Friday, January 5, 2018

THE TOP 50 MOST GLORIOUS RECORDS OF 1978

THE TOP 50 MOST
GLORIOUS
RECORDS OF 1978
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2018 has found me
reflecting — revisiting
some of my favorite
records from the past. 
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For me, it's absolutely inconceivable — 1978 was 40 years ago. I turned 16 that year. I also got my driver's licence and started my first job working at the neighborhood record store in 1978. Seems like just last Thursday. Many of my young, fresh-faced friends from high school have weathered the storm far better than I. Likewise, the music of 1978 remains fresh to me as well. Let's take a looksie.

50
WILLIE NELSON

A notorious hell-raisin' singer / songwriter
from Texas releases a surprising set of
standards — decades before cover albums
became an industry standard. The Grammy-
winning title ultimately sold over five
million units in the U.S. alone.
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49
JEFFERSON STARSHIP
- Earth -

Despite achieving Top 10 platinum
status and racking-up two hit singles,
Jefferson Starship was splintered, to
say the least, in '78. Earth marked the
end of their golden and organic era.
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48
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

This Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-
selling crown jewel reached #1, spawned
three hit singles and put fans on notice
that The Doobie Brothers now belonged
to Michael McDonald. Oddly, after only
one more studio slab, the band imploded. 
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47
GERRY RAFFERTY

Even as a dumb 15-year-old, I recognized
from the first time I heard "Baker Street"
playing on the radio, that this record was
truly magical. 40 years later, it still is.
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46
JETHRO TULL

I'm not a big Tull fan. However,
this golden era live show makes
for a compelling must-have set.
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45
MOLLY HATCHET

A bona fide, southern-fried classic.
In retrospect, the band should have
"called it a day" before tarnishing
the legend of this iconic debut.
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44
AEROSMITH

Marred perfectly by (seemingly)
drug-induced wretchedness, this was
the last authentic Aerosmith record.
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43
DIRE STRAITS

At the time of its release, the rumor
mill was that this debut Dire Straits
record was actually a secret Klattu-
type vehicle for Bob Dylan. Intrigued,
I had to buy a copy ASAP — along
with a couple of million other fans.
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42
THE WHO

Featuring a slew of soon-to-be
classics, the final legit Who
LP remains a monster must-have.
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41
ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION
- Champagne Jam -

A well-crafted collection brimming
with such signature staples as "I'm
Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight"
and "Imaginary Lover." And the title
track remains one of the band's best.
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40
BILLY JOEL

Fusing rock, pop and jazz, this was a
truly special record — especially for a
teenager like me, who at the time, was
consuming a musical diet comprised
almost entirely of KISS and Nugent
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39
THE BLUES BROTHERS

Given my Partridge Family-focused
upbringing, this record served as my
introduction to the blues — albeit a
rather sterilized version. It remains
one of my all-time favorite records.
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38
THE CARS

I remember a buddy of mine describing
this record to me shortly after it was
released — it was the first time I recall
ever hearing the term "New Wave."
The music did sound "new" — even a
little bit odd at the time. 40 years later,
The Cars debut stands tall, simply as a
crunchy collection of great rock songs.
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37
PAUL McCARTNEY
AND WINGS

Even when not firing on all cylinders,
Paul McCartney could still clobber the
competition back in the day. Simply
put, London Town ain't Band on the
Run, but it aint Broad Street either.
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36
ROD STEWART

Despite the inclusion of the cheesy,
disco-charged chart-busting single,
"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" this actually
 is a rock record — and a darn good
one at that. One of my faves from
Stewart's iconic spandex-era catalog.
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35
ANGEL
- White Hot -

From their poster boy looks to their
hook-laden songs, Angel should've
been hugely successful. White Hot
is arguably their strongest effort.
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34
THE OUTLAWS
Playin' to Win -

Coming off the Top 30 success of the
double-record Bring it Back Alive
concert set earlier in the year, Tampa's
"Guitar Army" was positioned to "close
the deal" with their fourth studio record.
Despite the involvement of ace producer,
Mutt Lange, Playin' to Win missed the
Top 50. Yet it remains a personal fave.
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33
JIMMY BUFFETT
- Son of a Son of a Sailor -

Boasting an array of impeccable
singer / songwriter treasures, Son
of a Son of a Sailor was Buffett's
first Top 10 album — and his last
truly magnificent collection.
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32
HEART
- Dog & Butterfly -

The final record to feature Heart's
original line-up is arguably the best
work of the band's storied career.
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31
TED NUGENT
- Double Live Gonzo! -

The definitive hard rock record
of the glorious double-live era.
Anybody whats to get mellow,
you can turn around and...
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30
RAMONES
- Road to Ruin -

Authentic punk attitude meets
major label polish. The "Abbey
Road" of the Ramones' catalog.
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29
QUEEN
- Jazz -

Freddie and the gang were burning white
hot in 1978. One of my all-time favorites,
 Jazz would be the last great Queen record.
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28
STYX
- Pieces of Eight -

The final taste of pre-"Babe-Boto" magic.
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27
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
- Darkness on the Edge of Town -

Prior to becoming a pontificating
blowhard, "the Boss" made great
records. This is one of his best.
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26
BLONDIE
- Parallel Lines -

