Saturday, April 28, 1979

Blondie hit #1 with “Heart of Glass”

Heart of Glass


Writer(s): Deborah Harry, Chris Stein (see lyrics here)

Released: January 3, 1979

First Charted: January 27, 1979

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 11 RR, 44 AC, 14 UK, 11 CN, 15 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.32 UK, 3.72 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 173.0 video, 189.9 streaming


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About the Song:

Blondie had been around several years, releasing nine singles from three albums before finding success with “Heart of Glass.” They’d never even charted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 when that song – the fourth single from their Parallel Lines album – took them all the way to the top. There was some backlash from fans who thought the band had sold out, but Blondie has said they liked the idea of deliberately being uncool by crafting a disco song. SF Lead singer Deborah Harry said, “I don’t think being commercial is totally derogatory.” She saw “Heart of Glass” as helping to “introduce new wave music in a more commercial way.” FB

Guitarist Chris Stein said the song was added to the Parallel Lines album as “a novelty item to put more diversity into the album.” FB The band had actually performed a more funk-oriented version of the song for years. FB Harry and Stein wrote an early version called “Once I Had a Love” back in 1974-75. On the show Words and Music, she said “lyrically, it was about a stalker who was pursuing me, and Chris saved me from him.” SF In 1975, they recorded a demo with a slower, funkier sound inspired by the Hues Corporation’s “Rock the Boat.” WK When they started working with producer Mike Chapman in 1978, he asked them to play all the songs they had and he liked that one.

The band re-recorded the song with a more pop-oriented, disco vibe. WK “Heart of Glass” marked one of the first uses of a Roland CR-78 drum machine, which was first introduced in 1978. WK Harry said it took more than 10 hours to get the sound down right. SF The band’s decision to combine the drum machine with actual drumming as well as synthesizers alongside guitars – made for one of the first rock/disco fusion hits. WK

The song was released as a 12-inch single in December 1978. The nearly six-minute version met with reluctance from radio stations because of the line “pain in the ass” so the song was edited into a 7-inch single version released in January 1979. That version topped the charts in the U.S. and UK.


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Blondie
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 502.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 10/31/2019; last updated 11/12/2022.

Saturday, April 21, 1979

Cheap Trick “I Want You to Want Me (live)” charted

I Want You to Want Me

Cheap Trick

Writer(s): Rick Nielsen (see lyrics here)

Released (studio version): September 1977

First Charted (live version): April 21, 1979

Peak (studio): 97 CN

Peak (live): 7 US, 3 CB, 4 HR, 11 RR, 1 CL, 29 UK, 2 CN, 43 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions, live version): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions – studio and live versions): -- radio, 19.18 video, 141.38 streaming


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About the Song:

Cheap Trick formed in 1973 in Rockford, Illinois. After their self-titled debut failed to chart, they quickly followed it up with In Color that same year. It reached #73 in the U.S. and featured the song “I Want You to Want Me.” However, that song nor any other from the album, hit the Billboard charts in America. It did reach a lowly #97 in Canada.

Japan, however, was a different story. “Just as their third album, the classic Heaven Tonight hit the streets, Cheap Trick found themselves being welcomed to Japan, Beatlemania-style. This led to a headlining tour, and the recording of a series of shows at the legendary Budokan arena.” UCR

In the fall of 1978, Cheap Trick released a live album, At Budokan, capturing the shows. It was originally intended to be released only in Japan, but it caught on in the U.S. and “reportedly became the biggest selling import album of the ‘70s.” UCR That led to an official American release by Epic Records in early 1979. The album reached #4 and sold three million copies.

Much of the success was due to the live version of “I Want You to Want Me.” The band’s Rick Nielsen, who wrote the song as “an overblown pop parody” WK/sup> and Tom Petersson were critical of the “lightweight production” WK of the original studio version. In concert, however, they played it at a faster tempo, which “transformed into a rocked-up guitar raver in concert, and…helped catch the ear of listeners in the states.” UCR The song reached #1 in Japan, #2 in Canada, and was a top-10 hit in the United States. It made “Cheap Trick household names, and turned the masses on to what the band’s die hard fans already knew: This was a great band that needed to be heard.” UCR


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First posted 7/31/2022.

