The explosion of creativity and expansion of musical frontiers that occurred in the 60s started to mature in the early 70s.
Many artists did their most prolific work in this decade. Led Zepplin with their Led Zeppelin III and Led Zeppelin IV releases produced songs like “Black Dog,” “Immigrant Song” and the infamous guitar store staple “Stairway to Heaven.” These are classics that belong in any rock collection. I could go on about great bands like Credence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton’s solo work, and one of my favorites, The Allman Brothers Band. However, I feel the most defining staples of 70s music is concept albums.
These records were based around a central idea supported by all the songs on the album. Dark Side of the Moon from Pink Floyd has eaten up many a music aficionado’s afternoon along with a bag of Funyuns and a bag of some other stuff that’s now legal in our fine state. Another great example is Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, which features a single song, split only by flipping the record.
The pinnacle, for me, comes from The Who’s rock operas. Their follow up to Tommy, their ’73 release Quadrophenia tells the story about a young man in 1960s London who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, with each personality representing the different members of the band. Both albums tell such adventurous stories.
While there has been much ambitious material to come out in the decades since, there has been very little that could approach the originality of the early pioneers of long format albums.
In a decade of glam metal and hairspray, synthesized pop and rap, the women rockers of the 80s are mostly overlooked.
Although I was rockin’ a pretty mean spiral perm, in the fashion of some White Snake wannabe, I was empowered by artists like Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Patty Smyth, and Stevie Nicks.
All of these women were the perfect blend of rock spirit and femininity, showing me that women can be edgy, like their male counterparts, but can still maintain their female attitudes.
Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was like a battle song for me. You can mess with me, but I will keep on standing.
“I Love Rock N’ Roll,” “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” and “Love Stinks” by Joan Jett – need I say more? I don’t need to, but I’m going to anyway. The woman oozed rock from every pore.
Smyth was the ultimate rocker chick. Even Eddie Van Halen considered her as a replacement for David Lee Roth. Some of Smyth’s 80s hits included “The Warrior” and “Goodbye to You.”
There was something about the raspy voice of Stevie Nicks that drew me into her music. The former Fleetwood Mac singer might be considered, by some, to be a pop singer, but I put her in the rock category because of her rock arrangements and lyrics. There is nothing bubblegum about this witchy woman.
There will be those who disagree with me, but there is no denying that this group of women set a high standard for chick rock – hard to be touched by any of today’s artists.
The 90s were an interesting time for music.
It saw the invention of grunge, thanks to the band from the rainy city, Nirvana. But pop music groups, especially boy bands, saw a huge uprising.
Some of the biggest chart toppers of the decade still get airtime today, like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Others were definite one hit wonders like The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” Some of the pop-punk bands that still are popular today got their start in the 90s, like Blink-182, Green Day and Weezer.
I was a lucky child in the 90s. My dad was the district manager for the music store Disc Jockey, which unfortunately went under. But as a child, it meant that I was introduced to good music at a very young age.
I grew up with U2, The Pretenders and other 80s bands that cruised on into the 90s. One of my favorite songs of all time is “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. But this is not to say that I didn’t love myself some poppy goodness. When I was nine years old, *NSYNC and Britney Spears were all that and a bag of chips to me. Like so many other little girls, I made dances to my favorite boy band.
Don’t even get me started on the Spice Girls. I had three sisters, and we each had our own Spice Girl that we would play pretend games as. Except my youngest sister — she had to be either Ginger or Scary because they weren’t cool enough for the rest of us.
The 90s was a world of colorful zipper jackets, JNCO jeans, and flashy printed shirts. Musically, I loved every minute of it.
Thank goodness the world didn’t end in 2000.
If Y2K had brought the apocalypse, Outkast wouldn’t have inspired us to shake it like a Polaroid picture. We would never have learned about Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” and what wasn’t one of them.
We wouldn’t have heard about “Stacy’s Mom,” and how she’s got it going on or how even a “Seven Nation Army” couldn’t hold The White Stripes back. Sexy would have been missing forever, because Justin Timberlake never would have brought it back.
When the pimps were in the crib, we wouldn’t have learned to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Amy Winehouse would never have warned us that she wasn’t going to go to “Rehab.” SisQó never would’ve asked to see our thongs. Our thongs, thongs, thongs, thong-thongs. The Killers would never have seen the “brightside.” California never would have been “icated.”
Eminem wouldn’t have lost himself in the music — the moment he owned it, he would’ve let it go. Green Day wouldn’t have released an album that pissed off a large amount of American idiots. Modest Mouse would have sunk in, instead of floating on. We would never have seen The Postal Service waving from “Such Great Heights.”
Sunday never would have been taken back, and cute would still be spelled with the ‘e.’ The boy wouldn’t have fallen out, and sugar would not have gone down swinging. The disco would have remained calm.
I’ve never been so relieved the world didn’t end.