PlaylistSeptember 2014: Tracks of my Years

NeilBy | posted on 1st September 2014

This month and next month I'll be covering four decades, featuring a track from each year from 1974 to 2014, to commemorate my 40th birthday. I know - hard to believe, what with my youthful complexion and joyful approach to life and everything…

[PAUSE FOR LAUGHTER]

Get ready for 41 tracks (because, maths and stuff) of varying degrees of cheesiness and significance, from classic rock to indie pop, maybe a bit of disco, and no doubt some straight up pop along the way, too.

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Tracks of my years Big Star - September Gurls What better way could there be to start a playlist, in September, of songs from the last 40 years of my life? September Gurls is a seminal track by a seminal band. >>
Tracks of my years Neil Young - Cortez The Killer Share Tagstracks of my yearsI know some people have trouble with the voice. Sometimes there's just no getting past it - even ardent fans of Neil Young might not love … >>
Tracks of my years ABBA - Dancing Queen With its Disco beat and signature ABBA craft, Dancing Queen perfectly captures the fleeting euphoria of the dancefloor - "having the time of your life" - not to mention the misconceptions shared by many out there - "you can dance, you can jive"; it unites everyone, while giving each their own dream. >>
Tracks of my years The Stranglers - No More Heroes No More Heroes is a fine example of The Stranglers' knack for a tune that set them apart from some of their peers, with its distinctive keyboard melody and lyric. >>
Tracks of my years Jeff Wayne - Horsell Common and the Heat Ray Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of War of the Worlds was about as far as my interest in progressive rock ever went, and Horsell Common and the Heat Ray is responsible for one of my more terrifying musical memories. >>
Tracks of my years Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about Sultans of Swing, with its lyric inspired by a mediocre pub band Knopfler once saw, and its mesmerising arpeggios from Knopfler's '61 Strat... >>
Tracks of my years Madness - Embarrassment Embarrassment is a reminder of uneasy race relations in the UK in the 70s and 80s. Masterfully, the song’s sucker-punch lyrics are punctuated by the bright brass that was Madness’ trademark. >>
Tracks of my years Shakin' Stevens - This Ole House This Ole House might be a bit cookie-cutter, an example of the too-too-clean ‘80s desire for metronomic beats and karaoke covers, but back then... what a hero we had in Shakin’ Stevens... >>
Tracks of my years The Jam - Beat Surrender Beat Surrender replaces the organ of Town Called Malice with a piano and throws an enormous pile of horns on top. It’s one last hurrah for a band departing, many felt, prematurely. >>
Tracks of my years Howard Jones - What is Love? In a uniquely ‘80s way of navigating through chart waters, What is Love? took seven weeks from its entry at #31 to reach its peak placing at #2. Hard to imagine that path ever being repeated again. >>
Tracks of my years The Smiths - Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now When people say they don't like Morrissey or The Smiths because they find it so depressing, I just think they're not trying hard enough, frankly. It's not a non-stop Klaus Wunderlich dance party, I know, but is it really so miserable? >>
Tracks of my years U2 - The Unforgettable Fire There's a bit about the song at the end, but today's post is really all about Radiohead, Prince, U2 and giving music away for free. >>
Tracks of my years David Bowie - Underground In all seriousness, Underground is a glorious pop masterpiece that underperformed, from a film that did likewise. >>
Tracks of my years George Harrison - Got My Mind Set on You How much you'll enjoy listening to Got My Mind Set on You will be determined in no small part by how you feel about the smooth production and distinctive '80s boom and echo of Jim Keltner's drum sound. >>
Tracks of my years Bomb The Bass - Beat Dis The appeal of Beat Dis lies in its combinations. Samples bounce off one another in endless inventive cycles, and combine with a meaty rhythm section, which results in a track that does a lot more than ape sampling pioneers like Pump Up The Volume. >>
Tracks of my years The Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums She Bangs The Drums became The Stone Roses' first indie chart #1 and their first top 40 hit in July 1989. "The past was yours but the future's mine”, sang Ian Brown, unaware of the brick wall around the corner. Liam Gallagher, the next to let his natural Manchester sounds sheeee-iiine, once chose it as his favourite summer anthem. Sound choice, Liam. >>
Tracks of my years The Charlatans - Sproston Green Sproston Green is the last track on Some Friendly, and was said to be lead singer Tim Burgess' favourite Charlatans song at the time. It's the kind of song that sits up and begs to be played at a neighbour or parent-offending volume, and that's generally how I listened to it. >>
Tracks of my years Teenage Fanclub - Star Sign Share Tags90sBig Starindieindie rockindie-popScottishtracks of my yearsThis is where picking a single song to represent a year starts to get tricky. 1991 wasn't where everything changed for me, but it's … >>
Tracks of my years The House of Love - Feel Babe Rainbow was a beautiful creation, but despite the melancholic splendour of The Girl with the Loneliest Eyes, the anthemic Feel, and the collapsing beauty of Yer Eyes, no-one seemed particularly interested. >>