1979 in British music

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This is a summary of 1979 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year. 1979 saw the beginning of a few trends in British music. Electropop reached number one in both the singles and albums charts in the form of Gary Numan and Tubeway Army, and synthesiser bands began to gather momentum which would come to dominate music in the early 1980s. The first rap hit in the UK came from the Sugar Hill Gang. The 2 Tone movement also emerged with early work from bands like The Specials and Madness. Disco music was still the most popular music of the year, although showed signs of dying out in later months. 1979 remains the biggest-selling year ever for physical format singles sales in the UK.

Events[edit]

Charts[edit]

Number one singles[edit]

Date Song Artist
6 January "Y.M.C.A." Village People
13 January
20 January
27 January "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" Ian Dury and the Blockheads
3 February "Heart of Glass" Blondie
10 February
17 February
24 February
3 March "Tragedy" Bee Gees
10 March
17 March "I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor
24 March
31 March
7 April
14 April "Bright Eyes" Art Garfunkel
21 April
28 April
5 May
12 May
19 May
26 May "Sunday Girl" Blondie
2 June
9 June
16 June "Ring My Bell" Anita Ward
23 June
30 June "Are 'Friends' Electric?" Tubeway Army
7 July
14 July
21 July
28 July "I Don't Like Mondays" The Boomtown Rats
4 August
11 August
18 August
25 August "We Don't Talk Anymore" Cliff Richard
1 September
8 September
15 September
22 September "Cars" Gary Numan
29 September "Message in a Bottle" The Police
6 October
13 October
20 October "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles
27 October "One Day at a Time" Lena Martell
3 November
10 November
17 November "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
24 November
1 December
8 December "Walking on the Moon" The Police
15 December "Another Brick in the Wall Part II" Pink Floyd
22 December
29 December

Number one albums[edit]

Date Album Artist Weeks
6 January Greatest Hits Showaddywaddy 2
13 January
20 January Don't Walk - Boogie Various artists 3
27 January
3 February
10 February Action Replay Various artists 1
17 February Parallel Lines Blondie 4
24 February
3 March
10 March
17 March Spirits Having Flown Bee Gees 2
24 March
31 March Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Barbra Streisand 4
7 April
14 April
21 April
28 April The Very Best of Leo Sayer Leo Sayer 3
5 May
12 May
19 May Voulez-Vous ABBA 4
26 May
2 June
9 June
16 June Discovery Electric Light Orchestra 5
23 June
30 June
7 July
14 July
21 July Replicas Tubeway Army 1
28 July The Best Disco Album in the World Various artists 6
4 August
11 August
18 August
25 August
1 September
8 September In Through the Out Door Led Zeppelin 2
15 September
22 September The Pleasure Principle Gary Numan 1
29 September Oceans of Fantasy Boney M 1
6 October The Pleasure Principle Gary Numan 1
=13 October Eat to the Beat Blondie 1
=13 October Reggatta De Blanc The Police 4
20 October
27 October
3 November
10 November Tusk Fleetwood Mac 1
17 November Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ABBA 3
24 November
1 December
8 December Greatest Hits Vol.1 Rod Stewart 4
15 December
22 December
29 December

Year-end charts[edit]

1979 appears to be the only year since 1977 for which "full year" year-end charts do not exist. The British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), which compiled the official UK charts from 1969 to 1982, used a cut-off date for the collection of sales data sometime in early December each year, in order for the "end of year" chart to be published in the year's final issue of Music Week and to be broadcast on BBC Radio 1. However, from 1977 to 1982 BMRB produced updated charts a few months later which included the missing final weeks' sales for each year.

No updated chart appears to exist for 1979, so the tables below include only sales between 1 January and 8 December 1979. The two singles most affected by the lack of a full year chart are the records that were at number one and number two for the final three weeks of the year, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd and "I Have a Dream" by ABBA: neither of these records appear in the end of year list for 1979.

Best-selling singles[edit]

[3]

