmes was a very good songwriter, but he should have been a bigger recording artist. I tend to compare him with Stephen Bishop.

    I totally agree! "What's she gonna do about himmmmmmmmm!":D
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  19. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    Some of my favorites on Rupert Holmes' PARTNERS IN CRIME album, in addition to the big #1 include "Him" - I think we're all in agreement about that one.

    I also identify with "Nearsighted", and I think anyone who is nearsighted can identify with this one. "Answering Machine" is another of those story songs with a twist that resonates with me, and I really like "The People That You Never Get To Love."

    Earlier Rupert Holmes songs that I love are "Studio Musician", "Terminal", the aforementioned "I Don't Want To Hold Your Hand", the very clever "Second Saxophone", and "Weekend Lover".
    sunspot42 and Grant like this.
  20. Everybody still does the hustle...one way or another.
  21. ronm

    ronm audiofreak

    southern colo.
    Great write up indeed even though I may have some disagreement on some.
    sunspot42 likes this.
  22. ronm

    ronm audiofreak

    southern colo.
    Well folks we have come to the end of the 1970s.A decade which to me was the greatest of all the rock/pop music years.It just seems that with the musicality,variety and mostly musicianship,music hit its apex in the 70s.What started out roaring into 1970 coming off the strength of the late 1960s I can see or rather hear the smoldering ashes of the musical bonfire that was the 70s.Adios my friend.You were very good to me.
    pudgym, joemarine, Wild Horse and 3 others like this.
  23. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Colombia, SC
    As excited as I am for the 1980's, I consider it a pretty underwhelming decade sonically, especially being sandwiched between two sonically diverse and amazing decades like the 70's and 90's.
    sunspot42 and Jrr like this.
  24. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Colombia, SC
    Interestingly, Billboard didn't have Decade End Charts until the 90's I believe, however they have made a retrospective analysis of previous decades according to their charts.

    here's a sort of Decade End rundown of the charts...

    Top Male Artist of the 70's

    Elton John

    Top Female Artist of the 70's

    Olivia Newton John

    Top Group of the 70's

    Bee Gees

    Top 10 best performing singles of the 1970's

    1. You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone

    2. Night Fever - Bee Gees

    3. Tonight's The Night (It's Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart

    4. Shadow Dancing - Andy Gibb

    5. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel

    6. Joy To The World - Three Dog Night

    7. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack

    8. Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan

    9. Let Freak - Chic

    10. My Sharona - The Knack

    I believe this is based off of cumulative weeks at #1, Billboard hasn't posted a list based on longevity on the chart, overall sales and airplay for the decade.

    These are the artists who scored the most #1 singles in the decade in order. Starting from 4. (Wikipedia)

    Artist Number-one hits

    1. Bee Gees (9 number or hits)

    2. Elton John (6 number one hits)

    3. Stevie Wonder/Paul McCartney & The Wings/ Eagles (5 number one hits)

    4. Jackson 5/ Diana Ross/ John Denver/ KC & The Sunshine Band/ Barbra Streisand/ Donna Summer (4 number one hits)
  25. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Hmm. Maybe it needs another spin around here! I think he had stopped writing with Finch by this time? Which might explain the difference in sound. I am guilty of wanting things to sound like before and I know it was no KC classic style album, though admittedly by then he needed to change his style...disco was long dead!

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