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Only 11 albums topped the charts in the last year of the 70s and it was a year characterised by records that hit the top spot, fell off and then returned again to #1 for a second time. This was the case with the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Doobie Brothers and Supertramp. From early March to early August they were the chart topping albums on two occasions each. It’s relatively unusual, though far from unknown, for this to happen to an album, but for it to be the case for four consecutive albums is unique in the Billboard listings.
The Bee Gees had five weeks at the top, interrupted for 2 by the Doobies, but returned for one more, only to be removed by the Doobies again who topped for 3 weeks, finally being replaced by Supertramp for five weeks. Donna Summer then replaced them for a week, but the ‘tramp were not done yet, and leaped to the top again for 2 more weeks. But Donna wasn’t having this and booted them off again, sitting atop the charts for 5 weeks before The Knack replaced her for 5 weeks.
The year concluded with two of the behemoths of classic rock shifting serious units. Led Zeppelin ruled the charts for 7 weeks with a record that is very close to my heart as it was part of the soundtrack to my first year of leaving home. It would sell over 6 million but was replaced by the Eagles final offering for 15 years, which, despite being forged in acrimony, was hugely popular, selling over 8 million in the USA.
It’s 9 weeks at the top meant it spent both Christmas and New Year at the pinnacle of the charts, being deposed in the first week of 1980 by a Donna Summer compilation. Heartache Tonight also topped the single chart. Hard to overstate just how popular the Eagles were (and still are) and how many units they shifted as the decade ended.
Chart Topping Albums of 1979
Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 - Barbra Streisand (3 weeks)
52nd Street - Billy Joel (1 week)
Briefcase Full of Blues - Blues Brothers (1 week)
Blondes Have More Fun - Rod Stewart (3 weeks)
Spirits Having Flown - Bee Gees
Minute by Minute - Doobie Brothers
Breakfast in America - Supertramp
Bad Girls - Donna Summer
Get the Knack - The Knack
In Through the Out Door - Led Zeppelin
The Long Run - Eagles