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Any Major Year

November 9th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was startled a little while ago while listening to Billy Joel’s Songs In The Attic album that its opening track about a post-apocalyptic USA is set in 2017. Things might be bad in real 2017, and the apocalypse might be a greater possibility now than it was just a couple of years ago, but the bridges of New York City are still standing.

Billy Joel first released the song in 1976 — featured here is the vastly superior  live version released five years later — when 2017 was 41 years away. Recently I read an article that we might have a post-apocalypse by 2050, i.e. only around 30 years from now. The future isn’t as far off a place as we may think.

Some other songs here anticipate the future. Boz Scaggs, singing in 1977, is having a bad trip. “It’s like 1993 and it’s weird as hell to me…This spoof reality is just like outer space to me.” Boz, lad, 1993 is cool. You should see 2017 and the Evil Keystone Kops running the show now!

Maybe Prince knew something. He didn’t expect the world to last much beyond the new millennium, hence is invitation to party now like it is 1999.

The Temptations in 1971 are looking at 1990 without mentioning 1990. It starts off like they’re in 1970, 1990 and 2017 at the same time. “Well, we got trouble in the White House, poverty in the ghetto…Thousand of jobless people walking the streets, with no food or place to sleep. What will become of them, America?” And so on in that righteous vein — until they go all Fox News on us with a sickly barrage of patriotic stuff about “America! I ain’t ashamed to say that I love ya. There ain’t another place on Earth I’d rather be.” Not even a place where there are no crooks in government and there are no poor and no ghettos?

A whole lot of songs in this mix look back into the past, including a couple of songs about World War I, most hauntingly the Motörhead track — and John Cale’s song about what I suppose is sexual frustration loosely set during the Versailles treaty negotiations.

Al Stewart’s The Last Day Of June 1934, from an album of historical vignettes, takes as its centrepiece the Night of the Long Knives, during which Hitler wiped out internal Nazi opposition (weep not for the victims here). Stewart frames that event around French lovers unconcerned about such things and British intellectuals discussing war.

Randy Newman in 1974 sang about the risible political response to the Louisiana flood in 1927; he would need to change only a few words to turn it into Louisiana 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, or 2017 with Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Other songs take a very personal glance at the past. Randy Travis would like to fix a mistake he made in 1982 (four years earlier from the time of singing); Josh Rouse imagines the vibe in 1972, the year he was born.

And then there are a couple of songs that require little time travel. Swedish singer Hello Saferide welcomes the year 2006 with great scepticism — “January 1st and it’s already clear: It’s gonna be another shitty year” — and a hope that she’ll land that partner she seeks: “And on the top of the list there’s you. I’m going to be with you. I haven’t told you yet but I’m going to be with you.” I hope she got you.

Finally, The Barracudas in 1980 were nostalgically yearning for 1965. In today’s money that’s nostalgia for the year 2002. Suddenly I’m feeling so very fucking old…

As always, CD-R length, home-timepassaged covers, PW in comments.

1. Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (1981)
2. Prince – 1999 (1983)
3. The Four Seasons – December ’63 (Oh What A Night) (1976)
4. Boz Scaggs – 1993 (1977)
5. New Order – 1963 (1987)
6. The Barracudas – (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again (1980)
7. The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (1995)
8. Hello Saferide – 2006 (2006)
9. Josh Rouse – 1972 (2003)
10. Al Stewart – The Last Day of June 1934 (1973)
11. Ralph McTell – England 1914 (1969)
12. Motörhead – 1916 (1991)
13. John Cale – Paris 1919 (1973)
14. Harry Nilsson – 1941 (1967)
15. Randy Newman – Louisiana 1927 (1974)
16. Loudon Wainwright – 1994 (1995)
17. Randy Travis – 1982 (1986)
18. The Statler Brothers – The Class of 57 (1975)
19. Gil Scott-Heron – The Summer of ’42 (1975)
20. The Temptations – 1990 (1973)
21. Paul McCartney & Wings – Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (1973)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    November 9th, 2017 at 07:16 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Hermann
    November 9th, 2017 at 22:41 | #2

    Thanks a lot.
    what about 1984, 2525 ?
    Not in the songtitle but mentioned: 1916 in Zombie.
    Hermann

  3. Tom Frost
    November 10th, 2017 at 00:09 | #3

    Another quality compilation ! I initially thought you might miss the first song I thought of…but there it is…track 9.
    Very well done Sir on including Josh Rouse 1972 …excellent song. Hope that other readers/listeners give his album of the same title a spin too, a great album.

  4. halfhearteddude
    November 10th, 2017 at 07:22 | #4

    Thanks. That Josh Rouse album is really very good; I love the cover as well.

  5. halfhearteddude
    November 10th, 2017 at 07:24 | #5

    Those are candidates for a second volume (depending on which 1984 song you are proposing. I’m not a fan of the Eurythmics track of that name). There’s plenty left over…

  6. SimonB
    November 10th, 2017 at 21:15 | #6

    nice mix Dude, thanks.
    1984would have to be the Bowie track, also – how about – Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five by Wings….

  7. Hermann
    November 10th, 2017 at 22:50 | #7

    i thought about the Eurythmics, but it’s your choice.
    another proposal: 1348 by Royal Hunt (melodic metal from Denmark)
    if you dont have/get it – just ask.
    Hermann

  8. halfhearteddude
    November 11th, 2017 at 00:05 | #8

    Oh, you’ll have to listen to the mix right to the end to get to “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five”, Simon.

  9. Walter Endres
    November 12th, 2017 at 17:59 | #9

    Great idea. How about sorting the songs in chronological order?

  10. A.G.
    November 16th, 2017 at 00:09 | #10

    The Al Stewart album “Past Present And Future” (from which the “Last Day Of June 1934” is taken) is one of my all-time favorites. But, even though it is a bit long I would have used “Nostradamus” as the final track here instead. It would have been a great show closer.

  11. simon
    November 19th, 2017 at 15:09 | #11

    @halfhearteddude

    ah – yes, sorry dude , i jumped the gun ;-)

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