Unkown Pleasures Risque London Calling Entertainment!
Off the Wall The Specials Metal Box The B-52's

1979 seemed to be overloaded with great singles in all sorts of areas. Most of the greatness was coming out of England, from the last gasp of punk (although it hardly sounded tired when Stiff Little Fingers pumped out "Alternative Ulster" and "Suspect Device" back to back, or the Clash put out London Calling, one of the best rock albums in history) to the seemingly infinite varieties of post-punk experimentalists. (The Pop Group, PiL, Cabaret Voltaire, Gang of Four, and Joy Division all released their best work in 1979.) Pure pop was sounding great as well, considering the continuing maturity of the best new wave songwriters (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, XTC, Squeeze).

In America, aside from the stray arena rock classic by the Knack or Supertramp, music greatness was all about R&B, with Michael Jackson's first monster LP Off the Wall paving the way for Thriller and plenty of excellent disco still being manufactured by the crate-load, both chart-bound (Chic's "Good Times") and club-focused (Instant Funk's epic "I Got My Mind Made Up [You Can Get It Girl]," in its original and best Tom Moulton mix). Meanwhile, in obscure cultural corners, the '80s were being born -- just listen to YMO's "Technopolis" to hear the genesis moment for all video-game soundtracks to come, or better yet, check out a catchy novelty track from an independent label that made it all the way up the R&B charts to #4: "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang.

John Bush
The Clash - London Calling
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
PiL - Metal Box
Nick Lowe - Labour of Lust
XTC - Drums and Wires

Instant Funk - "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)" (YouTube)
Michael Jackson - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
Chic - "Good Times"
The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight"
Supertramp - "Gone Hollywood"
The Knack - "My Sharona"
Squeeze - "Cool for Cats"
Nick Lowe - "Cruel to Be Kind"
The Monochrome Set - "He's Frank"
Gang of Four - "I Found That Essence Rare"
The Pop Group - "She Is Beyond Good and Evil"
Young Marble Giants - "Final Day"
Joy Division - "Disorder"
PiL - "Careering"
Cabaret Voltaire - "Nag Nag Nag" (YouTube)
The Cure - "Boys Don't Cry"
Bauhaus - "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Diamond Head - "Am I Evil?"
The Clash - "Train in Vain"
The Cramps - "Human Fly"
Devo - "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA"
Stiff Little Fingers - "Suspect Device"
Stiff Little Fingers - "Alternative Ulster"
The Dickies - "You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)"
Johnny Paycheck - "Ragged Old Truck"
Yellow Magic Orchestra - "Technopolis" (YouTube)

Sean Westergaard
This was easily the most difficult year to whittle down to just 20 albums (and I actually cheated a bit by combining two Zappa releases from that year into one entry!). I had to leave off at least a dozen GREAT albums so I will cheat a bit more by tossing some honorable mentions into my text portion: B-52's, Bill Bruford, Buzzcocks, the only Cure album I will ever need, Funkadelic, Brides of Funkenstein, Fred Frith & Henry Kaiser, Joe Jackson's I'm the Man, Led Zep(!), Nick Lowe, Magazine, Pere Ubu, the Police, Prince, PiL's Metal Box, the Residents, Sesame Street Disco. So my list is a mixture of absolute favorite all-time albums and some other stuff I love that probably won't make it on to other people's lists, just for variety's sake. A huge number of these albums were what I was listening to in high school at the time. And yes, three Zappa titles is admittedly ridiculous. I couldn't help myself.

Terry Allen - Lubbock (On Everything)
Blondie - Eat to the Beat
The Boomtown Rats - The Fine Art of Surfacing
David Bowie - Lodger
The Clash - The Clash [US]
The Clash - London Calling
Ornette Coleman - Of Human Feelings
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Armed Forces
Robert Fripp - Exposure
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
Henry Kaiser - Outside Pleasure
The Specials - The Specials
Sun Ra - The Other Side of the Sun
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers - Live at Max's Kansas City '79
XTC - Drums and Wires
Frank Zappa - Sleep Dirt
Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti
Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III

Thom Jurek
Cabaret Voltaire - Mix-Up
Chic - Risqué
The Clash - London Calling
Doll by Doll - Gypsy Blood
Urszula Dudziak - Future Talk
The Fall - Dragnet
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Germs - (GI)
Ian Hunter - You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Teena Marie - Wild and Peaceful
Amina Claudine Myers - Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown
Graham Parker - Squeezing Out Sparks
PiL - Metal Box
The Pop Group - Y
The Slits - Cut
The Specials - The Specials
Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats

