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 1967!
Beatles – “All You Need is Love” for Our World
Dear god there’s a lot of great and iconic music this year, but I may as well get the obligatory Beatles mention out first, though it’s nearly impossible to whittle down their truly incredible output from ’67 to even a few highlights. Both Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour came out this year – my personal two favourite efforts – and both records are rife with incredible songwriting, groundbreaking recording and production techniques, and timeless melodies. Their output from this year simply cannot be reduced to a paragraph, so I’ve simply selected the band’s brilliant performance (and debut!) of “All You Need Is Love,” written specifically for the monumental broadcast called Our World - the first ever live, international, satellite television production – and commissioned by the BBC, no less. At the height of the Vietnam War, the flower power sentiments were particularly timely.
The Velvet Underground – “Heroin”
The Velvet Underground make their recorded debut this year with The Velvet Underground & Nico. Literally every track on this album is perfect, but “Heroin” will always stand out to me. From the hypnotic two-chord progression to the blood-boiling cacophony to the frank lyrical (and sonic) depiction of shooting up, this song is absolutely remarkable.
Nico – “The Fairest of the Seasons” and “These Days”
Though she got a half shout-out above, Nico released Chelsea Girl this year, which includes these two beautiful Jackson Browne covers. The original “These Days” is definitely worth a listen, though it’s Nico’s coveted version that has been covered by the likes of St. Vincent, Elliot Smith, Mates of State, and Tallest Man On Earth. Do not listen to this horrible remix. Lastly, and apropos of the Velvet Underground mention above, here’s great footage of the band with Nico performing “Femme Fatale.”
Aretha Franklin – “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
Pink Floyd – “Astronomy Domine” on BBC1
Even in the psychedelic rock era this song is ahead of its time (the studio version especially). And the host in this clip is hilarious. Stick around for the awkward transition from song to the interview, which is just as uncomfortable as you would expect.
The Rolling Stones – “She’s A Rainbow”
Probably the least Rolling Stones-y songs The Rolling Stones have ever recorded, and it’s lovely.
Four Tops – “I’ll Be There”
After listening to all this ROCKIN’ music, a little bit of soul is good for the, uh, soul.
The Bar-Kays – “Soul Finger”