A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
1979 is officially the year I started collecting music. And it’s all because of a post-disco hit about the Twilight Zone theme song. This list, though, couldn’t have been compiled till 2006.
Gang of Four, Entertainment!
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Evita
Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd
Philip Glass, Einstein on the Beach
Midnight Oil, Head Injuries
Talking Heads, Fear of Music
The Clash, London Calling
Michael Jackson, Off the Wall
The Police, Reggatta de Blanc
Emmylou Harris, Blue Kentucky Girl
Other favorites from the year:
The Manhattan Transfer, Extensions
The B-52’s, The B-52’s
The hit in question is “Twilight Tone” by the Manhattan Transfer.
Though more renowned as a jazz vocal quartet, the group wouldn’t get on my radar till “Twilight Tone” invaded the airwaves. Search YouTube for a performance of the song on a variety show — it’s amazing what people will endure for art. Or gimmickry.
My parents relented and bought the Extensions album for me. Of course, I played “Twilight Tone” to death, but I also dug the other songs on the album. Unlike “Twilight Tone”, they ranged from doo-wop to a capella. One song was a bizarre novelty with the singers voices rendered at chipmunk speed. You could say this was Manhattan Transfer’s disco album.
I’ve included it in the extended list. As fond as I am of the album, I have a better sense of what 1979 really offered as a year in music.