Friday, March 24, 1978

Warren Zevon “Werewolves of London” charted

Werewolves of London

Warren Zevon

Writer(s): LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, Warren Zevon (see lyrics here)

Released: January 18, 1978

First Charted: March 24, 1978

Peak: 21 US, 15 CB, 11 GR, 17 HR, 14 RR, 2 CL, 4 CO, 87 UK, 18 CN, 8 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 19.7 video, 105.23 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Rock singer/songwriter and musician Warren Zevon was born in Chicago in 1947. He worked as a session musician and jingle composer before recording his first solo album (Wanted Dead or Alive, 1970). After it flopped, he worked as a touring musician with the Everly Brothers. He finally found success when Linda Ronstadt covered several of his songs including “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “Hasten Down the Wind.”

His third album, 1978’s Excitable Boy, benefited from the attention, reaching the top 10 and going platinum. It spawned the most recognizable songs of his career with the title cut, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” and “Werewolves of London.” The latter was his only top 40 hit.

It started as a joke by Phil Everly in 1975. He saw a television broadcast of the 1935 film Werewolf of London and suggested Zevon adapt the title into a song and dance craze. Zevon wrote a song in about fifteen minutes with LeRoy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel, but none of them took the song seriously. However, when Zevon’s friend Jackson Browne saw the lyrics, he thought it had potential and started playing “Werewolves of London” at his own shows. T-Bone Burnett also performed it during Bob Dylan’s 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. WK

Browne’s record company pushed for him to record the song, but he refused. However, he produced Zevon’s self-titled album in 1976 and Excitable Boy in 1978. While they opted not to put it on the 1976 album (Browne wanted to get some of Zevon’s more experimental work out there first), they did record it for Boy. The recording featured Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. The record company chose it as the lead single for the Excitable Boy album, although Zevon thought it was more of a novelty song and preferred “Johnny Strikes Up the Band” or “Tenderness on the Block.” WK Kid Rock sampled the song for his hit “All Summer Long.”


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First posted 2/3/2023.

Thursday, March 23, 1978

Bob Marley & The Wailers released Kaya


Bob Marley & the Wailers

Released: March 23, 1978

Peak: 50 US, 50 RB, 4 UK, 5 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.1 UK, 4.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: reggae


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

  1. Easy Skanking
  2. Kaya (2/71, --)
  3. Is This Love (2/25/78, 9 UK)
  4. Sun Is Shining
  5. Satisfy My Soul (5/78, 21 UK)
  6. She’s Gone
  7. Misty Morning
  8. Crisis
  9. Running Away
  10. Time Will Tell

Total Running Time: 36:59

The Players:

  • Bob Marley (vocals, guitar)
  • Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass)
  • Carlton “Carlie” Barrett (drums, percussion)
  • Tyrone Downie (keyboards)
  • Alvin “Seeco” Patterson (percussion)
  • Junior Marvin (electric guitar)
  • Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Griffiths (backing vocals)
  • Vincent Gordon (trombone)
  • Glen Da Costa (trumpet)
  • Winston Grennan (drums)


3.454 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)

About the Album:

Kaya continues what has become an unspoken tradition in the evolution of Bob Marley & the Wailers discography — blending western sounds and motifs with the icons and traditions from the very core of Jamaican society. In fact, the very word ‘kaya’ is synonymous with marijuana in Rastafarian culture. Likewise, the album Kaya could be easily construed as an open love letter or musical paean to the lifestyle that Marley so eagerly embraced and promoted.” AMG

“Themes of commonality and unity pervade this release more so than previous albums. Likewise, the overt political stances that had become somewhat of a moniker for Marley and the Wailers are temporarily replaced by timeless compositions, such as the eternally optimistic Easy Skanking and Is This Love.” AMG

“Marley had not — as some proclaimed — gone soft, however. The light, at times practically giddy, rhythms on Satisfy My Soul contrast the darker brooding sonic and lyrical images on Running Away.” AMG

“The most pressings issues Marley deals with concern ever-increasing spiritual consciousness. Throughout Kaya, humble thanks is offered to, as well as guidance sought from, Jah — evidence that the spirituality that permeates the Wailers music is real and not lip service. Kaya could be considered the oasis before the political and personal eruptions that would inform and influence Marley and the Wailers next studio releases Survival and Uprising.” AMG

Notes: “Kaya” and “Sun Is Shining” were first featured on Soul Revolution; “Satisfy My Soul” had also been previously recorded, but not featured on album. The 2001 "Definitive Remasters" edition of Kaya also includes "Smile Jamaica." Although initially issued as the flip side of "Satisfy My Soul," the song was recorded more than a year prior to this album.

