Friday, 29 May 2015

Pop Music Through The Decades

This year I’ve been waving goodbye to each month with a musical interlude. The month of May is going to be treated in the same way but instead of concentrating on one particular artist, I thought I would do something slightly different and offer a song for each decade that I have been alive.

Regular readers will know that I am in my early fifties, which means that I am now in my sixth decade of walking this planet, ranting and generally being an arse. 

Rather than choosing obscure artists, I delved into my iPod library and have selected for your pleasure (or otherwise) a pop song that I love from each ten year period.

I hope you’ve heard of the songs and I hope you like them.

1960’s – The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil

Do I prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

To be honest, I like both bands because they are responsible for some terrific songs.

My dad hated them and my exposure to bands was limited until the 1970’s and by then it was all over in terms of airplay. I have listened to both since then and have edged towards the Rolling Stones in terms of preference. If I were to list a top ten of both bands then Sympathy for the Devil would be number one. I can tell what you’re thinking:

“You like heavy metal and this song is about the devil. It’s no surprise you like it.”

That’s pure coincidence, dear reader, because as you know, loving heavy metal does not make you a Satanist.

1970’s – Kate Bush – The Man With the Child in His Eyes

Kate Bush is a rather eccentric artist. I actually laughed when I heard Wuthering Heights for the first time, simply because it was weird enough to be a one hit wonder. After all, there were plenty of them about in the seventies, weren’t there?

This song was her follow up to that strange single and completely different. There’s something about the song I like – I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

It’s difficult to admit it, particularly since I was discovering heavy metal at the time.

“You mean you like Black Sabbath AND Kate Bush?” 

The answer is yes – and I don’t mind confessing it now.

1980’s - Icehouse – Hey Little Girl

After the trauma of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I was shaking like a leaf. I said to Mrs PM:

"Right – let’s find a pub! I need a drink!”

We found a pub in The Rocks and I marched up the barman and said:

“Give me a beer – ANY beer.” 

As the cool, cold liquid gushed down my throat, I started to breathe more deeply and I looked into the eyes of the woman who had made me suffer, a woman who, incidentally, was very apologetic but desperately stifling a fit of the giggles.

“Do you feel better now?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

And I did feel better. I started to take in my surroundings and realised what I had just done. I was quite proud, despite my dissipating terror. I listened to the dulcet tones of the other patrons of the establishment and noticed the song that had just started.

That song was Hey Little Girl.

“Do you know, something?” I said to Mrs PM. “I really like this song.”

Mrs PM grinned but said nothing.

At that precise moment, and just for a couple of minutes, it was my favourite song in the world.

1990’s – k. d. lang – Constant Craving

This is a really nice song and not one that people would usually associate with my taste. It’s a simple pop song with a really nice tune. What I like most about the song is the voice of k. d. lang. She sings beautifully.

I don’t think there is anything more to say, other than sit back, relax and enjoy this lovely song.

2000’s – Goldfrapp – Train

There is little overlap in my musical taste and that of Mrs PM but a couple of Goldfrapp songs occupy that special place. This is essentially a dance song but there are elements of the electronic style I like from the early 1980’s and hints of the 1970’s in there too.

Of course, Mrs PM’s transient taste means that it is over for her (after all it is over ten years old now) but I will continue to fly the flag for it.

The video is slightly naughty (in case you are a little sensitive).

2010’s – Gary Numan – My Last Day

Way back in the 1980’s Gary Numan was at the forefront of the revolution in electronic music. I was amazed a few years ago to discover that he is still producing music thirty years later.

His new style is darker and the music has evolved, so much so that this year I bought his latest album (released two years ago).

You will hear more about this in my musical round up of 2015 later in the year. My Last Day is the last song on the album and is a slow burner. It builds up to an amazing crescendo with terrific keyboards and drums – just the kind of song I like.

If Gary Numan continues to produce music of this high calibre I will be buying his next album for sure.

And finally …

I hope you liked the songs. 


River said...

The only one of those I remember is Hey Little Girl by Icehouse and I like it. I'm guessing the others didn't get airplay here in Australia, or not enough for me to notice; certainly I've never heard that Rolling Stones one. Which I don't like anyway. I do like a lot of their songs though, and the Beatles too, but not everything they did. I don't like Kate Bush or KD Lang.

Big D said...

Interesting selection. I liked the Icehouse and Kate Bush tracks the best but then I've loved both of those songs for years.

KD Lang didn't do anything for me, neither did Goldfrapp but the Gary Numan track was a pleasant surprise. Very moody and atmospheric, and really should be on a soundtrack somewhere.
I can see me listening to that one a lot over the next couple of days.

Thanks for sharing.

Ps. Every metalhead I know has broader music tastes than they get credit for. Last time I was in a metal pub, i spent fifteen minutes chatting to somebody about Ultravox.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Icehouse are Australian, aren't they? It made the top 20 over here and I loved it when it was first released.

Maybe I should delve into some of their other music.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

You will love Gary Numan's album, I think. It's called Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind).

I, too, like Ultravox and if I repeat this post idea, some of their material may feature.

I also agree that people should give metalheads more credit.




Pandora Behr said...

Icehouse is one of my favourite ever Aussie bands, though my favourite song of theirs is "Dusty Pages".

Love the Kate Bush.

And Sympathy for the Devil is my most favourite ever Rolling Stones song - love it, love it, love it. One of the best versions I've heard of it was with David Byrne from Talking Heads, who performed it at the Brixton Academy with a 45 piece mariachi band - BLISS.

Wow. We agree on something musical. Cool.


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Just listened to "Dusty Pages" - not a bad tune (I prefer "Hey Little Girl").

I'm sure our musical tastes overlap more than you think.




H2B said...

Thanks for sharing Mr PM. I don't know any of the songs. I do like The last one.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

I'm surprised you don't know any of them.

Oh well - glad you like at least one.




JahTeh said...

I bought the Kate Bush album/cd when it came out but now I'm listening to it with older ears and I wonder if the child in his eyes was her and what was the real song. I've grown cynical with age, perhaps it reminds me of the stalker anthem "Every breath you take".

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JT,

Never thought of "Every Breath You Take" as a stalker anthem - but I do now...