1979’s Best Rock Albums

1979's Best Classic Rock Albums

1979’s Best Classic Rock albums list wraps up our 1970’s yearly top albums articles series. The great classic rock and roll landscape changed dramatically over a ten year period. Political, economic, technological and cultural changes throughout the seventies played an important role in shaping the music of the decade. The chaos of the nineteen sixties bathed in protest, psychedelia, peace, love and drugs spilled into the early years of the decade but was quickly filtered out with the end of the Vietnam War and the resignation of an American President. Awareness that record companies and their stable of rock stars could make fortunes if marketed correctly began to change the rock and roll being written and recorded by those very artists. It would be hard to argue that the majority of artists did not have their eyes focused on the prize of the big hit single.

Not all genres of music n the 1970s were focused on hit singles. The progressive rock format grew out the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. It would be pretty tough to edit the eighteen minute track “Close to The Edge,” by Yes for hit single status. The popularity of Punk music was fueled by a need for rebellion similar to that of the 1960 protest music. The difference was it began in the U.K with the Sex Pistols in the late 1970s as opposed to the Dylan era of the 1960s. Many artists were inspired by punk which led to the genre of new wave that only lasted a few years.

The 1979 list is very reflective of the punk and new wave movements of the late 1970s. There are still basic rock albums being released that trumped in sales most of the punk records, but there was definitely a unique sound to the last year of the decade of the 1970s.

Like our previous best albums of the 1970s lists, this article is split into three sections. There is the top 50 in which we have listed albums in random order from 50 to 10. There is the top 10 in which we have listed what we believe were the most important and greatest records of the year. Finally, there is a supplemental section that list more of 1979’s best classic rock albums. It does not include all albums released in 1979, but rather just a list of some more favorites.

Here we go for one last round…………

1979’s Best Classic Rock Albums

# 50 – Flirtin’ with DisasterMolly Hatchet

# 49 – Night in the RutsAerosmith

# 48 – DiscoveryElectric Light Orchestra

# 47 – Dynasty – Kiss

# 46 – Prince – Prince

# 45 – Wave – Patti Smith

# 44 – One Step Beyond… Madness

# 43 – Fear of MusicTalking Heads

# 42 – The Undertones – The Undertones

# 41 – Remote ControlThe Tubes

# 40 – Into The Music – Van Morrison

# 39 – Black Rose: A Rock Legend  – Thin Lizzy

# 38 – Street Machine – Sammy Hagar

# 37 – Get the Knack – The Knack

# 36 – It’s Alive – The Ramones

# 35 – Head Games – Foreigner

# 34 – Armed ForcesElvis Costello & The Attractions

# 33 – OverkillMotorhead

# 32 – CommuniquéDire Straits

# 31 – Eat To The Beat – Blondie

# 30 – Danger Money – U.K.

# 29 – You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic – Ian Hunter

# 28 – Low Budget – The Kinks

# 27 –Tusk – Fleetwood Mac

# 26 – The Long Run – The Eagles

# 25 – Mingus – Joni Mitchell

# 24 – Enlightened RoguesThe Allman Brothers Band

# 23 – Cheap Trick at BudokanCheap Trick

# 22 – In The Heat Of The Night – Pat Benatar

# 21 – George Harrison – George Harrison

# 20 – Dream Police – Cheap Trick

# 19 – Evolution – Journey

# 18 – The B-52’sThe B-52’s

# 17 – Rust Never Sleeps – Neil Young

# 16 – Highway To Hell – AC/DC

# 15 – Lodger – David Bowie

# 14 – Sheik Yerbouti  – Frank Zappa

# 13 – Candy-OThe Cars

# 12 – Desolation Angels – Bad Company

# 11 – Rickie Lee JonesRickie Lee Jones

#  10 – Look Sharp!Joe Jackson

#  9 – In Through The Out Door – Led Zeppelin

#  8 – Reggatta de BlancThe Police

#  7 – Breakfast in AmericaSupertramp

#  6 – London CallingThe Clash

#  5 – Damn the TorpedoesTom Petty & the Heartbreakers

#  4 – Van Halen II – Van Halen

#  3 – Joe’s Garage, Acts I, II & IIIFrank Zappa

#  2 – The Wall – Pink Floyd

# 1 – Live Rust – Neil Young

Additional Selected Classic Rock Albums Released in 1979

These are listed in chronological order in which they came out throughout the year.