Saturday, April 14, 1979

Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes” hit #1

What a Fool Believes

The Doobie Brothers

Writer(s): Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 20, 1979

Peak: 11 US, 12 CB, 12 GR, 113 RR, 22 AC, 1 CL, 31 UK, 11 CN, 12 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 64.23 video, 200.73 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Doobie Brothers formed in 1970 in San Jose, California. From 1971 to 1975, they released five albums with Tom Johnston as the lead singer. Three of the albums reached the top 10 and three achieved platinum status. However, with Johnston facing health problems, the band brought in Michael McDonald as the new lead singer. He’d worked together with guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter as a session musician with Steely Dan.

McDonald “had serious piano chops and a big, burly voice.” SG He brought a “slicker R&B” FB which made for a “fusion of pillowy LA soft-rock and studio-slick blue-eyed soul.” SG The 1976 album Takin’ It to the Streets suggested the new sound didn’t alienate fans. It was another top-10, platinum seller which produced two top-40 hits. The next album, Livin’ on the Fault Line, reached the top 10, but failed to generate any top-40 hits. It looked like the band might have peaked.

However, their 1978 album Minute by Minute was a triple-platinum, chart-topping success thanks largely to the success of the #1 hit “What a Fool Believes.” Not only was it “stylistically unlike any song the Doobie Brothers had done before,” WK it was also one of the few non-disco songs to reach the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. WK It is now “considered a foundational yacht rock classic,” SG although that wasn’t a genre tag until decades later.

The song tells the story “of a many who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.” WK McDonald had started the song, but didn’t finish it until getting together with Kenny Loggins. The two had never met before, but Loggins wanted to work with McDonald. When Loggins heard the unfinished song at McDonald’s house, he knew where it should go and the pair finished the lyrics over the phone that night. SG

Loggins released the song on his second solo album, 1978’s Nightwatch. Loggins had previously recorded with Jim Messina as a duo. They got to #4 in 1972 with “Your Mama Don’t Dance.” As a solo artist, he had more than a dozen top-40 hits, including “Whenever I Call You Friend” (#5, 1978), also from Nightwatch, and “This Is It,” a #11 hit from 1979 which was also co-written by McDonald and Loggins.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Doobie Brothers
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Kenny Loggins
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 500.
  • SG Stereogum (1/27/2020). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 12/6/2022.

Wednesday, April 4, 1979

Sister Sledge “We Are Family” released

We Are Family

Sister Sledge

Writer(s): Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers (see lyrics here)

Released: April 4, 1979

First Charted: April 28, 1979

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 11 GR, 3 HR, 3 RR, 30 AC, 11 RB, 8 UK, 12 CN, 19 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 29.53 video, 162.5 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were best known as the co-founders of Chic and that band’s #1 hits “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” The latter was sampled on the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” the first top-40 rap hit, and inspired Queen’s #1 song “Another One Bites the Dust.” The pair also penned Diana Ross’s 1980 #1 hit “Upside Down.” Rodgers alo produced #1 hits by David Bowie (“Let’s Dance,” 1983), Madonna (“Like a Virgin,” 1984), and Duran Duran (“The Reflex,” 1984).

However, it was Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” which marked Edwards and Rodgers’ first major chart success outside of Chic. In fact, it was the first song they wrote for another act. WK Atlantic Records President Jerry L. Greenberg wanted the two of them to write and produce for other acts on the label, but they didn’t feel confident enough to work with big-name, established artists. They suggested working with the label’s least established act to see if they could get a hit and then could take on bigger acts. WK

The inspiration for “We Are Family” came from Greenberg’s description of who Sister Sledge were – a group comprised of four sisters who, before the album We Are Family, sang backup for various artists. SF Cash Box described the song as having “caressing exuberant lead vocals backed by Sister Sledge’s infectious harmony vocals.” WK 19-year-old Kathy Sledge sang the lead vocal. A then-unknown Luther Vandross sang backup. SF

The sisters have said that because of the song, fans often share stories with them about their families. SF “We Are Family” has “gone on to be used more generally as an expression of solidtary in various contexts.” WK It has become “an anthem for women’s groups and a message of unity.” SF


First posted 7/14/2022; last updated 11/27/2022.