1976 was a crap year for music, but it got better as I got older.
January 30, 2015 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Rediscover your musical past. Enter your birthday with day and year and this fun site gives you what was popular from your date of birth right up to when you graduated college (provided that you went at all or didn't graduate like me).
posted by Kitteh (55 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Or go back 9 months more and find out what the folks were knocking boots to!

Hmm. Reunited, Ring My Bell, Tragedy. A little too on the nose there, Retrojam.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on January 30, 2015 [12 favorites]

There's an archive of Casey Kason's top 40 lists going back to when his show started, and I think the one that was #1 was "Roller Coaster". Yikes o_O
posted by surazal at 11:02 AM on January 30, 2015

Jesus, my life wasn't even worth living until I was 9. No wonder I hated music as a kid.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:08 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by dukes909 at 11:10 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hmmm, Disco, Crappy 80s music, commerical R&B, Cher.
Yep. I didn't listen to any of this.
posted by lkc at 11:10 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

According to this, there was no music the day I was born. Not until the next year did any appear.

The birthday song thing, which I thought was a great idea, became the subject of a MeFi Music Challenge five years ago.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:13 AM on January 30, 2015

Nobody 'listened' to it. It got you anyway.
posted by colie at 11:14 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Was going to mention the MeFi Music Challenge but LeLiLo beat me to it, so I guess I'll just link to my submission.
posted by ropeladder at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2015

posted by epersonae at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ah, it was "Love Rollercoaster" by the Ohio Players :)
posted by surazal at 11:20 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love this! It maps perfectly to the ages/grades where I became aware of the radio, listened to it heavily, then stopped as my taste grew into more specific non-radio categories.

I'm glad they included school grades, which are easier for me to recall in details than ages.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2015

No surprises at the hits that were engrained in my brain from my elementary school years.

But, hey, 1976 a crap year? Beyond the hits the site brings up, Steely Dan's The Royal Scam, Jonathan Richman's The Modern Lovers, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, Zappa's Zoot Allures, Patti Smith's Radio Ethiopia, Jackson Browne's The Pretender, The Eagles' Hotel California, Todd Rundgren's Faithful, Genesis' A Trick of the Tail, Peter Tosh's Legalize It, Boz Scaggs' Silk Degrees, a s/t Warren Zevon album, Queen's A Day at the Races, The Ramone's first album, David Bowie's Station to Station, The Residents' Third Reich and Roll (okay, that's not for everyone)... of things that I see right away in Wikipedia lists that I own(ed) (some were on cassettes or 8 tracks that are lost to time) and think were not in any way "crap."

I think I will get my aging iPod to make me a playlist pulling only from 1976 songs now... :-)
posted by aught at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Topping my sophomore playlist: I Will Always Love You.

I worked an internship in a large open-concept government office that summer. A lot of the people in the office had small radios on their desk, listening to the only FM station in town. For weeks, at exactly 4PM, that station would play I Will Always Love You.

You know that huge moment late in the song when the music goes from tentative and timid to silence and then back to the wailing chorus? Being surrounded by all these tiny tinny radios playing that moment was weird. The normal background din of the office suddenly coalesced into dozens of tiny Whitneys surrounding me, singing in unison, voice so pure it was cutting me, triggering weird nausea and light-headedness and urging me to flee. I started taking 4PM bathroom breaks every day to get away from it.

Still feel it whenever I heard the song today in a supermarket or whatever. Respect to the lady, she could sing, but to 1992 me she was a wailing multiplex psy-op alien.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm probably not alone here, but this shows that college is when I stopped paying attention to pop music.
posted by hyperizer at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

My hand cramped scrolling down the year list to get to my birth year.

Between birth and high school graduation I went from Elvis to KC and the Sunshine Band.

