Saturday, September 29, 1979

Alan Parsons Project “Damned if I Do” charted

Damned if I Do

The Alan Parsons Project

Writer(s): Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 29, 1979

Peak: 27 US, 30 CB, 28 HR, 25 RR, 10 CL, 16 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.55 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Each of the first two Alan Parsons Project albums produced a top-40 hit, but the highest charting song from 1978’s Pyramid was “What Goes Up” at #87. That fall-off suggested the Project’s fourth album, Eve, might continue the commercial slide, but the lead single, “Damned if I Do,” assured the band wasn’t done yet when it became their highest charting hit yet at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. As Richard Challen says on the Spandex & Synths website, “it was an early indication of things to come.” SS

Indeed. The collective would go on to reach greater heights in the 1980s with top 20 hits “Games People Play,” “Time,” “Don’t Answer Me,” and the #3 hit “Eye in the Sky.” The two primary members, Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, worked with a slew of session musicians and vocalists over the years to craft a “cultivated respect via a small-but-loyal cult audience: sci-fi geeks, audiophiles, musicians into ‘the craft,’ and basically anyone with a decent pair of headphones or an expensive stereo system.” SS

Throughout the Alan Parson Project’s history, they leaned on a number of vocalists – as many as fifteen on the first four albums alone. SS In this case, the singing was handled by Lenny Zakatek. At the time, he was with the group Gonzalez, who had a disco hit with “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.” However, he had already worked with the Project on the previous two albums and was “dubbed ‘The Voice’ of the Project in certain circles.” SS After all, of the group’s twelve singles released from 1977 to 1980, he sings on the three that hit the top 40. That included this song, 1977’s “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” and the top-20 hit “Games People Play” in 1980.


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First posted 7/7/2022.

Monday, September 24, 1979

Eagles’ The Long Run released

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 10/17/2020.

The Long Run


Released: September 24, 1979

Peak: 19 US, 4 UK, 15 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.10 UK, 12.10 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Long Run (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [3:42] (11/30/79, 8 US, 10 CB, 1 CL, 34 AC, 66 UK, 9 CN)
  2. I Can’t Tell You Why (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Timothy B. Schmit) [4:54] (2/3/80, 8 US, 9 CB, 2 CL, 3 AC, 5 CN)
  3. In the City (Joe Walsh/Barrry DeVorzon) [3:46] (5 CL)
  4. The Disco Strangler
  5. King of Hollywood
  6. Heartache Tonight (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Bob Seger/J.D. Southern) [4:25] (9/28/79, 11 US, 11 CB, 1 CL, 38 AC, 40 UK, 12 CN, 13 AU, gold single)
  7. Those Shoes (Don Felder/Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [4:56] (8 CL)
  8. Teenage Jail
  9. The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks
  10. The Sad Café (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Joe Walsh/J.D. Souther) [5:32] (20 CL)

Total Running Time: 42:29

The Players:

  • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Don Henley (vocals, drums)
  • Don Felder (guitar, vocals)
  • Timothy B. Schmit (bass, vocals)
  • Joe Walsh (guitar, keyboards, vocals)


3.634 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)


About the Album:

“Three years in the making (which was considered an eternity in the ‘70s), the Eagles’ follow-up to the massively successful, critically acclaimed Hotel California was a major disappointment, even though it sold several million copies and threw off three hit singles.” AMG

“Those singles, in fact, provide some insight into the record. Heartache Tonight was an old-fashioned rock & roll song sung by Glenn Frey, while I Can’t Tell You Why was a delicate ballad by Timothy B. Schmit, the band’s newest member. Only The Long Run, a conventional pop/rock tune with a Stax Records R&B flavor, bore the stamp and vocal signature of Don Henley, who had largely taken the reins of the band on Hotel California.” AMG

“Henley also dominated The Long Run, getting co-writing credits on nine of the ten songs, singing five lead vocals, and sharing another two with Frey. This time around, however, Henley’s contributions were for the most part painfully slight. Only ‘The Long Run’ and the regret-filled closing song, The Sad Café, showed any of his usual craftsmanship. The album was dominated by second-rank songs like The Disco Strangler, King of Hollywood, and Teenage Jail that sounded like they couldn’t have taken three hours much less three years to come up with.” AMG

“Joe Walsh’s In the City was up to his usual standard, but it may not even have been an Eagles recording, having appeared months earlier on the soundtrack to The Warriors, where it was credited as a Walsh solo track.” AMG

“Amazingly, The Long Run reportedly was planned as a double album before being truncated to a single disc. If these were the keepers, what could the rejects have sounded like?” AMG

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Friday, September 21, 1979

The Police charted with “Message in a Bottle”

Message in a Bottle

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)

Released: September 21, 1979

First Charted: September 22, 1979

Peak: 74 US, 62 CB, 80 HR, 2 CL, 3 CO, 13 UK, 2 CN, 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 79.8 video, -- streaming

Awards (The Police version):

Awards (Sting version):

About the Song:

“Message in a Bottle” was the lead single from the Police’s second album, Reggatta De Blanc. It was the band’s first #1 in their native UK, where they’d also top the charts with “Walking on the Moon,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” and “Every Breath You Take.” In the U.S., the band wasn’t that big yet. “Roxanne,” from their first album, had gone top 40, but “Message in a Bottle” stalled at #74 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, bigger things were still to come. With their next three albums, the group would reach the top 10 in the U.S. six different times, including the #1 smash “Every Breath You Take.” The song also gained a following over the years. In fact, the Police opened their 2007 reunion concerts with the song.

Lyrically, the song unspools a tale of a lonely, island castaway who throws a message in a bottle into the ocean in hopes of finding someone. Only after determining he is destined to be alone, does he find “a hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore.” It’s then that the song’s narrator realizes, as he says in the song, “It seems I’m not alone in being alone.”

In an interview on the BBC, Sting said it was his favorite song. He told Q magazine, “I like the idea that while it’s about loneliness and alienation it’s also about finding solace and other people going through the same thing.” WK Musically, he explained that the song grew out of Gregorian chants he used to sing as an altar boy. SF Drummer Stewart Copeland said it was one of the band’s “best moments in the studio and always great on stage.” WK Guitarist Andy Summers said, “for me, it’s still the best song Sting ever came up with.” WK

Before Sting launched his solo career, he performed a stripped-down, slower version of the song for The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball on September 9, 1981. It was the fourth benefit show staged by the British section of Amnesty International to raise funds and awareness regarding human rights.


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First posted 3/1/2020; last updated 12/26/2022.

Sunday, September 16, 1979

The Sugarhill Gang released "Rapper's Delight"

Rapper’s Delight

Sugar Hill Gang

Writer(s): The Sugarhill Gang, Sylvia Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards, Grandmaster Caz (see lyrics here)

Released: September 16, 1979

First Charted: October 13, 1979

Peak: 36 US, 36 CB, 45 HR, 4 RB, 3 UK, 12 CN, 37 AU, 19 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.4 UK, 8.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 97.6 video, 133.97 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

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-594 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, DM “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


First posted 10/13/2011; last updated 6/18/2023.