December 14 – Grapevine, Saturday Night Fever, London Calling

1968


First album from 1961

Marvin Gaye‘s fine fine I Heard It Through the Grapevine tops the US charts.

The song’s written by the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong (who sang Motown‘s first hit, Money). It was first recorded (Aug. 1966) by The Miracles (but doesn’t appear until 1968 album Special Occasion). . Then Gladys Knight & the Pips had a US#2 hit with it in 1967 while at Motown. (California rockers Creedence Clearwater Revival will include a rootsy 11-minute version on their fifth, July, 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory ).

Gaye’s 1968 cover breaks him into the UK top-10 for the first time, and ‘Grapevine’ becomes his signature song.

All-in-all the Marvin phenomenon lands 41 singles in the US top-40 charts starting in 1961, most of them on Motown’s Tamla imprint. I want to come home for christmas 
▷AllMusic bio ▹  ( Fansite ▷Soulwalking:Gaye ▹ ▷Early years ▹ ▷1982 James Baldwin civil-rights docu ▹

1977

Release of film Saturday Night Fever, a John Travolta vehicle in which he plays ‘king of the disco’.

Pulling in $237M, the popular film helps popularize disco. The BeeGees soundtrack album (UK#1) spends 24 weeks at US#1, spawns five US#1 singles, and is the second best-selling of all time (behind 1992’s The Bodyguard). Stayin’ Alive  How Deep 

1979

Brit punkers The Clash release third album London Calling in the UK.

The US release is January, 1980. It charts UK#9, US#27. The cover of the 65-minute double album pictures Paul Simonon smashing his Fender Precision Bass;

in 2002 Q names it the best R&R cover ever. It’s an homage to Elvis’ debut RCA album Elvis Presley.

In 1987 Rolling Stone ranks it #14 in the past 20 years … that’s some tough competition.
London Calling, NJ 1980   Reader’s Choice Best Album Art