Various Artists

Sounds of the Seventies: '70s Dance Party 1979

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Different people have different ideas of what constitutes dance music, of course, but the compilers of this volume in the Dance Party subset of Time-Life Music's Sounds of the Seventies series have taken an unusually broad approach to what kinds of sounds will set their listeners' feet tripping across the floor. Nineteen seventy-nine was, depending on how you look at it, the late peak of disco, with songs like Chic's "Good Times," Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell," Donna Summer's "Bad Girls," Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" all topping the charts and filling the dancefloors, or it was the year when disco inspired a backlash that culminated in a riot at a "disco sucks" rally in Chicago and brought down the career of the Bee Gees (despite 1979 number ones like "Too Much Heaven" and "Tragedy"), among others; take your pick. Actually, you don't need to choose if you take this album as your guide, since it includes all the abovementioned tracks, as well as some decidedly non-disco hits like the Pointer Sisters' version of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire," the Knack's punk-lite chart-topper "My Sharona," and even that Grammy-winning slice of West Coast soul-pop, the Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes." At least on this disc (though not on other titles in the series), Time-Life has invited a varied crowd to its dance party. They don't all get along, and they don't all dance the same way, but all these songs were hits in 1979, which makes this album more of a general sampler of the year's most popular music than a specifically dance-oriented collection. And on that basis, it works fine.

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