As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 1964!
The Beatles’ first Ed Sullivan Show appearance
The British Invasion begins. Above is the first of The Beatles’ iconic 1964 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, though I would also recommend you watch this high-quality footage of their entire Washington Colliseum performance from the same year. By the years-end Beatles record sales accounted for more than half of all total record sales in the US.
Sam Cooke – “A Change Is Gonna Come”
This poignant, beautiful single was posthumously released shortly after soul pioneer Sam Cooke was shot dead by a hotel manager in supposed (though questionable) self-defence. It became an unofficial anthem of the American civil rights movement that would see significant gains that year.
Link Wray – “Girl From the North Country”
Link Wray, who last made this feature in 1958 with that year’s cutting-edge rocker “Rumble,” continues to be on the forefront of rock ‘n’ roll as it lurches into the volatile (artistically and socially) sixties. This cover of Bob Dylan’s gorgeous folk number from 1963 is pretty forward-thinking and totally distinct from comparable music of the year (see above). I don’t know which I like more: the surprisingly dissonant, Sonic Youth-y intro/bridge, or the awesome, blissed-out proto-psyche.
The Supremes – “Where Did Our Love Go”
This year marks the explosion of Motown’s most commercially successful act and the strongest charting vocal group to date, The Supremes. “Where Did Our Love Go” was unexpectedly a number one hit – so were the next four songs The Supremes release.
The Rolling Stones – “Tell Me (You Want Me Back)”
The only original song on The Stones’ debut self-titled rules pretty hard. Mick’s unique snarly voice feels like a breath of dirty air, and the instrumentation is at once both understated and raucous.
The Kinks – “You Really Got Me”
Cliché by now, sure, but this song essentially ushered in the new era rock and roll: garage, hard rock, grunge, punk, and POWER CHORDS! The song’s importance cannot be overstated, nor can it be overplayed. Just try it, I dare you.