Angelic Upstarts - "I'm an Upstart"
Cabaret Voltaire - "Nag Nag Nag"
Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers - "Bustin' Loose"
Chic - "Good Times"
The Cure - "Jumping Someone Else's Train"
Doll by Doll - "The Palace of Love"
Doll by Doll - "Teenage Lightning"
Bob Dylan - "Gotta Serve Somebody"
The Fall - "Rowche Rumble"
Joy Division - "Transmission"
Magazine - "Rhythm of Cruelty"
Teena Marie - "I'm a Sucker for Your Love"
Tubeway Army - "Are 'Friends' Electric?"
The Pop Group - "She Is Beyond Good and Evil"
Prince - "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
Ruts - "Babylon's Burning"
Siouxsie and the Banshees - "Playground Twist"
The Slits - "Typical Girls"
The Specials - "A Message to You Rudy"
Donna Summer - "Bad Girls"
Talking Heads - "Life During Wartime"

Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Nick Lowe - Labour of Lust
Dave Edmunds – Repeat When Necessary
The Specials - The Specials
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Armed Forces
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes
Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
David Bowie - Lodger
Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps
The Jam - Setting Sons
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
The Kinks – Low Budget
Squeeze – Cool for Cats
Cheap Trick - At Budokan
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
Talking Heads – Fear of Music
Madness – One Step Beyond
Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
Graham Parker - Squeezing Out Sparks
XTC - Drums and Wires
Joe Jackson - I'm the Man
Ian Hunter - You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic
Daryl Hall/John Oates – X-Static
Split Enz – Frenzy
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Do It Yourself
The Undertones – The Undertones
Prince - Prince
Roxy Music – Manifesto

Nick Lowe – "Cruel to Be Kind"
Squeeze – "Up the Junction"
The Specials – "Nite Klub"
Michael Jackson – "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
Queen – "Fat Bottomed Girls"
Joe Jackson – "I'm the Man"
The Jam – "Strange Town"
Led Zeppelin – "Fool in the Rain"
Squeeze – "Cool for Cats"
Don Williams – "Tulsa Time"
Cheap Trick – "Dream Police"
The Records – "Starry Eyes"
Chuck Berry – "Oh What a Thrill"
Prince – "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
Tim Curry – "I Do the Rock"
George Harrison – "Blow Away"
Hoyt Axton - "Rusty Old Halo"
Ian Dury & the Blockheads – "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick"/"Reasons to Be Cheerful, Pt. 3"
The Buggles - "Video Killed the Radio Star"
Van Halen – "Dance the Night Away"
XTC – "Making Plans for Nigel"
The Undertones – "Get Over You"
Roxy Music – "Dance Away"
Moon Martin – "Rolene"
JD Souther – "You're Only Lonely"
Cliff Richard – "We Don't Talk Anymore"
Flash & the Pan – "Hey, St. Peter"
John Stewart – "Gold"
Ian Gomm – "Hold On"
Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley - "Just Good Ol' Boys"

Heather Phares
Adam & the Ants - Dirk Wears White Sox
The B-52's - The B-52's
Blondie - Eat to the Beat
David Bowie - Lodger
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind of Tension
The Clash - London Calling
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
The Jam - Setting Sons
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle
PiL - Metal Box
The Police - Reggatta de Blanc
The Slits - Cut
The Soft Boys - A Can of Bees
Squeeze - Cool for Cats
Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Wire - 154
XTC - Drums and Wires

James Wilkinson
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps
The Stranglers - The Raven
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes
The Specials - The Specials
Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers
The Jam - Setting Sons
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind of Tension
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Armed Forces
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Emmylou Harris - Blue Kentucky Girl
Joe Jackson - I'm the Man
Devo - Duty Now for the Future
David Bowie - Lodger
Bert Jansch - Avocet
Tom Verlaine - Tom Verlaine
XTC - Drums and Wires
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
The Only Ones - Even Serpents Shine
The Clash - London Calling
The Knack - Get the Knack

Joe Jackson - "It's Different for Girls"
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
The Clash - "London Calling"
XTC - "Making Plans for Nigel"
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - "Oliver's Army"
Joy Division - "Transmission"
The Stranglers - "Duchess"
The Jam - "Strange Town"
Dexys Midnight Runners - "Dance Stance"
The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight"
The Jam - "Eton Rifles"
The Cure - "Boys Don't Cry"
Blondie - "Dreaming"
Squeeze - "Up the Junction"
Buzzcocks - "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"
The Members - "Sound of the Suburbs"
Buzzcocks - "Harmony in My Head"
The Specials - "A Message to You Rudy"
The Lipstick Killers - "Hindu Gods (Of Love)"
The Jam - "When You're Young"