Now I feel old and embarrassed.
posted by tommasz at 11:39 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

You know, I don't care, the 70s are full of cheese and I love most of it anyway. At least for a brief listen. How can I regret songs that bring back memories of riding in my brother's sky-blue Camaro with the moon-roof and white vinyl interior? I cannot. They are mostly not classics for the ages, but they were not the worst thing that ever happened, and they made at least some people happy for a while. They'll fade into obscurity once all of us that remember hearing them for the first time are dead.
posted by emjaybee at 11:55 AM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is terrifyingly accurate. Now if only this would output to a convenient shopping list.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:55 AM on January 30, 2015

Songs seem about right, but the album cover picking routine shows Elton John and RuPaul knocking out some hits in the mid-70s...

Is there a way to adjust for the fact it took me about 13 years to get a 4 year degree?
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:09 PM on January 30, 2015

I don't want to know. It will be awful.
posted by uraniumwilly at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2015

The period of time that blows me away is 1950-51 or so when you have Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole and On Top of Old Smoky, for god's sake, on the charts, and then this comes up and you're like WT everloving F??? At least that's my reaction.

Here's an extended version with an explanation of their process.
posted by Huck500 at 12:24 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Um, 1976 gave us Evil Woman, Shake Your Booty, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Bohemian Rhapsody and Disco Duck, among others. It was a banner year.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:25 PM on January 30, 2015

The feeling of nostalgia overwhelms me.

Help! I'm drowning in feels!!!
posted by Splunge at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2015

Interestingly it was fine up until my second year of high school which veered wildly off track all the Mariah Carey/TLC and straight into the tender arms of Jarvis Cocker of Pulp and Brett Anderson of Suede. Huh. So that's when I became a weirdo.
posted by kariebookish at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2015

The 90's had some stellar pop/R&B music. Particular from women of color. Missy, Aaliyah, TLC, Destiny's Child, Mariah, Brandy, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige. What a great decade for so many reasons.
posted by naju at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2015

Yeah, go back to the end of September, 1955... Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford, Memories Are Made of This - Dean Martin, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado... go down a bit and you finally hit Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and His Comets and The Great Pretender - The Platters. Multiple Frank Sinatra, Ernie Ford, many bland instrumentals including two versions of Unchained Melody, plus the 'teen music' was Pat Boone and The Crew Cuts. Not even a trace of Elvis yet...

The Beatles finally arrived in Second Grade (I Wanna Hold Your Hand), alongside Sukiyaki - Kyu Sakamoto and Dominique - The Singing Nun. The Stones topped my Fourth Grade Playlist (Satisfaction AND Get Off of My Cloud) but The Monkees topped my Fifth Grade Playlist (I'm a Believer) and Frank Sinatra returned for Sixth Grade (Something Stupid, duet with daughter Nancy). Seventh Grade: Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye (the only version of a much-covered song to hit #1, which I just recently learned). Eighth Grade: Sugar Sugar - The Archies. My Senior Year in High School: Tie A Yellow Ribbon - Tony Orlando & Dawn. My Senior Year in College: Double Bee Gees: Night Fever & How Deep Is Your Love... yes, I remember the Bee Gees overload, I was lucky their music wasn't played at my graduation...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2015

I apparently fell way off of the pop landscape my senior year of college, 2004. It's all Usher and Mario and Ciara. I only have a vague idea who any of those people are. ("Since U Been Gone", tho!)
posted by naju at 12:54 PM on January 30, 2015

The 90's had some stellar pop/R&B music.
posted by lkc at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2015

Nostalgia sucks. I spent a little time evaluating Billboard Top 100's of different years, and most top 10's suck, and I could only salvage a few songs a year that I think are still worth a listen.
posted by brainimplant at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2015

Remember those commercials for Time-Life music compilations, where the titles of all the songs would scroll by, and every fourth or fifth one would be highlighted and a snippet of that song would start playing? That's what my brain is doing right now while I'm reading through this list.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:09 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

You know, I'll never understand why people have to define themselves by what they don't like, in terms of music, or how they can be so judgemental that someone else likes music that they don't. Oh well.

