Chicago DJ Steve Dahl burns a pile of disco records during a baseball game...
The squalid afterbirth of The Pistols oozed on with the death of Sid Vicious in custody in February. In the charts, punk had given way to the so-called New Wave, with the likes of The Police, Squeeze, Ian Dury and The Boomtown Rats offering a quirkier, more sanitised version of The Pistols and The Clash‘s earlier shocktroop assault.
Gone: Lena Martell’s ‘One Day At A Time’, a pious paean to Our Lord couched in a 1950s Radio Two-style string-arrangement was a big hit in 1979, a taster of the Middle England Misery Mrs Thatcher was about to smother us all with.
Album of the year: Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division
Single of the year: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
Band/artist of the year: Public Image Ltd
1979 belonged to: PiL and Joy Division underground, Blondie and The Police overground.
Key event of the year: Chicago DJ Steve Dahl burns a pile of disco records during a baseball game, proving once more than the US mid-West is a haven for tolerance and the intelligensia. Disco reached a zenith with The Village People‘s hilarious ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and Michael Jackson‘s ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ launching him into solo superstar stratosphere while The Sugarhill Gang‘s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ is an unassuming first stab at a new pop genre.
For many, 1979 seemed like The End when the ghastly crone Mrs Thatcher was elected and the country took an ugly shift to the right. Initial response to this was strangely numb. Tubeway Army‘s ‘Are Friends Electric’ was number one for weeks, as if the kids had gone into a state of collective catatonia at Mrs T’s victory.
But 1979 also saw the first fruits of so-called indie labels especially in the North with the likes of The Fall, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Joy Division and providing a dark, scratchy soundtrack to the recession-hit years to come.