This is not a complete list of albums released in 1979. It’s a selected list of great albums that should be in any rock fans classic rock collection

Best Rock Albums – January 1979

LovedriveThe Scorpions


Sleep DirtFrank Zappa

Valley of the Dolls – Generation X

Head FirstThe Babys

Life for the TakingEddie Money

No Mean City Nazareth

Best Rock Albums – February 1979

Inflammable Material – Stiff Little Fingers

FrenzySplit Enz

Scared to Dance – The Skids

Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here – Lowell George

ManifestoRoxy Music

American Boy & Girl – Garland Jeffreys

Best Rock Albums – March 1979

Just a GameTriumph

Rock n’ Roll Nights – Bachman Turner Overdrive

No. 1 in HeavenSparks

Squeezing Out SparksGraham Parker and The Rumour

Gimme Some Neck – Ron Wood

Million Mile ReflectionsThe Charlie Daniels Band

Best Rock Albums – April 1979

More Miles Per Hour – John Miles

The BellsLou Reed

Cool for CatsSqueeze

New ValuesIggy Pop

Strikes – Blackfoot

Best Rock Albums – May 1979

Orchestral FavoritesFrank Zappa

Three Imaginary Boys – The Cure (U.K. only)

Shades in Bed – The Records

Do It Yourself – Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Where I Should BePeter Frampton

Flag – James Taylor

In The Skies – Peter Green


RhapsodiesRick Wakeman

Spectral MorningsSteve Hackett

State of ShockTed Nugent

Best Rock Albums – June 1979

Labour of LustNick Lowe

Repeat When Necessary – Dave Edmunds

Silent LetterAmerica

Unknown PleasuresJoy Division

MirrorsBlue Öyster Cult

Live KillersQueen

Best Rock Albums – July 1979

Nine LivesREO Speedwagon

John CougarJohn Cougar

Down to EarthRainbow


Best Rock Albums – August 1979

Ghostown – The Radiators

Chicago 13 – Chicago

Drums and WiresXTC

Slow Train Coming Bob Dylan

Eve – The Alan Parsons Project

5 – J.J. Cale

Born Again –Randy Newman

VolcanoJimmy Buffett

Best Rock Albums – September 1979

Join Hands – Siouxsie and the Banshees

The Pleasure Principle – Gary Numan

StormwatchJethro Tull

Top PriorityRory Gallagher

Boogie MotelFoghat

The RavenThe Stranglers

Entertainment! – Gang Of Four

London Town – Paul McCartney

Recent SongsLeonard Cohen

Legends of the Lost and Found Harry Chapin

A Different Kind of Tension – Buzzcocks


Best Rock Albums – October 1979

Survival – Bob Marley & The Wailers

I’m the ManJoe Jackson

Partners in Crime – Rupert Holmes

The Fine Art of SurfacingThe Boomtown Rats

Victim of Love – Elton John


Bomber – Motorhead

Hydra – Toto

Keep The Fire – Kenny Loggins

Lovehunter – Whitesnake

Best Rock Albums – November 1979

Freedom at Point ZeroJefferson Starship

Down on the FarmLittle Feat

PhoenixDan Fogelberg

DegüelloZZ Top

Best Rock Albums – December 1979

Adventures in Utopia – Utopia

1979's Best Classic Rock Albums

All Album covers are Amazon affiliate links and not stored on ClassicRockHistory.com server

Feature Photo Credits 

Jimmy Page – Heinrich Klaffs [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

David Gilmour – Capitol Records [Public domain] Via Creative Commons

David Lee Roth – Photo: Carl Lender [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Frank Zappa = Photo: Helge Øverås [CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Pat Benatar – Photo: Heidy Escobar from VALPARAISO; LAGUNA VERDE, CHILE [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Supertramp – Photo: Ueli Frey [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Joe Jackson – Photo: Jean-Luc [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

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  1. Avatar Pat Beaudry February 8, 2020

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