My birthday has a lot of Beatles, Rolling Stones, some Marvin Gaye, Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel, Harper Valley PTA, the theme from The Good The Bad & The Ugly, and Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. What a wonderful, eclectic mix that is.
posted by KHAAAN! at 1:11 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I will never understand anyone who doesn't love Harper Valley PTA. Never.
posted by emjaybee at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Get back, Jojo! :)
posted by Melismata at 1:21 PM on January 30, 2015

Not bad! British Invasion, funk, disco, punk, New Wave, hip hop. Pretty good arc.
posted by rtha at 1:29 PM on January 30, 2015

You know, I'll never understand why people have to define themselves by what they don't like, in terms of music, or how they can be so judgemental that someone else likes music that they don't. Oh well.

Yes, indeed. Try being a country music fan in Boston.
posted by Melismata at 1:31 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, a tool to get 22 years of nearly unmitigated garbage. Thanks, internet.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:40 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

1965 seems to be a real sweet spot.

The best part of this is seeing Sir Duke and The Star Wars Theme - Cantina Band on my middle school list because I have this weirdly vivid memory of the last day of school, in art class, with the radio on, drawing the names of Star Wars characters in big 3-D letters while listening to Sir Duke. (And cringing in retrospect when I realize I made a page for "Obi 1 Kenobi."

I embrace it all, even Disco Duck.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2015

Man. It's kind of startling how sharply my recognition of the playlists drops off in high school, when I started playing jazz bass and piano, and apparently listening to nothing else.
posted by hades at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Beatles had three hits going simultaneously the day I was born.
posted by octothorpe at 2:25 PM on January 30, 2015

"Rediscover your musical past. Enter your birthday with day and year and this fun site gives you what was popular from your date of birth."

There's an assumption hidden there. Can you find it?
posted by benito.strauss at 2:59 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I won't forget the bicentennial year anytime soon. I was sixteen then. I was pressured into going on a trip with some family from my mother's church. She wanted to get me out of the picture for a while because my stepfather hated my guts.

All the way from California to Georgia in the back of a damned Pinto wagon. What was playing on the Pinto's radio?

Teddy Bear by Red Sovine. Convoy, by whoever was responsible for that piece of crap, along with a shit ton of other truckin', CBin' hoedowns played in strict rotation. Over and over and over, all the way across the country. Oh yeah, I almost forgot! The Starland Vocal Band. Afternoon Delight. And then there was Lenny and Squiggy of LaVerne and Shirley fame, with their immortal rendition of War's Why Can't We be Friends.

Unfortunately, I'd yet to develop a sense of the absurd at the time.

When I finally made it back home I put on my worn copy of Manfred Mann's Earth Band's The Roaring Silence (or maybe it was Spirits in the Night.) It sounded like the music of angels.
posted by metagnathous at 3:04 PM on January 30, 2015

In subjective listening time, Teddy Bear by Red Sovine is 22 years of unmitigated garbage all by itself.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:16 PM on January 30, 2015

Interesting in that I used to to discover that I was in 3rd Grade when I bought my first 45rpm record!

(I ain't datin' myself by sayin' what that was...)
posted by CrowGoat at 4:11 PM on January 30, 2015

I think you've already dated yourself by saying that you once bought a record, and further dated yourself by saying that it was a 45. (I'm guessing it was a 7 inch single, and not a 12 inch radio mix + club mix + extended club mix.)

I think my first was "Uneasy Rider".
posted by benito.strauss at 4:23 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some of those late 1970s playlists make me want to hide under the bed and make small whimpering noises. Especially 1976.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 5:33 PM on January 30, 2015

I bought many many vinyl records in the seventies and eighties but never bought a single 45.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 PM on January 30, 2015

Sometimes nostalgia makes me feel good and sometimes nostalgia makes me feel bad.

These lists are spot on, by the way
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:16 PM on January 30, 2015

Haha, nope.

