1978 tops for music, Bee Gees and all

I'm deeming 1978 as the greatest year in pop music history, and I'm ready to take on all the slings and arrows that come with the declaration.

Yes, that is the year the Bee Gees and younger brother Andy Gibb dominated the charts. Wow, listen to the disco haters cringe.

Naturally, I couldn't have chosen this year without being a disco fan, and while I recognize the genre inspired some disdain (see Comiskey Park, 1979), you have to admit that disco actually has held up well. You can still fill the floor at any dance club with a retro romp that includes Stayin' Alive.

And while the falsetto of the Brothers Gibb framed the year, you will come to discover 1978 actually featured a tapestry of music for every taste.

Yes, you had four No. 1 hits from the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever (the movie actually premiered in 1977), but you also had the pop funk of Chic's Le Freak and the super funk of Parliament/Funkadelic's Flashlight and One Nation Under a Groove.

Miami gave us the contagious Get Off by Foxxy, and Cheryl Lynn also hit with her dance anthem Got to Be Real, a song still heard on television commercials.

So, maybe you want to rock instead of dance. Try the Rolling Stones' bestselling album ever, Some Girls (Miss You; Beast of Burden), or Foreigner's Double Vision (Hot Blooded). Don't forget Joe Walsh's Life's Been Good and Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Can you rockers criticize a year that gave us debut efforts from Van Halen (You Really Got Me) and the Cars (Just What I Needed)?

For the lover in you, '78 gave us Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are, Paul Davis' I Go Crazy and The Closer I Get to You by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.

For the lovelorn, there was Too Much, Too Little, Too Late by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond and Player's Baby Come Back.

R&B fans grooved to the O'Jays' Used to Be My Girl, Teddy Pendergrass' Close the Door and the Commodores' Three Times a Lady. Plus, Prince's debut album hit in '78.

And Grease premiered in 1978. Raise your hand if you know all the words to Summer Loving.

Oh yeah, I can't complete this list without Gerry Raftery's Baker Street, Eddie Money's Baby Hold on to Me or Wings' With a Little Luck.

But there's more going on here than great music.

You see, I came up with a birthday idea for a friend of mine who turned 30 last month — a CD of songs from the year she was born. So I Googled "1978 hits" and started combing through the iTunes list thinking I would have to purchase at least a few tracks. To my astonishment, I had enough 1978 music for three or four CDs.

That's what has me thinking 1978 is something special. Maybe it's because that's the year I moved from a Catholic grade school to a public high school. Maybe it's because that's the year I first slow-danced with a girl. Maybe it's just because that year I listened to Casey Kasem count down the hits from coast to coast every weekend.

No matter the reason, 1978 offers a treasure trove of sweet memories. Call it selective memory, but I recall all the joys and none of the growing pains. So don't expect me to mention that the Village People debuted in '78.

That's all I'm saying.

1978 tops for music, Bee Gees and all 12/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2008 1:49pm]

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