Clockwise: The Ramones; Meat Loaf; Cheap Trick; and The Talking Heads.
Now while I cannot speak with any authority of what was being played at the on-campus parties throughout the entire country, I can speak to what was playing at many parties on the college campus of Albright College, in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the Fall of 1978, and the Spring of 1979. I was just beginning my adventure in higher education, and meeting all kinds of new people. During this prescribed period, much music came and went, but there were certain songs that seemed to be played at each and every party I went to, once we were well-into the event. Yes, that would mean that the college freshmen and the others in attendance would have already digested whatever controlled substance of choice, either sipped or smoked, and these songs would inevitably be playing, usually quite loudly. It would also often involved many air guitars, and plenty of off-key singing. I guess you could think of it as the early karaoke forefathers, in the late 1970s. I will start with a song that was certainly a part of the festivities back then, by a punk band out of Queens. And although none of them were actually related, they all adopted the same last name to forge a new family unit. With the speed of a jack rabbit, The Ramones came on the scene with a gusto and sense of humor few had seen before. Their songs tended to be short and to hit you like a train, That could be said for "I Wanna Be Sedated", off the album 'Road To Ruin'.
It would not be hard to imagine why a group of inebriated and/or stoned college kids away from home for the first time would be listening to Meat Load's 'Bat Out Of Hell', even if it was released the year before. There was just something so freeing about the collection of Jim Steinman's bombastic anthems, especially when you are 18 or 19 years old. And since I immediately began to hang around with fellow theater geeks, it was certainly not unusual to see this song acted out by any number of kids. So, without further ado, I offer you Meat Loaf, with a capable assist from Ellen Foley, on "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights".
And if Meat Loaf appealed to our dramatic side, the Talking Heads spoke to our very soul. They lead the charge of American New Wave bands in the mid 1970s, the darlings of the college kids and critics. Once away at college, I was introduced to the band through there great album 'Talking Heads: 77'. I was instantly enamoured, like so many of my classmates. And when the party was going strong, it seems as though that album came out, and we all listened to, or danced to the great song, "Psycho Killer", letting loose are bad French with David Byrne.
Now, it might just be the faulty memory cards that are 35 years old, but I would also be hard-pressed to think of too many parties when someone didn't pull out the double album 'Cheap Trick at Budokan', and play at least one of the songs. While it most certainly could have been the big hits, either "I Want You To Want Me" or 'Surrender', it might very well have been a cover song Cheap Trick put their own very special spin on. "Ain't That A Shame" was written by Antoine Domino and Dave Bartholomew, and released in 1955. Antoine was better known by his nickname, 'Fats' Domino. Cheap Trick took that doo-wop hit and retooled it for a rock audience, and making for a rockin' good time.
Now these songs are bringing back some great memories for me...how about for you?