First off, when I was growing up my parents forbade a lot of pop music as being "inappropriate," which now as an adult I've come to realize meant, "We don't like it." They were snobs who loathed most '80s music and spend most of the '70s listening to free jazz (fucking hipsters).

So let's take a quick trip through what my childhood music memories actually look like (all songs I remember from tapes growing up):

Rock Lobster - B-52s
London Calling - The Clash
Life During Wartime - Talking Heads
A Message to You Rudy - The Specials
Surrender - Cheap Trick
Making Plans for Nigel - XTC
Another Brick in the Wall (pt. II) - Pink Floyd
I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats
Fool in the Rain - Led Zeppelin
My My, Hey Hey - Neil Young
Rock n Roll High School - Ramones
I Say Yeah - Motor City Mutants

1990 (5th grade):

Falling - Julie Cruise
Birdhouse in Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
I Feel Better Than James Brown - Was (Not Was)
The Obvious Child - Paul Simon
Battleship Chains - Hindu Love Gods
Been Caught Stealin' - Jane's Addiction
Velouria - The Pixies
Candy - Iggy Pop
Smalltown - Lou Reed and John Cale
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
Metropolis - The Church

When I graduated from middle school, my parents gave me a CD boombox, so I was finally a little more in control, but they still bought most of the music.

1993 (8th grade):

Possession - Sarah McLaughlin
Jonestown - Concrete Blonde
Laid - James
Recipe for Hate - Bad Religion
All Apologies - Nirvana
Slave New World - Sepultura
Cannonball - The Breeders
Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins
She Don't Use Jelly - Flaming Lips
Jessie - Paw
My Name is Mud - Primus (My homeroom's 8th-grade graduation party featured a running battle to control the tape deck between the girls who wanted to listen to Ace of Base and the guys who wanted to listen to Pork Soda.)
Sober - Tool
Still Learning how to Crawl - Daniel Lanois
Creep - Radiohead
Start Choppin - Dinosaur jr.
Feed the Tree - Belly
50ft Queenie - PJ Harvey
The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove - Dead Can Dance
MMM MMM MMM MMM - Crash Test Dummies
Throw them to the lions! - Iggy Pop

Then by '97, the end of high school, I had a 'zine and was listening to too much to recount right now…
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on January 30, 2015

Interesting. I was pretty much with the program through 1973 -- I was 13, and the very first single I bought was 'Killing Me Softly...' by Roberta Flack. Within a year, I'd discovered drugs and the Stones 'Hot Rocks', and was on my way.

Whatever your personal tastes in music, there sure is a world of difference between, say, the 1971 playlist ('Without You' - Nilsson; 'Maggie May' - Rod Stewart; 'Brown Sugar' - Stones; 'Let's Stay Together' - Al Green; 'Family Affair' - Sly --that's some fantastic music right there) and, say, 1974 ('Seasons in the Sun', 'Having My Baby', 'The Night Chicago Died' -- I mean, really?! Fuck me). What the hell happened?

There was plenty of good, creative music being done in 1974, but it sure wasn't reflected in the charts...
posted by Bron at 7:38 PM on January 30, 2015

1974 has "Pick Up The Pieces", so it can't be all bad.
posted by hades at 8:41 PM on January 30, 2015

Yeah, I do remember a lot of the songs, but this didn't quite hit the OMG-MY-LIFE-REPLAYING-BEFORE-ME button. I was either too young to be paying attention to popular music, or was in high school and into still-very-popular-but-slightly-less-so MTV-styled alternative music.

