Saturday, September 30, 1978

Styx charted with Pieces of Eight

Pieces of Eight


Charted: September 30, 1978

Peak: 6 US, -- UK, -- CN, 70 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US

Genre: classic arena rock


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

  1. Great White Hope (Young) [4:22]
  2. I’m O.K. (DeYoung/Young) [5:41]
  3. Sing for the Day (Shaw) [4:57] (12/30/78, 41 US, 41 CB, 39 HR, 17 CL, 27 CN)
  4. The Message (DeYoung) [1:08]
  5. Lords of the Ring (DeYoung) [4:33]
  6. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (Shaw) [4:05] (9/9/78, 21 US, 21 CB, 22 HR, 21 RR, 4 CL, 9 CN, 98 AU)
  7. Queen of Spades (DeYoung/Young) [5:38]
  8. Renegade (Shaw) [4:13] (1/9/79, 16 US, 18 CB, 22 HR, 17 RR, 1 CL, 10 CN)
  9. Pieces of Eight (DeYoung) [4:44]
  10. Aku Aku (Shaw) [2:57]

Total Running Time: 42:18

The Players:

  • Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards)
  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James “J.Y.” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • John Panozzo (drums)


3.954 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Styx became an arena rock favorite with their seventh album, 1977’s The Grand Illusion. It became their first top-10 album and was a multi-platinum seller on the strength of hits “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself.” Pieces of Eight followed suit and became the band’s second multi-platinum top-10 album, also fueled by a pair of top-40 hits.

Like its predecessor, Pieces of Eight was “a tour de force for the band’s trio of songwriters…with the superb backing of the Panozzo rhythm section.” UCR The band’s “feisty, straightforward brand of album rock is represented best by Blue Collar Man, …an invigorating keyboard and guitar rush — hard and heavy, yet curved by Tommy Shaw's emphasized vocals.” AMG It reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The frolicking romp of RenegadeAMG met with even more success, peaking at #16. The anthemic song became a fan favorite and concert encore.

Some considered Pieces of Eight to be the band’s last album “with significant progressive rock leanings.” WKSing for the Day, Lords of the Ring, and Aku-Aku all contain slightly more complex instrumental foundations, and are lyrically reminiscent of the material from albums like The Serpent Is Rising or Man of Miracles, but not as intricate or instrumentally convoluted.” AMG The aforementioned “Lords of the Ring” as well as “DeYoung’s title track…provided more majestic pomp rock highlights, and JY simply brought the house down with Great White Hope and (with DeYoung) the simply sublime Queen of Spades.” UCR

It’s also considered a theme album, with Dennis DeYoung explaining that it was about “not giving up your dreams just for the pursuit of money and material possessions.” WK “While the writing may stray slightly from what Styx provided on The Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight kept their established rock formula in tact quite firmly.” AMG

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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 5/18/2021.

Friday, September 22, 1978

Yes Tormato released



Released: September 22, 1978

Peak: 10 US, 10 UK, 30 CN, 22 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 1.1 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: progressive rock


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

  1. Future Times/Rejoice (Anderson, Howe, Squire, Whiteman, White) [6:46]
  2. Don’t Kill the Whale (Anderson, Squire) [3:55] (9/9/78, 36 UK)
  3. Madrigal (Anderson, Wakeman) [2:21]
  4. Release, Release (Anderson, Squire, White) [5:40] (11/78, --)
  5. Arriving UFO (Anderson, Howe, Wakeman) [6:02]
  6. Circus of Heaven (Anderson) [4:28]
  7. Onward (Squire) [4:00]
  8. On the Silent Wings of Freedom (Anderson, Squire) [7:45]

Total Running Time: 40:57

The Players:

  • Jon Anderson (vocals, guitar)
  • Steve Howe (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Chris Squire (bass, backing vocals)
  • Rick Wakeman (keyboards)
  • Alan White (drums, percussion)


