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Forty years ago, in 1978, I was 16, and those were good times.

They weren't good times simply because I was 16 (although that can be a very care-free age). And they weren't good times because 1978 was better than 2018 (we could argue that either way, depending upon the factors that make something good or bad).

The television shows in 1978 weren't the best of all-time.

Top shows in 1978 included "Laverne and Shirley," "Three's Company," "Mork and Mindy" and "Happy Days." Oh, my! Okay, we can at least say those sitcoms were successful in that they made us laugh. But high-quality programming they were not.

I remember how my dad questioned just exactly where in the world things were headed when he looked at TV back then. It's not that TV was horribly immoral or anything like that. It's just that it didn't always suit him.

"I wonder what is going on in this country," he said, "If "Laverne and Shirley" and "Mork and Mindy" are the best we can do."

What about movies?

Hollywood did okay in 1978. The first "Superman" movie did very well. So did the comedy, "Animal House." And the musical "Grease"? It was a smash hit, well-received by the young and old alike.

But when I think back to when I was 16, and all of the memories, I don't really think a lot about TV or the movie theaters as much as I remember the music. And 1978 had plenty for everyone.

Disco was on top of the world, with the Gibb brothers leading the way. In 1978, the Bee Gees had top hits with "Stayin' Alive," "Night Fever," and "How Deep is Your Love." That's not bad for a year's work.

And little brother Andy Gibb had big hits himself in "Shadow Dancing," "Love is Thicker than Water" and "An Everlasting Love."

But with disco music in its heyday, it wasn't all about the Gibbs. Disco and dance music came in the form of hit songs like "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps, "Freak Out" by Le Freak, "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey and more.

Rock music from the early '70s was still there in force. In 1978, Boston released "Don't Look Back," Cheap Trick sang "Surrender," Foreigner performed "Hot Blooded," and The Rolling Stones had a top-selling hit in "Miss You."

In addition, Queen came out with "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions" -- songs that are among the best-known in rock history, still resonating with each new generation.

Soft rock hits also had their place, with Kansas singing "Dust in the Wind," and Styx coming out with "Come Sail Away."

Love songs were big, with Debby Boone singing "You Light up my Life," the Commodores performing 'Three Times a Lady," and Paul Davis with his hit, "I Go Crazy."

And we could consider John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's 1978 hit, "You're the One that I Want" to be a love song -- triumphant and upbeat though it was -- but a love song nonetheless.

Rhythm, blues and soul music were well-represented in 1978 with "Everyone's a Winner" by Hot Chocolate, "Every Time I Turn Around I'm Back in Love Again" by LTD, and "September" by Earth Wind and Fire (released late in 1978).

Some songs from 1978 simply can't be categorized. Blonde sang "Heart of Glass," The Village People came out with "YMCA" and Jimmy Buffet sang about a "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

We could go on. In 1978 there was music by Frankie Valli, Barry Manilow, Dire Straits, the Cars, Meat Loaf, Wings, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Abba, Donna Summer, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh, the O'Jays, Pablo Cruise, Paul Simon, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Bob Seger, Dolly Parton, Steely Dan, Jefferson Starship, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Electric Light Orchestra.

Yes, 1978 was a pretty good year.

And its music helps it live on.

• • •

David Wilson, Ed.D., of Springdale, is a former high school principal and is the communications director for the Transit and Parking Department at the University of Arkansas. His book, "Learning Every Day," is available on Amazon. He may be contacted by email at Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Those were the good times -- 40 years ago

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