Saturday, October 13, 1979

The Sugar Hill Gang charts with "Rapper's Delight": October 13, 1979

Originally posted October 13, 2012.

image from

The development of hip-hop culture dates back to the early ‘70s in the Bronx when DJs and MCs showcased the art form in night clubs and at house parties. NPR However, the movement didn’t hit the mainstream until 1979 when a New Jersey label called Sugar Hill Records introduced the Sugar Hill Gang and the group took “Rapper’s Delight” into the top 40, a first for rap music. FR

The trio of Master Gee, Wonder Mike and Big Bank Hank were unknown MCs recruited by Sugar Hill’s Sylvia Robinson. RS500 Sylvia had seen chart success – most notably with the 1957 song “Love Is Strange” (#11) and her own “Pillow Talk” (#3) in 1973. However, in 1979, the label she’d co-founded was on the verge of bankruptcy. When she saw a DJ talking to the crowd one night at a Harlem club, she thought it would be a great idea to make a rap record. Legend has it that Sylvia’s son Joey auditioned Henry Jackson (Big Bank Hank) outside a pizza joint and his friends asked if they could participate as well. TB It has also been said that they were recruited on a Friday and recorded “Rapper’s Delight” in just one take on the following Monday. NPR

The 12-inch version of “Rapper’s Delight” released in September 1979 ran 15 minutes long. A shorter version went to pop radio. NPR The song borrowed the rhythm track from Chic’s #1 hit “Good Times,” HT itself a significant song in another important musical revolution of the ‘70s – disco. The practice of “borrowing” from another song became known as sampling and would become the basic approach for all raps songs to follow.

The song did not, however, deal with the heavier themes which would come to dominate rap music. While it sported the lyrical boastfulness which became typical for rap, MA “Delight” generated controversy because it was playful instead of reflective of the urban anger of other rap from the time. In addition, none of the three members had ever been a DJ or MC and two of them were from New Jersey. NPR

Rapper’s Delight

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Friday, October 12, 1979

Fleetwood Mac released Tusk

First posted 9/17/2020.


Fleetwood Mac

Released: October 12, 1979

Peak: 4 US, 11 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.3 UK, 6.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


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

  1. Over & Over (C. McVie) [4:34]
  2. The Ledge (Buckingham) [2:08]
  3. Think About Me (C. McVie) [2:44] (3/80, 20 US, 39 AC, 24 CN)
  4. Save Me a Place (Buckingham) [2:42]
  5. Sara (Nicks) [6:22] (12/15/79, 7 US, 13 AC, 37 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  6. What Makes You Think You’re the One (Buckingham) [3:32]
  7. Storms (Nicks) [5:31]
  8. That’s All for Everyone (Buckingham) [3:03]
  9. Not That Funny (Buckingham) [3:11]
  10. Sisters of the Moon (Nicks) [4:42] (6/80, 86 US)
  11. Angel (Nicks) [4:54]
  12. That’s Enough for Me (Buckinham) [1:50]
  13. Brown Eyes (C. McVie) [4:27]
  14. Never Make Me Cry (C. McVie) [2:18]
  15. I Know I’m Not Wrong (Buckingham) [3:05]
  16. Honey Hi (C. McVie) [2:41]
  17. Beautiful Child (Nicks) [5:21]
  18. Walk a Thin Line (Buckingham) [3:46]
  19. Tusk (Buckingham) [3:37] (10/6/79, 8 US, 6 UK, 5 CN, 3 AU)
  20. Never Forget (C. McVie) [3:34]

Total Running Time: 74:25

The Players:

  • Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar, et al)
  • Stevie Nicks (vocals, tambourine)
  • Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards)
  • John McVie (bass)
  • Mick Fleetwood (drums, percussion)


3.968 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)

Quotable: “a bracing, weirdly affecting work that may not be as universal or immediate as Rumours, but is every bit as classic. As a piece of pop art, it's peerless.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

About the Album:

“More than any other Fleetwood Mac album, Tusk is born of a particular time and place – it could only have been created in the aftermath of Rumours, which shattered sales records, which in turn gave the group a blank check for its next album. But if they were falling apart during the making of Rumours, they were officially broken and shattered during the making of Tusk, and that disconnect between bandmembers resulted in a sprawling, incoherent, and utterly brilliant 20-track double album.” AMG Editor’s note: is it possible to write a review of a double album without using the word “sprawling”?

By comparison to Rumours, which sold 40 million copies worldwide, spent 31 weeks atop the U.S. Billboard album chart, and sported four top-ten singles, Tusk was destined to be viewed as a flop. It peaked at #4, had two top-10 hits, and stalled at a “measly” 6.5 million in sales. “The truth of the matter is that Fleetwood Mac couldn’t top that success no matter how hard they tried, so it was better for them to indulge themselves and come up with something as unique as Tusk.

The band seemed to acknowledge that right out of the gate with the strange “marching band-driven paranoia of the title trackAMG The song signalled that this wasn’t going to be an album that actively sought pop success, although that song did reach the top 10.

That track also made it clear that this album would be a Lindsey Buckingham-dominated affair. Like Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, Tusk offers “smooth, reflective work from all three songwriters,” AMG the others being Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. The latter most notably offers up “Dreams Part II” with Sara, another top-10 affair.

However, even when McVie and Nicks take their turns at songwriting and singing, Buckinham’s presence is still felt with “an ethereal, floating quality that turns them into welcome respites from the seriously twisted immersions into Buckingham’s id.” AMG He composed nearly half the album and “owns this record with his nervous energy and obsessive production, winding up with a fussily detailed yet wildly messy record unlike any other.” AMG

Tusk “is the ultimate cocaine album – it’s mellow for long stretches, and then bursts wide open in manic, frantic explosions, such as the mounting tension on The Ledge or the rampaging That's Enough for Me.” AMG “This is mainstream madness, crazier than Buckingham’s idol Brian Wilson and weirder than any number of cult classics.” AMG It “is a bracing, weirdly affecting work that may not be as universal or immediate as Rumours, but is every bit as classic. As a piece of pop art, it's peerless.” AMG

Notes: A 2004 deluxe edition added a second disc of alternate versions of songs from the album. In 2015, a 5-CD version was released with unreleased demos, live tracks, and alternate versions.

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