The exercise: List one song for each year of your life. The rules:
1. No covers.
2. Limit one song per artist.
3. All songs are to be selected sincerely, with neither irony or sarcasm intended.
Also, for the most part, I'm going by the year the Billboard Hot 100 lists for each song, not necessarily when the album was released.
1976: "Take It To the Limit" by The Eagles
On Sunday mornings when I was little, my father (to whom I owe my incredibly eclectic musical tastes) would take out his LPs, crank up the stereo and sing, and occasionally dance. It was just a musical celebration, an outpouring of passion. There was Alabama and there was Charlie Pride and there was George Jones and there was Ronnie Millsap and there was The Eagles. For whatever reason, this song defines those mornings for me. Recently, during a very dark time, I got in the car and this was playing on the radio. I cried and released a bunch of baggage and for one night I was a kid again.
1977: "Looks Like We Made It" by Barry Manilow
Okay, and seriously, no irony here. Although I'm not so much choosing this song because I love Barry. I do really like this song, as schmaltzy at it is, and when I was 3 and 4 years old, I was obsessed with Manilow for some reason. I'm glad I rediscovered his music lately; he's cheesy, but he's brilliant.
1978: "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by Olivia Newton-John
Wow, I'm even a little surprised at myself with these last two picks. But Grease was a movie I loved as a kid, and this was my favorite of the songs added for the film. I LOVE Olivia's voice, and this song is just crafted so well.
1979: "My Sharona" by The Knack
I thought about "What A Fool Believes" by the Doobies, and even thought about using my Olivia Newton-John entry here with "A Little More Love". But "My Sharona" just kicks so much ass. Oh, and I also didn't want to copy John's choice of London Calling or I might have gone with "Spanish Bombs" or "Clampdown".
1980: "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders
1) The Pretenders are awesome and Chrissie Hynde has one of the sickest voices in rock. And I love this song. 2) Scarlett Johansson doing this song in Lost In Translation. As you were.
1981: "Hello Again" by Neil Diamond
I mainly chose this song because of sentimental value it has for me. I think Neil is an unbelievable songwriter, even though some of his stuff isn't my cup of tea. Very nearly went with the "Theme from 'The Greatest American Hero'", though. I loved that show and it reminds me of being a kid.
1982: "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson
I love Willie, I love Willie's songs, I love Willie's voice. I really love this song. Also, I chose this instead of going with "Rosanna" by Toto or "Open Arms" by Journey and proving what a top-40-lovin' motherf&$*er I actually am. :) Sidebar: this is the year dylansthinman's list will start on.
1983: "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
So many good tunes this year! This was a difficult choice, but I got the chance to give Marvin a nod. Let Marvin hereby stand in for Stevie and Sam and Rev. Al and The O'Jays and The Spinners and The Supremes and Gladys & the Pips. All those genius 60s/70s R&B singers that I'm not going to represent by picking "I Just Called to Say I Love You".
1984: "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" by Elton John
One of the last really awesome songs that Elton did. This was the first song I taped from the radio when I got my first boombox.
1985: "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon
Wow. Well this one just shows my weakness for the power ballad. This was seriously my favorite song for a long time as a kid.
1986: "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys
I really like this song. There were a couple of other tunes I nearly picked, but it was mainly those songs relationships to favorite films from childhood ("Glory of Love" from The Karate Kid Part 2 and "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun) that recommended them.
1987: "Alone" by Heart
I f-ing love Heart. I really like female fronted rock bands. I love Nancy's guitar and Ann's rock scream. I adore this song, even when it is abused in karaoke and on American Idol. And I'm also putting this in because I didn't get to "Magic Man" back in my '70s picks. And yeah, I picked this tune from the year The Joshua Tree came out. So sue me.
1988: "Sweet Child O'Mine" by Guns N' Roses
I know there were better albums by better bands around this time, but being from West Texas, Guns N' Roses was way more a part of my childhood than those other bands.
1989: "Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls
Indigo Girls is one of my favorite, favorite bands, so I figured I'd put their iconic song on this list. I think that Emily Saliers is one of the most ingenious lyric writers in the world, and I really would like to think that I'm related somehow to Amy Ray.
1990: "Love Shack" by the B-52s
I think this is the greatest group karaoke song ever. That might be a dumb reason, but it's mine.
1991: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
Picking it for all the same reasons John did. Probably the most important song of the 90s for pop music.
