1978 Rock Music Timeline
1978 in Rock & Roll History:

The Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack is #1 in the US from January through June. The Sex Pistols break up following a final concert at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. The Grateful Dead perform in front of the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. Disco and Punk Rock make 1978 the biggest year ever for singles sold in the UK. Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, dies of a prescription drug overdose.

Top 40 Singles of 1978

  1   Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
  2   John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John        You're the One That I Want
  3   The Village People - YMCA
  4   Boney M - Rivers of Babylon
  5   Bee Gees - Night Fever
  6   Bee Gees - Too Much Heaven
  7   Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
  8   Bonnie Tyler - It's a Heartache
  9   Exile - Kiss You All Over
10   Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights
11   John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John        Summer Nights
12   The Commodores
       Three Times a Lady
13   The Rolling Stones - Miss You
14   Abba - Take a Chance On Me
15   Frankie Valli - Grease
16   Clout - Substitute
17   Andy Gibb - Shadow Dancing
18   Queen - We Will Rock You
19   Boney M - Rasputin
20   Olivia Newton-John
       Hopelessly Devoted to You
21   Donna Summer - The Last Dance
22   Eruption - I Can't Stand the Rain
23   John Paul Young - Love is in the Air
24   Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are
25   Donna Summer - MacArthur Park
26   A Taste of Honey
       Boogie Oogie Oogie
27   Boney M - Mary's Boy Child
28   10CC - Dreadlock Holiday
29   Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond        You Don't Bring Me Flowers
30   Samantha Sang - Emotion
31   Player - Baby Come Back
32   Yvonne Elliman - If I Can't Have You
33   Wings - With a Little Luck
34   Anne Murray - You Needed Me
35   Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
36   Plastic Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi
37   Abba - Summer Night City
38   The Smurfs - The Smurf Song
39   Nick Gilder - Hot Child In The City
40   Genesis - Follow You Follow Me

Top 50 Albums of 1978

  1   Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
  2   Grease: Original Soundtrack
  3   Billy Joel - 52nd Street
  4   The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
  5   Blondie - Parallel Lines
  6   Dire Straits - Dire Straits
  7   Boney M - Night Flight To Venus
  8   Bruce Springsteen
       Darkness On The Edge Of Town
  9   Elvis Costello - This Year's Model
10   Abba - The Album
11   Van Halen - Van Halen
12   Jackson Browne
       Running On Empty
13   Wings - London Town
14   Gerry Rafferty - City To City
15   Boston - Don't Look Back
16   Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band       Stranger In Town
17   Queen - Jazz
18   Bob Marley - Kaya
19   Bob Dylan - Street Legal
20   Neil Young - Comes A Time
21   Genesis -
        and Then There Were Three...
22   The Police - Outlandos d'Amour
23   The Cars - The Cars
24   Jeff Wayne - The War of the Worlds
25   Linda Ronstadt - Living In The USA
26   Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
27   Donna Summer - Live and more
28   The Who - Who Are You
29   Olivia Newton-John - Totally Hot
30   Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy
31   Eric Clapton - Backless
32   Foreigner - Double Vision
33   The Commodores - Natural High
34   The Moody Blues - Octave
35   Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus
36   Patti Smith Group - Easter
37   Talking Heads
       More Songs About Buildings & Food
38   Bob Marley - Babylon By Bus
39   Willie Nelson - Stardust
40   The Alan Parsons Project - Pyramid
41   George Benson - Weekend in LA
42   The Band - The Last Waltz
43   Kraftwerk - Die Mensch-Maschine
44   Elton John - A Single Man
45   Earth, Wind & Fire - The Best Of
46   Andy Gibb - Shadow Dancing
47   Jean-Michel Jarre - Equinoxe
48   Funkadelic
       One Nation Under a Groove
49   Yes - Tormato
50   Barry Manilow - Even Now

All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.

