Monday, August 27, 1979

Pat Benatar’s In the Heat of the Night released

First posted 9/20/2020; updated 10/17/2020.

In the Heat of the Night

Pat Benatar


Released: August 27, 1979


Peak: 12 US, 98 UK, 3 CN, 25 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Heartbreaker (Geoff Gill, Clint Wade) [3:29] (10/26/79, 23 US, 3 CL, 16 CN, 95 AU)
  2. I Need a Lover (John Mellencamp) [3:30] (2/25/80, 12 CL)
  3. If You Think You Know How to Love Me (Mike Chapman, Nicky Chinn) [4:23] (9/14/79, 49 CL)
  4. In the Heat of the Night (Chapman, Chinn) [5:24]
  5. My Clone Sleeps Alone (Roger Capps, Benatar) [3:29]
  6. We Live for Love (Neil Giraldo) [3:55] (2/25/80, 27 US, 6 CL, 8 CN, 28 AU)
  7. Rated X (Nick Gilder, James McCulloch) [3:17]
  8. Don’t Let It Show (Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson) [4:04]
  9. No You Don’t (Chapman, Chinn) [3:20]
  10. So Sincere (Capps, Benatar) [3:29]


Total Running Time: 38:20

Rating:

3.978 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Pat Benatar’s debut album was comprised of mostly covers, including three of the song’s four singles. The lead single, If You Think You Know How to Love Me was first recorded by the British rock band Smokie and released as a single in 1975. It peaked at #3 in the UK. Benatar’s version didn’t chart, but did get minor play on album rock stations. The title cut was also originally a song by Smokie.

Benatar’s breakthrough came on the song’s second single, Heartbreaker. It was also a cover song. The original was recorded by Jenny Darren in 1978. Benatar’s version was a top-40 hit in the U.S. and became one of her signature songs.

The third single, We Live for Love, was written by Benatar’s guitarist Neil Giraldo. The pair married in 1982. The song followed “Heartbreaker” into the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100.

The fourth single, I Need a Lover, was also a cover song. The original was recorded by John Cougar in 1978. It became a top 10 hit in Australia and finally reached the top 40 in the U.S after Benatar recorded her cover version. Benatar’s version failed to chart, but became a popular album rock hit.

Other cover songs included Rated X (Nick Gilder), Don’t Let It Show (Alan Parsons Project), and No You Don’t (Sweet).

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Saturday, August 25, 1979

The Knack hit #1 with “My Sharona”

First posted 11/14/2019.

My Sharona

The Knack

Writer(s): Doug Fieger/Berton Averre (see lyrics here)


Released: June 1979


First Charted: June 23, 1979


Peak: 16 US, 16 CB, 15 HR, 13 RR, 6 UK, 13 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.15 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 31.7


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the Knack, wrote “My Sharona” about the real-life Sharona Alperin. They met when he was 25 and she was 17. She was working at a clothing store and while his own girlfriend looked on, invited her to a show. Fieger soon broke up with his girlfriend and professed his love to Sharon, although she was still with her boyfriend, who even accompanied her to Knack shows. SF A year later, she finally caved in and they started dating. They stayed together four years and even became engaged, but his alcoholism and rock n’ roll lifestyle led to their breakup. They remained friends, though. She was with him the last week of his life when he died of cancer on February 14, 2010. SF

In the interim before they became a couple, Fieger wrote “My Sharona.” He said she “sparked something and I started writing a lot of songs feverishly in a short amount of time.” WK Fieger says “My Sharona” came about in about in 15 minutes. Berton Averre, the guitarist and co-writer on the song, was opposed to using her name, but Fieger wanted it to be as direct as possible. WK She also is featured on the cover of the single’s picture sleeve. WK

The song “compressed a sense of teenage sexual frustration into its stutter beat built on simple rock and roll.” BR1 The stutter effect was reminiscent of the Who’s “My Generation” while the song’s main melodic hook is an inverted version of the signature riff from the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’.” WK The Knack were also compared to the Beatles because their music felt like a throwback to the British invasion. Also, “My Sharona” was Capitol Records’ fastest debut single to reach gold status since the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” WK going gold before it even hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. BR1

The New York Times called the song “an emblem of the new wave era in rock and a prime example of the brevity of pop fame.” WK Sadly, their pop success was indeed brief. Their name often comes up as one-hit wonders, which is inaccurate, but they did only have two other top 40 hits – “Good Girls Don’t” (#11) and “Baby Talks Dirty” (#38).


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Awards:


Friday, August 10, 1979

Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall released

First posted 3/21/2008; updated 11/23/2020.

Off the Wall

Michael Jackson


Released: August 10, 1979


Peak: 3 US, 116 RB, 5 UK, 4 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.97 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B/pop


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (7/10/79, 1 US, 1 RB, 3 UK, 3 CN, 1 AU, 4x platinum)
  2. Rock with You (11/3/79, 1 US, 1 RB, 21 AC, 7 UK, 3 CN, 4 AU, 2x platinum)
  3. Working Day and Night
  4. Get on the Floor
  5. Off the Wall (2/2/80, 10 US, 5 RB, 7 UK, 11 CN, 94 AU, platinum)
  6. Girlfriend (7/16/80, 41 UK)
  7. She’s Out of My Life (4/18/80, 10 US, 43 RB, 4 AC, 3 UK, 15 CN, 17 AU, gold)
  8. I Can’t Help It
  9. It’s the Falling in Love
  10. Burn This Disco Out


Total Running Time: 42:28

Rating:

4.367 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“Michael, all grown up. He looks great on the sleeve, at ease with himself despite the formal wear.” BL "Jackson had recorded solo prior to the release of Off the Wall in 1979, but this was his breakthrough, the album that established him as an artist of astonishing talent and a bright star in his own right. This was a visionary album,” STE offering “the first suggestion that disco need not be tacky.” BL It “found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus – it was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk.” STE

“Its roots hearken back to the Jacksons’ huge mid-'70s hit ‘Dancing Machine,’ but this is an enormously fresh record, one that remains vibrant and giddily exciting years after its release. This is certainly due to Jackson’s emergence as a blindingly gifted vocalist, equally skilled with overwrought ballads as She’s Out of My Life as driving dancefloor shakers as Working Day and Night and Get on the Floor, where his asides are as gripping as his delivery on the verses. It’s also due to the brilliant songwriting, an intoxicating blend of strong melodies, rhythmic hooks, and indelible construction.” STE

“Most of all, its success is due to the sound constructed by Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, a dazzling array of disco beats, funk guitars, clean mainstream pop, and unashamed (and therefore affecting) schmaltz that is utterly thrilling in its utter joy.” STE “These immaculately produced, pre-Thriller tracks are now too familiar to shock” BL with songs like Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough and Rock with You having entered the canon of pop classics, “but in 1979, they were revolutionary. Perfection, however, is timeless.” BL “This is highly professional, highly crafted music, and its details are evident, but the overall effect is nothing but pure pleasure. Jackson and Jones expanded this approach on the blockbuster Thriller, often with equally stunning results, but they never bettered it.” STE

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