1978, the hits of

Paula was tagged to do a piece on the pop music of the year she turned 18. I turned 18 the year before her, in 1978. Luckily, 1978 wasn’t a bad year for music. However, very little really stands out in my mind. Some of these songs I associate with driving to and from work in my car, which means they survived into 1979 and on. I bought my car in January 1979 (as I recall; I know it wasn’t long after my 18th birthday). Here are my comments on the list (and to make it easy, * means I don’t remember/recognize anything about the song):

  1. Last Dance – Donna Summer – I still like this song. Many of Summer’s songs were my favorites in the 70’s.
  2. Disco Inferno – Trammps – I still like this song, too, but I prefer the radio edit.
  3. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton – I don’t remember this from 1978. I associate it with dancing in Norway. Good to move slow and close to.
  4. Paradise By The Dashboard Light – Meatloaf – This was discovered later in life, but happily so.
  5. Just The Way You Are – Billy Joel – I discovered Billy Joel in the 70’s and bought every album he came out with. This is one of the better love songs out there.
  6. Summer Nights – Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta – Never liked this song.
  7. We Are The Champions – Queen – I associate this song with picking my friend Ann up from work because one day when I did, she was alone in the office, and had the radio loudly playing this song.
  8. Stayin Alive – Bee Gees – Meh. OK. Not my favorite.
  9. We Will Rock You – Queen – Always played as the intro to No. 7 and way cool to stomp feet and clap hands to.
  10. Copacabana – Barry Manilow – Fun fluff. Never bothered owning a Barry Manilow album, though.
  11. Night Fever – Bee Gees – Better than No. 8, but my favorite Bee Gees song came out in 1975: Jive Talkin’.
  12. Only The Good Die Young – Billy Joel – Not a fave but good.
  13. Greased Lightnin’ – John Travolta – @puke@
  14. She’s Always A Woman – Billy Joel – An evergreen but not a fave in 1978. I do like it, though. Just not a favorite.
  15. You’re the One That I Want – Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta – This is the only song from “Grease” I’ve ever liked. I still like it.
  16. Macho Man – Village People – Typical VP. I can survive without, but at the time I actually went to a VP concert and they wanted to know who in the audience was macho and only half the guys answered. Then they explained their meaning of macho and got all everybody in the audience to yell “I’m macho!” So now you know: I’m macho.
  17. You Needed Me – Anne Murray – Gorgeous voice, boring songs. Whatever happened to her?
  18. Two Tickets To Paradise – Eddie Money – *
  19. Dance (Disco Heat) – Sylvester – I may recognize this if I hear it.
  20. Always And Forever – Heatwave – Didn’t own it then, won’t own it now.
  21. Shaker Song – Spiro Gyra – I remember liking Spiro Gyra but I don’t know what their songs are called.
  22. My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars – *
  23. Who Are You – The Who – Funny thing is, I never heard this song until it became the theme for “CSI”. I like it.
  24. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) – Chic – *
  25. Anytime – Journey – *
  26. Le Freak – Chic – OK number. I have no clue what the dance itself was like.
  27. Deacon Blues – Steely Dan – I appreciate Steely Dan more now than I did then. Deacon Blues is a classic now, but back then I found it boring.
  28. You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) – Rod Stewart – One of Rod’s better ballads but no sentimental value.
  29. Follow You Follow Me – Genesis – OK. Never became a favorite.
  30. Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh – This wonderfully witty poke at the music industry is one I’m hoping will appear in the iTunes Store so I can own it. I remember listening to it driving home on Sunset Blvd, through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood – the perfect backdrop for the song, especially the day a stretch limo was cruising beside me.
  31. Josie – Steely Dan – *
  32. What’s Your Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd – *
  33. Can’t Smile Without You – Barry Manilow – What the Norwegians would call a “prune”. You can figure that out if you keep in mind the cliché diet at a nursing home. Update June 16: In my comments I noted that the music I came of age with is still played on the radio, and so I just re-heard this song. And I found it better than I remembered. Still goes down easy, though.
  34. Boogie Shoes – K.C. and the Sunshine Band – I still love K.C. and the Sunshine Band so this is in my collection.
  35. You Really Got Me – Van Halen – *
  36. Just What I Needed – The Cars – *
  37. Lights – Journey – *
  38. Fantasy – Earth Wind and Fire – My favorite EWF number is their cover of “Got to Get You into My Life”. Not much else grabbed me.
  39. Blame It On The Boogie – Jacksons – This one I love and still play.
  40. Shame – Evelyn Champagne King – One of disco’s better offerings.
  41. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys – Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson – I don’t remember this coming out in 1978, though I am familiar with the song.
  42. Cheeseburger In Paradise – Jimmy Buffett – *
  43. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf – One of the few power ballads I truly like.
  44. Can We Still Be Friends – Todd Rundgren – *
  45. Dust In The Wind – Kansas – I bought their whole album (“Point of Know Return”) just because of this song. The best part was the album cover art.
  46. Take A Chance On Me – Abba – One of Abba’s songs that I’ll regularly play but not my favorite. My mom and I attended their concert in Anaheim in 1979. They were a huge disappointment live.
  47. Wheel In The Sky – Journey – *
  48. Shadow Dancing – Andy Gibb – OK for the Bee Gees fans which is also why I found it OK to listen to.
  49. Miss You – Rolling Stones – *
  50. Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand – *
  51. Movin’ Out – Billy Joel – A favorite!
  52. Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man) – Styx – I think I owned this. I loved Styx back in the 70’s.
  53. Thank You For Being A Friend – Andrew Gold – I always loved hearing this song on the radio. Never got around to owning my own copy, but I want to. And that’s why I loved hearing it on the radio: Because that’s the only time I heard it.
  54. More Than a Woman – Tavares – As nice a version as Bee Gees’, but not a fave.
  55. Lovely Day – Bill Withers – I don’t remember this song from 1978. I discovered it in the 80’s. I like it.
  56. Let’s All Chant – Michael Zager Band – Typical disco fluff. I could and can live without.
  57. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond – She did a version, he did a version, some DJ discovered they were singing in the same key and mixed the two songs together. That sent the pair into the studio to actually do the duet and drive me batty every time I heard it on the radio. I still skip that track whenever I play my Neil Diamond Greatest Hits CDs. If you’re in a dying relationship, this is the song for you. If you’re in a coma, it isn’t. I mean, you want to wake up, don’t you?
  58. What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life – Ronnie Milsap – *
  59. Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon – I never heard any of this song except the refrain and since I became aware of it after the movie “An American Werewolf in London”, I thought the two were related. (They just showed AAWIL over again on TV and I recorded it. I wonder if I’ll enjoy it as much this time as I did back when.)
  60. Shout It Out Loud – Kiss – *
  61. Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey – One of the better disco offerings though it’s not my favorite.
  62. Roll With The Changes – REO Speedwagon – *
  63. Flash Light – Parliament – *
  64. Portrait (He Knew) – Kansas – *
  65. Three Times A Lady – Commodores – In spite of it being a slow song, I did enjoy listening to it. I like Lionel Ritchie’s voice.
  66. Hot Shot – Karen Young – *
  67. In The Bush – Musique – *
  68. You Got That Right – Lynyrd Skynyrd – *
  69. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmeralda – I never could get into Latin beats. This particular song annoys/ed me.
  70. # 1 Dee Jay – Goody Goody – *
  71. Listen Too Her Heart – Tom Petty – *
  72. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads – *
  73. The Groove Line – Heatwave – *
  74. Soft and Wet – Prince – *
  75. Surrender – Cheap Trick – Rediscovered very recently and thoroughly enjoying it. I remember I wanted to own it back then, but didn’t dare because I thought that sort of music was for, well, bad kids. Rebellious kids. Kids who broke curfew and smoked post. Kids who partied instead of doing homework. Because there was something about parents in the lyrics, y’know? Gawd, I was such a prude when I was young(er)! I mean, this song ROCKS! Well, thanks to the internet, I now own it!

