The best of 1978 mix tape
Some years you know are going to be good (hello, 1983), some years you know are going to be bad (totally looking at you 1974), and sometimes a year sneaks up on you. Exhibit A in the latter category is 1978. It’s not the killer year that 1977 was, but definitely ends up being a better than average year when all is said and done.
Radio, Radio – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
This Year’s Model is probably my favorite Elvis Costello record if you made me choose, and Radio, Radio is one of two best of the decade worthy songs on it (Pump It Up). Radio, Radio wins out for the famous SNL performance that would see him banned from NBC for years if nothing else. And then it lead to this bit of awesomeness happening years later.
Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner – Warren Zevon
My favorite Zevon tune from a pretty epic album, Excitable Boy. Hey, if it’s good enough for Dave, it’s good enough for me.
On Nation Under a Groove – Funkadelic
One Nation. Under the Groove. We should be so lucky.
Because the Night – Patti Smith
One of the best songs Bruce Springsteen ever wrote. And since we’re sharing amazing videos, here another. Gotta tell you, Michael was born to sing this song.
Wheel in the Sky – Journey
I am an unabashed Steve Perry fan. The dude just has a killer set of pipes.
Surrender – Cheap Trick
Another under the radar great song from Cheap Trick. They don’t get nearly enough credit for how good they were.
So Lonely – The Police
I was tempted to put Be My Girl – Sally on here, but man that spoken word part is the stuff nightmares are made of, no doubt.
The Promised Land – Bruce Springsteen
This may be THE best song Bruce ever wrote. Mister, I ain’t a boy/No I’m a man/And I believe in the promised land.
Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)
Yes, hasn’t everyone? You got to love a song that a) has such a universal theme and b) contains a double contraction AND a parenthetical expression.
Some Girls – The Rolling Stones
Some great songs on Some Girls, but the title track nails the “Mick singing in an affected accent = greatness” requirement
I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones
I never truly appreciated this song until I had kids.
All Mod Cons – The Jam
From the third great album from The Jam within about a 15 month period. Not bad.
One Way or Another – Blondie
Straight from the Mean Girls soundtrack, from me to you.
Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad – The Clash
An under-appreciated Clash gem. RIP, St. Joe Strummer.
Mirage – Siouxsie & the Banshees
If you liked a band with kind of a dark, brooding vibe in the 80s (read, most of the good ones), then they loved and were influenced by this song.
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis – Tom Waits
Come on, how can I keep a song with that title off this list? It helps that it is one of the best songs of the decade.
That’s a really strong group of songs, right there. A little something for everybody. Enjoy the Spotify playlist.
Did I miss out on anything? Somebody want to make a case for the Grease sound track or Gerry Rafferty? (j/k about the second one)