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October 21, 2021


[Albums 952 & 953 / 1001]

Of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,’ 27 are from the year 1979.

I’ve reviewed all but two of them so far.

The remaining non-reviewed albums from 1979: Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box, Holger Czukay – Movies.

Which 1979 albums are the most essential to hear again?

Ranked by their essential-ness, here’s how I’d prioritize revisiting these 27 albums, enjoy!



27. The Slits – Cut. Feels like one I’d appreciate more after a few more listens. But will I ever get around to those appreciation-enhancing listens is the question…

26. The Fall – Live at the Witch Trials. Their first of three on the 1001 list.

25. The B52’s – The B52’s. I was pleased to find this on audiocassette.

24. Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box. Looks like a neat physical item (streaming the album may not have been the optimal medium).

23. The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette. Met my enjoyment expectations.

22. Germs – GI. A case where ‘less is not necessarily more’ as it was the longer tracks that had the memorable moments, as shown in the graph below.



21. Sister Sledge – We Are Family. I have the LP, that helps its chances of re-visitation.

20. The Crusaders – Street Life. A different standout instrument on each track.

19. Holger Czukay – Movies. Probably more likely to revisit his Can albums first.

18. Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle. Exceeded my enjoyment expectations.

17. Gang of Four – Entertainment!. !

16. Japan – Quiet Life. If I ever go to Japan, clearly I will have to give it a spin.

15. Pink Floyd – The Wall. I like to paraphrase Pink Floyd when teaching exponent laws, Hey! Students! Leave That Base Alone!

14. Marianne Faithfull – Broken English. I had forgotten I’d made a PowerPoint presentation to review the album!



13. Cheap Trick – At Budokan. According to the list, a 1979 album (though I gather it was released in 1978 in parts of the world).

12. The Undertones – The Undertones. Their first of two.

11. Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Armed Forces. His third of six.

10. The Specials – The Specials. Their first of two.

9. Chic – Risque. Bonus marks for the accent aigus.

8. AC (lightning bolt) DC – Highway to Hell. No stop signs, speed limits.

7. Michael Jackson – Off the Wall. Or as Murray Hewitt might say, Off The Planet.

6. The Police – Regatta de Blanc. I prefer albums #1 and #5 as shown by the quadratic relation in vertex form below!


Let x represent the studio album number.
Let y represent the general awesomeness of the album.

y = 2.5(x-3)² + 80


5. Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps. Fellow blogger timeweleftthisworldtoday made a fine point recently that few can transition as seamlessly as Mr. Young when moving between acoustic / electric tracks.

4. Talking Heads – Fear of Music. I wasn’t always a Talking Heads enthusiast…but now, to borrow a Kevin McCallister exclamation, I’m Not Afraid Anymore!

3. Fleetwood Mac – Tusk. Neat when an artist hits their commercial &/or critical peaks on albums #11 and 12 of the discography.

2. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures. I saw a student wearing an Unknown Pleasures shirt recently, the future is in good hands!

1. The Clash – London Calling. According to the 1001 list, it is a 1979 release (I gather it wasn’t released until 1980 in the U.S.) – it would be #1 in either year!



Verbalize the Positive

One of the finest arguments in favour of YouTube:

Billy Corgan singing 1979 on a Roller Coaster!

From → 1970s

  1. “made a fine point recently that few can transition as seamlessly as Mr. Young when moving between acoustic / electric tracks.”

    Indeed. Who else can do really heavy rock and really light acoustic pieces? Many have some acoustic pieces as a contrast (Kansas, The Who), but they are “just” that, a contrast. Apart from Young, Jethro Tull comes to mind.

    • Agreed, Phillip – for many it’s an acoustic/electric intentional contrast.
      Neil (and Jethro Tull, nobody else is immediately jumping to mind for me) just makes it seamless!

  2. Is that Police collection on vinyl? I need the debut to finish my set off. Another fantastic list Geoff especially with CT Budokan!

    • I was lucky to go through a big police phase in University Deke – meaning I think I paid at max $4 for each record, they were practically giving away vinyl in the early 2000s!
      And one day I hope to learn enough Japanese to be able to read the Japanese liner notes that came with my Budokan LP!

      • My police collection was cheap (trick!) also. I think I paid 8 bucks for Synchronicity which was the most…
        I’m glad I got into vinyl again a few years ago as I bought the first 8 VH albums for decent prices(none more than 12 bucks each used) Since EVH’s passing not to sure if I could get those 8 under 60-70 bucks anymore…

      • 8 bucks for Synchronicity is still 4 toonies exceptionally well spent!
        And sadly yes, I only have the first 2 VH on vinyl (and thanks to Aaron, VH1 on 8-track!), but I’ll have to wait a while for the prices to come down to finish the rest of the LP collection

      • Well having the first two VH on vinyl is a great starting point!

  3. Some great albums. I have a handful of these in the collection including your #1.

    • I think it was released in one part of the world in Dec 1979 / another in Jan 1980.
      Either way, a great way to wrap up 1 decade &/or kick start another!

  4. Lol “leave that base alone.” Math nerd jokes ftw. I love #1 except it is ruined by Lost In The Supermarket. If they’d left that off, it’d be a perfect record. Maybe the Police ought to have broken the Top 5 too, I’d say. Still, lots of great albums.

    • Here’s to math jokes!
      And yes, another year with the enviable problem of lots of great albums.
      The Police’s Message in a Box would be in my Top 5 Box sets, nothing particularly special about the package, such so much goodness inside!

      • Heck yes. I got a box with cardboard sleeves that had all the albums and an extra disc of stuff in it. Glorious!

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