Fittingly, and not so surprisingly given its preceding years' musical climate changes, the last 12 months of the '70s marked the turning of an era.

Just as punk turned to new wave and post-punk, coloring pop music along the way, classic rock started to absorb some of these changes, as veteran artists such as Pink Floyd and Neil Young began incorporating some of these burgeoning styles into their music.

As you'll see in the below list of Top 50 Albums of 1979, as chosen by the UCR staff, it was a year of transitions, bending of genres, big debuts and famous last stands. Some of the '70s' biggest names are here - Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney all released albums - as are emerging artists whose influence would be felt for decades to come.

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Most artists were still on an annual album release schedule, with a handful still adhering to multiple LP releases as acts had done in the '60s. Newcomer Joe Jackson and relative newcomers Motorhead both had a busy 1979, but others slowed their pace, leaving long gaps - at least for the time - between records. Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin each waited two or more years between No. 1 albums to issue follow-ups.

The Top 50 Albums of 1979 include a mix of artists who'd been making music since the '60s and those who'd formed only a short time earlier; disco, pop, dub, punk and experimental sounds rub alongside jazz, rock, world and easy listening. It was the end of a decade that adapted to its era with open-armed excitement.

Top 50 Albums of 1979

It was a year of era-defining changes, bending of genres, big debuts and famous last stands.

Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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