“I was nine years old when I saw Elvis on 'Ed Sullivan', and I had to get a guitar the next day. I stood in front of my mirror with that guitar on. . . and I knew then that's what had been missing."
- Bruce Springsteen
Jan '78
The soundtrack for the disco movie Saturday Night Fever, featuring the music of the Bee Gees, hits #1 US for more than six months (18 weeks at #1 in the UK) and becomes the best selling soundtrack album of all time. (more)
California singer / songwriter Warren Zevon releases his third album, Excitable Boy, and breaks into the US Top Ten. The album doesn't chart in the UK. (more) 
UK punk pioneers -The Sex Pistols play the final concert of their US Tour in San Francisco and announce their breakup a couple weeks later. (more)
Jan '78
Jan '78
Pasadena, California hard rock band Van Halen release their self titled debut album which goes to #19 US, #24 UK. Their cover of the Kinks "You Really Got Me" cracks the US Top 40 at #36. (more)
Mar '78
Outlaw country stars Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson team up for an album hit the US Pop Charts at #12 driven by the single "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys". (more)
Mar '78
The Patti Smith Group release their third album Easter #20 US, #16 UK and have a #13 US, #5 UK single with "Because the Night" co-written with Bruce Springsteen. (more) 
Detroit rock singer Bob Seger releases his 10th album - Stranger In Town and goes to #4 US, #31 UK. The album yields three US Top 20 singles including "Still The Same" #4 US. (more)
May '78
Jun '78
Jun '78
Jun '78
Darkness on the Edge of Town is Bruce Springsteen's fourth album and the follow-up to his  breakthrough album Born to Run. The album charts at #5 US, #16 UK. (more)
Boston based band The Cars release their debut album which goes to #18 US (#29 UK) led by two US Top 40 singles "Just What I Needed" #17 UK and "My Best Friend's Girl" which goes all the way to #3 UK. (more) 
Andy Gibb, younger brother of the three Gibbs who make up the Bee Gees, scores his third US #1 single in a row with "Shadow Dancing" #42 UK. (more) 
Jul '78
The Some Girls album brings the Rolling Stones back to #1 US, #2 UK with two US Top Ten singles "Miss You" #1 US, #3 UK and "Beast of Burden" #8 US. (more)
Jul '78
Akron, Ohio band Devo release their quirky debut album produced by Brian Eno. The album goes to #12 UK and #78 US. (more)
Aug '78
American rock band Boston release their sophomore album Don't Look Back. The album goes to #1 US, #9 UK, selling four million copies in it's first month. (more)
Aug '78
Aug '78
The soundtrack to the movie Grease tops the US and UK charts. The single "You're The One That I Want" by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta also hits #1 in both the US and UK. (more)
UK rock band The Who's eighth album, Who Are You, is released. With a top twenty title track, the album goes to #2 US and #6 UK. Three weeks later drummer  Keith Moon dies. (more)
Aug '78
Tuskegee, AL band The Commodores move away from funk to a straight pop sound and have a #1 US & UK single with "Three Times A Lady". (more)
Sep '78
Scottish folk veteran Al Stewart goes Top Ten in the US with the song "Time Passages", his follow-up to the 1976 US Top Ten single "Year Of The Cat". (more)
Sep '78
New York City band Blondie release their third album Parallel Lines. The album charts at #1 UK, #6 US, driven by the disco style single "Heart of Glass" which tops both the US and UK charts early in 1979. (more)
Nov '78
The Boomtown Rats are the first Irish band to have a #1 single in the UK with "Rat Trap". It was the fifth of nine Top 20 UK singles in a row for the band. (more)
Nov '78
UK band The Police release their debut album, tour the US, and have a #32 US, #12 UK single with "Roxanne". (more)
Nov '78
American comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi come up with an kitschy formula for jump blues and R&B classics. Their debut album goes to #1 US. (more)
Nov '78
American singer / songwriter Billy Joel has his first US #1 album (#10 UK) with 52nd Street. The album generates three US Top 40 singles. (more)
Dec '78
Country star, and former minor 60's rock star Kenny Rogers, enjoys crossover success on the pop charts when the single "The Gambler" goes to #16 US, #22 UK. (more)
Dec '78
New York City band Chic score a massive disco hit with the single "Le Freak" #1 US, #7 UK, which sells six million copies. (more)
All images used on this website are the copyright of the respective copyright holder
and are used on this site for educational or promotional purposes only.
All text copyright 2010-2015 Rock Music Timeline.
Feb '78
Search Rock Music Timeline