Ah, 2020. No one is sorry to see you go.
But for now, to hell with all of that. We've got some music, and music is usually a good idea. We end every year with a countdown show, playing back what we played a lot over the previous twelve months. The stats are kept for us by the invincible Fritz Van Leaven, and the annual countdown show is always terrific. Music. Man, how could you go wrong when you're playing music?
As always, this year's countdown ignores release-date calendars. Great records don't care what year it is. I barely care what year it is. The list of our 58 most-played tracks in 2020 includes 21 new releases (one of which is a new live version of a song from the '60s), four from 2019, two each from 2018 and 2017, eight from 2000-2016, one from the '90s, six from the '80s, five from the '70s, eight from the '60s (one of which was originally unreleased and generally unheard until the 21st century), and one hardy classic from the '50s. We repeat ourselves again and again again: Right now is always the best time ever for a music fan, because we have everything that came before and we have new fave raves to discover every day.
We have a radio show that can help you with that discovery process.
And yeah, some of our go-to song choices this year may have been an eensy bit influenced by the all-of-this of, y'know, all of this. From "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo" to "I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around," the plucky determination and/or willful denial of "This Will Be Our Year" and "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" to the haunting melancholy of "Persistence Of Memory," and certainly the pissed-off snark of "1-800-Colonoscopy" (aka "The Love Theme From 2020"), our music reflects our world as we see it.
There was never any question of what our # 1 song would be. After the pop world lost the vibrant and irresistible talent of the great Kim Shattuck in 2019, the subsequent release of her group The Muffs' farewell album No Holiday came too late to impact last year's countdown. We made up for it this year. As we continue to mourn Kim, as we mourn the loss of so much in this time of pandemic and upheaval, The Muffs' "On My Own" serves as the anthem for our isolation, our disillusionment. We played it more than we played any other song in 2020.
But: we're not on our own. We're together, to the extent we can be together. We're still here, to the extent we can still be here. We go on, to the extent we can go on. If music is comfort or catharsis, we turn it up, we hold it dear, and we dance to the extent we can dance. God love ya, Kim. And we thank all of you for listening, and for enduring, to the extent you can endure. Keep the faith. Keep on keepin' on.
Every year--even 2020, its unique level of lousy notwithstanding--offers music. New music, old music, any kind music, it's all there for us to crank and wallow within. Did 2020 suck? Yes. Was there great music anyway? Yes. Of course. As my daughter said years ago: music is the heartbeat of the universe. As long as the music keeps playing, that heart keeps beating.
The beat goes on. Kick your shoes off and step on in, 2021. We're delighted to see you. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a series of Sunday nights in Syracuse this year.
(And here's the list of our go-to artists this year: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's Most-Played Acts In 2020. Thanks once again to Fritz Van Leaven for building our favorite show of the year. You, sir, are da man.)
This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read all about this show's long and weird history here: Boppin' The Whole Friggin' Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO). TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.
Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio: CD or download
Hey, Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 165 essays about 165 songs, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of songs can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here. My weekly video series The Greatest Record Ever Made! on YouTube has posted my rants about The Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?," Badfinger's "Baby Blue," Baron Damon and the Vampires' "The Transylvania Twist," Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To Be With You," The Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen," Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel," and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," Patti Smith's "Gloria," and The Monkees' "Riu Chiu."