December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979

The Seventies are over and now many interested parties are eagerly trying to make out that the era of disco is dead and that “dance music” – which seems to boil down to 2-Tone’s product – is the sound of now. This may well be so for a large portion of the population, but historical perspective can put these assertions in their place. Would you call the Rolling Stones a disco group? You most certainly would not, yet the Stones are almost undoubtedly the most danced to group of recent years . . . at parties, pubs and other environments that are not necessarily disco clubs.

Club music, whether the public likes it or not, has ever since the early 60s been orientated towards black soul music. There seems little reason to suppose that this will change just because there’s a new form of energetic pop music on the charts. The fact that this new music draws some of its inspiration from past disco formats of the 60s does not make it compatible with the rhythms and conventions of modern disco. Mobile DJ’s, pubs and some specialist venues will or do already feature it with obvious relief, but just as there have always been a vast majority of DJ’s who have to play a wide variety of music to keep their general public happy, there will continue to be a minority of jocks working in a club environment where disco is distilled to its purest soulful form.

Why is soul equated with disco? The pattern has been set since the Twist gave way to the early Motown, Stax and James Brown of the original Mod era discotheques, and the name of the place became synonymous over the years to the type of music danced to within it. Maybe the term “disco” should be dropped altogether, so that we can revert to calling soul by its own name, and not confuse it with other species of dance music. This could make sense – except soul is so often not soulful, and in itself now a misnomer!


Once again the spotlight hits the podium, Tony Holden’s video camera begins to turn and a stream of substitutes step up to accept other people’s awards . . . yes folks, it’s the Hammy Awards for 1979!

LABEL OF THE YEAR: MCA, for discovering after the year was already half over that good disco music and even jazz if issued on 12in can and indeed does sell.

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR: CBS, including Philadelphia International, Epic, TK, Tappan Zee, Blue Sky who put out so much product that the good stuff HAD to hit (and would have done so anyway).

RUNNERS UP: Pye, for starting well with 20th Century and Vanguard and then returning with Sugarhill and AVI (not forgetting Pye itself), RCA, for having the courage to stick with their 12in policy and release a lot of product when much of it (on RCA, Solar, 20th Century, Prestige, Milestone) did not cross over to big sales despite disco success.

ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY: CBS, for putting on 12in only what they think needs the sales impetus, WEA, for getting burned by their mass 12in LV release and subsequently deciding that all we want is Chic anyway (if you can find a dealer who bought enough albums to qualify for a 12in quota).

IMPORT OF THE YEAR: Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Space Princess’ (US Columbia 12”).

12IN OF THE YEAR: Crusaders ‘Street Life’ (MCA).

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Edwin Starr ‘It’s Called The Rock’ (20th Century 12”).

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: The Village People (who qualify for a gold record of their rendition of the New York telephone directory).

LP CUT OF THE YEAR: ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ (Kiddicraft LP ‘Children’s Party Songs & Games’).

7IN OF THE YEAR: Er . . . who plays anything on 7in anyway (unless it’s on CBS)?

MARKETING PLOY OF THE YEAR: Fantasy getting Slick ‘Space Bass’ onto UK 12in before it was available in any other commercial form anywhere.

RUNNER UP: Mercury ditto with Kurtis Blow ‘Christmas Rappin’’ and insisting against De-Lite’s wishes that Kool & The Gang ‘Ladies’ Night’ should be on 12in here in order to sell.

DISCO PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR: Ray Edwards, better known as Raymondo, who while working for EMI-LRD did more to promote disco in general (regardless of record label) amongst radio station personnel than anyone else.

RUNNERS UP: All my mates who I know and who know me, but excluding the so-called disco promotion people whose only contact has ever been a piece of typewritten paper enclosed with their product.

TREND OF THE YEAR: The “rock” dancestep rhythm.

EVENTS OF THE YEAR: Showstopper Promotions’s soul weekenders.

THERE’LL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND: Chris Hill.

SCOTLAND LOVES TO LOVE YOU BABY: Donna Summer.

TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Greg Lynn (CBS), for a classic quote.

IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR WORD POWER: Morgan Khan (Pye) and Fred Dove (WEA), for knowing what they want to say but not always how to say it.

SERVICES TO THE POST OFFICE OVER AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY: Glenn J. Simpson.

GOLDEN HANDSHAKE: Garrell Redfearn (MIF – which stands for Make It Funky, incidentally – and Disco magazine), for keeping the faith despite everything yet sadly saying a tentative goodbye.

