The best of 1979 mix tape
We made it to the end of the 1970s. Huzzah! This decade is closing out with a pretty great mix, one that I’ve already listened to a ton, and I suspect will end up being one of my favorites of the entire best of project. There’s some of my favorite songs ever on here, like Nick Lowe’s Cruel to Be Kind and Joe Jackson’s Is She Really Going With Him?
Having so many great choices means that a few excellent songs didn’t make, none better than Gang of Four’s Damaged Goods. If I was doing a best albums of the year mix Entertainment would have been right up at the very top, but narrowing it down to individual tracks means that Gang of Four is relegated to Honorable Mention status.
Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
There’s not much to say about this song, other than it is simply great. One of my favorite TV shows The Americans used it to incredible effect for an opening sequence a couple of years ago, which only made it more amazing in my eyes (both the show and the song.)
Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson
Just love this song, which sounds like Elvis Costello wrote a great Rick Springfield song.
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure
This is still my favorite Cure song, and if you time the cross fade from Joe Jackson right it’s a really cool and seamless transition.
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin – Journey
Was there anything better than watching Steve Perry run around in full Giants gear during World Series games singing along to himself rather gleefully? I think not.
Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
Rather famously the favorite song of legendary DJ and music god John Peele. The man had great taste, no doubt.
Cruel to Be Kind – Nick Lowe
There’s just so much joy in this song. I can’t hear it and not cheer up some, regardless of whatever foul mood I come in with while listening.
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
My middle age detente with Pink Floyd continues. Seeing Roger Waters perform it live with the full Wall stage show probably helped.
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding? – Elvis Costello
Elvis ends the decade the way Bowie began it, churning out quality album after quality album.
Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
I’m not sure we give the Talking Head enough credit for how great they were. I haven’t counted but I’m sure they’ve put more songs of best of mixes across the 70s and 80s than just about anybody. This ain’t no disco!
Rock With You – Michael Jackson
We’ve discussed before how great of an album Thriller is, but for my money Off the Wall is better. Michael at his absolute peak.
Dream Police – Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick did big, anthem power pop about as well as anybody. It’s nearly impossible to hear one of their songs and not immediately sing along.
Bring on the Night – The Police
Regatta De Blanc is a ridiculously good record. This one wins out by a hair over It’s Alright for You and by a slightly thicker hair over Message in a Bottle.
Disorder – Joy Division
The final contribution on the best of mixes from Joy Division/New Order, barring a comeback of miracle proportions before the end of 2014.
Train in Vain – The Clash
How do you pick between this, London Calling, Jimmy Jazz, and the half a dozen other tracks off London Calling that deserved to be here? An embarrassing of riches here.
A Message to You – The Specials
Another song I just love unreservedly. Not sure if technically it deserves to be here on a “best of” mix, but I don’t care.
Hey Hey, My My – Into the Black
If you look up “blistering” in the music dictionary, I’m pretty sure this guitar riff is listed first.
Now come on, how you gonna fight listening to that on repeat? Indulge your ears here with the Spotify playlist.
Next up is the cumulative best of the 1970s list, and then I’ll be diving into the 1990s. I’m sharpening my Sublime jokes as we speak in preparation.
Which one of your favorites did I miss on this one?