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 1977!
Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen”
The Sex Pistols' chart-busting single took anti-establishment punk to new heights, and is still considered one of the most controversial popular songs to date. The band dissolved the following year after only one album, and their manager Malcolm McLaren later becoming a pioneer of hip-hop, co-creating the incredible singles “Buffalo Gals” and “Double Dutch” from 1983's Duck Rock. Weird, right?
Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”
Not only is Rumours Fleetwood Mac's most successful album - over 40 million copies sold worldwide - but its backstory is wrought with drama and heartbreak. Touring the previous record had led to the dissolution of Christine and John McVie's eight year marriage (the singer and bassist, respectively). There was tension between on-and-off again lovers/members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Mick Fleetwood discovered that his wife, with whom he had two children, was cheating on him with his best friend. Everyone was doing blow. Nobody was sleeping. The result? One of popular music's greatest albums.
Billy Joel – “Only The Good Die Young”
It's criminal to write about Billy Joel without mentioning this song, and pointless without linking this video. Anyway, “Good Die Young” is written from the perspective of a horny dude trying to bed a strict Catholic girl (named “Virginia,” obviously), and while it's borderline chaste by today's standards, it was still banned from many radio stations at the time (which only helped sales).
Bob Marley – “Waiting In Vain”
Just when you think Bob Marley's been ruined by dumb t-shirts and endless shitty covers, all it takes is a few notes from any song from 1977's Exodus to wash all that away.
Television – “See No Evil”
Marquee Moon, the debut and most fondly remembered album from a band that kept rock cool during the inception of punk, was hugely influential in post-punk and new wave, and is still a mandatory addition to any record collection.
Fela Kuti & Africa 70 – “Zombie”
This blistering attack on the Nigerian government's brutal regime and their dutiful soldiers became extremely popular, and resulted in the Nigerian government storming Kuti's compound, murdering his mother and nearly beating him to death. His response? Dropping his mother's coffin off at the main Army barracks, and writing more political anthems.
David Bowie – “Heroes”
There's always something new to find when listening to this classic Bowie tune. With so many strange elements buried in a synthetic wall of sound, it's as difficult as it is rewarding to try and pinpoint exactly what you're hearing. And the way that his vocals become more expansive throughout the song is perfect.