A LARGE BRANDY AND COKE: Fatman Graham Canter (Mayfair Gullivers).

JOCK OF THE YEAR: Froggy, for being violently and unreasonably opposed to US-style mixing until his first visit to New York in February, since which he has done such an about turn that he is now virtually its biggest exponent (a little travel can broaden your mind!).

THAT’S ALL VERY WELL BUT: Dr Hook ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’ (Capitol), Bellamy Brothers ‘If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body’ (Warner Bros.), Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ (EMI), Roxy Music ‘Dance Away’ (Polydor) . . . which by being universally applicable to general audiences were, certainly for me, the MoR crossover hits of 1979.

Well, that lot should give some people something to think about. See you next year! 


No chart this week.

Alan Jones of Record Mirror’s Chart File has been doing most of the hard work in compiling our UK Disco chart for some months now, and this year it is he (mad fool!) who undertook the compilation of the year-end honour roll of disco chart champs. He has used just the Top 30 positions for every week of 1979 to arrive at a points total in the usual inverse-ratio scored way. These then were the disco hits that saw out the decade:

01 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
02 Frantique – Strut Your Funky Stuff – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
03 Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland – CBS 12″
04 Crusaders – Street Life – MCA 12″
05 Al Hudson & The Partners – You Can Do It – MCA 12″
06 Slick – Space Bass – Fantasy 12″
07 Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Epic 12″
08 Gary’s Gang – Keep On Dancin’ – CBS 12″
09 Edwin Starr – Contact – 20th Century 12″
10 Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – TK 12″
11 Chic – Good Times – Atlantic 12″
12 Kool & The Gang – Ladies’ Night – Mercury 12”
13 Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force – Pye 12″/12” remix
14 Sister Sledge – We Are Family – Atlantic 12″
15 Jacksons – Shake Your Body Down To The Ground – Epic 12″
16 Gene Chandler – Get Down – 20th Century 12″
17 Gino Soccio – Dancer – Warner Bros. 12″
18 GQ – Disco Nights (Rock Freak) – Arista 12″
19 Village People – YMCA – Mercury 12″/US Casablanca 12″ remix
20 Gibson Brothers – Oooh! What A Life – Island 12″
21 Teena Marie – I’m A Sucker For Your Love – Motown 12″
22 Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made Up – Salsoul 12″/US 12″ remix
23 Players Association – Turn The Music Up – Vanguard 12″
24 FLB – Lookin’ For Love Tonight – Fantasy 12″
25 Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer – Atlantic 12″
26 Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive – Gem 12″
27 Chic – Le Freak – Atlantic 12″
28 Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive – Polydor 12″
29 Dynasty – I Don’t Want To Be A Freak – Solar 12″
30 Earth, Wind & Fire – September – CBS 7″
31 Donna Summer – Bad Girls – Casablanca 12″
32 Chantal Curtis – Get Another Love – Pye 12″
33 Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night – Epic 12″
34 Herb Alpert – Rise – A&M 12″
35 Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove – Warner Bros. 12″
36 Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 20th Century 12″
37 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline – Ensign 12″
38 Gonzalez – Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet – Sidewalk 12″
39 Chic – I Want Your Love – Atlantic 12″
40 Gibson Brothers – Cuba – Island 12″
41 David Bendeth – Feel The Real – Sidewalk 12″
42 Earth, Wind & Fire – Star – CBS 7″
43 Herbie Hancock – You Bet Your Love – CBS 12″
44 Lowrell – Mellow, Mellow Right On – AVI 12″
45 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″
46 Donna Summer – Hot Stuff – Casablanca 12″
47 Michael Jackson – Off The Wall – Epic 7”
48 Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill 12″
49 Jackie Moore – This Time Baby – CBS 12″
50 Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman – Warner Bros. 12″
51 Dan Hartman – Countdown / This Is It – Blue Sky 12″
52 Shalamar – Take That To The Bank – RCA 12″
53 Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing – Polydor 12″
54 Village People – In The Navy – Mercury 12″
55 Paulinho Da Costa – Déjà Vu / Love Till The End Of Time – Pablo 12″/US 12”
56 Stix Hooper – Cordon Bleu – MCA 12″
57 Sister Sledge – Lost In Music – Atlantic 12″
58 T-Connection – Saturday Night – TK 12″
59 Bombers – (Everybody) Get Dancin’ – Flamingo 12″
60 Earth, Wind & Fire – After The Love Is Gone – CBS 7″
61 George Benson – Love Ballad – Warner Bros. 12″
62 FLB – Boogie Town – Fantasy 12″
63 M – Pop Muzik – MCA 12″
64 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love / I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby – Motown 12″
65 Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance – Infinity 12″
66 Atmosfear – Dancing In Outer Space – MCA 12″
67 Gene Chandler – When You’re No. 1 – 20th Century 12″
68 Diana Ross – The Boss – Motown 12″
69 Light Of The World – Swingin’ – Ensign 12″
70 Musique – In The Bush – CBS 12″
71 Blondie – Heart Of Glass – Chrysalis 12″
72 Johnny Mathis – Gone, Gone, Gone – CBS 12″
73 Kleeer – Keeep Your Body Workin’ – Atlantic 12″
74 Two Man Sound – Que Tal America – Miracle 12″
75 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move – TK 12″
76 Positive Force – We Got The Funk – Sugarhill 12″
77 Dan Hartman – Instant Replay – US Blue Sky 12″
78 Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance – CBS 12″
79 Narada Michael Walden – I Don’t Want Nobody Else – Atlantic 12″
80 Chic – My Forbidden Lover – Atlantic 12″
81 Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida – Island 12″
82 Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood – Atlantic 12″
83 Ian Dury – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Stiff 12″
84 Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer – No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) – CBS 12″
85 Inner Circle – Everything Is Great – Island 12″
86 Shalamar – The Second Time Around – Solar 12″
87 Donna Summer – Dim All The Lights – Casablanca 12″
88 Cognac – How High – Electric 12″
89 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody – CBS 12″
90 Janet Kay – Silly Games – Scope 12″


