Explore the history of rock & roll with a playlist of 1 great rock song from every year

Originally published at: Explore the history of rock & roll with a playlist of 1 great rock song from every year | Boing Boing




Yeah, but see, not only do we have an actual birthdate for rock and roll, we have a specific time and an address.

If you are remotely interested in this sort of stuff (or even if you are not; I’m not especially but the social history narrative is fascinating)
A History of Rock in 500 Songs is a marvellous deep-dive podcast.


This was an interesting article. I’ve always known rock came out of the blues music of an earlier era, so not totally surprised by the choices. More surprised that he highlighted its blues roots as “rock” rather than starting with the first song that was demonstrably rock and roll (which, based only on this list, I would argue seems to be Good Rockin Tonight, by Wynonie Harris). And yep, I loved the lane he choose, too. Right up my alley.

Came here to suggest the same podcast. Good stuff.

Thanks for checking it out, everybody. It was a fun project, although it made me a little crazy. Especially when I would find a perfect song and then discover that it wasn’t available on streaming services. So frustrating!

I still find myself thinking about it, and questioning some of the choices. Like, I’m considering replacing “Where the Streets Have No Name” with “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” for 1987. It kills me that there’s no R.E.M.

And as much as I love the MC5 I’m not 100% sure “Kick Out the Jams” works for 1969 sandwiched in between “Revolution” and “Ohio.” Maybe “Gimme Shelter” would work better there…but then I’d have to pick a new song for 1971… It’s such a conundrum!


Perhaps The Stooges’ “1969” for 1969. It could help orient the listener.


Bonus points if they mentioned “rocking” and/or “rolling.”

This counts then:


I like that idea. But I have “Search and Destroy” for 1973 and I can’t repeat artists (although I know that the Stooges are not quite the same as Iggy and the Stooges, that’s a technicality that I don’t want to have to make), so I’d have to pick a new 1973 and “Search and Destroy” perfectly follows “Suffragette City” so… IT’S HARD!!! :slight_smile:


Kick Out the Jams is pretty perfect, 1969 is perfect, but I’d vote Star Spangled Banner (Live) for the maximally perfect 1969 track.

There are a lot of other swaps one could make as we have been blessed with a lot of a good years, but it feels like there are zero bad picks here. Good stuff.


I hated hair metal as much as the next guy, but I find it interesting that it was completely ignored. At least GnR would’ve been worth a mention.

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