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.
A master of the withering riposte, the witty jab, and the wistful aside, Aimee Mann has always tackled difficult subject matter on her albums: abandonment, betrayal, doubt, and depression. But no matter what melancholy tides might drift into her lyrics, her songs are perceptive and tactical more than gloomy. She has also been one of FUV's most beloved musicians and a friend of the station, and will always be one of our FUV Essentials.
Aimee Mann (illustration by Andy Friedman)
The Clash were no mere rock 'n' roll band. A tempest of punk, reggae, funk, and sociopolitical fury, the "only band that matters" elevated protest songs to the raucous realm of punk-lashed anthems, roiling with intelligence and passion. It's been 40 years since the release of the band's eponymous debut album and they are this week's FUV Essentials.
The Clash (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Revered as one of the greatest harmony singers and song interpreters of our age, Emmylou Harris claims a place in the high court of Americana royalty. She celebrates her 70th birthday on April 2 and we're honoring her this week as an FUV Essentials artist.
Emmylou Harris (illustration by Andy Friedman)
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)
New York might be rich in architectural landmarks, like the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, but that's not what defines this city.
Lou Reed (illustration by Andy Friedman)
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)