David Jeffries
The B-52's - The B-52's
The Clash - London Calling
Culture - International Herb
Mikey Dread - African Anthem
Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
Serge Gainsbourg - Aux Armes et Cætera
The Good Rats - Live at Last
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Forces of Victory
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Misty in Roots - Live at Counter Eurovision
Johnny Osbourne - Truths and Rights
Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers
Plastics - Welcome Plastics
PiL - Metal Box
Roxy Music - Manifesto
The Slits - Cut
The Specials - The Specials
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
ZZ Top - Degüello

Uncle Dave Lewis
1979 was the year of the revolution that wasn't. With the punk movement officially declared "dead" by music critics -- it wasn't, and the logic behind that pronouncement continues to elude this writer -- musicians within that locus of activity began to turn to a highly personal and individual reinvention of rock music. The term "post-punk" has been coined as a catch-all for these developments, but it really doesn't typify the radical variance of approaches that sprung up in 1979; from revitalized pop (the Buzzcocks, B-52's) through avant-garde no wave (Contortions) and unrecognizably idiosyncratic sytheses of various inputs (PiL, Scritti Politti). By 1983, practically all traces of this movement had disappeared: major record companies that supported it in 1979 had consciously decided that they would not continue to by that time, and smaller labels that had -- Rough Trade, Factory Records, etc. -- were either gone, fallen on hard times or pursuing other developments. Ironically, the fruit of post-punk did not yield until the 1990s, and these pioneering groups continue to inform the field yet today, despite that in their era the roost was really ruled by acts like Toto, Journey, ABBA, Meat Loaf, the Eagles, and Pink Floyd's album The Wall.

PiL - Metal Box
The Raincoats - The Raincoats
Scritti Politti - Early
The Slits - Cut
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
Devo - Duty Now for the Future
Contortions - Buy
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Fashion Music - Product Perfect
Various Artists - Avon Calling: The Bristol Compilation
Wire - 154
The Specials - The Specials
Hugh Cornwell & Robert Williams - Nosferatu
Punishment of Luxury - Laughing Academy
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys
The Fall - Dragnet
The B-52's - The B-52's

Jason Lymangrover
The B-52's – The B-52's
David Bowie – Lodger
Buzzcocks – A Different Kind of Tension
The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette
Devo – Duty Now for the Future
The Dickies – Dawn of the Dickies
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Germs – (GI)
Michael Jackson – Off the Wall
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Tubeway Army – Replicas
The Police - Reggatta de Blanc
The Specials – The Specials
The Slits – Cut
Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material
Simple Minds - Reel to Real Cacophony
Talking Heads – Fear of Music
Van Halen – II
Wire – 154
XTC – Drums and Wires
Frank Zappa – Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III

Matthew Garbutt
Barrington Levy – Englishman
Gang of Four – Entertainment!
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Madness – One Step Beyond
Magazine – Secondhand Daylight
Misty in Roots – Live at the Counter Eurovision
PiL – Metal Box
Ramones – It's Alive
Ruts – The Crack
Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material
The B-52's – The B-52's
The Cramps – Gravest Hits
The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys
The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette
The Fall – Dragnet
The Human League – Reproduction
The Jam – Setting Sons
The Slits – Cut
The Specials – The Specials
The Undertones – The Undertones

Blondie - "Heart of Glass"
Chic - "Good Times"
Dead Kennedys - "California Uber Alles"
Dexys Midnight Runners - "Dance Stance"
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - "Oliver's Army"
Janet Kay - "Silly Games"
Joe Jackson - "Is She Really Going Out with Him?"
M – "Pop Muzik"
Pretenders - "Brass in Pocket"
Secret Affair - "My World"
Simple Minds - "Life in a Day"
The Beat - "Tears of a Clown"
The Clash - "London Calling"
The Jam - "When You're Young"
The Selecter - "On My Radio"
The Skids - "Into the Valley"
The Specials - "Gangsters"
The Stranglers - "Duchess"
Tubeway Army - "Are 'Friends' Electric?"
XTC - "Making Plans for Nigel"

Jonathan Ball
Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
The Clash - London Calling
The Police - Regatta de Blanc
The Sex Pistols - The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
David Bowie - Lodger
Wire - 154
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind of Tension
Original Soundtrack - The Warriors
Cheap Trick - At Budokan
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Supertramp - Breakfast in America

The Clash - "London Calling" (YouTube)
Cheap Trick - "Dream Police" (YouTube)
Joy Division - "Transmission" (YouTube)
Blondie - "Heart of Glass"
The Police - "Message in a Bottle"
The Knack - "My Sharona"
Bauhaus - "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Leif Garrett - "I Was Made for Dancing"

