1979 was a good year. On the radio, Bob Dylan was mumbling "It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody." It was the one and only year there was a Grammy award for Best Disco Recording (bonus points for anyone who knows the winning song). My parents record player - and 8 track player - was dominated by artists like Chicago, ABBA, and The Carpenters. And, most importantly, 1979 is the year I entered the scene... if you ask my mom she'll tell you I came out looking for a party.
My parents were in their 20s through most of the 70s; they married early in the decade. My dad graduated from college in 1979. The music of the 70s should have been their soundtrack - but I sometimes feel like I know this generation of music better than they do. During the 80s (and most of the 90s), my parents mostly listened to oldies and contemporary Christian radio. I can only remember my dad listening to classic rock on a couple occasions - but by then I was out of high school. That being said, most of my favorite albums from the year of my birth was not music my parents listened to - it was music I discovered on my own.
#5 Supertramp - Breakfast in America: Over the years, Supertramp has released some infectious music and their 1979 release is no exception. It's not their best album, but Breakfast in America is their best selling album. There are a couple of gems in there - my favorites: The Logical Song (with it's creative sound effects) and Take the Long Way Home.
#4 Amy Grant - My Father's Eyes: This is one of the few of my mom's favorite artists that I can listen to without wanting to throw my head through a brick wall. Amy Grant is one of those singers that I like to listen to help me relax. And this album is full of songs that are easy on the ears.
#3 The Police - Reggatta De Blanc: While the album is led by the chipper (and well known) track Message in a Bottle, Reggatta is a fairly somber album. While The Police try to capitalize on the 'less is more' way of thinking, there is a subtle genius simmering underneath the sparse instrumentation. Individually, Sting, Stuart Copeland, and Andy Summers are some of the greatest musicians to ever record music. This is music that every musician should take lessons from this album. Songs like Bring on the Night and Walking on the Moon are some of the best examples of band dynamics you'll ever find.
#2 The Clash - London Calling: I love The Clash. You can hear their influence in a wide rage of artists from punk to country. London Calling is the pinnacle of 70s era of punk music. Hateful, Lost in the Supermarket, Train in Vain... through and through - it's a great album.
#1 Michael Jackson - Off the Wall: I often wish I could seperate the music from the person who made the music. Michael Jackson has created some great songs but he (outside of music) is as strange as they come. But... Off the Wall is before Michael became known as Wacko Jacko. These are the days before he became a creepy white (alleged) pedophile. Off the Wall set the standard for what pop music should be. Sadly, songs like Rock With You and Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough have aged better than the man that recorded them. It is in this album that we find a fresh out of the Jackson 5 20 something artist full of potential. When you listen to this album you can't help but wonder what Michael could have accomplished if he hadn't gone crazy.