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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Dec 2019 > YEAR ZERO


As another decade draws to a close, Daniel Dylan Wray speaks to some of the key players from the final year of the 70s, a year that saw the passing of the baton from punk’s visceral charge to a whole wave of sonic innovators who would redraw the musical map

IF a single musical year from the 1970s is picked out for special mention it’s usually 1977. A landmark often deemed as year zero; the year that punk broke and cracked open a new era that changed music and the ethos behind it forever. The Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch EP kicked off the year and influenced a thousand young bands, Television’s Marquee Moon became a blueprint for art rock, Iggy Pop released his two best solo albums (The Idiot and Lust For Life) within months of one another and everyone from David Bowie to Wire released epoch-defining music. But it was also a transitional year, a period when mainstream 1970s rock, from Steely Dan to Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac, was still holding far more sway and attention. Arguably, the full reverberations of this landmark year could be felt more comprehensively and eclectically a couple of years down the line.

1979 is as crucial a year in British music as any in history. The potential that punk offered two years prior had now been fully realised by many, as a group of more experimentally leaning artists found themselves hurtling forward at breakneck speed into new sounds and territories. “The transition from 1975 to 1979 felt like 100 years,” says Mark Stewart of The Pop Group, a band whose debut album Y that year fused the worlds of dub with discordant noise and agitated rhythms. “It was like an industrial revolution had taken place. 1979 was a time of real change – it was like we’d gone from medieval people to highly evolved spacemen. It was crazy, it was like where did all these people come from?”

1979 exists as such a pivotal year because of the multifaceted ecosystem that alternative music made up that year. Seminal post-punk records were released by the likes of Joy Division, The Cure, Gang Of Four, The Slits, The Raincoats, This Heat, Wire, The Fall and so on. But alongside this there was the reawakening of ska and the release of The Specials’ debut album; electronic music began to pulse more prominently as the likes of Gary Numan and The Human League reared their heads and Throbbing Gristle released the genre-busting 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Not to mention that the very same month that Throbbing Gristle sent listeners spinning into the future, punk’s last swansong London Calling was released.

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About Long Live Vinyl

The Clash, Gang Of Four, Buzzcocks, The Pop Group… 1979 was a hell of a year for music! Our epic cover feature tells the true story behind one of the most influential albums of all time, London Calling, as a new deluxe 40th anniversary reissue is unveiled. We also speak to a host of bands who wouldn't have existed without The Clash's revolutionary masterpiece. In other 1979 news, we've rounded up the key members of the post-punk movement that shaped one of British music's greatest years to tell us why it was so special and dig out some of the essential records from the final year of the 70s. Elsewhere, we count down the 40 greatest double albums of all time, London Calling included – from Tago Mago to Daydream Nation via Songs In The Key Of Life and The White Album. How many have you got? Talking of great classic albums, we take an in-depth look at Gene Clark's lost masterpiece No Other, finally given a reissue by 4AD this month. And our packed interviews section brings you chats with ELO legend Jeff Lynne, rising Irish folk heroes Lankum, indie veterans Stereophonics and Tindersticks as they tell us about their new albums. If all that's not enough you'll find a host of new release and reissue reviews from the likes of Nick Cave, The Rolling Stones, Prince, R.E.M., The Who, FKA Twigs and Michael Kiwanuka, as well as the latest turntable reviews. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.