5 Amazing Albums Released 45 Years Ago This Month

Something must have been in the water in June 1979. How else to explain the plethora of standout albums that came rolling out during that calendar month? So many in fact that it’s extremely tough to choose which five albums to talk about.

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The ones that we chose might not necessarily have been the most popular at the time. But they certainly sound great listening to them 45 years later.

Candy-O by The Cars

A year earlier, The Cars’ self-titled album came out sounding like a greatest hits album, even though it was their debut. And Candy-O starts in that mode with the shimmering single “Let’s Go.” But that’s when things start to get dark, strange, and wonderful. The album tracks here are just as captivating as the singles, including askew but catchy standouts like “Double Life” and “Lust for Kicks.” “It’s All I Can Do” is one of their first great ballads, “Dangerous Life” is an insinuatingly great closer, and the one-two punch of the avant-garde “Shoo Be Do” leading into the thunderous title track is perfection.

Discovery by ELO

Richard Tandy, ELO’s longtime keyboardist who sadly passed away earlier this year, was known to call this album “Disco Very.” There’s no doubt Jeff Lynne had his ear out for the prevailing grooves of the day, with songs like “Shine a Little Love” and “Last Train to London” slinking effortlessly into mirror-ball mode. But Discovery also contains some of Lynne’s most complicated and successful productions. “The Diary of Horace Wimp” is a marvel of nooks and crannies, while “Don’t Bring Me Down” brings a focused sonic boom right at you and doesn’t let up till the last groos is uttered.

Repeat When Necessary by Dave Edmunds

Edmunds and his buddy Nick Lowe released albums on the same day in June 1979 with the same backing musicians. While Lowe’s Labour of Lust had the bigger single (“Cruel to Be Kind”) and is pretty great in its own right, Repeat When Necessary is the finest distillation of Edmunds’ unique mingling of rockabilly and New Wave. And what a song list: Elvis Costello’s “Girls Talk,” Graham Parker’s “Crawling from the Wreckage,” “Queen of Hearts,” later a hit for Juice Newton; and “Bad is Bad,” co-written and later performed by Huey Lewis. In every case, Edmunds’ version is the definitive.

Back to the Egg by Wings

Considering it would turn out to be their last album, you might think Wings would sound like they were running on fumes. But Back to the Egg is nothing if not energetic. In fact, it might be a bit too ambitious for its own good, with its spoken-word interludes and other wannabe concept-album touches. But Paul McCartney’s engagement with the material carries it a long way. The urgency of ravers like “Getting Closer” and “Old Siam, Sir” is unstoppable, and “Arrow Through Me” should be on every underrated McCartney songs playlist you choose to make.

Communique by Dire Straits

This record suffers a bit from what surrounds it in the Dire Straits catalog. The self-titled debut album benefits from the presence of the colossal “Sultans of Swing,” and Making Movies, from 1980, is probably their best album from top to bottom. Communique lacks that breakout song from the former and the consistency of the latter. But the interplay of the instrumentalists, with Mark Knopfler’s guitar riding out in the lead, is always enthralling. Plus, you’ll find a few gems, such as the galloping “Lady Writer” and the heartfelt “Portobello Belle.”

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