|Music News and Highlights, 1979
1979 Grammy Awards
presented February 15
|Record of the Year
the Way You Are", Billy Joel
|Album of the Year
Night Fever, Bee Gees, et. al.
|Song of the Year
||"Just the Way You Are", Billy Joel
|New Artist of the Year
Taste of Honey
|Pop Performance, Female
Needed Me", Anne Murray
|Pop Performance, Male
|Pop Performance, Group
||Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees
|Pop Performance, Instrumental
of Sanchez, Chuck Mangione
|Rhythm and Blues Performance, Female
Dance", Donna Summer
|Rhythm and Blues Performance, Male
Broadway". George Benson
|Rhythm and Blues Performance, Group
||All and All, Earth, Wind, and Fire
|Rhythm and Blues Performance,
||"Runnin'", Earth, Wind, and Fire
|Jazz Performance, Vocal
Fly Home, Al Jarreau
|Jazz Performance, Solo
||Montreux '77 - Oscar Peterson, Oscar
|Jazz Performance, Big Band
||Live in Munich, Thad Jones and Mel
|Country Performance, Female
You Come Again, Dolly Parton
|Country Performance, Male
On My Mind", Willie Nelson
|Country Performance, Duo or Group
Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys",
Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
|Country Performance, Instrumental
||"One O'Clock Jump", Asleep at the
Gambler", Don Schlitz
|Gospel Performance, Contemporary or
||"What A Friend", Larry Hart
|Gospel Performance, Traditional
||"Refreshing", Happy Goodman Family
|Ethnic or Traditional Recording
||"I'm Ready", Muddy Waters
||Homenaje a Beny Moro, Tito Puente
|Original Score for a Motion Picture
Encounters of the Third Kind, John
|Score from an Original Cast Show
Misbehavin', Thomas Z. Shepard
||Brahms: Concerto for Violin in D Major,
Itzhak Perlman, with Carlo Maria Giulini
conducting the Chicago Symphony
|Recording for Children
||The Muppet Show, Jim Henson
Wild and Crazy Guy, Steve Martin
The Charlie Daniels
Band won three Country Music Association Awards
(on October 8): one for the single "The
Devil Went Down to Georgia," one for
being the Instrumental Group of the Year, and one
for Daniels as Instrumentalist of the Year. Kenny
Rogers (left) was also a three-award
winner: he was voted Male Vocalist of the Year;
his best-selling The Gambler was named
Album of the Year; and his duet with Dottie West,
"Till I Can Make It On My Own," earned
them the Duo of the Year award. Willie Nelson was
named Entertainer of the Year, Barbara Mandrell
was named Best Female Vocalist, and the Statler
Brothers were named Best Group.
The Disco Craze
The Bee Gees, whose soundtrack for Saturday Night
Fever sparked the disco craze, continued as
chart-toppers with the "follow-up" album Spirits
Having Flown, which hit #1 on the album chart on
March 3. Three singles from the album --
"Tragedy," "Too Much Heaven," and
"Love You Inside Out" -- went to #1 on the
singles chart. Chic also continued its disco dominance
with "I Want Your Love" from C'est Chic
and "Good Times" from Risque.
Summer and Gloria Gaynor continued to reign as
queens of the discos. Gaynor (right) went
to #1 on March 10 with "I
Will Survive," from the album Love
Tracks. Summer went to #1 on June 2 with
"Hot Stuff" and with "Bad
Girls" on July 14, and her Greatest
Hits -- On the Radio -- Volumes I & II
went to #1 on the album chart in January 1980.
Village People (right) failed to hit the
top of the charts in 1979, but their earlier
singles "Macho Man,"
"Y.M.C.A.," and "In the Navy"
remained extremely popular. Other groups to enjoy
success in the disco realm during the year
included The Electric Light Orchestra with
"Don't Bring Me Down" and Sister Sledge
with "He's the Greatest Dancer."
the best-known names in the "popular"
music world responded to the disco craze with
their own entries into the genre. Rod Stewart (left)
went to #1 on February 10 with "Da
Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Diana Ross
recorded "The Boss," Cher joined in
with "Take Me Home," and Barbra
Streisand added the single "The Main
Event," from her movie
of the same name.
from outside the "popular genre" also
joined the disco movement, at least temporarily.
The Boston Pops Orchestra, led by the late Arthur Fiedler,
recorded Saturday Night Fiedler,
a disco "symphony." Broadway's musical
comedy star Ethel Merman surprised everyone with
Merman Disco Album (right), on
which she sang seven Broadway standards in her
"usual style" but with
"disco-style" instrumentation. There
was even a Mickey Mouse Disco album that
included both "disco-fied" versions of
Disney classics and "Disney-fied"
versions of disco classics.