The site also mentions the number 1’s on Billboard for the year. One was Wings’ “With A Little Luck”, a song I still love. Another was Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park”. I was crazy about that song, and I still like it. And I always wondered which MacArthur Park she meant. Los Angeles’ business district was centered around the part of Wilshire Boulevard that runs from Alvarado Street in the east to Crenshaw Blvd. in the west, with its own zip code of 90010. Just that street and that stretch of street. And a MacArthur Park sits at the corner of Wilshire and Alvarado. I ate lunch there sometimes and drove by often on my way to the Glendale freeway to go home.

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

7 replies on “1978, the hits of”

i remember driving around with you listening to Billy Joel, maybe it was that time we drove the length of sunset BLvd. my memory is foggy. A.


HAH. You remember all the songs I mostly didn\’t hear and don\’t remember (actually, I remember them as things I didn\’t listen to) and you don\’t remember the songs *I* remember.I guess that\’s the seven years of diff. there.m, i am totally grooving on this whole post in rss feed thing


Max, I was probably not listening to the songs you liked, then. 🙂 Glad you like the feed!Dawn, the weird (and nice) thing about the music I came of age with is that it\’s still popular! I visited my friend in California two years ago (she of the road trip comment above), and it wasn\’t like 25 years had passed because the exact same music was still on the radio. And I just heard \”Can\’t Smile Without You\” on the radio here today.


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