Archive for Throwback Thursday

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1970s radio had it all – Strutting classic rockers and sensitive singer-songwriters.

Disco was born and so was punk (put them together and you get post-punk).

Devo was suddenly on the airwaves and so was John Denver. Debbie Harry and Helen Reddy stormed the singles charts.

Pink Floyd and Bowie were huge and so were Leo Sayer and any singer who was named Kenny – Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins and Kenny Rankin.

There was also a big strain of 1950s nostalgia to the ‘70s, which resulted in Happy Days, “Crocodile Rock,” American Graffiti, Neal Sedaka making a deserved comeback and Paul Anka making a less deserved one. People sang along to “day the music died” way back in 1959 then Elvis Presley ungracefully passed away in 1977.

Socially and politically, it was a time of libertine grooving, grim paranoia and urban decay. The best way to illustrate this dichotomy is to look at the 2 faces of Tony Orlando & Dawn – the upbeat party vibe of TOD’s Prime Time gives way to ennui and the dark, pensive dread and bitter introspection of TOD’s He Don’t Love You.

Listen to it all on Music Unlimited’s 1970s Hits channel.

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Solo John Lennon excelled at direct, often painfully confessional songs that confronted his childhood, his emotional highs and lows, political ideals and the course of his marriage to Yoko Ono. Often at his artistic best when his life was falling apart, Lennon recorded these songs in ten short years when he was fighting to stay in America, separating and reuniting with Yoko, and starting over as a husband and father. We collected some of the best for our John Lennon: MU Icon playlist, which features beloved songs such as “Imagine,” “Jealous Guy” and “(Just Like) Starting Over.”

Listen to the John Lennon: MU Icon playlist right here.

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Yellowcard has a new ‘80s influenced album out called Lift a Sail.To mark the occasion, we asked guitarist Ryan Mendez has pick some of his favorite songs from the era when Pac Man and Miami Vice ruled the world. He did not disappoint, with selections from Duran Duran, Van Halen, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and more.

Listen to the Yellowcard: ‘80s Favorites playlist right here.

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Bob Marley’s musical life started in the soulful grooves of ska and rocksteady, finding his voice in early cuts with The Wailers. That voice developed into something more commanding and genre-defining as he found the right mixture of political outrage and soul-searching spirituality. He became the de facto reggae ambassador, blessed with an amazing backing band, timeless songs and a spellbinding live presence. Decades after his death, his legend as the ultimate dreadlocked rasta has only grown.

Listen to the Bob Marley MU Icon Playlist.

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Pop’s reigning minimalist, Sade has continued to refine her style from the jazzy soul of her 1980s UK sophisti-pop beginnings to her global domination as a roots-of-down tempo torch singer. Everything about Sade’s music is lean, stripped-down and precise while her cool exterior expertly contradicts the often gritty subject matter of her songs, which deal with ordinary people struggling to overcome heartbreak, racism and poverty.

Listen Now / Sade: MU Icon

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Jazz great Louis Armstrong with trumpet
The immortal Louis Armstrong was not only jazz’s breakthrough virtuoso soloist, he also helped establish the sound, style and mood of American popular music — influencing everything from the development of swing and R&B to country. Featured in our MU Icon playlist are his biggest hits, most famous “birth of jazz” tunes and a number of his stellar duets and collaborations with such friends as Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Oscar Peterson.

Listen Now: Louis Armstrong – MU Icon

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Tommy Ramone, who passed away last week, was more than the Ramones’ revolutionary drummer who cracked the code for a new style of punk rock percussion. He helped create the band’s audio and visual style, was their first manager and the producer who captured their sound in the studio. A trained audio engineer, the clean-living Tommy decided to distance himself from the band after Road To Ruin, returning to produce Too Tough To Die, along with critically acclaimed albums by the Replacements and Redd Kross. The Uncle Monk cut features Tommy’s guitar and voice.

Listen to the Tommy Ramone playlist on Music Unlimited.

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Earlier this week the members of Pink Floyd confirmed that they would soon release their first new album in two decades, the long-awaited follow-up to 1994’s The Division Bell. Frontman David Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, casually revealed the news that The Endless River will come out in October, via Twitter. Which gives you just about enough time to get up to speed on the British psychedelic rock band’s vast back catalog, which includes landmark releases as The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall all remastered and readily available on Music Unlimited.

Listen to the Pink Floyd artist channel on Music Unlimited.

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If you’re looking to grasp the depth and length of soul man Bobby Womack’s career – consider this: he was signed by Sam Cooke and his last album was produced by Damon Albarn. After leaving his early gospel roots for the heathen world, he found hits with the Valentinos, earning the early love of The Rolling Stones, who covered “It’s All Over Now.” He grew into one of the most expressive, passionate singers of the ‘70s, filling tunes like “Across 110th Street” and “That’s the Way I Feel About You” with his straight-to-the-heart cool. His snarling vocals of “I’m a Midnight Mover” cannot be topped while his mellow folk-soul take on “California Dreamin’” might be the definitive version. His most recent album, accurately titled The Bravest Man in the Universe was a late career highlight.

Listen to the Bobby Womack: Remembering The Soul Legend playlist on Music Unlimited.

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Wings Over America

In celebration of Paul McCartney’s 72nd birthday we’ve been listening to his first decade of solo work.

Macca, as he’s affectionately called in the UK, has continued the creative resurgence he’s been riding since at least 1997’s Flaming Pie. Paul still sounds more like a hungry indie pop wunderkind than a fabulously wealthy cultural icon. It’s hard to believe he’s well into his seventh decade.

Paul has always been a sonic innovator and that sense of playfulness extends into these works, taking excursions into more wounded autobiography on cuts such as “Maybe, I’m Amazed,” “Every Night” and even the dazzling “Band On The Run.” He crafted a head spinning array of classic rock hits with Wings in the 1970s until he abruptly disbanded his makeshift band and greeted the 1980’s with pre electro-chill oddity McCartney II.

That mix of experimentation and playfulness has never left McCartney, even on later day masterworks like Memory Almost Full. At 72, he wows crowds with 3 hour marathon concert performances and then slinks away and records ambient techno under The Fireman moniker.

Listen to Paul McCartney’s early solo work on Music Unlimited.

 

 

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