We’re down to the ten most favorite songs according to Billboard magazine for the week of May 12th, 1979.
FYI: I looked up the cue sheets for this week as the good folks at the Charis Music Group have compiled many of them online. There is an interesting warning letter from Tom Rounds to radio stations on the front page which I wish I included for Rod Stewart’s song entry. I’ll put it here anyway. And yes, these are real.
Since Elton John entered the word into the rock and roll lexicon a few years back, we have not been blesses with the word “bitch” again until this week. Rod Stewart’s “Ain’t Love A Bitch” enters the countdown, and will very likely become Top 10. We mention this fact in case there are subscribers who feel the title and record would offend in markets where there are no bitches.
I could dissect this as its own post, but I choose to move it along. There’s also this:
This week, in hour II, between #’s 25 and 24, there is a feature on disco saving New York. If yours is a station violently opposed to the subject (disco, not New York) check it out.
A station violently opposed to disco, airing an American Top 40? “Disco” songs have been charting for over five years. Isn’t this just adding fuel to the fire? No wonder July 12th was so incendiary at Comiskey.
That said, the top ten is filled with dance music this week. Seven of these tracks are straight-up disco. One is about as disco as that artist will get. One is a ballad by a “disco” artist, and there’s a MOR duet by rock artists.
I love Michael Jackson’s contributions to Disco because he frequently elevated the art rather than trying to cash in by using previously successful templates. [#8 is what I mean.] Since their second Epic release, Goin’ Places stunk it up, Michael (and his brothers) produced their next one, Destiny. It’s filled with multiple dancefloor fillers, but this one is the killer, and best enjoyed when you play the album rather than the single. This will make you move whether you want to or can’t. It’s gonna happen. Be prepared. This was actually the second single from the album, as Blame It On The Boogie only reached #54.
After the success of Chic’s Dance, Dance, Dance, Atlantic Records allowed them to produce any art on their roster. They picked a sister act from Philadelphia that had already released two albums with no success. Nile & Nard wrote and recorded songs without ever meeting the band. But everything clicked, and the We Are Family album is one of the best in the Chic Org.’s catalog. This was the first single released, and it will top the R&B charts while it sits at its peak this week.
Will Smith sampled this song as the base for his hit Getting Jiggy Wit It in 1998.
Cher was a star on TV and on the radio in the early 70s. After she divorced Sonny, the latter half of the decade was not as kind to her. By 1978, she needed something to hit big. So she signed with Casablanca Records and detoured into disco by releasing this. This is what people mean by “going disco.” It’s her first Top 10 record since Dark Lady hit #1 in 1974 and will reach #2 on the Disco Top 100 as well as #21 on the Soul charts. Cher will form Black Rose with Les Dudek in 1980 as a way to forget that this exists.
Hands down, my favorite Chic song. And give me the 6+ minute version, none of that single edit stuff. Bernard Edwards plays one of his most beautifully precise and melodic bass lines on the chorus. I hum along with it every time I hear it. This Disco Top 100 chart-topper is at its zenith this week. It also made the R&B Top 5 and climbed up to #9 on the AC charts. Guess those dentists like to drill to Nile’s chicken-scratch guitar licks.
Speaking of melodic bass lines, Macca writes a great one for this single. It’s also the first thing I could ever play on bass. I love that he recorded this to promote his new album, Back To The Egg, then decided it didn’t fit the theme and left it off. Was the theme called ‘keep the fans from buying the album’? Nevertheless, this is Paul “going disco,” although this was never aimed for the dance floor unless it was the 1930’s.
Fu Fact: All five band members play on this, so it is an actual Wings effort. But Paul plays the drums and bass, so he’s his own rhythm section.
Casey teases a fairly obvious story about the forming of the Village People, which takes most of the mystery out of the wait.
Here’s the new single from the visual answer from a six-year-old kid to What do you wanna be when you grow up? It’s from their fourth album, Go West, and it became a massive hit around the world or at least the countries that had military at sea. The Navy immediately latched on and used it as a promotional tool, even allowing the group to film a video at a San Diego Naval base. The 45 is two spots away from their peak.
Smokie’s Chris Norman stops pining away for Alice and stumbles into bliss with Leather Tuscadero. Good choice, Chris. Suzi had a bunch of hits in the UK during the 70s, but not this one. She’s always been a badass rocker, but getting soft was the only way for her to succeed in the States. It’s one of two Mike Chapman-produced singles in the Top 5.
Suzi is still active, and her newest album, The Devil In Me, was released in the Spring of 2021. I don’t know what it would take for her to be in the RNRHOF as she has been a highly influential female artist. Maybe a top-notch documentary would help.
Donna ruled 1979. Heaven Knows has already hit #4, and she’s gonna rack up four more Top 3 singles before the year is over. This is one of three #1s that she’ll garner, and it leaps seventeen notches this week. My house was filled with Donna’s music as a kid, which is why I’ve been a lifelong fan. The phrase itself had been around for a while, but in the 70s, it was used to describe someone who was a big deal or, in Donna’s case, a dude ready to bring it.
But nowadays, I can’t help but think of this scene in The Full Monty every time I hear it.
The Top two remain the same as last week. This New York sextet led by Debbie Harry was on album #3, Parallel Lines when they finally had their big breakthrough smash. It was the second single released from the LP, and it shot all the way to the top on April 28th. Supposedly its success can be tied to an episode of WKRP aired during Season 1 called Commerical Break. The single got a big bump in sales and airplay, and the grateful band gave the production crew a Gold single to hang on set.
1. Peaches & Herb – Reunited (2 wks at #1)
It feels so good for Herb Fame and new Peaches, Linda Greene, as they rest at the top for another week, the second of an eventual four-week stay. Casey tells the story about how Herb quit the music business to become a cop in DC. After five years on the force, he decided to quit and restart his “easier” career in showbiz. Four years later, he’s number one with a bullet (the safe kind).
Fun Fact: Peaches & Herb truly made it when they end up on an episode of the game show Hollywood Squares.