9/14/15

Happy 5th Anniversary to The CD Project

The CD Project began humbly enough with reviews of the albums pictured above on September 15, 2010.  Now, 1228 discs and 1826 days later, The CD Project celebrates its fifth anniversary today.  Stop by and show Mark some love for sticking it out so long.  

Apropos of nothing but a common month and day, my tribute to this momentous occasion is a rundown of the truly magnificent American Top 40 from September 15, 1979. 
There are many, many good songs on this week's countdown and I will not attempt to cover them all.  As far as the playlist above goes, Spotify lacks two songs: #35 and #19, both of which I cover below.  Casey kicks the countdown off with a review of the top three songs from the previous week:
From left to right, the previous week's Top 3.  SPOILER ALERT: only two of them make the Top 3 this time around while the third drops to #9.

#40
And then the countdown proper kicks off with a Fleetwood Mac cover by The Rockets at the anchor spot.  One of my friends in junior high was a guy named Charles.  He didn't have many other friends and as I recall he was always getting picked on for one reason or another.  He was a huge, unapologetic liar and I always associate this song with him because he always said that The Rockets gave his Dad a copy of their album after he flew them to a gig.  This was a lie because Charles's dad was not a pilot but a mechanic in the Air Force - my Dad knew his Dad.  It's a great Fleetwood Mac song and this is a straight forward albeit abbreviated rocked out cover version.



#39
Donna Summer comes in at number 39 with a song she said she originally wrote for Rod Stewart. (On her 1999 Live & More Encore! album, she even begins to sing it like she imagined Rod would.) Summer ended up changing her mind, keeping the song for herself and it remains her only hit song listing her as the sole composer.  For me, the song was at its best on side three of her On The Radio double-wide hits compilation as it slowed the tempo down from "Bad Girls" and then slid right up into "Sunset People" and ended the side.







#35
Casey says the three titles that have been used the most for completely different songs are: "Call Me", "You" and "Saturday Night" while introducing "Saturdaynight" by Herman Brood and his Wild Romance.  I had all but forgotten about this rarely heard song until jb mentioned it in one of his posts.  (He actually has mentioned it four or five times through the years - I joined late in the game.)  The song peaked at #35 the previous week and managed to hold onto that spot this week as well.  Herman was a true one-hit wonder here in the States but continued to record and chart in the Netherlands before taking the easy way out in 2001.



#34
Spyro Gyra's "Morning Dance" was next up on the countdown and serves as probably my earliest introduction to "smooth jazz" though that honor probably more rightfully belongs to Herb Alpert or Chuck Mangione but I may be mistaken.  Didn't think much of the song at the time but a few years later when I met my soul mate, she singled it out as one of her favorite songs from hours spent listening to her brother play it (he had the only stereo system in their house growing up so everyone listened to what he played) and thus it became one of my favorite songs, cause that's what you used to do, right? Assimilate each other's interests on top of the ones you already had in common?



#29
Though tucked into the Country genre because of his prior success there, Eddie Rabbitt's "Suspicions" is a prime example of yacht rock, music so smooth it's in danger of sliding right off your turntable.  Coming in at #29, Casey relates the story Rabbitt told about the song's creation, how it was all done in the studio during a break with nothing being written down but rather all vibed out by he and his fellow musicians while the engineer let the tape run, capturing it all. It would become Rabbitt's fourth consecutive Number One on the Country chart while peaking at number 13 on the Hot 100 the week prior.  It remains one of my Mom's favorite songs to this day - heard her singing along to it recently in the truck.



#26
Still rising up the charts at number 26 this week was "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" by Journey, a timeless singalong people often mistake for a love song. Actually, its a break-up song, telling the story of how the girl who broke his heart will soon have her heart broken the same damn way: "Now it's your turn girl to cry" before going into almost two minutes of "Na na na na na na" to close out the song.  It was the second Journey song I liked after the previous year's "Lights" but it be another year before I bought my first Journey album with Departure, which was also the last eight track I bought new back in 1980.



#24
Coming in number 24 is another song you don't hear much anymore - "Hot Summer Nights" by Night.  Though the single is voiced by Stevie Lange, then wife of Robert John "Mutt" Lange who was on the cusp of becoming a mega producer after the release of AC/DC's Highway To Hell earlier that Summer, the group's leader and other vocalist is Chris Thompson.  Casey tells the story of how Chris got his big break by being the only guy in the room that could sing one fateful day at a London recording studio.  The song had peaked at #18 the prior week but it would be almost thirty years before I added it to my collection when I purchased the CD just a few years back.



#22
In September 1979, I was a newly minted Eighth-grader and playing the odds by eagerly pursuing relationships with three lovely ladies, each of whom let me down easy by whispering dirty dirty things in my ear at my going away party nine months later.  I remember the song at number 22, G.Q.'s "I Do Love You" but had no idea it was a cover of an earlier Billy Stewart tune from 1965.  It was one of a handful of slow jams played at all of the school dances and couples skates that year.  Don't recall ever hearing it on the radio though, except on American Top 40.  The band's previous hit "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" remains my preferred G.Q. song.




#20
Patrick Hernandez's "Born to Be Alive" comes in at number 20 after reaching the top of the Disco charts earlier in the Summer.  After eighteen weeks, the song was still at number 45 on the Disco Top 100 singles chart though in three short weeks it would be gone.  But not forgotten as the song was still climbing the Hot 100 on its way to peaking at number 16 for three straight weeks before dropping to number 41 and number 76 on its way off the chart altogether.  So much for living up to it's title.  For me, the single was too short - just as it going, the song was over.  It would be six years before I would come across the full-length version on the Born to Be Alive album.




