1984 -- Greatest Year for Music?

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Slate.com has a real good article by Simon Reynolds about music and the “in-between periods” of rock history that get ignored or lack a name. For example what happened before and after “grunge” is just as important as the grunge movement itself. Also in the article Ritchie (who has written two cool books about punk and rock) quotes someone who states that 1988 was the best year for rock ever: Surfer Rosa (Pixies), Daydream Nation (SY), Isn’t Anything (MBV).

While 1988 was a good year for rock, personally I think 1984 was better. Here’s the proof:

Prince – Purple Rain
Husker Du – Zen Arcade
The Replacements – Let It Be
U2 – Unforgettable Fire
R.E.M – Reckoning
The Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
Metallica – Ride the Lightning

So the challenge. Was there a better year for music than 1984? If you think so, provide your evidence in the comments section.

12 Comments

I've never claimed to be a music historian, but 1994 was a pretty huge year for my musical tastes:

Nine Inch Nails - Downward Spiral
The Offspring - Smash
Green Day - Dookie
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Nirvana - Unplugged in NY
Portishead - Dummy

...and others I'm sure.

Ooh. 1994 is nice. Here's some more:

Bee Thousand -- Guided By Voices
Crooked Rain Crooked Rain -- Pavement
Too High to Die -- Meat Puppets
Blue Album -- Weezer
Definitely Maybe -- Oasis
American Recordings -- Johnny Cash

'84? Phhttt.
For recent history, 1991 trumps 1984.
Loveless My Bloody Valentine
Slanted and Enchanted Pavement
Bandwagonesque Teenage Fanclub
Green Mind Dinosaur Jr
Yerself is Steam Mercury Rev
Sceamadelica Primal Scream
Tossing Seeds Superchunk
Tromp le Monde Pixies
Nevermind Nirvana
Ten Pearl Jam

Greatest ever? How about 1969?
Five Leaves Left Nick Drake
Abbey Road The Beatles
At San Quentin Johnny Cash
The Band The Band
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere Neil Young
Green River Creedence Clearwater Revival
Kick Out The Jams MC5
I and II Led Zeppelin
Dusty in Memphis Dusty Springfield
Let it Bleed Rolling Stones
Nashville Skyline Dylan
The Stooges The Stooges
Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground
Unhalfbricking Fairport Convention

E, you make a strong case for 1991. Don't forget these:

Dylan's Bootleg Series 1-3
Badmotorfinger -- Soundgarden
Gish -- Smashing Pumpkins
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge - Van Halen :o)

I'll make the case for 1979...

Setting Sons - The Jam
London Calling - The Clash
A Different Kind of Tension - Buzzcocks
Fear Of Music - Talking Heads
154 - Wire
Entertainment! - Gang Of Four
The B-52's - The B-52's
Reggatta de Blanc - The Police
Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division
Drums and Wires - XTC

1980 was also pretty good with...

The Pretenders - The Pretenders
Empty Glass - Pete Townshend
Remain In Light - Talking Heads
End Of The Century - Ramones
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - David Bowie
In Combo - The Suburbs

And London Calling could be included in 1980 also, as it was released in the UK in late 1979 and in the States in early 1980.

Hmm, looks like I'm making the case for two years. It's good music, what can I do?

1979 crossed my mind. I don't like 154 by Wire but all the rest are top notch. Here are some more from that year:

Armed Forces -- Elvis Costello
Squeezing Out Sparks -- Graham Parsons
Rust Never Sleeps -- Neil Young
Joe's Garage - Frank Zappa

Entirely subjective, of course, but a fun topic.

From a more academic or historical perspective, I would have to agree that it is tough to top 1969, which, in addition to the most excellent list already posted, also produced The Elvis "Memphis" record and "Tommy."

But as a charter member of the Bastards of Young generation, the music of 1984 had a far bigger impact upon my life, and I agree that was a monster year. A few more nuggets from 1984: A Pagan Place, Learning to Crawl, The Smiths, Born In The USA, How Will the Wolf Survive, Stop Making Sense, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.

This is too hard. some more from years stated:

1994
Victoria Williams "Loose"
Built to Spill "There's Nothing Wrong with Love"
Dave Alvin "King of California"
Magnetic Fields' "The Charm of the Highway Strip" and "Holiday"

1991
The Pooh Sticks "Multiple Orgasm"
Matthew Sweet "Girlfriend"
Mekons "The Curse of the Mekons"
Shams "Quilt"

Oh, I could go on and on with this.

Hope im not too late to the debate.

But 1967 has to be put into consideration.

Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
The Letter - Box Tops
A Day In The Life - Beatles
I Think Were Alone Now - Tommy James
Light My Fire - The Doors
Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane
White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
Time Has Come Today - Chambers Brothers
Break On Through - The Doors
If Your Going To Sanfrancisco - Scott Mckenzie
Aint No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye
Lets Live for Today - Grass Roots
The Rain, The Park, And Other Things - Cowsills

its amusing how the trailer for this film arrived out the year i was born and it can be my favorite film ever before gump = legend

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Excellent thanks for sharing that to every one!

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