Andy Kellman
Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Chic - Risqué
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Wire - 154
Simple Minds - Real to Real Cacophony
David Bowie - Lodger
The Clash - London Calling
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Forces of Victory
Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra - Sleeping Beauty
Stephanie Mills - What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'
Japan - Quiet Life
The Slits - Cut
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
The Pop Group - Y
Azymuth - Light as a Feather
Lô Borges - A Via Láctea
The Human League - Reproduction
Marianne Faithfull - Broken English

Black Ivory - "Mainline"
Funkadelic - "(Not Just) Knee Deep"
Chic - "Good Times"
Public Image Ltd. - "Death Disco"
Michael Jackson - "Rock with You"
Instant Funk - "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)"
Wire - "Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW"
Slave - "Just a Touch of Love"
Joy Division - "Transmission"
Patrice Rushen - "Haven't You Heard"
Phyllis Hyman - "You Know How to Love Me"
Stephanie Mills - "What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'"
Prince - "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
Delta 5 - "Mind Your Own Business"
GQ - "Disco Nights (Rock-Freak)"
Switch - "I Call Your Name"
George Duke - "I Want You for Myself"
Five Special - "Why Leave Us Alone"
Teena Marie - "I'm a Sucker for Your Love"
Rufus & Chaka - "Do You Love What You Feel"

James Christopher Monger
The Clash - London Calling
Pink Floyd - The Wall
AC/DC - Highway to Hell
David Bowie - Lodger
Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
XTC - Drums and Wires
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Armed Forces
The B-52's - The B-52's
Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery
Sex Pistols - The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
Philip Glass - Einstein on the Beach
Joe Jackson - I'm the Man
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
The Damned - Machine Gun Etiquette
Van Halen - Van Halen II
The Soft Boys - A Can of Bees
Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Leather

The Cramps - "Human Fly"
Squeeze - "Up the Junction"
Adam & the Ants - "Tabletalk"
The Knack - "My Sharona"
Cheap Trick - "Dream Police"
The Cars - "Let's Go"
Journey - "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"
The Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays"
Led Zeppelin - "In the Evening"
Stevie Wonder - "Tree"
Bauhaus - "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
The Police - "Contact"
Tubeway Army - "Are 'Friends' Electric?"
The Jam - "The Eton Rifles"
Bee Gees - "Tragedy"
Wreckless Eric - "Whole Wide World"
Randy Newman - "Story of a Rock and Roll Band"
Roxy Music - "Angel Eyes"
Prince - "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
The Teardrop Explodes - "Sleeping Gas"

Aneet Nijjar
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle
Tubeway Army – Replicas
The Slits - Cut
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
PiL - Metal Box
David Bowie - Lodger
Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Press Color
The B-52's - The B-52's
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
The Human League – Reproduction
Gina X Performance - Nice Mover
Sparks - No. 1 in Heaven
Bumblebee Unlimited - Sting Like a Bee
Yellow Magic Orchestra - Solid State Survivor
Magazine - Secondhand Daylight
Cabaret Voltaire - Mix-Up
Wire - 154
The Raincoats - The Raincoats

Chic - "I Want Your Love"
Dennis Parker - "Like an Eagle"
M - "Pop Muzik"
Machine - "There But for the Grace of God Go I"
Musique - "Keep on Jumpin'"
Sister Sledge - "Lost in Music"
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Electricity"
Joe Bataan - "Rap-O Clap-O"
Giorgio Moroder - "The Chase"
ABBA - "Voulez-Vous"
Herb Alpert - "Rise"
Neil Young - "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
Bunny Sigler - "By the Way You Dance"
Sylvester - "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
Bauhaus - "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Delta 5 - "Mind Your Own Business"
Cabaret Voltaire - "Nag Nag Nag"
Adam & the Ants - "Zerox"
James White & the Blacks - "Contort Yourself"

Previously
AllMusic Loves 1965
AllMusic Loves 1968

AllMusic Loves 1974
AllMusic Loves 1977

AllMusic Loves 1980
AllMusic Loves 1984
AllMusic Loves 1987
AllMusic Loves 1988

AllMusic Loves 1990
AllMusic Loves 1993
AllMusic Loves 1999

AllMusic Loves 2000
AllMusic Loves 2001
AllMusic Loves 2002
AllMusic Loves 2003
AllMusic Loves 2004
AllMusic Loves 2005
AllMusic Loves 2006
AllMusic Loves 2007
AllMusic Loves 2008
AllMusic Loves 2009