#19
"Pop Muzik" by M was number 19 for the week but if you had polled me and my friends at the time, the song was Number One With A Bullet.  This zany, wonderful pop masterpiece (or novelty hit, depending on your point of view) always sounds fresh each time I hear it. Couldn't have cared less who M was - turns out his name was Robin Scott yet we all know Dame Judi Dench was Craig's Bond's M.  I had this song on two K-Tel compilations - Starflight and Rock 80 - before I bought the New York*London*Paris*Munich album.  The album had my favorite image of Albert Einstein on the back cover, the one where he's giving the camera a raspberry.  Actually it was four of the same image.



#18
How great is the song that came in at number 18 that week?  "Driver's Seat" is so great that I took a break from writing this, put on shorts, a tee and my Scoots, grabbed my phone which has a playlist of both the album version and a remix version of this Sniff 'n' the Tears song cached via Spotify and hopped in the Blueberry and drove until both songs ended, turned around, restarted playlist and came home.  It's a cool night here in the desert and the sky is partly cloudy so all the windows and the moonroof were open.  "Driver's Seat" is a great driving song and a perfect night driving song.  Some people don't get the song and that's cool - I love it enough for everyone.  That was so fun, I may go do it again.



#13
By 1979, Elton John had been at or near the top of my favorite artist every year based purely on the singles he was releasing and the magnificent deep cuts I heard on my Dad's 8-track collection of Elton's albums like Madman Across The Water, Honky Ch√Ęteau, Don't Shoot Me..., Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou and Captain Fantastic.  Throw in the two Greatest Hits albums I owned on vinyl thanks to those mail order music clubs and you could say I was a pretty big fan of the man's music.  Yet I had ignored his Blue Moves and A Single Man albums.  Then I heard the song that sat at #13 for the week, "Mama Can't Buy You Love" and I was back on board the EJ Hit Express before getting off yet again for another couple of years.

#4
Casey offers the obligatory Beatles comparison to Electric Light Orchestra when introducing "Don't Bring Me Down", the week's number 4 song.  All I remember is there was a week near the end of that Summer when that song seemed inescapable - we'd get in the family truckster and it would be on the radio, Dad would turn his portable radio on while working on the car in the carport and it would be on, Mom would turn on the Panasonic home stereo and it would be on, I'd come in after a hard day chasing the muff around, flip on my Soundesign and WLS would be playing it.  On the off chance my stereo was tuned to WLRW, the song would still be playing.  There have only been a handful of similar instances since then when everybody everywhere seems to be listening to the same song.   

#3
Earlier this Summer, I made the claim that "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band was the first rap song I had ever heard, preceding both Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" and Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" which are generally acknowledged as the first rap singles to chart.  This week, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" peaks at number 3 on the Hot 100, a position it will hold the following week as well before backsliding down the chart.  "Rapper's Delight" debuted on November 10, 1979 Hot 100 at number 84 while "The Breaks" didn't hit the chart until nearly a year later: September 6, 1980 at number 98.



Like I said at the top of the countdown, there were many many good songs in this week's Top 40 yet one of my all-time favorite songs was lurking just outside the Top 40 at number 41 that week: "Children Of The Sun" by Billy Thorpe.  The song held its orbit at 41 the next week as well before plummeting to number 95 the following week and exiting the chart after a ten week run.  I've only ever heard the full-length almost seven minute version album version but it turns out there are two single edits of the song: a "short version" clocking in at 4:30 and a "long version" at 5:38.



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BONUS COUNTDOWN PLAYLISTS

Top 10 LPs September 15, 1979


Top 40 Singles for September 18, 2010
- the same week the first posts appeared on
The CD Project

Top 40 Albums for September 18, 2010
- the only two missing from Spotify are Now 34 and Now 35

7 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary to Mark, and what a solid group of hits from 1979.

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  2. Thanks for the tribute! In 2010, I didn't think I'd last five weeks, let alone five years. Now, thanks to the blog, I've got more CDs and friends that ever!

    That 1979 list is bringing back some powerful 8th grade memories. Gonna pull out the yearbooks later today.

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  3. I see my share of label scans, of course, but seem this article presented in this way reminded me of Music Box Records in downtown Honolulu. The reason is because the front window display would always have a display of the week's Top 10 singles so it was a way of saying "see these hits? We have them, come inside." I, of course, would eventually find the white label promos on the side that were 3-for-99 cents, then to request the 45's in the backroom that weren't hits, but she would always have the original pressings, no "oldies-but-goodies" pressings. Aaah, I miss that time.

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    1. Great record store story, John. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Hey, yeah... Congratulations CD Project, on 5 long years in the blogosphere!! – And to you, my Herc-tastic pal, welcome home; right back here where you belong!

    Also apropos of nothing? Volume One of Dirk's Radio Daze (Revisited), which features 5 songs from that there September 15, 1979 countdown!

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    1. Apologiers for overlooking the synchronous timelime between the chart and your digital mixtape, Dirk, ol' bean. Still hoping for more volumes in that wonderful series which I believe stalled after volume number four.

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    2. No apologies necessary, my man... Didn't even register with me initially either, 'til I was midway through your fine post!

      Thanks for your kind words about ol' Dirk's "Daze" series, too... It did indeed stall last year when real life got up in my business. Happens sometimes. Still plenty of ground left to cover, that's fo' sho'. Can't make any promises, but I'm gonna' go ahead and recommend more volumes to the higher-ups here at Hambonian Entertainment. Couldn't hurt, right? – Right on, brother!

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