So many variables determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history. On-air and online, we celebrate the musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack for the past fifty years. Let’s love these FUV Essential artists while they’re here, and honor those who have departed too soon.
Elton John (AP Photo)
It's been forty years since the permanent lineup of the Police fused as a towheaded trio in the summer of 1977: a jazz-playing ex-schoolteacher, a
The Police (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Régine Chassagne (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Lou Reed in 2011 (photo via Wikimedia)
There are plenty of revered record labels, but few kindle instant recognition and affection quite like Motown. In the Sixties, the beloved Detroit-born label became a springboard for a dazzling list of legacy artists, zigzagging from Marvin Gaye to Diana Ross and the Supremes to Stevie Wonder. It irrefutably defined a new sound too, doled out via 45 rpm records and full-length albums. Motown changed music—and the entire label is one of our FUV Essentials.
Motown (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Finding that elusive algorithm of survival is hard for twenty or thirty years, let alone five decades. So if there's one regent of resilience—and reinvention—it's probably Fleetwood Mac, marking its 50th anniversary in 2017. With a forthcoming 'Buckingham McVie' album on the horizon and 'Rumours' turning 40, it's a fine time to celebrate this FUV Essentials band.
Fleetwood Mac (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Ray Charles, one of our FUV Essentials, was not only a virtuosic musician and song interpreter, but a man who founded a genre, intuitively merging various elements of bebop, gospel, blues, jazz, swing and country. He laid the cornerstone to what became modern soul, R&B and early rock 'n' roll.
Ray Charles (illustration by Andy Friedman)
When the days of the Brill Building evolved into the days of Bob Dylan, music fans came to expect that songs be borne of personal expression by the
Lucinda Williams (illustration by Andy Friedman)