Sorry, bit pre-occupied this week – our tropical island year is almost over, flying back to England on Friday. Anyway. 1971. Go.
On last week’s thread, Severin posted a link to a Guardian article from 1999 asking Could this be the worst year in the history of pop music?
Well ‘Spillers: could it?
At some point last week I think I read a quote from someone, possibly John Peel, saying that 1977 was the best year for popular culture since 1963.
What was so great about 1963 then?
Do you remember where you were when that happened? Did sex really begin between the Chatterley ban and the Beatles’ first LP? Were you at the Stones’ first gig (even though you were a toddler/not yet born at the time)?
By the way, I’m worried we may be using up all the best years… anybody want to suggest a really bad year instead?
If you’ve been paying attention over the last couple of weeks, you’ll have realised that our next stop is 1977.
What a momentous year for music! The top-selling singles in the UK were “Mull of Kintyre” by Wings, “Don’t Give Up On Us” by David Soul, Julie Covington singing “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”, “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer and “Silver Lady” (David Soul again). Notable albums included Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”, Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” and “Going for the One” by Yes. Other best-selling records included “20 Golden Greats” by the Shadows, “20 Golden Greats” by Diana Ross and the Supremes and “The Sound of Bread”.
Am I missing out on anything significant?
At the end of last week’s hugely enjoyable thread Fuel posted a link to a Guardian article that contained the line “1995 sits with 1967, 1977 and 1988 among pop culture’s true glory years”.
I’m sure the Guardian doesn’t go in for phone hacking, but I’m a little put out that I appear to have had my head hacked.
1988 it is (we’ll come to 1977) though there is some confusion about whether the “Second Summer of Love” was 1988 or 1989. Wikipedia hedges its bets:
The Second Summer of Love is a name given to the period in 1988–89 in Britain, during the rise of acid house music and the euphoric explosion of unlicensed MDMA-fuelled rave parties.The term generally refers to the summers of both 1988 and 1989 when electronic dance music and the prevalence of the drug MDMA fuelled an explosion in youth culture culminating in mass free parties and the era of the rave. LSD was also widely available and popular again. The music of this era fused dance beats with a psychedelic, 1960s flavour, and the dance culture drew parallels with the hedonism and freedom of the Summer of Love in San Francisco two decades earlier. Similarities with the Sixties included fashions such as Tie-dye. The smiley logo is synonymous with this period in the UK.
I have vague memories of repetitive beats coming from the hill a couple of miles away from our house, and smiley stickers made it as far as my primary school. But I also remember the charts: this was a time when Rick Astley was not an ironic internet meme, but a popular recording artist. Ye gods.
So, ‘Spillers: were you leaving an important part of your brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire, swallowing Stock, Aitken and Waterman, or celebrating the twilight of hair metal? Or none of the above?
I think we established last week that 1967 was a pretty good year for music. So some of you had the Summer of Love. My generation? We had Britpop.
Yes, OK, maybe it doesn’t quite compare, but it was, in the immortal words, or word, of Supergrass, alright. The sort of music I liked was suddenly in the charts, on daytime radio, in the media. It was a good time to be 17.
The zenith was 20 years ago this weekend, when Pulp conquered Glastonbury. I was there (my first and, to date, only Glastonbury). It felt, however briefly, like we were part of something important. Like this was the way the future was meant to feel.
Or just 20,000 people standing in a field.
But of course, there was more to 1995 than Britpop. What were you listening to?
One of the downsides of living in a tropical country is that, because it’s always summer, it’s never really summer.
To celebrate the summer solstice, let’s head back to the Summer of Love. Although hate-filled wintry tunes and songs of autumnal indifference from 1967 are welcome too.
Obviously an astonishing time for music. Were you there? Are you sure? How on earth are you going to pick a top 3?