Disco also helped send several new
recording artists to the top of the charts, including
twenty-four-year-old actress-dancer Amii Stewart, whose
"Knock on Wood" hit #1 on April 21, and
22-year-old substitute teacher Anita Ward, whose "Ring My
Bell" reached the top on June 30.
wasn't popular with everyone, however. On July
12, Chicago disc jockey Steve Dahl hosted Disco
Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, between games
of a White Sox-Tigers double header. At the
climax of the event, a crate filled with disco
records was blown up on the field. Tens of
thousands of Dahl's adherents had packed the
stadium for the event, and after Dahl blew up the
records thousands of them stormed the field and
remained there until dispersed by riot police (left).
The White Sox had to forfeit the second game
because the playing field was severely damaged by
the antidisco demonstrators.
The Eagles topped the chart on November 10 with "Heartache
Other established groups to hit the charts (but not
#1) in 1979 included: Cheap Trick, with "I Want
You to Want Me"; Supertramp, with "Goodbye
Stranger"; Dr. Hook, with "When
You're in Love With a Beautiful Woman"; and Little River Band,
with "Lonesome Loser."
established "soft rock" and
"middle of the road" solo artists
continued to enjoy success in 1979. Longtime
favorite Billy Joel (right) hit the Top
Ten chart with "My Life," Maureen
McGovern had a hit with "Different
Worlds," and Anne Murray followed "You
Needed Me" and "I Just Fall in Love
Again" with "Broken-Hearted Me."
singer Judy Collins (left) turned to pop
with Hard Times for Lovers,
while soul singer Ray Charles began adding
Broadway tunes such as "Some Enchanted
Evening" to his live performances.
Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer
teamed up for "No More Tears (Enough Is
Enough)," which reached #1 on November 24.
The Knack burst onto the national music scene with its
debut album Get the Knack. Most of the band's
success was due to the single "My
Sharona," which hit the #1 spot on August 25,
and stayed there until being knocked off by Robert John's
Eyes" on October 6. Another single from that
album, "Good Girls Don't," also made it onto
the Top 40 chart.
group to suddenly break onto the American charts
was Blondie, with most of the attention being
centered on lead singer Deborah Harry (left).
The group's third album, Parallel Lines,
had enjoyed some success in the United Kingdom
after its release in September 1978, but it was
the U.S. debut of "Heart
of Glass" that shot Blondie to the top
of the charts (on April 28), and to stardom.
Warwick (right) suddenly re-appeared on
the music scene, after an absence of several
years, with "I'll Never Love This Way
Again" and a brand new album, Dionne
In Through the Out Door, Led
Zeppelin's first new album in three years (August 15),
sparked renewed interest in all their previous releases.
Within a short time Led Zeppelin had eight albums on the
Bob Dylan returned to the recording studio to produce
the heavily spiritual Slow Train Coming (August 20),
his first studio album in more than a year. It soon went
gold, spurring Dylan to make a few of his rare
appearances in concerts and on television.
After two years out of the spotlight, Elton John
returned with a new image -- without the oversize glasses
and flashy outfits. He also had a new collaborator, Gary
Osborne, with whom he wrote many of the songs on his new
Single Man (October 16, 1978). Another album, Victim
of Love, began climbing the charts almost the moment
it was released, on October 13, 1979.
Instrumentalist Herb Alpert organized a new backup
group and returned to the charts with the Latin-flavored "Rise,"
which hit #1 on the "Pop Chart" on October 20.
Alice Cooper also made a well-publicized comeback in
1979. He and his new collaborator, Bernie Taupin (Elton
John's former partner) produced From the
Inside (November), which included the single
"How You Gonna See Me Now."
On January 9, the Bee Gees, along with several other
recording stars, staged a benefit concert for UNICEF
in the United Nations General Assembly. The proceeds of
the record sales were to be donated to the children of
the world through relief organizations.
Elton John (right) became the first
major international rock star to play in Russia,
and his performances there were received with
(Musicians United for Safe Energy) staged a
series of five concerts at Madison
Square Garden in New York City September
9-13. Among the superstars who contributed their
talents were Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham
Nash, Bruce Springsteen (left), James
Taylor, the Doobie Brothers, and Crosby, Stills
& Nash. The money was to be used to campaign
for solar energy.
The Who toured the United States in
December to promote their film, Quadrophenia.
Eleven persons were trampled to death at the group's
concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 3 as thousands
of fans tried to get a limited number of
general-admission seats. The band did not learn of the
tragedy until after the concert had ended.
In addition to Quadrophenia, The Who also
appeared in The Kids Are Alright, a film based
on a history of their career, which premiered at the
Cannes International Film Festival on May 14.
Elvis Costello appeared and performed in Americathon,
which was released on August 10.
Jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus died on
Jazz band leader Stan Kenton died on August 25.
soprano Beverly Sills (left) retired
from her career as a singer in 1979. She then
began a new career, as general director of the
New York City Opera Company.
the Year 1979
Little River Band
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