Ranking Billboard top ten singles, 1979

As I noted two weeks ago when I foolishly limited the scale of the ranking, radio programmers booted disco from their playlists after the summer of 1979, bit by bit. Peter Shapiro has noted that disco deserved some of the blame. Disco had reached its recorded-in-in-the-local-Kmart phase. Kiss’ “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” peaked at #11, thankfully missing this ranking, but actors Rex Smith and David Naughton (“You Take My Breath Away” and “Makin’ It,” respectively), Barbra Streisand (“The Main Event/Fight”), and Leif Garrett (“I Was Made for Dancin'”) did their best to record blue light specials. Donna Summer’s Bad Girls and Chic’s Risque are among the last examples of platinum-certified long playing art using the “disco” nomenclature for some time.

Meanwhile, like a potbellied man whose love medallions rest comfortably amid a thatch of chest hair, soft rock, augmented with power chords and a light dance beat, made a comeback. Besides Kenny Rogers treacle about what women do for him and how women go very well against his living room’s curtains, vases, and macrame, Player and Randy VanWarmer dripped their empathetic tears down the Halston gowns of their companions, and if they were generous, “Music Box Dancer” soundtracked the seduction.

The Hague

Robert John – Sad Eyes
Leif Garrett – I Was Made for Dancin’
Commodores – Sail On
Frank Mills – Music Box Dancer
David Naughton – Makin’ It
Rex Smith – You Take My Breath Away
Randy VanWarmer – Just When I Needed You Most
Barbra Streisand – The Main Event/Fight
Styx – Babe
Kenny Rogers – You Decorated My Life
Barry Manilow – Somewhere in the Night
Maxine Nightingale – Lead Me On


The Eagles – Heartache Tonight
Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand – No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
J.D. Souther – You’re Only Lonely
Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
Dr. Hook – When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman
Bee Gees – Love You Inside Out
Kool & the Gang – Ladies’ Night
Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland
Melissa Manchester – Don’t Cry Out Loud
Barry Manilow – Ships
Linda Ronstadt – Ooh Baby Baby
Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro – Stumblin’ In
England Dan & John Ford Coley – Love is the Answer
Andy Gibb – (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away
Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
Elton John – Mama Can’t Buy You Love
Commodores – Still

Sound, Solid Entertainments

The Knack – My Sharona
Herb Alpert – Rise
Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love
Olivia Newton-John – A Little More Love
Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thang
Captain & Tennille – Do That to Me One More Time
Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
ELO – Shine a Little Love
Stevie Wonder – Send One Your Love
Wings – Goodnight Tonight
Bee Gees – Too Much Heaven
Little River Band – Lonesome Loser
Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood
Supertramp – Take the Long Way Home
Cher – Take Me Home
Peaches & Herb – Reunited
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
Dionne Warwrick – I’ll Never Love This Way Again
KC and the Sunshine Band – Please Don’t Go

Good to Great

Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
Chic – Good Times
Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
The Doobie Brothers – What a Fool Believes
Cheap Trick – I Want You to Want Me
Raydiio – You Can’t Change That
Blondie – Heart of Glass
Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do for Love
Rickie Lee Jones – Chuck E.’s In Love
Sister Sledge – We Are Family
Donna Summer – Dim All the Lights
The Pointer Sisters – Fire
John Stewart – Gold
Earth, Wind & Fire – After the Love Has Gone
The Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Chic – I Want Your Love
M – Pop Muzik
Supertramp – The Logical Song
Bee Gees – Tragedy
The Jacksons – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Donna Summer with Brooklyn Dreams – Heaven Knows
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

1 thought on “Ranking Billboard top ten singles, 1979

  1. Jukebox

    1979 was another wowzer year so it’s pains me to say Bilboard, for the most part, didn’t get the memo. Some songs in my list (no hagued, no mehs!) but fot the most psrt early Police, the best Blondie Period, Starry Eyes, I Don’ Like Mondays, Dance Away, Neil… and Cruel to Be Kind wasn’t even top 10??? Is She Really Going Out With him neither? Making Plans for Nigel? Booo!!

    And I’ve always wondered whether “A Little More Love” was on your Olivia-metre. But I don’t see it here. The truly first Farrar composition I still pay attention to… It might get a second win with Julianne Moore. She blasts the hell out of it in the trailer of “Gloria Bell”. I already know gays over 50s wetting their pants with both.


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