Poppy, crisp and edgy, Parallel Lines
was a personal game-changer. And
Clem Burke is still the man!
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25
WARREN ZEVON
- Excitable Boy -

Zevon had been the darling of LA's
singer / songwriter scene for years.
Excitable Boy introduced him to the
rest of us. A timeless piece of work.
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24
STEVE MARTIN
- A Wild and Crazy Guy -

Along with Destroyer, Van Halen
and Frampton Comes Alive, this
record influenced me profoundly.
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23
LINDA RONSTADT
- Living in the USA -

As a teenage boy, little mattered to me in
1978, other than Linda Ronstadt. While
Living in the USA isn't my favorite
Ronstadt album, track #2, "When I Grow
Too Old to Dream" is unequivocally her
all-time strongest single performance.
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22
THE POLICE
- Outlandos d' Amour -

Although it took a while for me
to "get" this one, when I did, it
made an incredible impact. Still
one of my all-time go-to favorites.
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21
ELVIS COSTELLO
- This Year's Model -

Produced by Nick Lowe, Costello's
sophomore set hit me like a ton of
bricks. Master pop songwriting.
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20
BOSTON
- Don't Look Back -

Corporate, commercial cock rock at
its most pretentious, the band's second
LP was even better than the first.
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19
ALICE COOPER
- From the Inside -

Reflecting Cooper's personal
hospitalization experience for
alcoholism, this collaboration
with Bernie Taupin gave me
chills back in '78. It still does.
We're all crazy! We're all crazy!
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18
THE
OZARK MOUNTAIN
DAREDEVILS
- It's Alive -

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils was
an authentic Americana roots rock
act, long before those terms existed.
Captured live in concert, this double-
record collection captures the band
and songs superbly. Not only one
of 1978's best records, but also one
of the best live albums — ever.
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17
FOREIGNER
- Double Vision -

See commentary for #20.
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16
THE ROLLING STONES
- Some Girls -

Dirty, gritty and raw — the
last dangerous Stones record.
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15
JOE WALSH
But Seriously Folks -

The Eagles album you got when
you couldn't get an Eagles album.
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14
GENE SIMMONS
- Gene Simmons -

The most eclectic collection of the four
KISS solo efforts, Simmons earned
enormous accolades for producing an
intriguing record that resided far
outside of his perceived creative box.
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13
PETER CRISS
Peter Criss -

Delivering EXACTLY what dedicated
fans should have expected, Peter Criss'
1978 solo record is a rock solid slab.
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12
CHEAP TRICK
- Heaven Tonight -

Cheap Trick's ultimate songwriting
and production blueprint. Although
1979's Dream Police came darn close,
the Chicago-based combo has been
floundering — struggling to recapture
Heaven Tonight's magic ever since.
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11
VAN HALEN
Van Halen -

The most influential rock record
since Zep I. There wouldn't be
another game-changer of this
caliber until 1990, when Pantera
dropped Cowboys from Hell.
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10
THE PAT TRAVERS BAND
- Heat in the Street -

Whether on stage or in the studio,
there was no mightier rock force
in 1978 than The Pat Travers Band.
This record remains fresh and brutal.
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9
REO SPEEDWAGON
- You Can Tune a Piano,
But You Can't Tune a Fish -

The greatest record from
America's greatest band.
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8
TODD RUNDGREN
- Hermit of Mink Hollow -

The iconic singer / songwriter,
musician and producer dropped a
doozie with this 12-song set 
a collection that still hurts too
good to consume in one sitting.
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7
JOURNEY
- Infinity -

This is the record that first revealed
to me that KISS was NOT in fact,
"The Hottest Band in the Land."
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6
ACE FREHLEY
- Ace Frehley -

KISS' unsung guitar hero shocked just
about everyone (especially his "day gig"
colleagues) when his solo record received
universal acclaim  hitting the Top 30 and
even scoring a monster-sized hit single.
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5
FOGHAT
Stone Blue -

The single hottest 8-track EVER,
Stone Blue delivered what matters
most — great songs. "It Hurts Me
Too" and "Stay with Me" prove it.
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4
BOB SEGER
- Stranger in Town -

An American rock and roll
treasure at his creative apex.
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3
NICK GILDER
- City Nights -

Name a better pop / rock
songwriter than Nick Gilder.
I know, right? I can't either.
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2
PAUL STANLEY
- Paul Stanley -

The best KISS album they never
released, this one remains as fresh
and strong as ever — 40 years later.

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1
VARIOUS ARTISTS
(Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Featuring contributions from such
biggies of the day as Peter Frampton,
Aerosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire and
the Bee Gees, this much-maligned
soundtrack served as my personal
introduction to The Beatles  way
more legit than the silly movie.
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Thanks for joining me on this lil' stroll down Memory Lane. Please feel free to share your personal observations and recollections in the "Comments" section below. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)


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4 comments:

  1. Great collection and great commentary! Although I hold that the double-live "You Get What You Play For" was REO's best record ever. I'll give "Tune a Fish" the best studio record award. :)

    --mj

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    1. Well, at least we're in the same ballpark - LOL! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. I still remember the playbill for a Police concert in Gainesville. This Cinderella didn't get to go to the ball, but that new sound saved me from bubble gum pop!

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    Replies
    1. The Police, live in '78? That would have been TRULY amazing!

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