Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.
Barry Manilow: Greatest Hits
This was a really hard one. There were a lot of great albums in 1978, many of which are more representative of my taste than Barry Manilow. The debuts of The Cars, The Police, Siouxie and the Banshees, Devo, and Van Halen; Blondie's Parallel Lines. In other words, lots of bands that I would come to love in the next few years, but hadn't heard of yet. It's strange to think about all this music coming out that would become so influential to me, but I was still listening to my parents' stuff.
And enjoying it, I should add out of fairness. So while I'd love to pretend that I was an early adapter of Siouxie and the Banshees, I can't pick their first album as my favorite from this year. I picked a couple of retroactive favorites early in this list, but that's because there weren't any other albums from those years that I remember listening to. In 1978, I was definitely listening to Barry Manilow.
And Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. I almost made this year a tie between those two albums. And it's kind of cool because they both so perfectly represent my mother's and my father's tastes. My mom was all about the easy listening stuff. John Denver was as radical as she got. Other than him, it was all Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, and the Carpenters. (Another honorable mention from 1978 is The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait album, which is now one of my favorite Christmas albums though we didn't have it when it first came out.) Mom would've listened to an all-Muzak station if there'd been one.
My dad was the country/folk fan. He's responsible for my love of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kenny Rogers. Well, early Kenny Rogers anyway. We wore The Gambler out and I could sing the title track by heart, but looking at it and Manilow's Greatest Hits side-by-side, it's Manilow that I'm most nostalgic for and am adding to my shopping list.
Incidentally, Greatest Hits was a double-album when it first came out. Nowadays you've got to buy two CDs to get all those songs (and even then, there are a couple of minor differences between the track listings).