With technology on the continual rise it can often be easy to forget where things come from, the same applies to music.
As the world continues to develop with the technological revolution with music at its side, shaping popular culture with the likes of film and television we are constantly inundated with new genres, bands and sounds.
The aim here is to look at some of the artists who shaped music as we know it. Some of these acts are some of the most important people to ever pick up a guitar or tinkle on a piano, others are here on merit, I like them and it’s my playlist so fuck it.
Many of these tracks originate on the back streets of America when delta blues was the toast of the town and primitive recording equipment was all that was available to these artists.
The doo wop swing of ‘Shimmy Like Kate’ from the Olympics who formed back in the early 50s demonstrates this perfectly. It’s music made for knee cracking jiving and party times and has appeared many-a northern soul playlist.
Undoubtedly one of the most important figures in music history is Robert Johnson. If you don’t know the story by now then you should. Depending on which version you prefer most, Johnson took his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation and played through the night. As the night wore on the devil appears and takes his guitar, tunes it and knocks out a few songs before returning it, giving Johnson the mastery of the instrument. There remains much mystery around this blues legend with only two known photographs in existence and a back catalogue of only 29 songs were recorded before the writer died, aged 27, in yet more mystery in 1938. ‘Red Hot’ exhibits why this songwriter is one of the forward thinking artists of all time.
The most modern track on this playlist is ‘Ice Cream Man’ from Tom Waits’ album ‘Closing Time’, back in the days when Waits didn’t sound like Batman having a bad day. ‘Ice Cream Man’ might not even be up there in Waits’ top work but still rings with unprocessed sentiment.
Two other acts to precede the blues revolution were Henry Thomas and Tampa Red. Without artists such as these bands and songwriters such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones along with many other blues guitar legends may never have come to fruition. With the former artists generally regarded as pioneers in their genre and are indisputably some of the most relevant artists in music history, the influence that shines through these acts comes from was laid down before them by artists such as Robert Johnson, Tampa Red and Henry Thomas.
- Shimmy Like Kate – The Olympics
- Red Hot – Robert Johnson
- Ice Cream Man – Tom Waits
- Scat Song – Washboard Rhythm Kings
- Fishing Blues- Henry Thomas
- Black Angel Blues – Tampa Red
- Parachute Woman – The Rolling Stones
- Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
- You Can Never Tell – Chuck Berry