Tracks Of My Years

A lifetime, recorded at a rate of one track per year. Not necessarily a favourite track from that year, or the most played. A meaningful moment, though, or one that provides a springboard for rambling about a wider cultural context: the charts; society; growing up; piracy; prog rock…

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 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 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 David Bowie – Underground In all seriousness, Underground is a glorious pop masterpiece that underperformed, from a film that did likewise. >>
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. >>