A History of Pop Music – Albums 1979

Featured Album:

ELO – Discovery

This is a series of articles looking at albums from 1960 to whatever year we end up in.

I will select a featured album for each year and the link for the whole album, Plus list the songs on it.

As before, it is not just about the songs and tunes, it is very much about memories, and good ones, I hope.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

In 1979, I had settled into life in the local barrack in Maidstone, Kent. Our first born will arrive in September.  I want to get married but having got married in haste 2 years earlier, it was a bit awkward, so I started the ball rolling for a divorce.  Cost £180, which was quite a bit at the time, but well worth it. No overseas tours this year, so most nights were spent commuting between barracks and a village 10 miles away to spend time with my future wife. Happy days indeed.  Well apart from this being the “Winter of Discontent“.  I was also the Telex operator (similar to telegrams) and I was the one sending a hundred or so telegrams to recall our Squadron from their leave after yet another tour the previous year.

Before we move onto 1979, a quick look at the top 10 albums for the decade that was, in my view, the best ever:

Top Albums of The Decade: 1970s
   1 Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
   2 Simon & Garfunkel Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
   3 Fleetwood Mac Rumours
   4 Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
   5 Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells
   6 Abba Greatest Hits
   7 Meat Loaf Bat Out Of Hell
   8 Original Soundtrack Saturday Night Fever
   9 Perry Como And I Love You So
   10 The Carpenters The Singles 1969-1973

How good is that list!

If you look at the top 10 sellers for 1979 below, another year where almost all of them could easily be the featured album.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Jeff Lynne, except “Little Town Flirt” written by Maron McKenzie and Del Shannon.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Shine a Little Love 4:43
2. Confusion 3:42
3. “Need Her Love” 5:11
4. The Diary of Horace Wimp 4:17


Side two
No. Title Length
5. Last Train to London 4:32
6. “Midnight Blue” 4:19
7. “On the Run” 3:55
8. “Wishing” 4:13
9. Don’t Bring Me Down 4:02
Total length: 38:53
2001 edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
10. “On the Run” (home demo) 1:01
11. “Second Time Around” (home demo) 0:43
12. Little Town Flirt 2:53


  • Jeff Lynne– lead vocals, guitars (electric, acoustic 12-string), vocoder, backing vocals, orchestral & choral arrangements, producer.
  • Bev Bevan– drums, percussion, backing vocals.
  • Richard Tandy– piano, synthesizer, Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, lead guitar (track 6), backing vocals, orchestral & choral arrangements.
  • Kelly Groucutt– bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals.
  • Louis Clark– orchestral & choral arrangements, orchestra conductor
  • Mack– engineer

More writings on this album here: Discovery

So, on we go with 1979:

The Top 10 Albums with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1979
   1 Blondie Parallel Lines
   2 Electric Light Orchestra Discovery
   3 Leo Sayer The Very Best Of Leo Sayer
   4 Supertramp Breakfast In America
   5 Abba Voulez Vous
   6 Barbra Streisand Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits Volume 2
   7 The Bee Gees Spirits Having Flown
   8 Abba Greatest Hits Volume 2
   9 The Police Regatta De Blanc
   10 Rod Stewart Rod Stewart – Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Discovery is the eighth studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was released on 31 May 1979 in the United Kingdom by Jet Records.

Discovery was the band’s first number 1 album in the UK, entering the chart at that position and staying there for five weeks. The album contained five hit songs in “Shine a Little Love”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, many of which were heavily influenced by disco (in fact, Richard Tandy nicknamed the album, Disco Very). “Don’t Bring Me Down” would become one of their only two top three hits in the UK throughout their career (“Xanadu” would be number one in 1980), and also their highest-charting US single at number 4. “The Diary of Horace Wimp” was also a hit single in the UK, not patterned after the disco sound; instead, it was closer in its Beatlesque style to the band’s earlier hit “Mr. Blue Sky”. The album itself was the first ever to generate four top-ten singles.

Overall, this top 10 from 1979 is excellent.  Blondie could easily have been the featured album with classics such as “One way or another”, “Hanging on the telephone”, “Picture this”, “heart of glass” and other top tunes.  I also played Leo Sayer a lot, this best of album is super.  “breakfast I America of course, quite possibly another of those albums we all have.  Abba still there of course.  Another contender was the Bee Gees, this was the disco era after all and in those days, I could dance, obviously I have now reverted to dad-dancing, so I avoid this activity at all costs, dignity is all.  The Police I quite liked. Rod Stewart’s first greatest hits album is awesome.  I feel guilty about never featuring him, I shall try to do so. Every track on this is brilliant.  I had purchased all the above top 10 apart from Barbra (Sorry Babs).

Some of my favourite other albums not in the top 10 are below:  Enjoy.

The B-52’s – The B-52’s – Good quirky band

Fleetwood Mac – Tusk, also includes “Sara”.  A most pleasant album

The Specials – The Specials – Lovely fun music, could actually dance to some of the tracks on here.

AC/DC – Highway to Hell – One of very few heavy metal albums I quite like,

Adam and the Ants – Dirk Wears White Sox – I quite liked some of his tunes, so I remember buying this and thinking what a load of shite.  So, I thought I would bless you with the poorest choice I have ever made.

Squeeze – Cool for Cats – Another album many of us will have.  Quality top tunes.

ZZ Top – Degüello – Classic album, you either love them or not.

Madness – One Step Beyond… – Yay, some top tuneage with fun!

Pink Floyd – The Wall – Classic by a class band.

Overall, I think one of the best years ever.


As you know I like to review your “tunes” that you post.

*Note. Anyone scoring a Morrissey (lowest score possible) will be reported and blocked.

Hat tips to:

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/ratings/8-all-music-highest-rated/1979/1  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   these give the top 10 songs for each year

https://www.youtube.com/  you know them.

Next Time: 1980.  New romance, oh dear.

Featured image: “This afternoon: ELO ‘Discovery’ #hantzhouse #vinyl” by Farther Along is licensed under CC BY 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2021