Songs That Defined A Decade

decades

I was thinking of creating a new play list on the old iPod, one that chronicled the evolution of pop music through the decades, just to see if things have really changed that much. In my experience the debate on which decade produced the “best” music comes up more than genre, artist or album, and the side one takes is usually directly proportionate to when they went to high school, when they grew up. Although we like to think that as we age our musical tastes expand to include a respect for music of all genres and all eras we usually come back to that defining moment in our life where music ceased to be merely background music and where we really started appreciating it as an art form.
Although I graduated high school in 1988 (?) I recognize that much of the music from that decade was a wasteland. I contend, however, that the music from the early part of that decade (1980-1985) was fantastically creative and fertile, spawning some great bands and some even greater albums. Ignore the MTV hits and terribly compiled “various artists” albums; dig a little deeper, go a little more underground and you’ll find some terrific, brave little pop gems that helped shape the musical landscape of the 90’s and ‘00’s. The creativity and experimentation that was rampant in the early 80’s also inspired, for better and worse, some of your favorite dinosaur bands to get off their arses and try to be vital again. Yes and their tune “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, Alice Cooper’s “Clones (We’re All)”, to name but a couple.
It’s all evolution folks. Elvis begat The Beatles, The Beatles begat The Doors, The Doors begat The Stooges, The Stooges begat The New York Dolls, The Dolls begat The Ramones And The Sex Pistols, The Pistols begat Suicide, Suicide begat Joy Division/New Order…you get the idea.
Anyway, back to the list. I tried this with one song for each decade and it was too bloody difficult, then 3 but that still didn’t work, then finally settled on 5…5 songs that I feel properly reflected the feeling of each decade. The 60’s and the 70’s were the hardest, the 50’s and the ‘00’s the easiest. Just for kicks I included the albums as well. Tell me what you think. I’ll be back in Knoxville for a full week so this post will remain up for that duration, plenty of time for you folks to pull your hair out, curse my name and get all ornery in the comments section. Exactly what I hope will happen. This was really freakin’ difficult! I left off so many worthy songs and albums I’m sick to my stomach. Oh well, that’s what you’re here for, to tell me I suck, right? BTW, I am quite aware of the freaky font thing happenin’ on this site and I’m trying to fix it. It’s ubber annoying!
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THE SONGS OF THE 1950’s
Bill Haley And The Comets: Rock Around The Clock
Buddy Holly: That’ll Be The Day
Elvis Presley: Blue Suede Shoes
Frank Sinatra: You Make Me Feel So Young

Chuck Berry: Johnny B. Goode

THE ALBUMS OF THE 1950’S

Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley

Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue

Frank Sinatra: In The Wee Small Hours

Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry Is On Top

Buddy Holly: Buddy Holly

 

THE SONGS OF THE 1960’S

The Beatles: A Day In The Life

The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset

Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone

The Doors: Light My Fire

The Beach Boys: God Only Knows

THE ALBUMS OF THE 1960’S

The Beatles: Revolver

The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed

Bob Dylan: Hwy. 61 Revisited

Velvet Underground: the VU and Nico

The Kinks: The Village Green Preservation Society

 

THE SONGS OF THE 1970’S

God Save The Queen: The Sex Pistols

Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody

Neil Young: Heart Of Gold

The Clash: London Calling

THE ALBUMS OF THE 1970’S

The Clash: London Calling

The Cars: The Cars

Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model

David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool

 

THE SONGS OF THE 1980’S

How Soon Is Now: The Smiths

The Pet Shop Boys: Left To My Own Devices

The Stone Roses: Fool’s Gold

Specials: Concrete Jungle

New Order: Blue Monday

THE ALBUMS OF THE 1980’S

The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead

New Order: Power, Corruption And Lies

The Specials: The Specials

XTC: Skylarking

Squeeze: Argy Bargy

 

 THE SONGS OF THE 1990’S

Primal Scream: Loaded

Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Happy Mondays: Step On

Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah

Pulp: Common People

THE ALBUMS OF THE 1990’S

The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin

Mercury Rev: Deserters Songs

Primal Scream: Screamadelica

Happy Mondays: Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches

The Boo Radleys: Giant Steps

 

 THE SONGS OF THE 00’S

The Flaming Lips: Do You Realize?

Wilco: Jesus, Etc.

Nick Cave: Get Ready For Love

LCD Soundsystem: North American Scum

My Morning Jacket: It Beats 4 U

THE ALBUMS OF THE ‘00’S

Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Nick Lowe: At My Age

Nick Cave: Dig Lazarus Dig!

My Morning Jacket: Z

Super Furry Animals: Rings Around The World

 

 

 

 

 

 

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