shootyourshot adds: 

Here’s my own list based on the entire Top 90. Numbers to the right of my ranking is that song’s position in the list above.

The Top 100 UK Disco Hits of 1979

01 04 Crusaders – Street Life – MCA 12″ (1988 pts)
02 02 Frantique – Strut Your Funky Stuff – Philadelphia Int’l 12″ (1887 pts)
03 13 Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force – Pye 12″ (1825 pts)
04 01 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – Philadelphia Int’l 12″ (1688 pts)
05 06 Slick – Space Bass – Fantasy 12″ (1637 pts)
06 03 Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland – CBS 12″ (1602 pts)
07 05 Al Hudson & The Partners – You Can Do It – MCA 12″ (1561 pts)
08 09 Edwin Starr – Contact – 20th Century 12″ (1468 pts)
09 21 Teena Marie – I’m A Sucker For Your Love – Motown 12″ (1428 pts)
10 89 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody – CBS 12″/US 12″ remix (1403 pts)
11 17 Gino Soccio – Dancer / Dance To Dance – Warner Bros. 12″ (1400 pts)
12 08 Gary’s Gang – Keep On Dancin’ / Do It At The Disco – CBS 12″ (1397 pts)
13 10 Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – TK 12″ (1388 pts)
14 37 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline – Ensign 12″ (1371 pts)
15 11 Chic – Good Times – Atlantic 12″ (1360 pts)
16 18 GQ – Disco Nights (Rock Freak) – Arista 12″ (1349 pts)
17 26 Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive – Gem 12″ (1346 pts)
18 25 Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer – Atlantic 12″ (1338 pts)
19 20 Gibson Brothers – Oooh! What A Life – Island 12″ (1327 pts)
20 14 Sister Sledge – We Are Family – Atlantic 12″ (1324 pts)
21 16 Gene Chandler – Get Down – 20th Century 12″ (1311 pts)
22 15 Jacksons – Shake Your Body Down To The Ground – Epic 12″ (1296 pts)
23 07 Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Epic 12″ (1281 pts)
24 59 Bombers – (Everybody) Get Dancin’ – Flamingo 12″ (1278 pts)
25 58 T-Connection – Saturday Night – TK 12″ (1277 pts)
26 41 David Bendeth – Feel The Real – Sidewalk 12″ (1262 pts)
27 38 Gonzalez – Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet – Sidewalk 12″ (1260 pts)
28 32 Chantal Curtis – Get Another Love – Pye 12″ (1240 pts)
29 65 Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance – Infinity 12″ (1239 pts)
30 49 Jackie Moore – This Time Baby – CBS 12″ (1234 pts)
31 64 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love / I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby – Motown 12″ (1218 pts)
32 55 Paulinho Da Costa – Déjà Vu / Love Till The End Of Time – Pablo 12″ (1215 pts)
33 31 Donna Summer – Bad Girls – Casablanca 12″ (1194 pts)
34 28 Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive – Polydor 12″ (1193 pts)
35 24 FLB – Lookin’ For Love Tonight – Fantasy 12″ (1192 pts)
36 22 Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made Up – Salsoul 12″/US 12″ remix (1191 pts)
37 – Players Association – Ride The Groove / Everybody Dance – Vanguard 12″ (1188 pts)
38 45 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″ (1187 pts)
39 40 Gibson Brothers – Cuba – Island 12″ (1186 pts)
40 36 Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 20th Century 12″ (1169 pts)
41 62 FLB – Boogie Town – Fantasy 12″ (1164 pts)
42 12 Kool & The Gang – Ladies’ Night – Mercury 12″ (1123 pts)
43 – Earth, Wind & Fire – In The Stone / Rock That / Let Your Feelings Show – CBS LP (1122 pts)
44 75 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move – TK 12″ (1113 pts)
45 61 George Benson – Love Ballad – Warner Bros. 12″ (1063 pts)
46 43 Herbie Hancock – You Bet Your Love – CBS 12″ (1059 pts)
47 29 Dynasty – I Don’t Want To Be A Freak – Solar 12″ (1056 pts)
