Andre Gardner

This is 102.9 MGK’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown and, this week, it’s the top 10 rock albums from September 21, 1979.

September, 1979 was a crazy time in and out of the music world. For the first time, women were deployed overseas in the U.S. Navy. The price of gold hit $400 an ounce for the first time (it’s almost $2000 today). The “No Nukes” concert protesting nuclear energy was held at the Garden in New York. It featured Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Crosby Still and Nash and Bonnie Raitt, just to name a few. In sports, 16 year old Tracy Austin became the youngest U.S. player to win a U.S. Open singles final.

1979 in Music

In the music world, disco was peaking and punk/new wave was on the rise. A slew of exciting new bands from England and the U.S. were putting out some really clever albums. it would also be the last time we’d get a studio album by Led Zeppelin, which will figure prominently in this week’s Countdown. That year, we also lost Lowell George and Sid Vicious.

18 Year Old Kid Plays Disco Music on AM

I was doing 10pm-2am at WZZD (990 AM) in Philadelphia in September, 1979. Originally the legendary WIBG, and then known as “Wizzard 100,” the station played disco/dance music..on AM. Even though we had a killer lineup of DJs like Glen Kalina and Bill O’Brien, it was not exactly a ratings success. This was because WCAU-FM (98.1) was ALSO playing dance music, but on FM. I had fun, even though I wasn’t 100% into the music, but I definitely saw the writing on the wall. Word started getting out that Fairbanks Broadcasting, the owners of WZZD, were going to sell the radio station to a religious broadcasting company. That meant that it wouldn’t be long before the on air staff would be shown the door and the format changed. I resigned, and stayed at WPST/Trenton doing weekends until a full time gig opened up.

Save The Vinyl!

Soon after, it was confirmed that the station was sold and would be changing their format. In their infitie wisdom, they were going to throw away the entire WIBG/WZZD vinyl library. There thousands of records, many going back to the WIBBAGE days of the 50s. An engineer pal of mine who worked there, and I, sprung into action. We pulled up in our cars to the front steps of WZZD while I was on the air, opened our trunks and proceeded to dispose of the vinyl ourselves…into our collections! We brought dozens of trash bags to fill with 45s and LPs. It was glorious!! I am so glad we snagged that stuff. I still have a lot of those 45s and many LPs in my collection.

Andre Gardner behind the board of WZZD, 1978.

Andre Gardner on the air at WZZD, Philadelphia, 1978.

But I digress. Here are MGK’s Top 10 rock albums from September 21, 1979:

  • 10. Secrets - Robert Palmer

    We kick things off with the 5th album by Robert Palmer, his highest charting album at that point. Secrets peaked here at #10 and it also gave Palmer his first top 10 hit song!

  • 9. The Cars - The Cars

    It’s an interesting countdown this week, as there are two albums by The Cars! Their classic debut hangs on at #9 on September 21, 1979.

  • 8. Low Budget - The Kinks

    On December 14, 1978, the movie “Superman” with Christopher Reeve in the title role, premiered in U.K. theaters. Ray Davies of The Kinks, a huge Superman comic book fan, saw the movie as soon as it came out. He was so impressed that he immediately wrote and recorded “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman,” one of the band’s best known songs. It’s off of Low Budget, #8 on MGK’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ql_m-4jdZE

  • 7. Discovery - Electric Light Orchestra

    “Don’t Bring Me Down” by Electric Light Orchestra holds two distinctions in their career. For one, it was their highest charting single in the U.S., plus it was the first E.L.O. song recorded without strings! It’s a straight ahead rocker, and it’s off of the #7 rock album from September 21, 1979, Discovery.

  • 6. Rust Never Sleeps - Neil Young

    Neil Young broke up his Rust Never Sleeps tour into two segments, electric, with Crazy Horse, and acoustic. That’s how he released the album of the same name, which is #6 on the countdown this week.

  • 5. Million Mile Reflections - Charlie Daniels Band

    The inspiration for the next album’s title came from the number of miles this group had traveled on the road! The Charlie Daniels Band are at #5 on the countdown with Million Mile Reflections.

  • 4. Breakfast In America - Supertramp

    After spending an amazing six weeks at the #1 position, Supertramp’s crown jewel Breakfast In America dropped to #4 on September 21, 1979.

  • 3. Candy-O - The Cars

    Making their second appearance on this week’s countdown are The Cars. The very impressive followup to their debut was called Candy-O, and it peaked here at #3.

  • 2. Get The Knack - The Knack

    Recorded in just two weeks at a budget of less than 20 grand, Get The Knack, The Knack’s debut album, skyrocketed to the top of the charts, staying there for five weeks. On September 21, 1979, it slipped one to #2!

  • 1. In Through The Out Door - Led Zeppelin

    At the top of the charts this week is the eighth and final studio album by one of the true legendary classic rock bands. Recorded at Abba’s studio in Stockholm, Sweden, it hit #1 on its second week of release, selling over one and a half million copies in just 14 days. The #1 rock album on September 21, 1979 was In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin.

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