Podcast #10: Songs Named After Years
As we round the corner on another year and prepare for the the dawning of a brand new decade, we thought it appropriate to take a look at some songs focused on years — or at least songs that reference them in their titles. We left out some obvious choices — “Summer of ‘69″ by Bryan Adams, “1979″ by Smashing Pumpkins and “1999″ by Prince for example — since they didn’t seem to need the exposure. But that still left plenty of great tunes for this, our tenth podcast (ten podcasts in five years — go us!), which spans 73 years, starting in 1916 up concluding in 1989. As always, the songs are available ala carte until they expire or forever as part of the podcast, which you can subscribe to here.
Neutral Milk Hotel, “Holland, 1945″
This overdriven pop tune — which may or may not be about the death and reincarnation of Anne Frank — remained untitled until the art director of the album it appears on, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” suggested the band simply combine the song’s two potential titles, “1945″ and “Holland.”
Less Than Jake – “1989″
In between major labels, Less Than Jake made a one-album pitstop at Fat Wreck Chords, which produced this track, an ode to the last year of the 1980s.
The Stooges, “1969″
The first song on the first album by The Stooges is a motherfucker of raw power as Ron Asheton assaults his fuzzed out guitars underneath Iggy Pop’s lyrical frustrations at being the ripe of age of 21.
Ryan Adams, “1974″
Adams marks the year of his birth with this hard-rocking ode to 1974. The song appears on his “Rock n Roll” album, which was recorded in two weeks after his label refused to release “Love Is Hell” thanks to its mopey themes. The label eventually released the record, but only after Adams also promised to deliver a rock & roll record, which he titled “Rock n Roll” as a not-so-subtle fuck you to the label.
The Clash, “1977″
“No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones,” insists Joe Strummer on the chorus to this B-side from the Clash’s first single, “White Riot,” a statement about the irrelevant nature of the aging rock star. It was a bold statement for a young band, but having strong opinions is what the Clash was all about.
Josh Rouse, “1972″
1972 is the year this indie folkie was born. Its also the title of his fourth record, which was an ode to soft rock, like Carole King, who he name drops in the opening verse of the song. Other things that happened in 1972: “The Godfather” was released in theaters, Atari released Pong and and the Watergate scandal broke.
The Who, “1921″
Pete Townshend sings lead on this sunny piano-driven pop tune from side one of the 1969 double-LP rock opera “Tommy.”
Clem Snide, “1989″
Led by the awesomely-named Eef Barzelay, Clem Snide released this year song on their sophomore LP, “Your Favorite Music,” which was supposed to be the band’s major label debut, but ended up their debut for indie spinART after Sire dropped the band before it’s release.
The Connells, “74-75″
This college rock band from Raleigh, North Carolina never really broke through in the U.S., however their 1993 single, “74-75″ was a huge hit in Europe, hitting the top 10 in as many countries and topping the charts in both Norway and Sweden.
Nada Surf, “Blizzard of ‘77″
Though it’s a bit unusual to kick off an album on a melancholy note, this tune from Nada Surf’s third LP, “Let Go,” does just that — and in it’s opening line, references the massive snow storm centered in Buffalo, New York, which caused 29 deaths and saw snowfall as far away as Miami.
Admittedly it’s weird to hear Lemmy singing, particularly over a flowery synth bed and string arrangement, but sing he does on this track about the deaths in World War I that closes out the band’s 1991 album of the same name.