48 (tie) 33 Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night – Epic 12″ (1046 pts)
48 (tie) 39 Chic – I Want Your Love / Chic Cheer – Atlantic 12″ (1046 pts)
50 23 Players Association – Turn The Music Up – Vanguard 12″ (1016 pts)
51 34 Herb Alpert – Rise – A&M 12″ (1012 pts)
52 53 Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing – Polydor 12″ (1005 pts)
53 46 Donna Summer – Hot Stuff – Casablanca 12” (1004 pts)
54 19 Village People – YMCA – Mercury 12″/US Casablanca 12″ remix (1001 pts)
55 – Stephanie Mills – Put Your Body In It / What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ – 20th Century 12″ (983 pts)
56 – Gaz – Sing Sing – Salsoul 12″ (975 pts)
57 30 Earth, Wind & Fire – September – CBS 7″ (969 pts)
58 – Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ / Jingo / Thousand Finger Man – Salsoul 12″/LP (966 pts)
59 78 Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance – CBS 12″ (965 pts)
60 68 Diana Ross – The Boss – Motown 12″ (963 pts)
61 (tie) 47 Michael Jackson – Off The Wall – Epic 7″ (951 pts)
61 (tie) 57 Sister Sledge – Lost In Music – Atlantic 7″ (951 pts)
63 – Billy Paul – Bring The Family Back – Philadelphia Int’l 12″ (948 pts)
64 27 Chic – Le Freak – Atlantic 12″ (945 pts)
65 74 Two Man Sound – Que Tal America – Miracle 12″ (920 pts)
66 82 Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood – Atlantic 12″ (919 pts)
67 – Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You – Arista 12″ (916 pts)
68 35 Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove – Warner Bros. 12″ (913 pts)
69 – Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure – Warner Bros. 12″ (905 pts)
70 63 M – Pop Muzik – MCA 12″ (898 pts)
71 – Carrie Lucas – Dance With You – Solar 12″ (885 pts)
72 67 Gene Chandler – When You’re No. 1 – 20th Century 12″ (884 pts)
73 – Gap Band – Baby Baba Boogie – Mercury 12″ (879 pts)
74 42 Earth, Wind & Fire – Star – CBS 7″ (870 pts)
75 69 Light Of The World – Swingin’ – Ensign 12″ (866 pts)
76 – War – Good Good Feelin’ – MCA 12″ (863 pts)
77 – Keith Barrow – Turn Me Up – CBS 12″ (857 pts)
78 73 Kleeer – Keep Your Body Workin’ – Atlantic 12″ (845 pts)
79 (tie) 72 Johnny Mathis – Gone, Gone, Gone – CBS 12″ (842 pts)
79 (tie) – Bell & James – Livin’ It Up (Friday Night) – A&M 12″ (842 pts)
81 (tie) – Skyy – First Time Around / Disco Dancing – Salsoul 12″ (839 pts)
81 (tie) 51 Dan Hartman – Countdown / This Is It – Blue Sky 12″/US 12″ (839 pts)
83 – Jackie McLean – Dr. Jackyll And Mr. Funk – RCA 12″ (828 pts)
84 71 Blondie – Heart Of Glass – Chrysalis 12″ (813 pts)
85 44 Lowrell – Mellow, Mellow Right On – AVI 12″ (812 pts)
86 52 Shalamar – Take That To The Bank – RCA 12″ (803 pts)
87 88 Cognac – How High – Electric 12″ (799 pts)
88 (tie) 56 Stix Hooper – Cordon Bleu / Brazos River Breakdown – MCA 12″ (787 pts)
88 (tie) – Poussez – Come On And Do It – Vanguard 12″ (787 pts)
90 – Grey & Hanks – Dancin’ – RCA 12″ (786 pts)
91 – Fantastic Four – B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Funk) / Sexy Lady – Atlantic 12″/US 12″ remix (785 pts)
92 60 Earth, Wind & Fire – After The Love Has Gone – CBS 7″ (779 pts)
93 79 Narada Michael Walden – I Don’t Want Nobody Else – Atlantic 12″ (775 pts)
94 – GQ – Make My Dream A Reality / This Happy Feeling – Arista 12″ (768 pts)
95 50 Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman – Warner Bros. 12″ (765 pts)
96 87 Donna Summer – Dim All The Lights – Casablanca 12″ (762 pts)
97 – Bill Summers – Straight To The Bank – Prestige 12″ (756 pts)
98 – Olympic Runners – The Bitch – Polydor 12″ (754 pts)
99 – Slick – Sexy Cream – Fantasy 12″ (748 pts)
100 – Shalamar – Right In The Socket – Solar LP (744 pts)

