1979: The Year the Dam Began to Burst

In a song from a fantastic album I will be visiting much further down the line, Saxon asks, “Where were you in ’79 when the dam began to burst?”


Well, I can definitely say where I was in 1979 and unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing denim and leather. For me, that year was a major and I mean major turning point in my life. The middle of the year was especially eventful for me. In the space of 32 days from June 7 to July 9, I turned eighteen, graduated high school and then was off to Parris Island, South Carolina for boot camp in the marines. For the next twelve weeks, I was ruled with an iron hand. I heard no music, saw no movies and didn’t even see any television until the last three weeks of training and then that was only for one hour a night. I did get teased one night when I pulled a guard duty near a window with the radio blaring out. I don’t remember any songs, but I do remember hearing an advert for the Ted Nugent concert in Savanah, Georgia in a few weeks time.

The top songs before and after boot camp pretty much sums up the year for me musically. Before I left, the popular song was the disco tune, “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward. When I came home on leave after graduation, it was “My Sharona” by The Knack. My “Death before disco” attitude was already entrenched in my mind, so I was happy that disco seemed to be on the way out. One thing that definitely died that year was my AM clock radio.

One thing that the marines did for me was to open my mind to new forms of music. Being around many more African Americans introduced me to rap and non commercial soul music. Being stationed in North Carolina, I got a better feel for country music, but the best thing was discovering a genre that was made it’s way into more mainstream, Southern Rock. It was here, I first heard great albums by Molly Hatchet, 38 Special and Blackfoot and will be visiting their albums down the line.

Molly Hatchet

Of course, the marines provided my access to the up and coming genre I would come to know and love as heavy metal. It was here, I first heard Van Halen and Rush as well as Ted Nugent. My musical world was definitely growing as you will see from all the albums that will be visited throughout the next few months.

Next post: Cheap Trick- At Boudakan

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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2 Responses to “1979: The Year the Dam Began to Burst”

  1. That song was written about me, my mates and the rest of the Metal Heads who went to Saxon, Motorhead and the likes concerts. A truly fantastic time for me to get into rock music. We had the whole NWOBHM thing going on and there was a gig happening somewhere all the time. In this year, even in the backwater that Swansea is, we had gigs by Budgie, Gillan, White Spirit, A 11 Z, Girlschool, Spider, Hawkwind, The Enid, Marillion, Praying Mantis, Iron Maiden ( what a freakin’ gig, lots of dry ice) Judie Tzuke, Vardis, Def Leppard, Demon and a hell of a lot of bands that have gone forever. What a time. And I was at Donington 1980- all the bands were amazing- a fantastic day.
    “It was you, that kept the spirit free”.
    Still doing it Biff, still doing it.
    Looking forward to your 1979 reviews Mike, Cheap Trick at Budokan eh- Possibly one of the best live albums ever, and I have a copy on that yellow vinyl pressing. With a number.
    Be good.


    • Wow, it does seem like a really good year and I must thank you John, you’ve given me some more artists to cover for the year. I would have missed them out otherwise. I hope you enjoy the journey through 1979.


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