1992: "One" by U2
Achtung Baby is one of my favorite albums and this is my favorite song on it. The album was released in 91, but the single was released in '92, so I'm going with it. "One life with each other, sisters and brothers," is one of the greatest lines in music.
1993: "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors
This song just always makes me happy and reminds me of my youth. That's all.
1994: "These Apples" by Barenaked Ladies"
Okay, this one has less to do with the song and more to do with getting a BNL tune on the list. This is a more obscure song from one of their more obscure albums. It is also one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of my favorite band of all time. And I had nothing good to put on this year.
1995: "Wonderwall" by Oasis
I just remember this song being on constantly in the dorms at school. It's another tune that transports me back to a fun time.
1996: "Follow You Down" by Gin Blossoms
I was solely into contemporary Christian music for quite a bit of the 90s. When I finally came out of that haze, Congratulations, I'm Sorry was the first "secular" album I bought. So this is in honor of that.
1997: "Brick" by Ben Folds
Ben Folds is probably tied with Barenaked Ladies for my favorite musical artist ever. He is a brilliant songwriter who combines fun and irony with insight, clever lyrics, tuneful music and wicked piano skills. This is probably his most famous and successful single, from the Whatever and Ever Amen album. Unlike a lot of bands/singers, I've found that I enjoy Folds' stuff more as he matures. I like this old stuff, but his newer stuff (especially on the EPs he's put out lately, is amazing.
1998: "P.S. You Rock My World" by Eels
Electro-Shock Blues. Electro-Shock Blues. Electro-Shock Blues. I'm just gonna keep saying this. One of my personal all-time favorite albums. "And how the careful man tries to dodge the bullets while the happy man takes a walk." This song can bring tears to my eyes easily.
1999: "Slide" by Goo Goo Dolls
I really like Goo Goo Dolls, and as with most bands who start off as "true rockers" and "sell out", I like them better in their post "sell-out" phase (see also: Metallica). That's just how I roll. This is probably my favorite of their tunes.
2000: "Everything In Its Right Place" by Radiohead
I like Radiohead even though I don't really like hard discordant rock or electronic music that much. But the blend by this band works for me. I like OK Computer and The Bends more than Kid A, but I really like this tune and the fact that I can get into this album, as challenging as it is, shows how good this band is.
2001: "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five for Fighting
I like Five for Fighting's stuff in general, but this song holds a special place for me as it was the inspiration for one of my plays, Faster Than A Speeding Bullet
2002: "The Next Ten Minutes" from The Last Five Years
Not incredibly impressed with anything in pop music this year, so I'll mention one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals. It was definitely one of the theatre-going highlights of my life. This beautiful, painful show involves a relationship, beginning to end, told from the perspectives of both participants. His story moves beginning to end, hers moves end to beginning. In this song, which covers his proposal and their wedding, the two meet and cross, and finally sing together for the only time in the entire show. Stunning stuff.
2003: "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service
First time I listened to this album with earphones was like a religious experience. Almost as good as the first time I heard "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder up close. There's so much going on, sound-wise. I love the two more recognized singles, but somehow the energy of this tune always gets me.
2004: "American Idiot" by Green Day
2004 was a pretty dark year, nationally. It really felt like things were just going to keep getting worse and worse. This song reminds me of that. yay...
2005: "Arc of Time" by Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes is one of those artists/groups...whatever you want to call him/them...that I have come to enjoy somewhat. I don't like everything, but there are somethings that Oberst does that I like very much. I really like this tune, mostly because genius designer nickkeenan used it in the design for the production of Accelerando that I directed at New Leaf Theatre.
2006: "I Bet You Look Good On the Dance Floor" by Arctic Monkeys
This was around the time I first started getting into what I guess could be called "indie" music. Even though the Monkeys are not that anymore, when I first heard this tune, they didn't have a record out. I downloaded it and have been loving it ever since.
2007: "No One" by Alicia Keys
Okay, here's why. I like this song okay, I suppose. But this was the year that I took my first trip to Europe. It was incredibly memorable, and one of the memories I'll always have is that EVERYWHERE we went, whether in Italy, France or Spain, "No One" was on the radio. Everywhere.
2008: "A-Punk" by Vampire Weekend
My favorite new band in quite a while. It's like The Clash meets Paul Simon...or something. This whole album is fun.