Jan '79
Jan '79
Look Sharp! the debut album from UK vocalist Joe Jackson yields a #21 US and #13 UK single with "Is She Really Going Out With Him?". (more)
UK band Dire Straits have a Top 10 debut album in both the US and UK, led by the top ten single "Sultans of Swing".  (more)
Jan '79
UK singer songwriter Elvis Costello's third album Armed Forces goes Top 10 in both the US and UK . The single "Oliver's Army" goes to #2 in the UK. (more) 
New York City vocal group The Village People have their biggest hit when their single "YMCA" reaches #2 US and #1 UK. (more)
Jan '79
Feb '79
UK rocker Rod Stewart moves to L.A. and goes disco with the single "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"  #1 US, #8 UK from the album Blondes Have More Fun. (more)
Feb '79
The Bee Gees release their 15th album Spirits Having Flown which hits #1 in both the US and UK. The first three tracks on the album all go to #1 in the US including "Tragedy" #1 in both US and UK.
(more)
Feb '79
Rockford, IL rock band Cheap Trick's live album, At Budokan, goes to #4 US, #29 UK with the single "I Want You to Want Me" going to #7 US.  (more)
Mar '79
UK progressive rockers Supertramp release their sixth album Breakfast In America which is their first #1 US album. The album charts at #3 UK.  (more)
Mar '79
Newark, NJ singer Gloria Gaynor hits #1 in both the US and UK with her single "I Will Survive".
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Apr '79
Boston, MA vocalist Donna Summer's disco cover of Jimmy Webb's song "Macarthur Park" hits #1 US, #5 UK.
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Apr '79
San Francisco, CA band Journey score their first US Top 20 hit with "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin" from their fifth album Evolution.
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May '79
"Reunited" is a #1 US, #4 UK hit single for Washington DC vocal duo Peaches and Herb. (more) 
May '79
Derry, Ireland band, The Undertones,  release their debut album on Sire Records and have a top 40 UK hit with "Teenage Kicks".
(more)
Jun '79
Manchester, UK band
Joy Divison release their debut album - Unknown Pleasures on Factory Records. The album charts at #71 UK, but fails to chart in the US. (more) 
Jun '79
The Cure release their debut album Three Imaginary Boys and tour the UK supporting Siouxsie & The Banshees.
(more)
Jul '79
AC/DC break into the US Top Twenty with the album Highway to Hell. It would be the last LP with singer Bon Scott. (more)
Jul '79
Athens, Georgia band The B-52's release their debut and have a cult hit with "Rock Lobster".
(more)
Aug '79
Jul '79
Disco Demolition Night, a radio sponsored anti-disco event between baseball games at Comiskey Park in Chicago - ends in a near riot.  (more) 
Former session musician and fiddler Charlie Daniels crosses over from the Country Charts to the Pop Charts with the #3 US hit "The Devil Went Down To Georgia". (more) 
Aug '79
London singer and producer Robin Scott recording under the name "M" scores a #1 US single (#2 UK) with "Pop Muzik" a pre-eighties  synth-pop hit. (more)
Aug '79
Michael Jackson teams up with producer Quincy Jones for the album Off The Wall #3 US & UK. The album generates two US #1 singles, his first #1's since 1972's "Ben". (more)
Aug '79
Sony introduces The Walkman a portable cassette device that changes people's music listening habits.
(more)
Aug '79
The single "My Sharona" goes to #1 US, #6 UK for Los Angeles new wave band The Knack.(more)
Sep '79
California band The Eagles release their sixth album - The Long Run. It is their third straight number one album in the US, it also hits #4 in the UK. The album spawns three top ten singles in the US. (more)
Sep '79
In Though The Out Door is Led Zeppelin's eighth studio album and the last to top the charts in the both the US and UK. (more)
Sep '79
UK electronic music pioneeer Gary Numan goes to #1 UK, #10 US with the single "Cars". The album - The Pleasure Principal also tops the UK charts, #16 US. (more)
Sep '79
Entertainment! is the debut album by Leeds, UK post-punk band Gang of Four. The album charts at #45 UK. (more)
Oct '79
Oct '79
Gainesville, FL rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers third album Damn The Torpedos hits #2 US, #57 UK driven by the US Top Ten single "Refugee". (more)
Tusk is the double LP follow-up to Rumours for Fleetwood Mac. The album goes to #4 US, #1 UK.
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Oct '79
Blondies fourth album Eat to the Beat goes to #1 UK, #17 US. The single "Dreaming" hits #2 UK, #27 US.
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Oct '79
The second album from UK band The Police entitled Regatta de Blanc goes #1 UK, #25 US.
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Oct '79
The single "I Wanna Be Your Lover" goes to #11 US, #41 UK for Minneapolis, MN artist Prince from his second album. (more)
Nov '79
The Ska revival takes off in the UK with debut album releases from Madness and The Specials.
(more)
Nov '79
Pink Floyd releases the double album The Wall which goes to #1 US, #3 UK.
(more)
Dec '79
Eleven fans are killed during a stampede for seats prior to a concert by The Who at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jul '79
Venice, CA singer Rickie Lee Jones debut album goes to #3 US, #18 UK spurred by the #4 US, #18 UK single "Chuck E's In Love".  (more)
1979 Rock Music Timeline
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1979 Photo Gallery
1979 Jukebox Hits