2.617 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

Yes’ ninth studio album came a year after the “acclaimed Going for the OneWK but Tormato marked where “the ‘70s model of Yes runs out of gas.” PC It “received less than charitable reviews upon release and its virtues are still a matter of debate for Yes fans and critics.” WK “Recorded in a morale slump and an impending haze of drink, Tormato’s decent tunes are sabotaged by Rick Wakeman’s increasing penchant for cheesy textures and the band’s thin overall sound.” PC

“Wakeman himself has said that while Tormato indeed had potential, Yes never got the best out of some of the material.” WK He has said that “the production was faulty, resulting in compressed and dull sound.” WK Fans agreed, also saying that “Squire’s bass lacked most of its earlier power.” WK Guitarist “Steve Howe admitted that Yes were unsure of themselves musically at the time.” WK Others have said that “while the compositions became shorter and more catchy, the classic Yes sound was still alive and well.” WK

Don’t Kill the Whale was their last successful single for years; the soaring Onward almost but not quite redeems the twee silliness of Arriving UFO and Circus of Heaven. Of special interest is the pounding On the Silent Wings of Freedom, which pushes Chris Squire and Alan White to the front of the mix, establishing the kind of aggressive and straightforward rhythms that would propel the band through the ‘80s.” PC

“It would be the final studio album to feature Rick Wakeman until his return in 1991 (on the Union album).” WK Singer Jon Anderson would also depart after this album although he would return by 1983 for the group’s most successful album, 90125.

“The original album title was to be Yes Tor, referring to a geological formation in southern England. The photographs taken by Hipgnosis for the album cover were seen as so unimpressive that Rick Wakeman, in frustration, threw a tomato at the pictures. The cover and title were adjusted accordingly.” WK

Notes: A 2004 reissue added “Abilene,” “Money,” “Picasso,” “Some Are Born,” “You Can Be Saved,” “High,” “Days,” “Countryside,” “Everybody’s Song,” and an orchestral version of “Onward.”

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First posted 6/7/2011; updated 7/25/2021.

Saturday, September 16, 1978

Blondie charted with Parallel Lines

Parallel Lines


Charted: September 16, 1978

Peak: 6 US, 14 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU, 12 DF

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.69 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave


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

  1. Hanging on the Telephone (10/30/78, 19 CL, 7 CO, 5 UK, 39 AU, 25 DF)
  2. One Way or Another (6/2/79, 24 BB, 22 CB, 24 GR, 28 HR, 26 RR, 4 CL, 1 CO, 7 CN, 11 DF)
  3. Picture This (8/26/78, 26 CL, 13 CO, 12 UK, 88 AU)
  4. Fade Away and Radiate (32 DF)
  5. Pretty Baby (39 DF)
  6. I Know But I Don’t Know
  7. 11:59 (32 DF)
  8. Will Anything Happen? (33 DF)
  9. Sunday Girl (5/19/79, 22 CL, 4 CO, 1 UK, 5 AU, 33 DF)
  10. Heart of Glass (1/3/79, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 GR, 1 HR, 1 RR, 44 AC, 1 CL, 1 CO, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, 1 DF, gold single)
  11. I’m Gonna Love You Too (38 DF)
  12. Just Go Away (40 DF)

Total Running Time: 39:06

The Players:

  • Deborah Harry (vocals)
  • Chris Stein (guitar)
  • Clem Burke (drums)
  • Jimmy Destri (keyboards)
  • Nigel Harrison (bass)
  • Frank Infante (guitar)


4.466 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)


“Downtown art-punk goes pop” – Blender Magazine


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“After bursting onto the New York music scene with their punk-centric, self-titled debut – followed up by the rowdy Plastic Letters – fans got a taste of what silkier new wave hooks would come on their third album, Parallel Lines.” PM The album “solidified the band as pioneers of a beloved musical movement.” PM