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First posted 3/26/2008; last updated 5/10/2021.

Saturday, March 18, 1978

Bee Gees hit #1 with “Night Fever”

Night Fever

Bee Gees

Writer(s): Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 3, 1978

Peak: 18 US, 18 CB, 17 GR, 18HR, 16 RR, 19 AC, 8 RB, 12 UK, 15 CN, 7 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.5 US, 0.5 UK, 3.15 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 168.1 video, 219.85 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” was the first single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and “Stayin’ Alive” is the one which endured to become the most iconic, but “Night Fever” was the biggest hit at the time. In the U.S., the first two spent a combined 7 weeks atop the chart, but “Night Fever” stayed there for a whopping 8 weeks. It was the biggest #1 of the year.

Saturday Night Fever was such a juggernaut that “Night Fever” was knocked from its perch by yet another of the soundtrack’s songs – Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You.” The three Gibb brothers in the Bee Gees shared writing credits on all four #1 songs. Barry Gibb, however, also co-wrote “Love Is Thicker Than Water,” the song for his brother Andy that held the #1 slot between “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever.” It meant that for the week ending April 1, 1978, Barry Gibb had a writing credit on five of the top 10 songs and four consecutive #1 songs.

The song contributed to the name of the movie. Robert Stigwood, who produced the movie and the Bee Gees, was developing a film about the disco scene in the Big Apple. He was inspired by the article “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” in New York magazine about teens going to dance competitions. With the working title of Saturday Night, the movie’s star, John Travolta, rehearsed his dancing moves to the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing,” SF a #1 from 1976.

Stigwood reached out to the Bees in hopes that they might contribute some new songs. He asked the group to write a song with that title, but they balked, thinking it was a dumb title. SF They did, however, already have a song called “Night Fever” and convinced Stigwood to use it and call the movie Saturday Night Fever. WK The final soundtrack featured five #1 songs by the Bee Gees – “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” the aforementioned “You Should Be Dancing,” and “Jive Talkin’” from 1975.


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First posted 10/23/2020; last updated 4/12/2023.

Billy Joel “Movin’ Out” charted

Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)

Billy Joel

Writer(s): Billy Joel (see lyrics here)

Released: November 1, 1977

First Charted: March 18, 1978

Peak: 17 US, 14 CB, 13 GR, 19 HR, 15 RR, 40 AC, 7 CL, 35 UK, 11 CN, 99 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 24.7 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Billy Joel became a superstar with his 1977 album The Stranger. In four previous albums, he’d landed two top-40 hits with “Piano Man” (#25) and “The Entertainer” (#34). The Stranger generated four top-25 hits – “Just the Way You Are” (#3), “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (#17), “Only the Good Die Young” (#24), and “She’s Always a Woman” (#17).

Joel wrote “Movin’ Out,” the album’s second single, as an attack on the “New York working-class immigrant masculine ethos.” SF He said he saw friends who wasted their talents in favor of working long hours at unfulfilling jobs to afford the appearance of success. In the song, he cites characters such as Sergeant O’Leary who works two jobs so he can trade in his Chevy for a Cadillac.

Joel said Anthony isn’t a real person but a representation of “every Irish, Polish, and Italian kid trying to make a living in the U.S.” WK He is also stuck in the pursuit of the American dream, pondering if it is worth the effort to own a home in the suburbs of Hackensack, New Jersey.

Billboard described “Movin’ Out” as an “upbeat narrative that is…a commentary on upward mobility.” WK Cashbox said the “growling cellos and a pulsating rhythm section set the mood for Joel’s threatening indictment of middle-class values..” WK It also said the song had “one of the best choruses he has written in some time, combined with unusual effects, a yapping horn section, and a melodic guitar finale that wraps it up nicely.” WK


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First posted 12/28/2022.

Big Star Third/Sister Lovers released

Third/Sister Lovers

Big Star

Released: March 18, 1978

Recorded: Fall 1974

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Kizza Me (1978, --)
  2. Thank You Friends
  3. Big Black Car
  4. Jesus Christ (1978, --)
  5. Femme Fatale
  6. O, Dana
  7. Holocaust
  8. Kangaroo
  9. Stroke It Noel
  10. For You
  11. You Can’t Have Me
  12. Nightime
  13. Blue Moon
  14. Take Care

Total Running Time: 41:42

The Players:

  • Alex Chilton (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Jody Stephens (drums, vocals)


4.117 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


“Perhaps the most innovative album the group ever recorded, and influenced many subsequent bands.” – Wikipedia


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers ranks among the most harrowing experiences in pop music; impassioned, erratic, and stark, it’s the slow, sinking sound of” JA “a band ready to implode any second.” PK “After the first two Big Star albums, 1972’s #1 Record and 1974’s Radio City, failed to achieve commercial success, Alex Chilton went back into Ardent Studios in late 1974 to make a series of recordings.” WK

