As some of you may recall, when I was off work with a bad back recently, I started to re-compile my Best Ofs by year in Spotify. Periodically, since I’ve ben back, I’ve kept going. Throughout, the intention was to be honest, and compile the sound of my bedroom from each given year, though obviously as I dug further back past 1976, the outer limit of my musical memory, it became songs from those years which have continued to resonate.
Once I’d got back to 1965 – which being a neatly symetrical 50 years and also the year tht things started to get intersting (I’m not Bob Stanley, I don’t care much for the bloodless pop of the early 60s) – the obvious thing to do was to merge all the playlsts together to create my personal Best Of 1965-2015. (As a technical side-note: to sync this to play on my phone, I had to pretty much delete all of its other content.)
So here it, 2,327 songs long (most years seem to peak at around 50 cool songs), or, if you prefer, six days’ worth.
What have I learned about my taste over this period? Firstly, though Heppo may assert that 1971 was the banner year for rock albums, for me 1965 is the best year for singles. Though 1967 was the summer of love, psychedelia started early, with Donovan and Bily Nicholls talking about taking a trip in 65, and Psychotic Reaction and Paul Revere’s Kicks coming out in 66. 1972 also seems quite important with a lot of art-rocky weirdness strarting to creep in. David Bowie and the Rolling Stones both have entries spanning from 1965 to 1983. Siouxsie And The Banshees and PiL are suprisingly durable singles artists. And over a playlist as vast as this, genres such as punk or baggy seem to come and go in the blink of an eye.
There’s perhaps not so much of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters of the early 70s or mid-period hip-hop, but that’s a matter of taste. If I was to go back and reinvestigate an era now, it would be the electro, hip-hop, Latin freestyle scene of the early 80s, which has been overlooked somewhat.
Also, I used some music mags’ best-ofs to help jog my memory which was fascinating in its own right. The Face’s early 80s, jazz-leaning ones were fascinating; I was clearly never cool enough to get that when I was 13. Also, who knew that The Whole Of The Moon and indeed This Is The Sea were in none of the inkies’ single/album of the year lists? Scandalous.
Anyway, if you like your playlists ambitiously unmanageable, do dive in. And tell us: what would you 2,327 favourites songs look like?