However, “Blondie were too smart and sexy to be genuine punks” BL and “abandoned any pretensions to new wave legitimacy (just in time, given the decline of the new wave) and emerged as a pure pop band.” WR To that end, they turned to Mike Chapman for their third album. He was an “Australian-born producer who’d cut a wathe through the British charts with bubblegum glam bands.” CM He helped Blondie “forge a fusion of punk energy and gir group mystique, street smarts and disco dreams.” CM “With pop chops, disco grooves and enough cooing harmonies to pass for low-rent Ronettes, …Parallel Lines transcended new wave, winning over Middle America” BL taking Blondie “the periphery to superstardom.” CM

“But it wasn’t just Chapman that made Parallel Lines Blondie’s best album; it was the band’s own songwriting.” WR Heart of Glass, with its “burbling autobahn rhythms,” CR is the song that made the world aware of Blondie. It hit #1 on both sides of the Atlantic and “is an enduring Blondie classic for its funky guitar grooves and Harry’s biting lyricism of a toxic romance—the theme song for many a scorned lover.” PM

In the U.S., Blondie also had a top-40 hit with “the taunting roar of One Way Or Another,” PM written by new bass player Nigel Harrison. It’s “one of many songs where [Harry] played herself as the pursuer; a woman of action at odds with the sex kitten image that had started to cling to her.” CM

The album produced three more hits in the UK, including Picture This, Hanging on the Telephone, and the #1 Sunday Girl. While those may be what gets the band attention, “what impresses is the album's depth and consistency.” WR

I Know But I Don’t Know is rock & roll pop with disparate but electrifying elements that predate sampling.” CR “Harry’s vocal performances are evocative and eclectic: wary but exposed on” CM the “infectiously catchy” PM “doo-wop-inspired Pretty Baby.” PM and “yearning on Destri’s breakneck 11:59.” CM

“Pretty Baby” “served as a contrast to the eerie art-rock monument that is Fade Away and Radiate,” CM in which “the CBGB icons brought groovy psychedelia to the front of the line.” PM It also featured “a guest appearance from Robert Fripp of King Crimson on a wailing guitar solo.” PM Album tracks like “Radiate” and “Just Go Away are as impressive as the songs pulled for singles.” WR

It all combines to make for “state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978” WR that “boasts Blondie’s unmistakable flavor of intoxicating post-punk.” PM “Harry’s tough-girl glamour setting the pattern that would be exploited over the next decade by a host of successors led by Madonna.” WR

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First posted 2/19/2008; last updated 6/5/2024.

Friday, September 8, 1978

Foreigner “Double Vision” released

Double Vision


Writer(s): Lou Gramm, Mick Jones (see lyrics here)

Released: September 8, 1978

First Charted: September 22, 1978

Peak: 2 US, 5 CB, 8 HR, 2 RR, 2 CL, 7 CN, 97 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.7 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Guitarist and songwriter Mick Jones formed Foreigner in 1976 with Ian McDonald, formerly of King Crimson, along with drummer Dennis Elliott. Those three were British while singer Lou Gramm, keyboardist Al Greenwood, and bassist Ed Gagliardi were American. Their self-titled debut was released in 1977. It reached #4 on the Billboard album chart and sold five million copies in the U.S.

Matching such feats on a sophomore release was a daunting challenge, but Foreigner outdid themselves. 1978’s Double Vision got to #3 and outsold its predecessor with seven million copies sold in America. Like the Foreigner album, Double Vision also generated two top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and a third top-20 hit. The first single, “Hot Blooded,” reached #3. The title song was released as the second single and went a rung higher, peaking at #2.

Gramm said, “A lot of people think it’s about being intoxicated or being high.” WK He said he was watching a New York Rangers game while in the vocal booth at the studio. WK Jones, however, says they were at the game. Both of them, however, agreed that a player was knocked out and it was later announced that he wouldn’t returning because he was experiencing double vision. SF

Cash Box said the song has “slashing guitars and a mean, ticking beat.” WK Joseph Bensoua of the San Pedro News-Pilot said it has “just the right hooks, phrasing and simple lyrics needed for controlled rock ‘n’ roll.” WK Kim McAuliffe of the Detroit Free Press described it as “one of those ditties…that imprints itself on your brain whether you want it to or not.” WK


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First posted 7/10/2022.