“Recorded with their label, Stax, poised on the verge of bankruptcy” JA the result was “a shambling wreck of an album.” JA This is “essentially a solo album from the messed up and somewhat deranged Chilton.” PK He’s “at the end of his rope, sabotaging his own music long before it can ever reach the wrecking crew of poor distribution, indifferent marketing, and disinterested pop radio.” JA

It makes for “one of the most vividly emotional experiences in pop music or a completely wasted opportunity.” JA “His songs are haphazardly brilliant, a head-on collision between inspiration and frustration.” JA “Most of the pop hooks were traded in for a brooding, chaotic sound…Raw emotional stuff, but unforgettable.” PK The album is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, each song smacking of utter defeat and desperation.” JA Indeed, it“was deemed too uncommercial for release at the time, and only saw the light of day in 1978.” WK

“There’s no denying Third’s magnetic pull – it’s like an undertow.” JA The album “takes the original Big Star sound and abstracts it, with synthesizers, strings and saxophones emerging from the mix.” WK It “included guitar work by Steve Cropper (on a cover of The Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale).” WK

While it “deals with bitterness, loneliness and emotional devastation, but does so in a way that retains some elements of pop music, as on Thank You Friends, which features female backing vocals reminiscent of those found on Elvis Presley recordings of the late ‘60s. Kangaroo and Holocaust have often been compared to some of the raw recordings of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. You Can’t Have Me is akin to a deconstructed song by the Who, and the halting ballad Dream Lover contains the famous line about ‘Beale Street green.’” WK

“Although many critics regard Radio City as the definitive Big Star album, Third is perhaps the most innovative album the group ever recorded, and influenced many subsequent bands, including Primal Scream and His Name Is Alive. In addition, the album contains what are arguably Alex Chilton’s finest vocal performances.” WK

“Although previously issued on a variety of different labels, Rykodisc’s 1992 release is the initially definitive edition of this unfinished masterpiece, its 19 tracks most closely approximating the original planned running order while restoring the music’s intended impact; in addition to unearthing a blistering cover of the Kinks’ Till the End of the Day and a haunting rendition of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy, it also appends the disturbing Dream Lover, which distills the album’s messiest themes into less than four minutes of psychic torment.” JA


The 1992 Rykodisc reissue adds five bonus tracks: “Nature Boy,” “Till the End of the Day,” “Dream Lover,” “Downs,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

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First posted 3/28/2010; last updated 6/7/2024.

Friday, March 10, 1978

Eric Clapton “Wonderful Tonight” released

Wonderful Tonight

Eric Clapton

Writer(s): Eric Clapton (see lyrics here)

Released: March 10, 1978

First Charted: May 13, 1978

Peak: 16 US, 24 CB, 23 GR, 25 HR, 39 AC, 2 CL, 30 UK, 15 CN, 53 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.68 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 7.0 radio, 296.24 video, 331.86 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This was the third single from Slowhand, Eric Clapton’s fifth solo outing. The album reached #2 in the United States and sold three million copies. His only studio album to match it in sales was 1994’s From the Cradle although his 1992 Unplugged live album did sell ten million copies in the U.S.

Clapton wrote “Wonderful Tonight” about Pattie Boyd. While the song is celebrated for its romantic expression of love and become “a fixture at proms and weddings,” SF the back story isn’t so sweet. Clapton met the international model when she was married to the Beatles’ George Harrison (he wrote the Beatles’ 1969 hit “Something” about her). Even though Clapton and Harrison became close friends, Clapton fell for her and pursued her. She rebuffed his advances and he wrote the Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 classic rock hit “Layla” about his longing for her.

After a three-year self-imposed exile and heroin addiction, Clapton pursued Boyd again in 1974. They began a relationship while she was still married to Harrison, who she eventually divorced in 1977. She married Clapton in 1979 but she divorced him in 1989, citing alcoholism, abuse, and infidelity.

Clapton wrote the song on September 7, 1976 while waiting for Boyd to get ready for an annual Buddy Holly party hosted by Paul and Linda McCartney. WK As she said, Eric “was sitting round playing his guitar while I was trying on dresses upstairs. I was taking so long and I was panicking about my hair, my clothes, everything, and I came downstairs expecting him to really berate me but he said, ‘Listen to this!’” SF

Cashbox said his “singing is superbly understated; the guitar work is simple and evocative.” WK Billboard described itas “perhaps Clapton’s prettiest and mellowest love ballad in some time.” WK


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First posted 12/24/2022; last updated 12/26/2022.