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 Seventies Almanac - 1978

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Saturday Night Fever

he new generation takes few risks; it graduates, looks for a job, endures. And once a week, on Saturday night, it explodes." So wrote Nik Cohn in a cover story for New York magazine in June 1976. It told of young people in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge district, who, every weekend, escaped their humdrum existence by dancing their cares away at a local disco. Cohn zeroed in on the club's best dancer, who was admired by all the guys and pursued by all the girls. Slowly, the young dancer came to realize that his time at the top would be as fleeting as it was then absolute. Cohn's article, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night," was turned into a film in 1977 starring John Travolta and Karen Gorney. Titled Saturday Night Fever, the picture was released in December 1977 earned over $108 million by the end of 1978 (and was the first R-rated movie to top $100 million in rentals). By April, the soundtrack album had sold over ten million copies, making the two-disc set the largest-grossing album to that time. It in itself was a first-rate disco sampler, featuring old and new tracks by the Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, the Trammps, MFSB, Walter Murphy, Tavares, Yvonne Elliman and others. The album spent a total of 24 weeks at number one and eventually sold more than 30 million copies, making it the largest-selling album of all time, until Michael Jackson's Thriller ultimately beat that sales figure six years later.

Styx's history began in Chicago in 1963 when twin brothers Chuck and John Panozzo learned to play bass and drums, respectively, and were joined by neighbor Dennis DeYoung on accordion. By 1970, the trio had added two guitarists and adopted their group name. "Lady," a three-year-old album cut, became their first Top 10 hit in 1975, and after that Styx could not be stopped. Their seventh album, The Grand Illusion, stayed on the charts almost two years, sold over three million copies, and featured their 1978 gold single, "Come Sail Away." Later that year, the album Pieces of Eight and a triumphant tour solidified their popularity, and in 1979, Styx struck again with their first number one single, "Babe."

Music Icon Other Music Highlights of 1978:

  • The Sex Pistols arrive in America for their first tour. On Friday, October 13, their former bassist Sid Vicious is arrested in New York City and charged with the stabbing murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
  • Howard Stein's Xenon opens as an alternative to Studio 54 in New York City.
  • The Beatles parody All You Need Is Cash starring the Rutles (featuring Eric Idle and Neil Innes) airs on NBC-TV.
  • The Doobie Brothers, Dave Mason, and Kansas are a few of the acts to perform at Canada's first major rock festival, Canada Jam, held in Bowmanville, Ontario.
  • Rick James leaves the Mynah Birds to go out as a solo performer.
  • Jefferson Starship plays a series of disastrous gigs in West Germany during which singer Grace Slick drunkenly rants about World War II to the audience which causes her to leave the band until 1981.
  • After three albums as a mostly instrumental progressive rock band, Journey decides to go for a mainstream sound by adding a vocalist, Steve Perry, who was discovered via a demo tape.
  • Kiss make their acting debut in the NBC made-for-tv movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, and simultaneously releases four solo albums, along with Double Platinum with its disco-influenced version of "Strutter."
  • Live albums arrive from AC/DC (If You Want Blood, You've Got It), and Kansas (Two For the Show).
  • Billy Joel's 52nd Street becomes his first number one album.
  • Pasadena, California-based Van Halen releases their eponymous debut album, which eventually sells over 6 million copies and establishes them as one of the '70s and '80s most popular heavy metal bands.
  • New wave group Talking Heads enjoys its first hit album with More Songs About Buildings and Food, and fellow New Wavers Blondie release their breakthrough album, Parallel Lines.
  • Alice Cooper releases From the Inside, a conceptual album inspired by his recent self commital to a sanitarium for treatment of alcoholism.
  • The Cars and Molly Hatchet release their debut LPs, while Boston releases Don't Look Back, the long-awaited followup to its 1976 debut LP.
  • The movie soundtrack album Grease holds the number one spot for 12 weeks.
  • Ted Nugent releases his first solo live album, Double Live Gonzo!. Other notable LP releases: Lynyrd Skynyrd's posthumous First and Last LP; Black Sabbath's last Ozzy Osbourne LP, Never Say Die; Blue Oyster Cult's second live LP, Some Enchanted Evening; and The Runaways' swansong, And Now The Runaways.

      Seventies Daily Music Chronicle - 1978

Singles Icon The Top 40 Singles of 1978:

  1. "Night Fever" - Bee Gees (First chart appearance: 2/11/78; Highest position: #1)
  2. "Shadow Dancing" - Andy Gibb (4/22/78; #1)
  3. "Stayin' Alive" - Bee Gees (12/24/77; #1)
  4. "Kiss You All Over" - Exile (8/5/78; #1)
  5. "Three Times A Lady" - Commodores (7/8/78; #1)
  6. "Boogie Oogie Oogie" - A Taste of Honey (7/22/78; #1)
  7. "Baby Come Back" - Player (11/19/77; #1)
  8. "Emotion" - Samantha Sang (1/7/78; #3)
  9. "You're The One That I Want" - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (4/8/78; #1)
  10. "Grease" - Frankie Valli (6/17/78; #1)
  11. "Miss You" - The Rolling Stones (6/10/78; #1)
  12. "Hot Child In The City" - Nick Gilder (8/5/78; #1)
  13. "MacArthur Park" - Donna Summer (9/30/78; #1)
  14. "How Deep Is Your Love" - Bee Gees (10/8/77; #1)
  15. "Love Is Thicker Than Water" - Andy Gibb (12/10/77; #1)
  16. "Lay Down Sally" - Eric Clapton (2/4/78; #3)
  17. "Just The Way You Are" - Billy Joel (12/10/77; #3)
  18. "Baker Street" - Gerry Rafferty (5/13/78; #2)
  19. "If I Can't Have You" - Yvonne Elliman (2/25/78; #1)
  20. "Can't Smile Without You" - Barry Manilow (2/18/78; #3)
  21. "It's A Heartache" - Bonnie Tyler (4/22/78; #3)
  22. "With A Little Luck" - Paul McCartney and Wings (4/8/78; #1)
  23. "We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You" - Queen (11/26/77; #4)
  24. "Sometimes When We Touch" - Dan Hill (12/24/77; #3)
  25. "I Go Crazy" - Paul Davis (10/29/77; #7)
  26. "Short People" - Randy Newman (12/10/77; #2)
  27. "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" - Johnny Mathis & Denice Williams (4/22/78; #1)
  28. "Feels So Good" - Chuck Mangione (3/18/78; #4)
  29. "You're In My Heart" - Rod Stewart (11/26/77; #4)
  30. "You Needed Me" - Anne Murray (8/19/78; #1)
  31. "Dance, Dance, Dance" - Chic (12/10/77; #6)
  32. "Hot Blooded" - Foreigner (7/8/78; #3)
  33. "Hopelessly Devoted To You" - Olivia Newton-John (7/22/78; #3)
  34. "Love Is Like Oxygen" - Sweet (4/15/78; #8)
  35. "Jack And Jill" - Raydio (2/11/78; #8)
  36. "The Closer I Get To You" - Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (3/18/78; #2)
  37. "Dance With Me" - Peter Brown (5/6/78; #8)
  38. "Reminiscing" - Little River Band (8/12/78; #3)
  39. "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" - Meat Loaf (4/29/78; #11)
  40. "Last Dance" - Donna Summer (6/3/78; #3)

      1978 Singles - Month By Month

LP Icon Top Albums of 1978:

Movie Icon 20 Popular Movies of 1978:

  1. Grease
  2. Superman: The Movie
  3. National Lampoon's Animal House
  4. Every Which Way But Loose
  5. Coming Home
  6. The Deer Hunter
  7. FM
  8. Halloween
  9. Midnight Express
  10. Thank God It's Friday
  11. Jaws 2
  12. American Hot Wax
  13. The Buddy Holly Story
  14. The Cheap Detective
  15. Days of Heaven
  16. Death On The Nile
  17. Oliver's Story
  18. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  19. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  20. The Wiz
      Animal House/Grease

TV Icon The Top 20 Television Shows of 1978:

  1. Laverne & Shirley
  2. Three's Company
  3. Mork & Mindy
  4. Happy Days
  5. The Ropers
  6. What's Happening!!
  7. Alice
  8. M*A*S*H
  9. One Day at a Time
  10. Taxi
  11. 60 Minutes
  12. Charlie's Angels
  13. Angie
  14. Alice
  15. All in the Family
  16. WKRP in Cincinnati
  17. Soap
  18. Eight Is Enough
  19. Barney Miller
  20. CBS Sunday Night Movie
      Mork & Mindy

         Prime Time TV Schedule - 1978

News Icon News Highlights of 1978:Guyana Mass Suicide

  • Leon Spinks takes the world heavyweight boxing championship from Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas
  • In response to threats of a farm strike, President Carter proposes increasing federal aid to the nation's farmers.
  • After testifying at his own obscenity charge in Lawrenceville, Ga., Larry Flynt, owner of Hustler magazine, is shot by a would-be assassin and critically wounded.
  • In a Pennsylvania plant, the first American-made Volkswagen automobile rolls off the assembly line.
  • After years of more homosexuals per capita than any other U.S. city, San Francisco passes a city-wide homosexual rights bill, the most comprehensive in the U.S.
  • New York State's legislature changes its state's juvenile laws to allow minors as young as 13 to receive adult sentences for serious offenses, debunking the 40 year old Boys Town (1938 film) myth of "(there's) no such thing as a bad boy."
  • Despite the Vatican's insistence that it is homicide, abortion is legalized in Italy.
  • In two separate groundbreaking elections, Marion Barry is elected the first African American mayor of Washington, D.C., and Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco's first Jewish and female mayor.
  • Princess Caroline of Monaco marries French businessman Philippe Junot.
  • Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped by a group of Red Brigades terrorists in Rome, and two months later found dead.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission halts the construction of a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire, because of public opposition.
  • The first "test tube baby" is born to a British couple. Fertilization was performed in a glass dish; the fertilized egg was then planted in the mother.
  • More than 900 American followers of cult leader Jim Jones commit mass suicide at their compound in South America.
  • Approximately eight months after the signing of a city-wide homosexual rights bill, George Moscone, the mayor of San Francisco, and Harvey Milk, a member of the board of supervisors, are murdered in their offices by another board member, Dan White.
  • Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the first non-Italian since 1522 and the first Communist country pontiff ever, is elected Pope John Paul II on October 16 by cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, making 1978 "year of the three popes."
  • The opposition Sandinista Party demands the ouster of dictatorial President Anastasio Somoza Debayle as battling continues in Nicaragua.
  • The joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are Israel's Prime Minister Begin and Egypt's President Sadat.
  • Former First Lady Betty Ford helps break the stigma of addiction by entering a rehabilitation clinic.

Sports Icon Sports Winners of 1978:

  • Baseball: The New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 2.
  • Football: The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys 35-31 on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami in Super Bowl XIII.
  • Basketball: The Washington Bullets beat the Seattle Supersonics 4 games to 3.
  • Hockey: The Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 4 games to 2.


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