I love music. I wake up every morning with a song in my head, sing in the shower, sing too loud on my commute and keep a constant soundtrack playing behind the mundane events of my days. Familiar music can bring back memories of very specific times and events, while new music can help take you in new directions. In appreciate of music, I’ve been undertaking a special project…
I’ve recently been trying to get in touch with my musical roots. To do so, I wanted to go back and find those songs that have helped to define my musical tastes and style. It’s my musical DNA. Why do I love the music that I love today. Where does that come from?
I wanted to do this in a way that could be universally relatable to other people. What universe of music exists in history that we can use as a sample selection? I settled on the Billboard Hot 100 of the year in each year since my birth year, 1970, through my 18th year, 1989. Granted, you miss a LOT of music being restrained to this framework, but each list is like a time capsule that everyone can pluck from as their own taste and memory relates to it. I found myself reliving times with friends that I hadn’t thought of in years, vacations with my family, great happiness, some sadness and so much more.
I went year by year, song by song and ended up selecting over 850 songs by 440 artists that I thought were special to me somehow. (But if there are 850, how can they be special? Shut up… they are. They just are.) A few things jumped out at me.
35 different artists have at least 5 songs each on the list.
14 songs by Hall & Oates – the most by any single artist
14 years was the longest stretch between entries (Moody Blues & Murray Head – yes, THAT Murray Head who you thought only had one song)
Chicago was the artist with the most longevity with their first song in 1970 and their last in 1989
2 artists had four songs each in a single year (Lionel Richie & George Michael)
As you can see, this isn’t advancing my indie music cred and some of it is downright embarrassing, but it has helped to form my “ear” and what I listen to today.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun this project has been. I’m looking forward to bringing you the series of posts that will accompany this silly research. I hope it inspires you to take a little time to open up your own time capsule. You won’t believe what you find.