No. Title Artist Peak
position
1 "Bright Eyes" Art Garfunkel 1
2 "Heart of Glass" Blondie 1
3 "We Don't Talk Anymore" Cliff Richard 1
4 "I Don't Like Mondays" The Boomtown Rats 1
5 "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" Dr. Hook 1
6 "I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor 1
7 "Are Friends Electric" Tubeway Army 1
8 "Dance Away" Roxy Music 2
9 "Sunday Girl" Blondie 1
10 "One Day at a Time" Lena Martell 1
11 "Message in a Bottle" The Police 1
12 "Pop Muzik" M 2
13 "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" Ian Dury and the Blockheads 1
14 "Oliver's Army" Elvis Costello and the Attractions 2
15 "Tragedy" Bee Gees 1
16 "Chiquitita" ABBA 2
17 "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles 1
18 "Cars" Gary Numan 1
19 "Every Day Hurts" Sad Café 3
20 "Ring My Bell" Anita Ward 1
21 "Some Girls" Racey 2
22 "Boogie Wonderland" Earth, Wind & Fire with the Emotions 4
23 "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" Michael Jackson 3
24 "Woman in Love" The Three Degrees 3
25 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" Queen 2
26 "Y.M.C.A." Village People 1
27 "Reunited" Peaches and Herb 4
28 "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" ABBA 3
29 "Lucky Number" Lene Lovich 3
30 "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me" The Bellamy Brothers 3
31 "Cool for Cats" Squeeze 2
32 "Something Else"/"Friggin' in the Riggin'" Sex Pistols 3
33 "Silly Games" Janet Kay 2
34 "Bang Bang" B. A. Robertson 2
35 "Dreaming" Blondie 2
36 "Wanted" The Dooleys 3
37 "Can You Feel the Force?" The Real Thing 5
38 "Knock on Wood" Amii Stewart 6
39 "Contact" Edwin Starr 6
40 "I Want Your Love" Chic 4
41 "Hooray Hooray, It's a Holi-Holiday" Boney M 3
42 "Theme from The Deer Hunter (Cavatina)" The Shadows 9
43 "Does Your Mother Know" ABBA 4
44 "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" The Jacksons 4
45 "Since You've Been Gone" Rainbow 6
46 "Up the Junction" Squeeze 2
47 "Love's Gotta Hold on Me" Dollar 4
48 "Still" The Commodores 4
49 "In the Navy" Village People 2
50 "Whatever You Want" Status Quo 4

Best-selling albums[edit]

[4]

No. Title Artist Peak
position
1 Parallel Lines Blondie 1
2 Discovery Electric Light Orchestra 1
3 The Very Best of Leo Sayer Leo Sayer 1
4 Breakfast in America Supertramp 3
5 Voulez-Vous ABBA 1
6 Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Barbra Streisand 1
7 Spirits Having Flown Bee Gees 1
8 Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ABBA 1
9 Reggatta de Blanc The Police 1
10 Manilow Magic: The Best of Barry Manilow Barry Manilow 3
11 Greatest Hits Rod Stewart 1
12 Last the Whole Night Long James Last 2
13 Armed Forces Elvis Costello and the Attractions 2
14 Outlandos d'Amour The Police 6
15 The Best Disco Album in the World Various Artists 1
16 Replicas Tubeway Army 1
17 I Am Earth, Wind & Fire 5
18 C'est Chic Chic 2
19 Dire Straits Dire Straits 5
20 Manifesto Roxy Music 7
21 Eat to the Beat Blondie 1
22 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds Jeff Wayne 12[a]
23 Bat Out of Hell Meat Loaf 11[b]
24 Do It Yourself Ian Dury and the Blockheads 2
25 Tusk Fleetwood Mac 1
26 Out of the Blue Electric Light Orchestra 13[c]
27 New Boots and Panties!! Ian Dury 5
28 20 Golden Greats Diana Ross 2
29 Night Owl Gerry Rafferty 9
30 Don't Walk – Boogie Various Artists 1
31 Fate for Breakfast Art Garfunkel 2
32 The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 Earth, Wind & Fire 6
33 Black Rose: A Rock Legend Thin Lizzy 2
34 The Pleasure Principle Gary Numan 1
35 Action Replay Various Artists 1
36 In Through the Out Door Led Zeppelin 1
37 The Great Rock and Roll Swindle Sex Pistols 7
38 String of Hits The Shadows 4[d]
39 Live Killers Queen 3
40 Lodger David Bowie 4
41 A Collection of Their 20 Greatest Hits The Three Degrees 8
42 Nightflight to Venus Boney M 1
43 Wings Greatest Wings 5
44 Sky Sky 9
45 Off the Wall Michael Jackson 5
46 Bridges John Williams 5
47 Lionheart Kate Bush 12[e]
48 Blondes Have More Fun Rod Stewart 7[f]
49 Bob Dylan at Budokan Bob Dylan 4
50 Country Life Various Artists 2

Notes:

  1. ^ Reached number 5 in 1978
  2. ^ Reached number 9 in 1981
  3. ^ Reached number 4 in 1977
  4. ^ Reached number 1 in 1980
  5. ^ Reached number 6 in 1978
  6. ^ Reached number 3 in 1978

Classical music: new works[edit]

Opera[edit]

Film and Incidental music[edit]

Musical theatre[edit]

Musical films[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zachary Woolfe "Richard Rodney Bennett, British Composer, Dies at 76", New York Times, 30 December 2012
  2. ^ The Independent, 13 May 2003
  3. ^ "Top Singles 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 27. 
  4. ^ "Top Albums 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 30. 
  5. ^ Hampton, Wilborn.Hugh Wheeler obituary, New York Times, July 28, 1987.
  6. ^ "Patto". Alexgitlin.com. 1979-03-03. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  7. ^ 'Hugh Ottaway', The Musical Times, Vol. 121, No. 1643 (January 1980), p. 48
  8. ^ The Glasgow Herald, 25 January 1980