Taking one look at the album charts of 1978, it’s apparent that Saturday Night Fever and Grease were nearly ALL the rage. John Travolta was so popular, it could drive a man to Scientology.
Listed below are the nine albums that hung to the #1 spot in 1978 in chronological order, based on the first week the album hit #1, with the (#) indicating the weeks it remained there consecutively. A ‘+’ indicates a break.
9) Rumours— Fleetwood Mac (2): Rumours spent 29 previous non-consecutive weeks at #1 in 1977, meaning these two weeks in January were the final ‘hurrah’ for this album and that they should start thinking about recording a two-record set with the USC Trojan Marching Band.
8) Soundtrack — Saturday Night Fever (24): The clear star of the movie was the breathtaking Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the double-decker suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in NYC, and which currently costs $15 cash when riding westbound, but the movie soundtrack is known for the eight Bee Gees songs (six performed by the group), The Tramps’ “Disco Inferno” and a “version” of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
7) City to City — Gerry Rafferty (1): Thanks to Raphael Ravenscroft saxophone lick, “Baker Street” became a massive hit and enough people bought the album to dislodge Saturday Night Fever from #1.
6) Some Girls — The Rolling Stones (2): Back when teenagers respected their elders, the Rolling Stones were guaranteed a symbolic few weeks at #1. This time around they deserved it.
5) Soundtrack — Grease (7) + (2) + (3): This soundtrack album prevented Boston’s second album from being a bigger chart hit than it was. It was helped along by the title track, written by Barry Gibb, and the appearance of six old rockers performed by then TV stars Sha Na Na, who appeared as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.
4) Don’t Look Back — Boston (1) + (1): Boston’s second album was “rushed” into the marketplace after Tom Scholz had only two years to finish. He would take a more Boston-appropriate eight years to complete the third album.
3) Living In the USA — Linda Ronstadt (1): The first album in history to ship ‘Double Platinum’ (2 million sold), Living in the USA was a concept album about living in America as an L.A.-based female singer who had a great ear for other people’s songs.
2) Live and More — Donna Summer (1): Fistfights have broken out when music critics discuss the value of Jimmy Webb’s “Mac Arthur Park.” Imagine what happens when they contemplate the 17-1/2 minute “Mac Arthur Park Suite” that ends this double-LP live set.
1) 52nd Street — Billy Joel (7): The Stranger only made it to #2, so this was Billy’s first #1 album and the first album to be commercially released on compact disc by Sony (in Japan) on October 1, 1982. The original album spent one more non-consecutive week at #1 in 1979. Doesn’t it make you hungry?