1979 Rock & Roll History

Disco continues to dominate the singles charts and many rock acts score with disco style hits, including Blondie, Rod Stewart, Electric Light Orchestra, Kenny Rogers and even Kiss. Disco Demolition Night, an anti-disco radio promotional event between games at a major league baseball double header causes a near riot, forcing the cancellation of the second game. The Sony Walkman is introduced in Japan. Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious dies from a drug overdose. Eleven fans are trampled to death at a Who concert in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Top 40 Singles of 1979
Worldwide:

  1   Blondie - Heart of Glass
  2   Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
  3   Chic - Le Freak
  4   Bee Gees - Tragedy
  5   Patrick Hernandez - Born to Be Alive
  6   Donna Summer - Hot Stuff
  7   M - Pop Muzik
  8   Rod Stewart - Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
  9   Michael Jackson
       Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
10   Anita Ward - Ring My Bell
11   Amii Stewart - Knock On Wood
12   Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star
13   The Knack - My Sharona
14   Cliff Richard - We Don't Talk Anymore
15   Kiss - I Was Made For Lovin' You
16   The Village People - In the Navy
17   Donna Summer - Bad Girls
18   Abba - Chiquitita
19   The Doobie Brothers
        What a Fool Believes
20   Sister Sledge - We Are Family
21   Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing
22   The Boomtown Rats
       I Don't Like Mondays
23   Peaches & Herb - Reunited
24   Chic - Good Times
25   Supertramp - The Logical Song
26   Earth, Wind & Fire
       Boogie Wonderland
27   Styx - Babe
28   KC & The Sunshine Band
       Please Don't Go
29   Earth, Wind & Fire - September
30   Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
       No More Tears (Enough is Enough)
31   The Pointer Sisters - Fire
32   The Police - Roxanne
33   The Police - Message in a Bottle
34   Billy Joel - My Life
35   Art Garfunkel - Bright Eyes
36    Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro -                      Stumblin' In
37   Cheap Trick - I Want You to Want Me
38   Abba - Gimme! Gimme!
       (A Man After Midnight)
39   Electric Light Orchestra
       Don't Bring Me Down
40   Dr Hook - When You're in Love
        With a Beautiful Woman

Top 50 Albums of 1979
Worldwide:

  1   Pink Floyd - The Wall
  2   Supertramp - Breakfast In America
  3   Michael Jackson - Off The Wall
  4   Bee Gees - Spirits Having Flown
  5   Eagles - The Long Run
  6   Rod Stewart - Blondes Have More Fun
  7   The Clash - London Calling
  8   Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery
  9   Led Zeppelin
       In Through The Out Door
10   Donna Summer - Bad Girls
11   Bob Dylan - Slow Train Coming
12   The Police - Reggatta De Blanc
13   Abba - Voulez-Vous
14   Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
15   Bee Gees - Bee Gees Greatest
16   Dire Straits - Communique
17   The Knack - Get The Knack
18   AC/DC - Highway To Hell
19   Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
20   Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps
21   Chic - C'est Chic
22   Abba - Greatest Hits II
23   Boney M - Oceans Of Fantasy
24   Earth, Wind & Fire - I Am
25   The Village People - Cruisin'
26   Barbra Streisand - Greatest Hits Vol.II
27   Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones
28   The Village People - Go West
29   The Doobie Brothers
       Minute By Minute
30   Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
        Damn the Torpedoes
31   Blondie - Eat To The Beat
32   Wings - Back To The Egg
33   Talking Heads - Fear Of Music
34   Donna Summer - Greatest Hits
35   The Alan Parsons Project - Eve
36   Rod Stewart - Greatest Hits
37   Leo Sayer - The Very Best Of
38   Queen - Live Killers
39   Van Halen - Van Halen II
40   Sister Sledge - We Are Family
41   Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick At Budokan
42   Kiss - Dynasty
43   The Blues Brothers
       Briefcase Full Of Blues
44   Toto - Toto
45   Stevie Wonder
       The Secret Life Of Plants
46   David Bowie - Lodger
47   The Specials - Specials
48   The Cars - Candy-O
49   Chic - Risque
50   Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Act I



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.



“Commercial radio is owned by one or two corporations now, and they're not in the music business. They're in the advertising business, ... so let's not kid ourselves. If you want to hear music, go buy a guitar."
- Elvis Costello

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The Clash release the double album London Calling, which goes Top 10 in the UK and Top 30 in the US.
(more)
Dec '79