Blue Witch asked:
If you could pick any consecutive ten year period of music to live through again now (but with everything you now have, including all the knowledge and experience), which decade would be top for pops?
It’s an intriguing fantasy. Although I would retain a memory of music which went later, I’d be placed back in the musical past, only able to hear new releases after their release dates, and only able to listen to music radio, read the music press, follow the charts and attend gigs from the designated period as it progressed. But I’d have the likes of iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and digital streaming radio to help me along the way.
There’s an arguable inconsistency to wrestle with, too: although free to choose “any consecutive ten year period”, I have to conclude by picking a top decade. Can a decade consist of any consecutive ten years, or does it have to start with a year ending in zero? Hmm, perhaps I should go with the former.
Firstly, let’s block off the Worst Years For Music Ever: 1985 and 1999. I also have scant interest in reliving anything before 1965.
In terms of the singles charts, my golden age runs from 1978 to 1984, which means that I’m well served by the current re-runs of Top of the Pops on BBC4. It’s tempting to land my time machine there, but there’s a downside: I’d be signing up for repetition of a period with which I’m already deeply familiar, leaving scant opportunities for making new discoveries and accruing new knowledge.
In terms of mining poorly executed territory, the late Eighties and early Nineties could offer fertile ground. Between the rise of The Smiths and the rise of Nirvana, I had little truck with guitar bands, and with alternative/underground non-dance music in general. Armed with the Melody Makers of the day, I could delve deep. I’d also love to re-experience rave and techno from 1990 to 1994, armed with the empathy which eluded me at the time.
The Seventies offer my most expansive musical comfort zone, and it’s a comfort zone which is still expanding. Plenty to immerse myself in there, especially gig-wise; I’d be at The 100 Club for the Sex Pistols, the Hammersmith Odeon for Bowie, the Rainbow for Kevin Ayers, the Lyceum for Bob Marley, CBGBs for Patti Smith and The Ramones. And I’d be reading the music press cover-to-cover, too.
Or what about reliving the Noughties: a time where I engaged more thoroughly with a more diverse range of music than ever before? I’d have a road map stored in my memory, which would steer me away from some of the wrong turnings and blind alleys, and nudge me further down more promising routes.
Ah, sod it, I’m opting for the comfort zone, and a nice, neat, decade-shaped decade. Drop me off in 1970, pick me up again in December 1979, and I’ll be a happy man.