Sunday, May 2, 2010

Frontier Archaeology, vol.2: Shake Down, 1979

[FP's weekly column on music before 1990 appears on Sundays]

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the day on which one of the greatest bands ever to grace this Earth, Joy Division, played its last concert with lead singer and guiding light Ian Curtis. The year before, 1979, remains one of the landmark years in the history of rock music. The year marked the zenith of the "post-punk" movement that followed the demise of the Sex Pistols in 1978.

The number of classic records that were released in 1979 is astonishing. Indeed, rock journalist Simon Reynolds, in his outstanding survey Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, writes that "there were so many new records to buy that there was simply no earthly reason to investigate the past."

Of course, here at FP, we always see a reason to investigate the past. In addition to well-known classics such as Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, Talking Heads' Fear of Music, Public Image Ltd.'s Metal Box, and Gang of Four's Entertainment!, dozens of other forgotten mini-masterpieces made their way to record store shelves in '79. Below, some of our favorites from the year, including a two-song tribute to the late, great Ian Curtis.

Joy Division - Transmission (from Substance 1977-1980)

Joy Division - Disorder (from Unknown Pleasures)

The Raincoats - Fairytale In The Supermarket (from The Raincoats)

Talking Heads - Heaven (from Fear of Music)

Gang of Four - I Found That Essence Rare (from Entertainment!)


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