Due to the fact that I’m assigning points to any placement on the chart, my listing seems to place too much emphasis on the number of weeks a song stayed on the chart rather than chart success. The #1 song on my list spent 28 weeks on the chart, surpassed only by ‘Can You Feel The Force’ with 29. 13 songs on the list Mr. Jones put together were left off my list entirely, including the year’s final No. 1, ‘Rapper’s Delight’. And several songs that spent much of their chart runs below #30, like Herbie Hancock’s ‘Tell Everybody’ and T-Connection’s ‘Saturday Night’ did better than some big hits (‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ at #23? ‘Ladies’ Night’ all the way down at #42?).

And here’s the final review of the UK Disco chart since I started transcribing these columns:

Number of titles appearing on the UK Disco chart from September 6, 1975 to December 22, 1979: 1,514

Number of artists appearing on the UK Disco chart from September 6, 1975 to December 22, 1979: 844

Artists with 10 or more titles appearing on the UK Disco chart from September 6, 1975 to December 22, 1979: Donna Summer (14), Rod Stewart (12), ABBA (11), Boney M. (11), Earth, Wind & Fire (11), Rose Royce (10), Tavares (10)

Average length of a title’s stay on the chart (75-79): 7.7 weeks
Average length of a title’s stay on the chart (Top 20 era): 4.7 weeks
Average length of a title’s stay on the chart (Top 50 era): 6.1 weeks
Average length of a title’s stay on the chart (Top 90 era): 9.4 weeks
Average length of a title’s stay on the chart (1979 only): 9.8 weeks

One thought on “December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979”

  1. And so the “Disco Decade”, the 70’s- finally comes to an end and we all looked forward to the computerized age of the 80’s. The top 100 disco hits of 79 includes some of the finest dance music of any era and many of the songs have become iconic – transcending any musical genre. 1979 was the pinnacle of the disco era that had built momentum from late 73 . Looking back it’s amazing how quickly it all seems to have receded from its dominance to become a more underground scene as the 80’s progressed and dance music mutated. Of course no one really noticed at the time- we were all to busy having fun- we still went to the “disco” at the weekends (“clubbing” was still to be “discovered”) If someone said they were going to a club back in the day folks would automatically think you meant a naff working men’s club! The power of music to evoke strong memories is truly powerful. Every song in the top 100 list holds at least one – mostly great- memory. The overall stats for the decade are quite revealing. No surprise to see Donna, Boney M, ABBA, EWF on the list but who would’ve considered Rod Stewart as a top disco act and that the Bee Gees (however naff and uncool they had become) were not on the list of top disco acts? I eagerly read this blog every day with more than a pang of nostalgia and bathed in a warm glow, big smile on my face as I remember those great weekends when I came of age-they truly were “Good Times”

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