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).

Resources and Related Links:

Alan Parsons Project Eve released

Eve

Alan Parsons Project


Released: August 27, 1979


Peak: 13 US, 74 UK, 10 CN, 14 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: progressive rock lite


Tracks:

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

  1. Lucifer (instrumental) [5:09] (3/80, 50 CL) B1
  2. You Lie Down with Dogs [3:45] v:Lenny Zakatek
  3. I’d Rather Be a Man [3:52] v: David Paton
  4. You Won’t Be There [3:37] v: Dave Townsend
  5. Winding Me Up [4:00] v: Chris Rainbow
  6. Damned if I Do [4:50] v: Lenny Zakatek (9/29/79, 27 US, 30 CB, 28 HR, 25 RR, 10 CL, 16 CN) B1
  7. Don’t Hold Back [3:36] v: Clare Torry
  8. Secret Garden (instrumental) [4:40]
  9. If I Could Change Your Mind [5:49] v: Lesley Duncan

All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. The ‘v’ after the song listing indicates who does lead vocals.


Total Running Time: 39:23


The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (producing, engineering)
  • Eric Woolfson (keyboards, executive producing)
  • Ian Bairnson (guitar, backing vocals)
  • David Paton (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals)
  • Stuart Elliott (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
  • Andrew Powell (orchestral arrangements)
  • Duncan Mackay (keyboards)
  • Lesley Duncan, Chris Rainbow, Clare Torry, Dave Townsend, Lenny Zakatek (vocals)

Rating:

3.271 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

About the Album:

Perhaps no album polarizes the Alan Parsons Project fan more than this one. “One camp believes that it’s the worst thing that Parsons ever put together…Another camp believes it’s a misunderstood masterpiece. Fascinatingly enough, this may be one of those rare situations where both are half-true.” DV

On one hand, you can find comments like “Eve…involves some of this group’s most intricate songs” AMG that “are highly entertaining with catchy rhythms and intelligent lyrics. Musically, the tempo appealingly switches back and forth from slow to quick, as does the temperament of the album.” AMG

On the other hand, you’ll find comments like “Eve offers plenty of sonic grandeur [but] the lyrics are almost clumsy and sententious enough to give sex a bad name.” RS Even more brutal is the claim that “Eve is perhaps the worst engineered Project CD, for starters, its sound muddy and shallow in places…The drums lack punch in most cases, a sad undermixing of talented drummer Stuart Elliot, and David Paton’s bass work is little more than average.” DV

There is an equally polarized view of the merits of the concept. One description calls this one of the Project’s “finest marriages of both concept and music.” AMG It says the theme “deals with the female's overpowering effect on man. Each song touches on her ability to dissect the male ego, especially through sexual means, originating with Eve’s tempting Adam in the beginning of time. Not only does this idea gain strength as the album progresses, but a musical battle of the sexes begins to arise through each song.” AMG

Look around, though, and you’ll find a very different opinion: “Eve purports to be a song cycle evoking Woman, yet the portrait thrown up by this 3-D space-rock oratorio is of some whory Victorian witch in a leather headdress flicking her garter belt and hissing curses. ‘I’d rather be a man than sin my soul like you do,’ announces David Paton, playing one of the LP’s four male accusers. ‘You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas,’ spits another. That about sums up Eve’s sexual politics. When it’s finally Woman's turn to reply — Woman gets only two cuts to Man’s four — she’s made to whine about being lonely.” RS

"On…I Robot, the Alan Parsons Project’s bombastic and synthesized orchestral pop rock proved to be a nifty idiom for exploring man-machine myths. But the more human the theme, the more inappropriate such a style becomes. And how much more human can you get than a concept album concerned with sex?” RS

With such differing opinions, it is hard to draw a conclusion. Personally, I consider this one the Project’s weaker efforts musically, lyrically, and conceptually that started with an idea that could have been one of their best works. With the Project’s affinity for using a number of vocalists, this could have been a much more interesting (and balanced) study of relationships between man and woman with an attempt to see both points of view. Having said that, the individual songs are not completely without merit, even if the overall theme slips into a woman-bashing fest.

"The dominating fury of Lucifer, a powerful instrumental” AMG opener, “may be the best instrumental Parsons recorded in the seventies, if not all time; its driving keyboard line and eerie Morse code intro is hypnotic.” DV

The best known song, and highpoint of Eve, is album rock staple Damned If I Do. This “bitter but forceful [gem] sung by Lenny Zakatek” AMG may be the best rocker the Project ever created. Apart from the album, this comes across as just another man lamenting a rocky relationship; in the context of the album, though, it plays into the overly bitter “why do women treat women this way” vibe.

"The loutish You Lie Down with Dogs bears wit with its gender inclined mud-slinging” AMG while “the gorgeous You Won't Be ThereAMG “is a sweet, lyrical ballad, plainly illustrating Parsons’ connection with more single-oriented bands like Ambrosia.” DV The song “spotlights man's insecurity. Sung by Dave Townshend, its melodramatic feel sets a perfect tone.” AMG

“The classically enhanced Winding Me Up follows suit, based on a woman's ability to dominate her mate and opening up with sound of a wind-up doll being cranked.” AMG Both “funny and catchy,” DV it “may be the most underrated song in the Parsons catalog.” DV

If I Could Change Your Mind “is wistful, elegant, and spare, a brilliant ballad with a rare female lead” DV by Lesley Duncan. Unfortunately, the effect isn’t quite the same on the album’s other female lead vocal. “Not even Clare Torry, the ethereal yodeler on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, can save Don’t Hold Back.” DV

In the end, one has to accept that “Eve…is neither as great as some claim, or as bad as some others insist. Alan Parsons, with or without Eric Woolfson, is one of the most underrated and original voices in progressive rock history, but even he has some misses. Eve has to be counted as one, recommended for only the completist and the fan.” DV


Notes: A 2008 reissue added demos and rough mixes of six of the song from the album along with an edited version of “Elsie’s Theme” from The Sicilian Defence, an album recorded by the Project in 1979 but not released until 2014.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/24/2021.

