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FUV Essentials

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.

The Replacements

The Replacements were the essence of rock 'n' roll — self-destructive, badly behaved, and exhilarating. Although their tenure was short-lived when compared to fifty years of the comparatively mild-mannered Rolling Stones, the 'Mats influence was arguably as mighty as those wiry British icons. Celebrating an American supernova, the Replacements are this week's FUV Essentials.

BØRNS: Five Essential David Bowie Albums

Garrett Borns, who records as BØRNS, has covered David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" extensively in his live sets—a supple, tender take on that song from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. So when we asked BØRNS if he'd compile his Five Essential David Bowie Albums for us, we weren't too surprised to find that album in his top five picks.

Esperanza Spalding: Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs

Esperanza Spalding's shapeshifting and erudite command of the many fusions between jazz, soul, rock, pop and gospel is a reminder of the versatility of one of her favorite musicians, Aretha Franklin. And as Esperanza Spalding enthuses in her observant and ebullient "Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs" for FUV Essentials, "[Aretha's] whole musical spirit speaks to me."

Jesca Hoop's Five Essential Patti Smith Songs

As a longtime solo artist and as one half of a duo with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop has always been a fearless, insightful lyricist, so it's not surprising that Hoop found an early kinship with our FUV Essentials artist Patti Smith. Like Smith, Hoop confronts hard truths with empathy and strength—and in her perceptive picks for "Five Essential Patti Smith Songs," it's clear that the Smith was an early guide for a young Hoop, finding her way and her words in California.

The Band

Leave it to a mostly Canadian band — with the most basic, universal moniker — to lay down one of the most influential and sophisticated cornerstones in American folk, blues, and roots rock 'n' roll. The Band, a group that strove to embrace freedom, empathy, human rights activism and inclusiveness, is one of our FUV Essentials.

Elvis Costello

The spring of 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Elvis Costello's "Less Than Zero," his first single for Stiff Records. Nearly 25 albums later (not counting his collaborative releases with The Roots, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and others), Costello's cerebral, crafty lyrics, whiplashed pop rage, acerbic humor, reedy croon and ferocious bark have traveled a full spectrum of love and life conflicts.