Friday, August 23, 2013

Dancing 1979 Style

Anita Ward photo AnitaWard_zps946ffd2f.jpg Blondie photo blondie_zps8cbe4f79.jpg
Chic photo chic-le-freak_zps5d841bbc.jpg Amii Stewart photo AmiiStewartKnockOnWood_zpsdd2d6931.jpg
Clockwise: Anita Ward; Blondie; Amii Stewart; and Chic.

Ah, yes, 1979, what a fun year that was. I was in college in Reading, PA, striking out on my own, in that first-time-out kinda way. The music of the time was, well, I'll call it diverse. Rock was still living large, and Punk was starting to shine. Dance music was standing tall, and Pop was, well, popular. The Year-End Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 included The Knack, Donna Summer, Rod Stewart, Peaches and Herb, Gloria Gaynor, Village People, and Robert John, as well as some of the members of this post. Just outside of the Top 10, you had the Bee Gees, Dr. Hook, David Naughton, Pointer Sisters, Olivia Newton-John, and The Doobie Brothers. That is a list that could be called eclectic, to say the least. Away at college, I managed to get out more often than I cared to admit, be it parties on campus or perhaps one or two of the bars/clubs close to campus that did not linger too long on ID. There was plenty of music, no matter where I went. So to kick off the weekend, I thought I would pick four of the more memorable songs of the day, and share them with you. I will start with the song that finished #9 on the Billboard Year-end chart. "Ring My Bell" showcased the distinctive voice of Anita Ward, with music that was very bit as light and effervescent as she was. I know I danced to this more than I should have over the years, for it brings back some great memories. Enjoy Anita Ward singing "Ring My Bell".

Next up we have the band that let me have my 'Punk' moments, even on this song that was a big Pop and Dance hit. Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, and Frank Infante released the album 'Parallel Lines' in the Fall of 1978, and it was a must-have album in every college freshman's collection. The entire album was packed with great songs, but the one that made it into the Top 20 of the Billboard Year-end Top 10 was the Dance song with attitude, "Heart of Glass". The blasé delivery of by Harry was priceless, and made the song all that much more fun. Enjoy the music video for Blondie's "Heart of Glass".

Back in the late 1970s, Nile Rodgers was well on his way to being 'the man', working with everyone from Grace Jones to David Bowie. Rodgers formed the group Chic with Bernard Edwards, and the soon added Tony Thompson, Raymond Jones, Alfa Anderson, and Luci Martin to the lineup when they went to the studio to record "Le Freak", a great song written by Rodgers and Edwards. The song was the best selling record ever for Atlantic Records company, and the best-selling single ever for Warner Music Group until Madonna's "Vogue" sold more in 1990. When anyone heard the opening bars of the song, you knew it was time to head to the dance floor. Turn up the volume, and enjoy the music video from Chic for the #3 song of 2979, "Le Freak".

For the final slot on this post, I picked a song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, which first hit the charts in 1966 as a single from Floyd. It was covered by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967, and David Bowie in 1974. But in 1979, it was Amii Stewart who had the honor of taking the vocals for "Knock On Wood", which made it to #22 on the year-end chart. This was another song that would draw me and my friends out on the dance floor in 1979, and for years to come. It was such a great recording, it still doesn't feel old at all. There was such power and energy in the song! So crank up the volume and hit play on the music video for Amii Stewart singing "Knock On Wood"!

Have a great weekend!

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