1978. The disco ball was rolling all over popular music in the latter part of the 1970’s. The President was Jimmy Carter, the mood was cautious optimism, and the baby boomers were another year older. In the mid 70’s, punk music had started with notables like the Ramones, and The Clash, while dinosaur rock bands filled stadiums across America. 1978 was a great year for rock and roll. Here is a list with commentary, and lyric, of ten great rock songs of 1978.
1. My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars
The Cars were not just another band out of Boston. With an infectious beat, throbbing bass, and sing along melodies, The Cars took America and the world by surprise in 1978. With a string of hits including Just What I Needed, Candy-O, and Drive, The Cars rocked the music scene from 1978, all the way into the mid 1980’s.
Lyric: ‘…you’re always dancing down the street, with the suede blue eyes…’
2. Double Vision – Foreigner
Led by songwriters, Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, Foreigner filled the airwaves of rock radio from the song title of their second album, Double Vision. With one of the best vocals in hard rock music, Lou sang his heart out over great guitar licks and sing along melodies. Foreigner was another late 70’s band to have radio hits in the late 70’s into the mid 1980’s. Other Foreigner songs include Feels Like The First Time, Dirty White Boy, and I Want To Know What Love Is.
Lyric: ‘…I want to stick around till I can’t see straight…’
3. Miss You – The Rolling Stones
The Stones were still chugging out top 40 songs in the 70’s, as represented by this hit from the Some Girls album. This Stones song reached number one in the U.S. in August of 1978. Other Rolling Stones hits include Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, and Shattered.
Lyric: ‘…’Hey, what’s the matter man, we’re gonna come around at twelve with some Puerto Rican girls that are just dying to meet you…’
4. Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson
From Joe Jackson’s debut album, Look Sharp!, this great rock song includes a great pop chorus, sharp bass grooves, and Joe’s sassy attitude on love gone bad. Joe had other hits including It’s Different For Girls, Steppin’ Out, and Breaking Us In Two.
Lyric: ‘…pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street…’
5. Rock Lobster – The B-52’s
All the way from Athens, Georgia, this fun, dance band exploded onto the radio airwaves with their first single Rock Lobster in 1978. The band featured eccentric Fred Schneider on vocals, cowbell, and toy piano. The other lead singers were the lovely and talented Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson. Other B-52 hits include Love Shack, Dance This Mess Around, and Private Idaho.
Lyric: ‘…here comes a narwhal, there goes a bikini whale!…’
6. Prove It All Night – Bruce Springsteen
A great rock classic by the Boss! From his album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Bruce rocks it up with his E Street Band, setting rock radio on fire in the summer of 1978. Other Springsteen songs include Born To Run, The Rising, Girls In Their Summer Clothes, Blinded By The Light, I’m On Fire, Glory Days, Hungry Heart, Streets of Philadelphia, and Born In The U.S.A.
lyric: ‘…well if dreams came true, aw wouldn’t that be nice, but this aint no dream we’re living on through the night…’
7. Pump It Up – Elvis Costello ,
Elvis Costello took the world by storm with his first album, My Aim Is True. With his second release, This Year’s Model, Elvis continued to pump it up with this classic song of sexual frustration. Elvis (Declan MacManus), is probably the greatest songwriter since Bob Dylan in the 1960’s. Other Costello songs include Alison, Less Than Zero, (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love And Understanding, Accidents Will Happen, Radio Radio, Watch Your Step, I Wanna Be Loved, Tears Tears And More Tears, So Like Candy, and Deep Dark Truthful Mirror.
Lyric: ‘…she’s been a bad girl, she’s like a chemical…’
8. Cheeseburger In Paradise – Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett, a legend in Key West and the Florida Keys, had a smash hit with this song about the great American cheeseburger. The song is from Jimmy’s album, Son Of A Son Of A Sailor. Other Buffett songs include Come Monday, A1A, Margaritaville, A Pirate Looks At Forty, Floridays, and God’s Own Drunk.
Lyric: ‘…I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes…’
9. Running On Empty – Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne recorded this song live while on tour promoting his previous album, The Pretender. This California musician also teemed up with Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, John Hall, Graham Nash, and others for the No Nukes Concert in New York City in 1979 to protest nuclear energy. Other Jackson Browne songs include Doctor My Eyes, Late For The Sky, Somebody’s Baby, and Hear Comes Those Tears Again.
Lyric: ‘…looking out the road rushing under my wheels…’
10. Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
I swear that the first fifty times I heard this song, I thought it was Bob Dylan on lead vocals. Lead vocalist, Mark Knopfler, led the Dire Straits to a top ten hit in the U.S. and the band celebrated worldwide critical acclaim, in addition to strong album sales. Other hits for the Dire Straits include Money For Nothing, Walk Of Life, and Twisting By The Pool.
Lyric: ‘… check out Guitar George, he knows all the chords…’
Over all, the year in music of 1978 was punctuated by disco themed songs that don’t deserve mention. However, listen to any classic rock songs listed here on your iPod or MP3, and you’ll be twisting by the pool all summer long.