Once I went to a singalong at the Alamo Drafthouse (hip movie theater in Austin) and the theme was "90s alternative." They played "alternative" music videos from the 90s and everyone sang along. It was the most exact demographic targeting I've ever experienced and it was glorious.
posted by aka burlap at 8:42 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

My birthday had a lot more classics (The Supremes, "Baby Love" and "Come See About Me"; The Beatles, "I Feel Fine" and "A Hard Day's Night"; The Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", Roy Orbison, "Oh, Pretty Woman"; The Beach Boys, "I Get Around") than clunkers (err, Lorne Green, "Ringo").
posted by kirkaracha at 9:17 PM on January 30, 2015

I graduated high school in 1980. There was no AC/DC in my list. Fail.
posted by ITravelMontana at 11:47 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I turned 60 last month. So I can take a bit of a long view on these songs -- do I know them (yes, most of them) and do I enjoy them now (mostly, yes) and did I enjoy them then (again, mostly yes.)

I downloaded about seventeen billion trillion songs using napster, mostly one or two hit wonders, some groups with more than that but mostly I was after the singles I knew I'd never buy. Who was ? and The Mysterians, anyways? They came out of nowhere, had that huge hit -- 96 Tears -- and disappeared just as fast as they'd showed up. I hope that they wrote that song; it would pay their rent every month if they did, go to the mailbox and get you a check. The guy who wrote "Muskrat Love" which was a totally fluke hit for The Captain and Teniele -- that song bought him a ranch, it bought him total freedom for the rest of his life. Willis Allen Ramsey, he's actually a very good singer songwriter type Texas guy, when you go see him he's got seventy-four thousand remarkably fine guitars and dobros and banjos and mandolins scattered around him on stage, paid for by that total piece of shit song. He's sold albums of his own also of course, but that one song did the deal.

I love Bette Midler. I think she's fine, I think she's cool, I think she's pretty, I think she has more cool in one toenail than I ever will have. But -- you knew that was coming, right, the but part? -- but I have always had a v difficult time getting to sleep, need a LOUD alarm to awaken me, I had a nice clock radio, now here it is 6 AM and here's that horses ass, totally lame piece of shit boogie woogie bugle boy from company b. I move the clock to five minutes earlier -- nope, same thing. Five minutes later -- same thing. Different station? Ha ha. Such was the suffering Middler brought to my life. Probably I should have ended my life, then and there -- was this a portent? Was this to be my life?

I was in the gym, maybe 2005, 2006, The Doors on the sound system, this kid in the locker room looked at me wistfully, said that all the good music was over. I laughed at him, I couldn't help it, I wasn't being mean, it's just that what he was saying was so ridiculous. Art, capital A Art, it's always alive and with us, some artists are craftsmen/women and move slower maybe, with more precision but then there are explosions of beauty, color and sound and style, sometimes driven by pain, sometimes just driven -- I asked him about Cobain, did he not think that Cobain was as great as Morrison? Pfffffffffftttt -- he was every bit as good, and likely better, though how the hell you could measure that I don't know. That wacky little English junkie/drunk, died a few years ago, Amy Winehous -- was she not as great as Joplin? The years roll by, Art woven into every goddamn one of them.

I guess what I'm on about here is that the Art is definitely alive and well, just maybe not getting to our ears, instead of Billie Holiday telling us how it is we get Doris Day yammering on about some jive or other.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:48 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

1976 was a crap year? The year the first Ramones album is released? Of course, if you listen to commercial music, most years are crap, and that's what the page gives you. One thing I've learned since I got into music in the mid-sixties, is that there is always worthwhile music out there. It's just that it's often missed, or ignored, by mainstream culture.
posted by sudon't at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

My husband, who used to be a purist/anti-pop snob if there ever was one, has come around to a sort of promiscuous approach to music such that now he makes me mix CDs that have Katy Perry on them, because the production is really good and it's a well-structured song. I don't care, I rip them to my phone and put it on random and so Katy plays after Belle and Sebastian but before Jukebox the Ghost and hell, I think it's a fun time to be alive, music-wise. Will our kids hate "corporate pop" when there is so much else they can listen to? I mean, metagnathous' story is horrifying, but fewer kids get trapped without at least a phone or mp3 player anymore on long car trips.
posted by emjaybee at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

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