Summer is in full swing, but we can't help but wonder why we don't anticipate the season like we used to. Don't get us wrong; we're looking forward to the barbecues, drunken volleyball, and television reruns. It's just we wish summer rocked like it did when we were younger. Hell, when our parents were younger too. To that end, we've put together this list of 10 summers that rocked like no others.
1954: Rock and roll (as pop phenomenon) is born. On July 5, a 19-year-old Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right (Mama)" at Sun Studio in Memphis. Three days later, the up-tempo blues song hit the radio airwaves and gave birth to a cultural phenomenon that changed popular music forever.
1965: Dylan goes electric. Bob Dylan was the patron saint of protest-folk, but in July of '65, he became its executioner when he took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival.
summers that rocked
1967: The Summer of Love. Never mind the fact that some 100,000 people descended upon the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, solidifying the city as the center of the hippie revolution. Two hundred thousand folks attended the three-day Monterey Pop Festival.
1969: Woodstock. The Grateful Dead; Janis Joplin; The Who; Jimi Hendrix; CCR; Santana; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and more — the list of artists that performed during this legendary moment in the counterculture movement was unprecedented and has yet to be matched.
1972: Ziggy Stardust lands on planet Earth. In June, David Bowie released Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It's easily one of the most influential albums of the decade, one of the greatest concept albums ever made, and, most important, represents the pinnacle of glam rock (a subgenre that would remain impervious to mockery today except for the fact that it gave birth to glam metal).
1979: The Walkman goes on sale. Long before the iPod was even imagined, the Walkman revolutionized how we enjoy music. And the gym.
1981: MTV kills the radio star. And 27 years later, "music television" seems as antiquated as the eight-track, Intellivision, and the LaserDisc.
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1984: Def Jam is born. Although hip-hop's greatest label was technically born in the early spring of 1984, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin's first 12-inch release, LL Cool J's "I Need a Beat," dropped September 26 (which technically isn't summer, but close enough). Rap had become mainstream.
1989: Rap gets angry. NWA's Straight Outta Compton was released the year before, but it wasn't until 1989 when its incendiary, anti-authority lyrics on tracks such as the title song and "Fuck the Police" made NWA a group even the FBI fretted over.
1991: Lollapalooza introduces the traveling music festival. Lollapalooza, in its original incarnation, made the huge summer tour the ultimate word in summer music experiences.
1999: The birth of Napster. Napster quickly lost dominance in the music-sharing world, but its significance to the music-sharing revolution is unparalleled. In fact we just illegally downloaded most of the songs discussed in this list.