1979 was a good summer–and yes, it is more than a Smashing Pumpkins song. I remember that summer so vividly because I spent a month of it with my cousins down in Louisiana. We would ride bikes, go swimming at the local pool, go to the lake, go water skiing, build scrapbooks. We also listened to music. Incessantly. And danced like crazy tweeners.
Disco ruled that year, but Rock had a strong showing. Donna Summer’s Bad Girls album unleashed a number of hits, including my favorite song of hers, “Hot Stuff.” I can remember dancing with my cousin at Grandma’s house as we threw paper money in the air. Other disco favorites include “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward and “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart. But hits that could appear in a discotheque despite their rock/pop roots started to pick up steam. Blondie hit it big with “Heart of Glass,” as did the Buggles with their one hit (that eventually launched MTV), “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
The songs that sparked my interest and connected to the most memories for me that year though were from rock groups.
Two of those songs connect to spending my summer with my cousins. I’d hear these two songs when we spent our afternoons at the local swimming pool.
Jeff Lynn and his band had a touch of disco, but it stayed true to the ELO canon. It was also one of two songs of the bands to be top sellers in 1979. The other, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” is also a favorite that holds a spot in my record collection.
Another song that I firmly remember from that summer in Louisiana is a rock classic. I think I was the only one of my friends (or cousins) that liked the song though. I waited impatiently to hear it in rotation on the radio.
When I arrived home from my summer forays into the south, I found myself addicted to Rock 100, the KATT–our local rock station. My brother loved Ace Frehley’s solo album so we spent a lot of time listening to it as well as KISS’s Destroyer album, an all time favorite.
Frehley’s cover of Russ Ballard’s song (the song was originally released by the band Hello in 1975) reminds me of my brother dressing up as Ace Frehley for Halloween that year.
Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan created the most memorable version of this song as most people have never heard the studio version of the song. This song is an anthem of my generation.