Saturday, August 25, 1979

The Knack hit #1 with “My Sharona”

First posted 11/14/2019; last updated 3/7/2021.

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 (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.15 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 31.7 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

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).


Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 18, 1979

Chic hit #1 with “Good Times”

Good Times

Chic

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


Released: June 4, 1979


First Charted: June 16, 1979


Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 2 HR, 3 RR, 26 AC, 16 RB, 5 UK, 2 CN, 48 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.2 UK, 5.2 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 33.65 video, 94.54 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards formed Chic in 1972. They released their gold-selling self-titled debut in 1977 and followed it with two top-5, platinum-selling albums before their popularity dipped with the waning of disco. However, those two albums each produced a #1 pop hit – “Le Freak” from 1978’s C’est Chic and “Good Times” from 1979’s Risqué.

The song became the best-selling 45 RPM single in the history of Atlantic Records. WK Edwards’ distinctive bassline made it one of the most sampled and copied songs ever. SF Queen’s 1980 chart-topping hit “Another One Bites the Dust” has been said by some to be a copy of “Good Times.” Edwards explained that Queen’s bassist had actually spent some time in the studio with them and that he was O.K. with the band using Chic’s song as a template. What did frustrate him is that some people said Chic copied the song from Queen, even though Chic’s song came out a year earlier! BR

The Sugarhill Gang recreated the backing track of “Good Times” for their own 1979 single “Rapper’s Delight,” often hailed as the launch of the successful commercialization of rap music. Rodgers and Edwards threatened to sue, resulting in their names being added as co-writers. While Rodgers was initially upset with the song, he later called it “one of his favorite songs of all time.” WK

New York Rocker critic Barry Cooper said that “Good Times” had “broad appeal…[because] the lyrics were easy and catchy” and “the music: that bass line like a jungle drum, that handclap like a heartfelt lifeline, allowing everyone to pour out their troubles on the dance floor.” BR

Together or separately, Rodgers and Edwards had a hand in producing multiple #1’s for other artists in the 1970s and ‘80s including Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” Diana Ross’ “Upside Down,” David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Duran Duran’s “The Reflex,” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Chic
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 508.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 10/8/2021.

Wednesday, August 15, 1979

Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door released

In Through the Out Door

Led Zeppelin


Released: August 15, 1979


Peak: 17 US, 12 UK, 17 CN, 3 AU


Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.3 UK, 10.2 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock/metal


Tracks:

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

  1. In the Evening [6:51] (7 CL)
  2. South Bound Saurez (Jones/Plant) [4:14] (14 CL)
  3. Fool in the Rain [6:12] (12/22/79, 21 US, 31 CB, 34 HR, 24 RR, 2 CL, 12 CN)
  4. Hot Dog (Page/Plant) [3:17] (14 CL)
  5. Carouselambra [10:34] (15 CL)
  6. All My Love (Jones/Plant) [5:56] (9/21/79, 10 RR, 1 CL)
  7. I’m Gonna Crawl [5:30]

Songs written by Jones/Page/Plant unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 42:25


The Players:

  • Robert Plant (vocals)
  • Jimmy Page (guitar)
  • John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards)
  • John Bonham (drums)

Rating:

3.381 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Somewhere between Presence and In Through the Out Door, disco, punk, and new wave had overtaken rock & roll, and Led Zeppelin chose to tentatively embrace these pop revolutions, adding synthesizers to the mix and emphasizing John Bonham’s inherent way with a groove.” AMG Sadly, this was the final album for Led Zeppelin. They decided to disband when Bonham died in September of the next year after a night of heavy drinking which caused him to choke on his own vomit.

The band had also faced struggles since Presence in 1976. Robert Plant’s five-year old son Karac died in 1977 of a stomach virus. The band hadn’t been able to tour on British soil for more than two years because they took a taxation exile from the UK. They named the album for the challenge of trying to get back in the public eye because they band said it was like “trying to get in through the out door.” WK

“The album’s opening number, In the Evening, with its stomping rhythms and heavy, staggered riffs, suggests that Zeppelin haven’t deviated from their course.” AMG It was intended as “a full-blown epic” WK to prove that the band were still capable of good music. WK

When “the time the rolling shuffle of South Bound Suarez kicks into gear, it’s apparent that they’ve regained their sense of humor.” AMG The “straightforward rocker” WK was a rare original song that didn’t feature a songwriting credit for Jimmy Page. WK

“After ‘South Bound Suarez,’ the group tries a variety of styles, whether it’s an overdriven homage to Bakersfield county called Hot Dog, the layered, Latin-tinged percussion and pianos of Fool in the Rain, or the slickly seductive ballad All My Love.” AMG The latter two were released as singles. “Fool in the Rain” was inspired by Plant’s efforts to explore new musical territory, in this case combining “a samba rhythm with a basic rock tune.” WK

Carouselambra, a lurching, self-consciously ambitious synth-driven number, and the slow blues I'm Gonna Crawl aren’t quite as impressive as the rest of the album, but the record was a graceful way to close to Zeppelin's career, even if it wasn't intended as the final chapter.” AMG


Notes: A 2015 reissue added a second disc with alternate mixes.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/21/2008; last updated 8/20/2021.