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Two Musicians Per decade Define It!


Yes, for some odd reason every ten years two superstars of the music preside over and above everybody else and set the tone for the decade. Looking at this list, it hits me as a little racially biased though I’m not sure  what to do about it. For instance, shouldn’t James Brown or Jimi Hendrix take Dylan’s place? It feels as if I could write it either way. Really, without James Brown there is no Hip Hopm that’s how important the man is. As for the 1950s, could a jazz figure, Armstrong (though Armstrong would have lead my 1940s if I’d written it) or Ellington be a better fir. Yup, I guess you know what you know…

1950s – Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley  – the American songbook and the King Of Rock and Roll, and really, if there is a changing of the guards in 1956 it is between these two men. Incidentally, a sign of the time but neither wrote their own material.

1960s – Bob Dylan and The Beatles – The voice of a generation and the voice of everyone else, these two are possibly the biggest of all time. Certainly, the Beatles are the end of a trajectory that started with Mozart.

1970s – The Sex Pistols and the Bee Gees – The Bee Gees mainstreamed disco and set the place for EDM in the 21ST century and the Sex Pistols made rock and roll young again after a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral into excess and not the good stuff either.

1980s- Elvis Costello And  Prince  –  You can replace Costello with the replacements if you insist though I certainly wouldn’t. Neither of these two guys were innovators or gamechangers, but both of them perfected their craft here.

1990s – Nirvana And Biggie Smalls – Biggie changed the game on Life After Death with the birth of the sample as chorus and Kurt Cobain was the  voice of his generation… the first since Dylan.

2000s – Bright Eyes  And  Jay Z –  If it wasn’t for the internet and the (self) destruction of the record industry, Conor Oberst would have emerged as the voice of his own generation, meanwhile Jay Z broke the color barrier and made it safe for black people to be wealthy

2010s – Taylor Swift  And Kanye west – – These two performers are completely unlike anybody, they lead their audience but only where they want to take them and they have artistic integrity on whole other levels

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